Australia is a country of harbours. It’s hard not to be when 85% of the population lives within 50km of the coast.
There are over 200+ harbours and ports adorning the Australian coastline.
While many of these harbours show function over form, some have become tourist attractions in their own right and others strike a balance between working harbour and lifestyle destination.
Similarly, worldwide harbours and ports are changing, moving away from the status as purely commercial or industrial areas, and instead opening their spaces for the public to enjoy.
Canada Place has become a must-see stop for cruise ships and visitors to British Columbia’s capital city and has won several awards for design, efficiency and environmental initiatives.
Five 90-foot white sails tower over the waterfront and illuminate with vibrant colours each night from dusk to dawn.
Walking trails, interactive experiences, exhibits, information centres and the famous Heritage Horns create a unique experience for locals and visitors alike.
The community in Vancouver has embraced the harbour’s potential for tourism and an array of events occur each year along the waterfront, including the famous Canada Day celebrations.
Inner Harbour prides itself on having so many attractions that visitors will be able to “come back day after day and still have plenty to see and explore”.
Tourists can take a cruise on the bay, visit the Maryland Science Center, see all kinds of sea creatures at the National Aquarium, take in the views from the “Top of the World” observation level in the World Trade Centre, explore historic heritage sites, and shop and dine to their hearts content.
The waterfront redevelopment started in the late 50s and became a model for urban renaissance for cities around the world as the transition from working harbour to public space reversed the city’s economic decline.
In the 1970s and 80s, Baltimore had secured a place as a worldwide tourist destination. Over 100 cities around the world cited Inner Harbour as an influence for their own urban planning and development and a citation by the American Institute of Architects stated the harbour was “one of the supreme achievements of large-scale urban design and development in U.S. history.”
Central London’s only marina has a rich history, having been one of the commercial docks that made up the Port of London between 1828 to 1968.
Today, the docks are a mixed-used development that pays homage to its history and uses its proximity to the Tower of London and other attractions to its advantage.
The area now features offices, public and private housing, a world-renowned hotel, shops and restaurants and is home to the London Yacht show amongst other high-profile events.
The Docks are not only visited by tourists but also nearby residents who can find a haven from the hustle and bustle of the City in the marina lifestyle.
“Experience the best of Darwin’s tropical lifestyle while enjoying resort-style luxuries, safe swimming, ocean views and delicious food – all at the Darwin Waterfront Precinct.”
The Darwin Waterfront is a relatively new destination for locals and tourists alike, with a substantial selection of hotels, restaurants and cafes, recreation lagoons and the Sky Bridge connecting the area to the heart of the city.
Through an extensive planning process, the relatively redundant industrial port has been transformed into a community friendly mixed-use precinct with leisure activities and amenities for all ages.
Fishing Boat Harbour
And of course, our very own Fishing Boat Harbour in Fremantle is a perfect example of a harbour embracing the public.
The 2017-2018 Marina Awards even bestowed Fishing Boat Harbour with the prestigious title of Best Public Boat Harbour.
This article was first published as "A Country of Harbours" on harbourconnect.com.au 11 Jan 2019 as part of the Harbour Connect project.