Crossing the heart of Darling Square and linking Quay Street to Darling Harbour is Tumbalong Boulevard. On this stretch of pavement, you can easily navigate your way from the vistas of Cockle Bay and Central Station right to the middle of Darling Square within minutes.
At 680 metres long and 20 metres wide, the generous design of Tumbalong Boulevard includes both open zones and planted “dwell” zones where you can sit back and relax, while sipping on your favourite bubble tea or coffee from Darling Square’s purveyors and pourers at Steam Mill Lane, Little Hay Street, Nicolle Walk, Darling Drive, Harbour Street, Little Pier Street or Maker’s Dozen food collective.
As you explore Tumbalong Boulevard, be sure to discover the cross-streets, such as Steam Mill Lane, where many of Darling Square’s morning-to-late-night eateries, cafes, bars and shops are buzzing seven days a week. Opposite Steam Mill Lane, at the very heart of the Darling Square precinct, there’s a large, grassy, communal square with plenty of outdoor seating, mah-jong tables and communal dining areas. Sitting right in front of The Exchange building – home to Maker’s Dozen food collective and a new XOPP modern Chinese restaurant by Golden Century, it’s a perfect spot to catch up with friends and family for an impromptu picnic in the heart of Sydney CBD. If you are planning an outing with your little ones, you’ll be delighted to know that Darling Square is family and pram-friendly with plenty of outdoor seating and places to explore.
Highlights of the Northern End of Tumbalong Boulevard
Continuing north along Tumbalong Boulevard, past The Exchange, you will find yourself exiting Darling Square and approaching the Chinese Garden of Friendship. Modelled after the classic private gardens of the Ming Dynasty, the garden offers an insight into Chinese heritage and culture. It is the perfect place to take a moment for yourself, escaping the bustle of city life and reconnecting with nature. Feed the magnificent koi that call the garden's Lenient Jade Pavillion pond home, daily at 11.30am. Join the team in clapping loudly to attract them before taking a handful of food to throw out to the swarming fish.
As you continue past the Chinese Garden of Friendship, keep walking and make your way down to Cockle Bay, the heart of Darling Harbour, one of the most popular destinations in all of Sydney. See the Sydney night sky light up each Saturday night at 8.30pm with a spectacular fireworks display illuminating Cockle Bay. Best of all, it’s free!
On the way there you will pass through Darling Quarter, and walk past Tumbalong Park - five hectares of green space, including a sprawling children’s playground and a water park that is sure to delight - and the International Convention Centre (ICC Sydney).
Highlights of the Southern End of Tumbalong Boulevard
On the southern end of Tumbalong Boulevard, stop by the famous Paddy’s Markets. This bustling marketplace open from Wednesday to Sunday offers fresh, locally sourced produce and an array of stalls selling fashion, kids clothes, Australian souvenirs, gadgets and more.
Just a short walk away, Dixon Street’s paved ‘pedestrian only’ street is considered the heart of Sydney’s Chinatown. Take time to explore the mixture of apparel, Asian grocery stores and traditional Chinese medicine shops that line the streets inside the buildings with a distinct Chinese architectural style; embrace the bustling pace and colourful mixture of Asian culture evident throughout the precinct.
The Powerhouse Museum
Located in the Ultimo Power Station in Darling Harbour, the Powerhouse Museum is the flagship of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), and hosts collections that span science, technology, design and decorative arts, engineering, architecture, health, medicine, fashion and contemporary culture. In short, it’s safe to say you are bound to find something inside that will suit almost every person's interests!
There are several permanent exhibitions in the Powerhouse Museum complemented by regularly changing exhibitions and displays. With free entry for children 16 years old and under, regular tours, workshops and special events held throughout the year, it’s a great place to spend an hour or more with family or friends.
The Goods Line
Providing a traffic-free, accessible thoroughfare from Central Station to Darling Harbour, The Goods Line is the newest shared pedestrian and cycle path, and green public space in Sydney. This space, once a freight railway line, connects residents of Sydney and its visitors to the many major attractions of Darling Harbour.
Bask in the sunshine in one of the many mixed-use spaces after picking up a hearty lunch from Darling Square, get active at the table tennis tables, or settle into one of the many study pods nestled among the trees if you want a peaceful place to get some extra work done. There is also a children’s play area shaded by fig trees that are bound to please the little ones.
One of the most iconic buildings along The Goods Line has to be the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, the business school building at the University of Technology Sydney. Designed by Canadian American architect Frank Gehry, who previously designed the famous Dancing House in Prague and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the 13-storey tower has been fondly nicknamed the ‘paper bag building’ due to the combination of its unique exterior design and the light brown bricks making it appear - according to Gehry - as a “squashed brown paper bag”.
Light Rail Connections
If you need to continue your journey across Sydney, head to the Paddy’s Markets Light Rail Station where you can board the high-frequency Sydney Light Rail connecting you to Dulwich Hill and Central Station.
Darling Square is surrounded by some of Sydney’s best attractions and internationally recognised destinations, and Tumbalong Boulevard is the walkway which connects them all together.