The Darling Harbour precinct is Sydney’s premier destination for business events of all shapes and sizes. And it’s only going to get better.
From the early foresight of the then NSW Premier Neville Wran to transform the area from a disused and rarely visited area to that of a highly populated one following construction of the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, the Darling Harbour of today remains an inspiration to so many other cities around the world.
Managed by Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Darling Harbour is known globally and nationally for its world-class events, attracting more than 27 million international, interstate and New South Wales visitors every year.
Right now this premier waterfront destination is undergoing massive transformation with the development of the $1.1 billion International Convention Centre (ICC Sydney), due for completion at the end of 2016.
CEO of Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Catherine Gallagher, said a ‘whole of precinct’ approach has enabled Darling Harbour to thrive while undergoing its major revitalisation.
“Throughout the redevelopment and beyond 2016, the Authority continues to bring Darling Harbour to life with entertaining events and festivals year-round,” Ms Gallagher said.
“Establishing the Darling Harbour Allliance, a public-private partnership with the precinct’s six core tenants and Darling Harbour Live, has created a united force to ensure we remain a world-leading destination for major events.
“The strength of the Alliance demonstrates Darling Harbour’s unique offering as one of the world’s best places to live, meet and be entertained.”
The Alliance members – including the Australian National Maritime Museum, Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Quarter, Harbourside, IMAX and Merlin Entertainment Group (SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, Madame Tussauds) – offer an array of different meeting, conference and seminar venues, perfect to cater for everything from major business events to smaller presentations. There are, in fact, more than 100 state-of-the-art business events facilities at Darling Harbour, with water views across Cockle Bay, parks for relaxation, cafes and restaurants for entertainment and hotels for accommodation.
With easy access to trains, buses, ferries and walking distance to the city, Darling Harbour is the perfect location for business events.
During the redevelopment, Sydney Exhibition Centre @ Glebe Island boasts the largest footprint in the CBD of 24,500sqm across five halls. The venue is a short ferry ride from the wharf on the western side of Darling Harbour. It has housed a number of events since launching in February 2014 and is custom-built to host Sydney’s exhibitions, tradeshows and events.
The Merlin Entertainment Group (SEA LIFE, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, Madame Tussauds) can cater for 3000 across the whole of the venue, Home nightclub at Cockle Bay Wharf has capacity for 2000 attendees and Dockside Pavilion, the new venue launched last year which floats on Cockle Bay, can also hold 2000 people standing and 1500 people seated.
Many of the other venues at Darling Harbour also have smaller capacity meeting rooms – IMAX, the Australian National Maritime Museum and Darling Quarter – that can cater for business events from 20 people to several hundred.
For a completely different venue, several boats that dock at Darling Harbour are also innovative spaces for business events. The Starship Sydney, for example, can hold up to 1000 people, either moored at the wharf or sailing around the harbour.
Ms Gallagher said the Authority is also forging new connections between Darling Harbour and the rest of the city, with construction of The Goods Line – already touted as Sydney’s version of the New York High Line – due for completion in coming months.
“This exciting project will see a forlorn and forgotten railway line turned into a bustling pedestrian corridor running from Darling Harbour through to Central Station’s Railway Square,” she said.
“It will better connect key arts, education and cultural institutions along Sydney’s Cultural Ribbon, as well as providing a new urban hub for public entertainment, recreation and study.”