Darling Harbour & Mardi Gras 2012

I decided today was going to be another day of sightseeing and venturing out in Sydney: Darling Harbour.  However, I didn’t realize I have already been there before and wrote about it a few days ago. It turns out that Darling Harbour (see map here) is a vast complex of entertainment, restaurants, parks, exhibits and waterways (very touristy!).  While I did see some of this the first time, I neglected to explore beyond the edges to see what else it had to offer.  According to the website:

Darling Harbour is one of the world’s great waterfront destinations. With its spectacular harbour setting, Darling Harbour has many of Australia’s key tourist attractions and is also a favourite place for Sydneysiders to spend their time relaxing and celebrating.

The Harbour is also home to the Sydney Aquarium boasting over 12,000 animals and creatures. While I was not thrilled to pay the $35 dollars for the entry fee, the aquarium offers deals where you can add additional excursions for a few more bucks more reducing the overall price (for those who care, I got a deal for the aquarium entry and the Sydney Tower Eye entry for later). On the self-guided tour you can see fish, fish and more fish; walk among the sharks in an underground and sideways tank; touch and hold starfish; and get your picture taken. For a few bucks extra, you can even take a glass bottom boat ride to “pet” the sharks (I’m fine, thanks). The Harbour is also home to celeb gossip the National Maritime Museum,which includes water exhibits, naval ships and watercraft.

After the aquarium, I walked around the rest of the Wharf composed of a mix of restaurants, shops, and a kids water park. I also found one of my first Starbucks on the trip and learned the Wifi costs money even at Starbucks. #fail

To get down to the Harbour, I took the CityRail system – Sydney’s train service.  It was really simple to figure out once you knew where you were going. Staff were also very friendly when I couldn’t.  It only took me about 5 or so minutes on the train to get downtown. The nearest train station is located in the suburb over, Redfern. Redfern is a small little community with trendy coffee shops, a large park and stadium, and gothic-looking churches. In fact, Redfern has a large Aborginal community.

This weekend should be fun as it’s the start of Sydney 2012 Mardi Gras.  I’ve mentioned before that Kylie Minoque is performing at the main event, Mardigrasland 2012 along with RuPaul and others.  Tomorrow’s big pary, CoolChange ‘12 at the Sydney Harbour is expected to draw thousands and be one of the festival’s best events (let’s hope I don’t get too burnt, again).

Just an update to my last blog post on the leadership showdown in the Australian Labor Party: Kevin Rudd, former prime minster, has confirmed he will challenge current Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, in a leadership ballot Monday. The Daily Mail is reporting that Gillard holds the edge over Rudd among party members with 69 to 29, 6 undecided.

Stay tuned.

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