Unveiling the new Darling Harbour: a sound shell upsized playground and expanded Chinese Garden


The NSW Government is inviting Sydneysiders to rediscover and reimagine Darling Harbour with the opening of three new public spaces.

A state-of-the-art playground, a sound shell in Tumbalong Park and a bamboo forest walk in the Chinese Garden of Friendship are being opened to the public as new and inviting features of this harbourside precinct.

The new 2000 square-metre playground doubles the size of the existing Darling Harbour playground and is designed to cater to older children and teenagers. The playground has two themes; the Bay, with a series of decks, ramps and bridges and the Wave, with higher level ramps, climbing tower and slide plus plenty of seating for parents and carers.

The new sound shell at Tumbalong Park, opposite the International Convention Centre will become the home for important moments for Sydney as a fit-for-purpose outdoor venue for live concerts, a live site for sporting events and community festivals.

The sound shell design has a unique cantilevered roof resembling a cockle shell that is a symbolic link to the history of the area. Tumbalong also means ‘the place where shellfish is found’ in Gadigal. The state-of-the-art structure includes two new 9 x 5 metre digital screens, permanent speakers, acoustic panelling and a motorised truss capable of hosting a variety of events.

And a Friendship Bridge and bamboo forest walk at the Chinese Garden of Friendship is part of a $1 million expansion that connects the existing Garden with a repurposed area including 20 per cent more accessible open public space.

The space called the ‘Meandering Pathway of Tranquility’ crosses the Lotus Pavilion and the Seven Sages Walk and finishes near the base of the waterfall, with a calming design that represents the first major upgrade to the Garden since it opened in 1988.

As each part of Darling Harbour undergoes redevelopment more green and public spaces will continue to be delivered, reinventing the precinct for future generations.

Additionally, the NSW Government is developing a Darling Harbour 2050 Vision to provide a ‘big picture’ for the community, producing a road map for the precinct to evolve over time while keeping its unique, world-famous character.

The Vision will deliver a planning framework to shape it into a vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable waterfront precinct. A draft is expected to be exhibited for feedback in coming months and will reflect the views of the community.

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