Introducing Darling Harbour & Pyrmont
Dotted between the flyovers and fountains of Sydney's purpose-built tourist hub (opened for the bicentennial in 1988) are some of the city's highest-profile paid attractions. Every other inch of this former dockland is given over to bars and restaurants. Come during the day to visit the big-ticket tourist traps or just to stroll about. It's also busy at night. Firework displays occur with alarming frequency; most Saturday nights go off with a bang.
The state government has parts of Darling Harbour in its sights for a makeover. Depending on when you visit, you might find a work in progress.
West of Darling Harbour, in Pyrmont proper, The Star casino complex has just had its own expensive do-over, yet it remains like such establishments the world over: big and soulless beneath a thin veneer of glamour.
If you're after a slice of real Sydney life you won't find it here, but it's still worth allocating an hour for a walkabout.
Sydney VIVID Festival: Sydney Harbour Small-Group Luxury Cruise
From May to June, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, and other city attractions glow in neon colors during the annual VIVID light festival.