Posts Tagged ‘Darling Harbour’

Anyone who has visited Sydney will have spent some time at Darling Harbour.

And if you’ve been to Darling Harbour, you’ve probably walked across the Pyrmont Bridge, which connects the city to the harbourside.

Living in Pyrmont, I walk over the bridge twice a day to journey into the city. Early on when I moved to Sydney there was a rumour going around among my British friends that the bridge splits in half four times a day to let  boats through.

It was hard to believe that this hundred-year-old bridge could actually separate in half.

I’d walked across the bridge hundreds of times and never seen it swing open.

But then, one sunny weekend, it happened! At the approach to the bridge, wooden gates blocked our path and the crowds watched as the central island of the bridge pivoted around to create a gap to allow tall ships through.

It all takes just a few minutes, and then the bridge swings back into place allowing the tourists to carry on their way.

So, now I know. Pyrmont Bridge does still open to let ships pass. Every day without fail at 10.30am, 12 noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm. What’s more, it’s one of the world’s oldest surviving electrically operated swingspan bridges. It really is a sight to behold.

Last weekend, I captured the bridge opening in photos from the other side of Darling Harbour. See for yourself:

Pyrmont Bridge opening

The centre island of Pyrmont Bridge swings open to let ships through – yet the monorail still passes overhead

Pyrmont Bridge opening

The bridge begins to close, as the monorail approaches overhead

If you’re interested in reading more, the Darling Harbour Pyrmont Bridge history is available here.

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picture of rain

Is this all we have to look forward to this weekend in Sydney?

It’s December in Sydney and the sun should be shining!

But sadly, our plans for the beach, barbecues and outdoor beers are on hold as the rain is predicted to set in for the second weekend in a row.

So, what to do? Here’s my top five suggestions for making the best out of the miserable weather this weekend:

1)      Sushi and songs

For the perfect all-in-one dinner/drinks/late-night entertainment venue that saves you having to bar-hop through the rain, head to Mizuya on George Street. This underground restaurant serves up delicious, fresh sushi in cozy surroundings, far away from the disappointing weatheroutside. The hot pot with wagyu beef is a favourite of mine, and the various meat and fish skewers are addictive. Better still, you get to order your dinner on a touch screen at your table, meaning you can keep going back for more until you’re stuffed!

Oh, and once you’re full of sushi and sake, simply head down the corridor to the real reason Mizuya was created – karaoke booths where you can gather all your mates into a sealed room, belt out your favourite songs until the early hours and even order more sushi if you wish!

2)      Head to an Irish Bar

That’s right, what better way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon, than settled down in a traditional Irish Pub with some hearty grub, a live band or two and perhaps a pint of Guinness. There’s plenty of options in central Sydney including PJ O’Brien’s, Durty Nelly’s, Scruffy Murphy’s and Paddy Maguires.

For the ultimate Irish experience however – and a venue I can’t recommend enough – head to Mulligan’s restaurant in Chippendale. You’ll enjoy the best comfort food in Sydney, in surroundings which feel like you’re in the living room of a cuddly older relative.

3)      Pretend you’re in the UK

For an ex-pat, Christmas in Australia has meant swapping many of the traditional wintry fayre for light, summery bites in reflection of the warmer weather. So this weekend, why not head to Lindt Cafe at Darling Harbour and indulge with a warming hot chocolate and marshmallows, or snuggle up at home with a hot mince pie, brandy butter and your favourite Greatest Hits Xmas CD.

4)      Get cultural

Time to explore all the museums, art galleries and other interesting parts of Sydney that it just seems wrong to visit when the sun is shining. First stop could be the new Picasso exhibition now open at Art Gallery New South Wales where you’ll get to see more than 150 pieces of his work.

5)      Get out of Sydney and catch a flight to Melbourne

Four words that need no further explanation: Topshop is now open. What better reason do we need to escape Sydney for the weekend than a chance to explore one of the UK’s most successful fashion chains now open at its first location in Australia. Prepare yourself for chaos and queues, but it’ll be worth it when you get to swan into work on Monday in your brand new Topshop clothes.

Who needs sunshine!

What are your weekend plans?

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Dragon boat racing at Darling Harbour

Our Dragon Boat race (I'm seated, third from back)

It’s not every day that you get to paddle across one of the most beautiful harbours in the world and raise money for breast cancer in the process.

That’s why I volunteered straight away for the 2011 Dragons Abreast Festival as part of the corporate team for NRMA.

Early last Sunday morning, just as revellers from Halloween parties across the city were getting to bed, I arrived at Darling Harbour ready battle it out with 20 corporate teams from Sydney.

The water was still, the sky was breaking to blue and we were pumped and ready for action. Teams and supporters lined the harbourside, dressed head to toe in their matching team colours.

 For those not familiar with Dragon boat racing, here’s a rundown on what the race entailed:

 –          Teams of 20 to each boat –  no more than ten men per team

–          Race runs from Pyrmont Bridge towards the inside of Darling Harbour

–          Approximate 90 second stretch (doesn’t sound much does it!)

And that’s pretty much it! We’d had two training sessions prior to the event, which had really kicked into gear the muscles on my back and in my arms. But, the key to Dragon boat racing is the timing. With 20 people per team, and less than a metre separating you from the person in front, one wrong move can result in bashed elbows, grazed knuckles and clashing oars.

Not to mention a bad result in the competition.

Which is exactly what happened to us. The whistle blew, our team set off and…..we didn’t really get anywhere very fast. A time on the first race of one minute 21 seconds was enough for us to finish in 4th place – out of five! We managed to pull this back on the second race to a more respectable one minute 17 seconds. But by the third race we knew we didn’t have a hope of making the finals and a disastrous finish of last place and one minute 26 seconds saw us all collapsing in laughter towards the finish line.

We were pretty bad. We didn’t win. But I loved it.

And what a great way to raise money for charity.

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