Monday, April 10, 2006

Darling Harbor (Sydney)

April 2nd, 2006:

Today I went to a place where many Sydney dwellers and visitors alike hangout: Darling Harbor. This is located near the center of the city and is within walking distance of the bridge and the Opera House.

This 'U' shaped harbor is home to many attractions, coffee shops, ice-cream bars, restaurants and is a dock for boats which bring tourists around Port Jackson (i.e. the bridge and Opera House).

I was joined on the trip by a German dude from the hostel and our first stop was the IMAX movie theater. I had never been to an IMAX theater before and if you haven't heard of it, think of a really BIG cinema screen: its 100ft in height and 80ft in width, if I recall correctly, and its height is equivalent to five double-decker buses stacked on top of each other(!).

"Timo", the German, had determined the best showing to go to, from a local, and so we went to "Wild Safari 3D" which was a 3D enhanced safari trek around Africa, complete with polarized 3D glasses and it lasted about 42 minutes.

Afterwards I was in two minds about the whole experience: on the one hand the combination of the gigantic screen and the 3D glasses made it very immersive, but on the other hand its somewhat expensive ($18 AUD) for 42 minutes for what is just a big screen.

There are a half a dozen other films to see at the IMAX but I think I'll wait a couple of months before going again.

Next up at Darling Harbor was another of Sydney's bigger attractions, the "Maritime Museum". Housed in a well laid out hanger-sized building, this FREE(!) museum had many different exhibitions ranging from the Vikings to the Gulf War. There is also a Navy destroyer permanently docked outside, alongside a Navy submarine, but there is a cover charge for entering these last two exhibits.

Overall, the Maritime Museum is well recommended, especially for those on a tight budget.