<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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Sydney (New South Wales)

Sydney is Australia’s largest city, but one which is sometimes overlooked by holidaymakers with a limited time-scale down under. It is home to world famous landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, but there is much, much more to this cosmopolitan harbour city than meets the eye. Below are examples of just some of what Sydney has to offer:

The Harbour

Sydney Harbour is one of the world’s most impressive natural harbours, and along with Middle Harbour and North Harbour forms Port Jackson in New South Wales. Ferries, sailboats, cruise-boats and catamarans travel to and from the harbour everyday in this busy and lively city harbour.

Sydney Harbour contains several islands, many of which can be explored on a cruise and are part of the Sydney Harbour National Park – a protected area that also includes the natural bushland surrounding the city. Fort Denison is a man-made island in the form of a Martello Tower within the harbour waters, and its history as a convict prison can be explored on a guided tour.

The Sydney Opera House is the city’s most famous landmark, and is home to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Opera Australia, Australia Ballet and the Sydney Dance Company. Its unique architectural design is renowned the world over, and contributes greatly to the breathtaking scenery of the harbour.

Sydney Harbour Bridge is the world’s largest steel arch bridge, with the top of the bridge standing 134 metres above the harbour. A stroll along the bridge provides fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding waters, but the more active tourist can get an even better view by climbing to the top of the bridge! This three and a half hour climb through catwalks and ladders is strenuous and tiring, but the hard work pays off when you reach the summit of the bridge and experience clear 360-degree views of one of the world’s most spectacular harbours.

Royal Botanical Gardens

Sydney’s Botanical Gardens are situated just a short walk from the Opera House, and cover a stretch of land between the harbour and the east business district. The gardens open at 6.30am daily and close at sunset, and are considered one of the world’s leading botanical centres. Attractions within the gardens include the Sydney Tropical Centre, the Herb Garden, the Sydney Fernery, thousands of varieties of plants and flowers and fantastic views of the harbour from within lush natural surroundings.

Beaches

Sydney is famous for its surfing beaches, and is home to 37 beaches all within 30 minutes of the city’s central business district. Some of the beaches have calmer, more placid waters not suitable for surfing such as Camp Cove and Redleaf. All of Sydney’s beaches are fully equipped for tourists with facilities such as beachside restaurants, cafes, bars, beach games and are supervised by lifeguards. Bondi Beach is Sydney’s most famous beach and is a family-orientated location renowned for its world-class surf. Manly Beaches are situated on a long ocean peninsula and are surrounded by walking trails and scenic views.

Dining and Cuisine

Sydney is home to various different cultures and ethnicities, which makes for a diverse range of restaurants and cafés within the city. From Indonesian chilli, South-Asian curries and Japanese sushi to McDonalds and Pizza Hut; Sydney has something to satisfy even the fussiest of appetites. Bush Tucker restaurants are a new trend in Sydney, with many diners eager to try traditional Aboriginal cuisine with its seasonal fruits, nuts, roots, meat and fish. Sydney is most famous for its seafood, particularly the Sydney Rock Oyster which is a delicacy available in the many seafood restaurants. Dinner cruises around the harbour are a great way to see the bright lights of the city whilst savouring delicious local cuisine.

Nightlife

Sydney is home to a vast number of bars, cafés, pubs and nightclubs. Its 24-hour licensing laws mean that you can always find somewhere for a drink anytime of day. ‘Home’ nightclub on Darling Harbour is the most famous late night venue, and is a Mecca for Australian clubbers. This venue is so popular that people queue for up to 2 hours to get in at weekends. Sydney’s Hard Rock Café is a popular location with its live bands, rock‘n’roll memorabilia and world renowned menu. Kings Cross and Darlinghurst areas are lively night time destinations, and for vibrant gay scene head to Taylor Square or Oxford Street. The historic area of the Rocks is home to Sydney’s oldest pubs; the Hero of Waterloo and the Lord Nelson hotel.

Shopping

Central Sydney is the largest shopping area in Australia and is the main attraction for many visitors to the city. Famous designers such as Hugo Boss and Pierre Cardin have stores here. Sydney is an internationally renowned duty-free port due to the low Australian dollar and high number of sales. Boutiques, shopping arcades, malls and the ethnic Chinatown shops attract shopoholics from all over the world. The largest department stores are David Jones and Grace Bros.

Mardi Gras

Sydney’s annual four week Mardi Gras festival is the world’s biggest display of gay and lesbian pride. The festivals 6,000 participants take part in shows, recitals, host parties and exhibitions and most importantly, walk amongst the Mardi Gras Parade. The organisers describe the parade as “the world’s most glamorous civil rights demonstration and Australia’s cheekiest night of the year.” This celebration of gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and queer culture takes place in various locations across Sydney, but the main festivities happen on Oxford Street; the centre of Sydney’s gay nightlife.

Sydney Observatory

The Sydney Observatory is part of the Powerhouse Museum, and dates back to the mid-19 th century. Situated on Observatory Hill and surrounded by fig trees, the Observatory is an astronomy museum aswell as a look-out point. The museum teaches guests about the solar system and constellations, and is open daily from 10am- 5pm, but the times for the nightly observation shows are negotiable. On clear nights, the Observatory shows enable visitors to get up-close views of the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter and distant galaxies.

The Rocks

The Rocks in Sydney is the traditional home of the Aboriginal Cadigal people and is now the city’s quaint, historical area. Situated between Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, the Rocks is a district of cobbled streets lined with ancient buildings. The Rocks offers great opportunities for shopping, fine cuisine and panoramic harbour views. Popular amongst tourists are The Rocks pub-tours amongst the district’s historic bars, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Sydney Tower and OzTrek

Sydney Tower is 250metres above street level and from its observation deck fantastic 360 degree views of sights such as Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, the beaches and bushland, and the distant Blue Mountains can be admired. Knowledgeable guides are on hand to answer questions about the city’s skyline. OzTrek is included in the price of your entry fee and is a virtual reality adventure through Australia. 3D holograms, the 180 degree cinema screen and the real-motion seating gives you the feeling of flying through and past all the Australian landscapes such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Outback which are featured.