One can never get enough of Sydney. The outstanding beauty of this historically rich city coupled with a winning weather makes wandering through this metropolis a much flavoursome experience.

Just like on the first day, our third day in Sydney saw us wandering through the city but this time towards Darling Harbour.

Originally known as Cockles Bay (after the molluscs early European settlers found here) Darling Harbour was named after the seventh governor of New South Wales, Ralph Darling. Teeming with thieves’ den and bawdy houses, this area of Sydney was considered unsavoury in the late 19th century. Nevertheless, the docks of Darling Harbour were an important trading centre for wool and other exports from abroad.

With the decline of Sydney Harbour industry, Darling Harbour became rundown until its revival as a focal point of the 1988 Bicentenary. Through rigorous modernisation and redevelopment, Darling Harbour is now a popular and buzzing district of Sydney.

Our walk from Sydney Central (where we stayed) to Darling Harbour took us no more than 30 minutes even with the sporadic (yet mandatory) stops for picture taking. My friends came across a hidden avenue just behind our apartment the night before (I went to bed early); and knowing my lust for architecture and good design they told we should check it out before venturing further afield. Incidentally they didn’t tell me in detail what they had discovered that night but the moment I set eyes on the avenue I was flabbergasted in euphoria. What I found before me was an old Victorian quarter lined with colourful century old houses some of which were remodelled as coffee houses and some restored to their glory as, what I presume, residential units. If I could live anywhere in Sydney, it would be here.

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The ‘hidden’ Victorian quarter in Central Sydney.
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I felt sentimental about seeing these houses because of their similarity to the one I lived in as a student in England.
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Love the herringbone brick tiles!
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I wonder whether someone really lived there at the time of our visit.
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Outback meets Victorian. This particular unit was converted into a cosy little coffee house. I love it!

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On our way to the harbour, we went through Sydney Central Station before stepping out again at the other end of the station onto Pitt Street. Running north and adjacent to Pitt Street is the Belmore Park where a number of aboriginal Australians rendered homeless. I was saddened by the paradoxical disparity between the prosperous metropolis and the displaced few; but as much as it is hard to swallow, homelessness exists even in the richest of countries. In my heart I wished them very well.

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The main concourse of Sydney Central Station.
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Homelessness at Belmore Park, Sydney.

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Moving past Belmore Park, we found ourselves in Sydney’s China town, just a few blocks south-east off Darling Harbour. Much to our excitement we stumbled upon a Malaysian restaurant Mamak, famed for its roti canai (Malaysian paratha) and satay. In Malaysia, the term Mamak is commonly used for Malaysian citizens who are of Indian Muslim origin. Mamak stalls/restaurants are notoriously popular and ubiquitous throughout Malaysia and they typically serve Indian-Malay food such as roti canai with curry or dhal gravy, chapati, mee goreng Mamak (Mamak fried noodles), tosai and lots more.

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Proud to have found his favourite Mamak in Sydney.
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Playground/mini water park at Darling Quarter (opposite Cockle Bay).
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Water pumps! A fun distraction from our harbour goal. The park was not only a lot of fun (pool, fountains, water streams running from all corners and those water pumps!) but also very educationally stimulating for kids (even for adults as seen here 🙂 ).

A few meters off the water park is Darling Harbour. At its onset is the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICCS) where you’ll find the Tidal Cascades- a sunken fountain designed by Robert Woodward. The cascades are a double spiral of water and paths replicating the circular shape of the Convention Centre.

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The Tidal Cascades, ICC Sydney.
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The inconspicuous pathway allows you to circle down the cascade to the central sphere.

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To be continued in Sydney, Australia (Day 3 – Part 2)….

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