The most populous city in Australia, the state capital of New South Wales, the site of the first British colony in established in 1788. Situated on the south-east coast the city is built around Port Jackson, which includes Sydney Harbour, leading to the city's nickname, "the Harbour City".
Exploring the city and harbour known as The Rocks is where the city of Sydney began. Narrow laneways, along cobblestone streets and up and down sandstone steps. It is the place where the first European settlers stepped ashore on 26 January 1788. Officially Port Jackson, Sydney Harbour is an integral part of life for many Sidneysiders, residents of Sydney.
Here you find ‘the coat hanger’, or Sydney Harbour Bridge as it is better known, which was opened in 1932 and the Sydney Opera House, a truly amazing architectural building design achievement and deserves being listed as a World Heritage Site in 2007. This is also the Circular Quay, a launch pad of vessels and ferries to other destinations in and around Sydney. You haven't done Sydney if you haven't been out on the harbour. Take a ferry to Neutral Bay from Circular Quay for a cheap 30 minute round trip ride of views of the harbour, or take a walk along the north shore to get a different perspective. Evening is the perfect time to watch the sun set and see the city come to life.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge can be best enjoyed taking a walk from shore to shore, take a ferry to Neutral Bay and get off at Kirribilli, walk straight then left at the road, then right towards the bridge at end of road, then left again on first road down towards a path to the bridge until you reach Luna Park, then walk north to Milsons Point and get access to the walkway to cross the bridge on foot. While crossing the bridge stop at the southern Pylon Lookout with views of Sydney Bridge at a fraction of the price of doing the Bridge Walk with the same views.
Bondi Beach is a short 25 minute (8 km) bus ride from the city center. As the morning drew into the afternoon more and more gathered to take in the suns rays or dip into the clear blue waters of the Pacific, a sure way to stay cool in an aussy heat. Australia's most famous beach has golden sand and turquoise water, the place to show and be seen.
My favourite, explore Watson Bay and the Gap Bluffs walking trail, hop along to Camp Cove beach and the daring nudist option of Lady Bay. Get here by ferry form Circular Quay or catch a bus to the end of the line (bus 380) and sit and enjoy some famous fish and chips by the shore.
Another day trip is one to Manly on the north shore beaches, seven miles by ferry form Circular Quay will take you along the coastline of Sydney Harbour. Once in Manly a small town vibe and surf culture becomes evident, a short walk along The Corso, a pedestrian street, leads you to the Manly Beach and a host of outdoor activities. Stay the whole day or return to Sydney in the evening to watch the sun set behind the Opera House and Sydney Bridge.
I was lucky to be in Sydney for one of the biggest events of the year, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The whole city comes to celebrate diversity, building up to an evening of lights, colours, costumes, music, floats and dancing on the streets as the parade marches along Oxford Street. Mardi Gras Parade has grown to become a major cultural event and its appeal stretches well beyond Sydney's gay community. Over half a million Sydneysiders turn out each year to cheer on the parade.
While in Sydney, it is a sin not to head to Katoomba and visit the listed and protected Blue Mountains and take the opportunity to bush walk and hike the many trails, for the outdoor enthusiast this really is a natural wonder that can't be missed and can be done in a day.
As the end of my journey draws to an end and after fourteen days in Sydney I can't say it was too long to stay here, in fact there is so much on offer and enjoy that I can say I did it at a leisurely pace. Sydney has gone above my expectations and really has lived up to its reputation of a vibrant modern city with a lifestyle for those who love the outdoors.
I can understand why so many fall in love with this place. It reminds me of my home city of Toronto, in many ways they are similar, both are multicultural and diverse with people flocking to live here in search of opportunities. The climate is certainly an advantage for Sydney, its wonderful views, the sea, beaches, national parks and trails, its a lifestyle to fall in love with and I've been won over. This is one of those destinations that seems to cater to most people and travelers. Families, singles, gay, lesbian, sports oriented, thrill seekers, backpackers, budget or big spenders, Sydney delivers!
Video of Sydney Australia 2009 © Joe Mendonca
Sydney hosted the 2000 Olympic Games, which successfully raised the city's global profile. The Olympics saw a major building and renovation program positioning it as one of the great world cities of the 21st century and retains many large public spaces and lush green parklands. The city is literally surrounded by national parks, which extend into the suburbs and to the shores of the harbour. Sydney has a compact city centre and can be broken down into a few distinct districts to explore.
The City - The busy centre of government and finance, but also home to many of Sydney's famous tourist and cultural attractions.
The Rocks - Just to the west of Circular Quay, The Rocks includes the first colonial village of Sydney and the iconic Harbour Bridge.
Darling Harbour - An extensive leisure and entertainment area.
Haymarket and Chinatown - On the southern side of the city centre, near Central Station, are markets, cafes, chinese culture and cuisine.
East Sydney Kings Cross, Darlinghurst, and Surry Hills. Nightlife, bars, and more at night, coffee shops and fashion by day.
Bondi Beach - Sydney's world famous beach, for swimming, surfing, eating, walking, or to see and be seen.
The most well known attractions include the Sydney Opera House, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. You can walk or cycle across the Harbour Bridge free of charge. See the bridge climb view for less time and money, climb to the Pylon Lookout on the south east pylon.
Other attractions include Royal Botanical Gardens, a large oasis of plant life and flying creatures including large fruit bats and stunning views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Luna Park is a large theme park situated near the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It's mouth-shaped entrance can be seen from many areas of Sydney as well as the large Ferris Wheel. Sydney Tower is the tallest structure and an expensive elevator ride takes you on top for some average views.
Sydney has several popular museums such as, the Australian Museum (natural history and anthropology), the Powerhouse Museum (science, technology and design), the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Australian National Maritime Museum.
If wildlife is your thing there are plenty of options too. Taronga Zoo on the North Shore where giraffes have the best view of Sydney. The Koala Park Sanctuary in the Outer West. Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Wildlife World, Australian Reptile Park about an hour north of Sydney. Whale Watching, there are boats from Darling Harbour or Circular Quay.
And of course , there are the beaches too.
Sport and outdoor activities
Sport in Sydney is an important part of the culture. The area is well endowed with open spaces and access to waterways, and has many natural areas even within the city centre. The metropolitan area contains several national parks, including the Royal National Park, the second oldest national park in the world and several parks in Sydney's far west which are part of the World Heritage listed Greater Blue Mountains Area.
Sydney is generally comfortable for travelers to visit any time of yea and enjoys over 300 sunny days each year with an average annual rainfall falling on an average 138 days a year.
Summer (December to February) is the best time to enjoy Sydney's beach side outdoor lifestyle.
Autumn (March to May) Good time for visiting attractions, going to the zoo, catching ferries around the harbor without the summer crowds. You may need a jumper for the evenings, especially for May.
Winter (June to August) is cool, not cold. Average July maximum temperatures are 17°C. Night-time temperatures can fall to below 10°C. If the beach isn't your scene, and you don't like the heat, winter may be your time to visit.
Spring (September to November). September is Sydney's driest month, and Spring days are great for exploring Sydney's attractions, bush walking, cycling, and the outdoors. Beaches are generally patrolled from the end of October, and Sydneysiders start flocking to the beaches in November.
Sydney hosts many different festivals and some of Australia's largest social and cultural events. Sydney's iconic Opera House has five theatres capable of hosting a range of performance styles; it is the home of Opera Australia?the third busiest opera company in the world. Sydney's most popular nightspots include Kings Cross, Oxford Street, Darling Harbour, Circular Quay and The Rocks which all contain various bars, nightclubs and restaurants. Star City Casino, is Sydney's only casino and is situated around Darling Harbour. Sydney is recognised worldwide for its vibrant gay community. Every year, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is celebrated at the end of February, drawing people from all over Australia and the world for the celebrations.
Sydney is the oldest European settlement in Australia, having been founded as a British penal colony on 26 January 1788, now celebrated as Australia Day, the national public holiday.
|Established||26 January 1788|
|Area||5,330.2 sq mi|