10 Dec 2020

The great Darling Harbour street art trail

Darling Harbour is full of incredible street and public art. Check out our guide to find the best of it.
The great Darling Harbour street art trail

Next time you’re in Darling Harbour, take a look around. You might just see a twisting neon light sculpture hanging high above the street, a six-story high mural on a nearby building or hundreds of oversized golden stars hanging from an overpass.

That’s because Darling Harbour is absolutely brimming with street art from local and international artists. Almost everywhere you look there’s a sculpture, a mural or an installation that’ll catch your eye and make you think.

See it all with our guide to the best street and public art in Darling Harbour.

A Lifetime of Summers in Makers Dozen
The air above the Maker’s Dozen food collective in Darling Square’s Exchange Building is forever bursting with the colour of confetti thanks to local artist, Nick Savvas. His kinetic, vibrant sculpture consists of 9,200 yellow, blue, orange, pink and green rectangular tabs cascading from the roof of the building on 715 near invisible wires.
Murals inside the Exchange Building
Inside the Exchange Building just a few steps away from the Lifetime of Summers installation, you’ll find an equally intriguing piece of art. This quirky mural by Kiwi artist Andrew J Steel occupies the walls in the centre of the Maker’s Dozen space, and features dozens of Steel’s trademark quirky characters and strong line drawings reminiscent of modern day Egyptian hieroglyphics.
The Canopy on Pier Street
When you walk beneath the Pier St Underpass in Darling Harbour, look up and you’ll see dozens of golden shapes, contrasted against an undulating stream of blues and blacks. This is ‘The Night Sky’ by Jacob Nash. When creating this installation, Nash imagined what it would have looked and felt like to stand under the night sky and look up on the evening of the 28th April, 1770 before Captain Cook landed on these shores.
Night and Day, Day and Night on Steam Mill Lane
Until recently, Peta Kruger was an established graphic designer and jeweler who created small works characterised by geometric lines and bright colours. But then something unexpected happened. She won a pitch to create an installation above Steam Mill Lane. Peta designed and built eight large and colourful geometric shapes that are now suspended above the street as if floating. At night neon lights flick on inside the shapes to illuminate the shapes, colours and the street below.
City Lights on Little Hay Street
Walk down Little Hay Street at night and your eyes will be drawn to a chaotic tangle of neon lights suspended high above the street. This work, City Lights by Brendan van Hek, comprises fragments of neon signs, fused together to create something new. It exudes the frenetic energy of the city and recalls the bright neon lights and vibrancy of Chinatown.
Data.scape on Moriarty walk
In 2006, Ryoji Ikeda, one of Japan’s leading visual artists, began creating a series of audiovisual works that saught to visualise pure data. One of the project’s most ambitious installations can be found on Moriarty Walk near the Exhibition Centre. A gigantic screen, several metres high and dozens of metres long, constantly displays streams of moving data against striking, colourful backgrounds.
Portrait of Jenny Munro in Darling Square
Jenny Munro is an Australian legend. As a Wiradjuri Elder, she’s been at the forefront of activism for the rights of Aboriginal Australians for several decades now. Next time you’re wandering around Darling Square keep an eye out for her. You just might spot a gorgeously rendered 10 story high mural of her face painted on the side of the Novotel building.
Harbour Veins by Yukupin

Harbour Veins by Yukupin (Toby Bishop), speaks to the beauty of the harbour, flowing river veins being the focal point of the artwork and the harbour being a life source that brought many people together both traditionally and within a contemporary setting.

“Much like today, traditionally many nations gathered around the Sydney basin area because of its great cultural significance and abundance of natural resources. This coming together also ensured that cultural knowledge practice and lores were passed on," says Yukupin. Harbour Veins pays homage to the tracks that surround the harbour, ancient tracks and modern tracks, where meeting places are formed, and knowledge is shared and passed on.

Tidal Cascade on Cockle Bay Wharf

Tidal Cascade is a gigantic, spiralling fountain water feature on the Cockle Bay promenade. This heritage listed piece of art is widely considered to be one of the most important works of renowned local architect and designer, Robert Woodward and won countless rewards when it was unveiled in 1988. Its interplay of light, texture and spiralling water makes it an irresistible and interactive part of the landscape here in Cockle Bay.

Tumbalong on Hay St in Darling Square

Step into the captivating world of Tumbalong, on Hay St in Darling Square, a mesmerizing blend of heritage and modern artistry that pays homage to the rich history of Sydney. The artwork captures the spirit of Tumbalong, a place where indigenous culture, colonial heritage, and contemporary urban life intersect. So pictured in the artwork you can see the John Dickson Steam mill, The famous Biddell Brothers confectionary factory, The Cormack Cooperage and in most recent history the late, great Sydney Entertainment centre.

Why Stop There?

Discover even more public art in Darling Harbour, from Indigenous motifs to contemporary masterpieces, these sculptures and artworks offer a diverse range of experiences that will leave you educated, inspired, and eager to explore more!

To discover more intriguing local artists, artisan makers and cultural experiences, check out The Rocks culture trail.