City culture, sport, shopping and amazing food, plus easy access to amazing beaches... Welcome to Sydney... Read more
One of the most attractive and exciting cities in the world, Sydney is hugely cosmopolitan while maintaining an Aussie charm and friendliness.
There is most definitely something for everyone here. For sporty types, don't forget that in 2000, Sydney hosted the Olympic Games and today you can revel in the excitement once more with a trip around the Olympic Park. There is a range of activities available at the Park and the Visitor Centre is a good place to start if you want to find out what's on. Activities include golf, cycling and even tightrope walking.
You could then stroll to Sydney Harbour for one of the defining attractions of your visit. The harbour is a great place to admire the scenery and take a picnic by the moored boats. While you're there, take in the Harbour Bridge, which opened in 1932 and has special hinges that absorb the sun's rays and thus prevent the bridge from expanding in size.
Sydney Opera House is another of the classic sights you simply must see while in the city. Not only is the Opera House an astounding piece of modern architecture, but it's also the site of arts performances of many kinds. The city's State Theatre was opened in 1929 and its architecture incorporates styles ranging from Art Deco to Gothic. It is worth visiting for its exhibitions that showcase the works of famous Australian artists as much as it is for the performances that take place within.
For relaxation, go to Bondi Beach for fun in the sun and a chance to rub shoulders with some 40,000 other visitors who come on the beach's busiest days. You'll find Sydney Cove - or Warrane - a little more secluded. The Cove's history is closely entwined with that of the city as this was the site chosen to become Britain's first penal colony in 1788, which led to the birth of Sydney itself.
The seaside resort of Manly is close to Sydney Harbour and is noted for its Aboriginal sites, many beaches and secret coves, all of which are worth exploring. Sydney Aquarium is a great place for those with children. You will see seahorses and sharks and a whole exhibition devoted to the Great Barrier Reef.
Sydney - or Centrepoint - Tower was originally opened in the 1970s and contains a lot of shops. The building is a dominating presence on the Sydney skyline and is noted for its safety, since its construction makes it especially earthquake-proof and wind-resistant. Taronga Zoo gives travellers a chance to see animals and learn more about them from daily educational talks.
Not far from Sydney are the Blue Mountains, which include the Three Sisters. This unique geographical wonder is best viewed from a park near to the city. A trip to the Blue Mountains is a rewarding experience at any time of year and sights include the famed Eucalyptus trees of the region.
In terms of the districts of Sydney itself, Chinatown offers a break from the norm. Look out for the sculpture of Golden Water Mouth, made from a tree trunk, which is said to bring good luck to the area. If you want to go shopping, try the Rocks Markets, where you'll find charming jewellery stands, art shops and views of the nearby Harbour. Shopping is also top of the priority list for visitors to the Surry Hills area, where you'll find vintage designers and collectibles stores aplenty.
The suburb of Paddington is the place to go to see historic buildings or to enjoy a coffee, while in King's Cross you can visit nightclubs or vibrant bars. Wine lovers should make sure to visit the Hunter and the Hawkesbury Nepean regions, which are both nearby.