After dark, young Sydneysiders flock to the section of George Street heading south from the Town Hall, lined with video entertainment arcades, fast-food joints and a cinema complex. Sydney’s fledgling Spanish Quarter begins nearby on the corner of George Street and Liverpool Street — there’s a choice of tapas bars here. In the adjacent Chinatown district, gourmets can enjoy the delights of Peking.
Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine. The substantial local Chinese community is joined by Sydney-siders and tourists enjoying the Chinese cafés, restaurants and shops selling exotic spices and knick-knacks. The district’s centrepiece is Dixon Street, a pedestrian zone framed by ceremonial gates.
If you’re here at the weekend, check out Paddy’s Market (open: Thur 10am-6pm, Fri—Sun 9am-4.30pm). a cavernous brick building beneath a new skyscraper. Paddy’s is full of stalls selling almost anything: souvenirs, seashells, sun-glasses, fruit, vegetables and semi-antiques. On level three of the same complex you’ll find Kam Fook Shark’s Fin Seafood Restaurant, a Chinese eatery so vast that its waiters use mobile phones to converse with the kitchen staff. Nearby, the modem leisure precinct of Darling Harbour is well stocked with shops, restaurants and attractions, and a monorail and light rail system link it to more central areas.
On the city side of Darling Harbour is Cockle Bay, a complex of bars and restaurants. This has proved much more popular than the shopping and dining complex overlooking the harbour on the western side, mainly because Cockle Bay is easier to reach on foot from downtown Sydney. )
Not far away, Sydney Aquarium (open: daily 9.30am-7pm) is one of the largest in the world. In its Open Ocean Oceanarium, large sharks weigh up to 300kg (6601b) and measure over 9m (30ft) long. The Great Barrier Reef Complex houses over 6,000 creatures, and a visit there is the closest thing to diving on the reef without getting wet. Other nearby attractions include the National Maritime Museum (open: daily 9.30am-5pm. till Gpm in Jan). designed to resemble billowing sails: a Chinese garden (open: daily 9.30am-5pm), an IMAX cinema; and the 12,550-seat Sydney Entertainment Centre, which is used for sports events and concerts. Beyond the Maritime Museum. in Pyrmont, is the glitzy Star City Casino (open: daily 24 hours).
Parks and Gardens Although Sydney’s lush Hyde Park is only a fraction the size of its namesake in London, it still provides the same sort of green relief. Like most big-city parks, however, it should The monorail links Darling Harbour to downtown Sydney be avoided after sunset.
The most formal feature of the semi-formal gardens. the Anzac War Memorial, commemorates the World War I fighters in monumental art deco style, with later acknowledgments to the World War 11 contingent. Sightseers interested in old churches should mark a few tar-gets on the edge of Hyde Park. To the north, the early colonial St James’s Church in Queens Square was the work of the convict architect Francis Greenway.
Just across College Street on the cast. St Mary’s Cathedral stands on the prominent site of the colony’s first Catholic church. The sandstone spires at the southern end are new: although they were included in the original plan in 1865, they were not added until 2000 and are hence somewhat lighter in colour than the original spires. You can view the spires while immersed in a swimming pool next door at Cook and Phillip Park (open: Mon—Fri Gam-10pm, Sat—Sun and Bank Holidays 7am-8pm). This aquatic, fitness and recreation centre opened in 1999.