Disabled Access YES
Food and Drink Options YES
Tourist Attractions YES
Transport Links YES
Shopping Centre YES
Opening Hours 8am-6pm
Situated across from Pyrmont Bay, the historic Pier 26 in Darling Harbour is a hidden gem for dining and avoiding crowds of people, particularly tourists. It has plenty of transport options in and out of the wharf, making it an ideal pick up or drop off point for charter boats.
It is also perfectly placed (between the famous Cock Bay Wharf and the historic Aquarium) for exploring the rest of Darling Harbour, which provides convenient train, bus and light rail services to the city centre. This wharf also provides disabled access and features several secure locations for car parking and is open for check-in and boarding from approximately 9 am - 5 pm every day.
It's also roughly a ten-minute walk from King Street Wharf, where you'll find plenty of drinking and dining options to sate even the most discerning traveller.
Darling Harbour, named after Lieutenant-General Ralph Darling, who was Governor of New South Wales between 1825 and 1831, was an industrial powerhouse in the 19th century but has evolved in recent years into a cosmopolitan playground.
The eastern portion of Darling Harbour, within which Pier 26 is situated, is part of a massive recent urban renewal development, which isn't expected to be fully completed until 2020.
This means the area is teeming with life and fascinating new developments and Pier 26 is located smack bang in the middle of everything, just north of the Pyrmont Bridge and just a few minutes stroll from the CBD (central business district).
The pier also sits directly below the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, a world-class aquarium where inquisitive tourists can get up close and personal with freshwater and marine life from not only the local seas but across the world. Formerly known as simply the Sydney Aquarium, the centre contains more than 700 species of marine life and over 13,00 individual creatures, which are displayed in one of 14 themed zones.
The crown jewel of the aquarium is quite comfortably the Great Barrier Reef display, which is the largest of its kind in the world. The aquarium was first opened in 1988 and is one of the largest in the world. It is also one of Sydney's most popular tourist attractions, so if you plan on visiting you might want to consider booking ahead.
Other local attractions include the Allianz Centre, which has the added bonus of offering excellent parking facilities, and the beautiful Darling Park. A landmark commercial and retail complex connected by elegant plazas, galleries and business lounges, Darling Park provides crescent gardens, waterfront restaurants and cafes, and large, efficient, column-free floor plates with expansive views of the harbour.
Families, meanwhile, could walk south towards the Chinese Garden of Friendship, which is a tranquil haven filled with waterfalls, lakes, exotic plants and hidden pathways. The nearby Darling Quarter Playground will also keep the kids entertained for hours with water games, climbing ropes, slides and swings.
Drinking and dining options are less wealthy around Pier 26 than other, more populous areas of Darling Harbour, but that means less hustle and bustle and more space to unwind. For a relaxed and sophisticated dining experience, consider the Helm Bar & Bistro, which is situated just a little north of Cockle Bay and is within walking distance of the pier.
Helm is one of Sydney's classiest and newest bars and restaurants, centrally located on the water's edge of Darling Harbour and catering equally for the corporate market, stylish locals and tourists. The newly renovated bar's architecture is designed with relaxation in mind and with an emphasis on comfort, style and ambience. Facing west with the cool, clear waters of the harbour directly in front, it is ideally situated for early evening drinks and has great, easy access to the rest of Darling Harbour.
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