Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
Trip End Jan 08, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Thursday, December 22, 2011

One of my favourite spots in Sydney has to be Darling Harbour. I've had a look around the city now, I’ve checked out the Botanical Gardens, Hyde Park and the Rocks, but I have to admit that I love Darling Harbour, in particular Tumbalong Park and Palm Grove. The Botanical Gardens does what it says on the tin, but when you’ve walked through the tropical and sub-tropical rainforest, there’s not a lot to impress. Hyde Park is just a small park in the CBD; it’s nothing like its namesake in London. The Rocks is an historic area of Sydney, where the first settlers lived and today is an arty area, much like Covent Garden .

Tumbalong Park in the Darling Quarter, however, is virtually hidden away from the city. Look to one side and it’s dwarfed by those pesky skyscrapers; look to the other side and it is lined by exhibition centres that were clearly built for some expo and have since been abandoned. However, at one end of the park as you enter it, there’s a large grass circle surrounded by a moat of water. This 'moat’ turns into a type of canal with fountains, which runs along the (admittedly, short) length of the park. On a hot summer’s day the kids and teenagers love to jump under the fountains to cool off.

As you walk along the park, it becomes Palm Grove, and as it says on the label, it’s an avenue of palm trees, with the canal in the middle. Maybe, I’m too used to Spanish parks, but for me the biggest selling point is that there’s grass everywhere. Proper grass; proper grass to sit on; proper grass to lie on; proper grass to chill on.

The grove leads into the harbour itself, which is what Maremagnum would like to be. A hive of activity, full of tourists, bars, restaurants, boats, restaurant boats, bar boats – a truly magical place, particularly when you stumble across it by accident! All this followed by a ferry ride back to Circular Quay. What’s not to love about it?
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