Instantly recognised the world over, Sydney’s fine-looking harbour, a vast expanse of blue with the gleaming white sails of the Opera House glinting in the sunlight, is many visitors’ first view of Australia. However you see it, from the plane on the way in, from the water’s edge in Circular Quay, from the top of the Harbour Bridge or from the deck of the Manly Ferry, your first impression of this relaxed city is sure to be a great one.
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Few cities are as exciting as Sydney. Take a walk along Circular Quay and you can feel the electricity in the air. There, in front of you, the huge arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge overlooks the gleaming sails of the Sydney Opera House; you simply couldn’t be anywhere else in the world. As Australia’s oldest city, Sydney brims with history, but manages to stay modern and vibrant at the same time. Here, among the skyscrapers and trendy coffee shops, you’ll find Aboriginal art galleries and remnants of colonial Australia, while contemporary restaurants and high-end fashion boutiques intermingle with peaceful gardens and local craft markets. Blessed with endless days of sunshine, Sydneysiders truly embrace the outdoor lifestyle, spending their weekends hiking the nearby mountains, kayaking in the harbour or surfing the waves of Bondi Beach.
Did you know?
You can climb to the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge on its popular BridgeClimb tour, giving you an excellent view over the harbour from 134 metres up.
On average, Sydney Opera House puts on over 1,500 performances every year, including magic shows, ballet and cabaret, attracting well over 1.3 million people.
Indigenous people are thought to have first inhabited Sydney 30,000 years ago, while the first European visitor was Captain James Cook in 1770.
Architect Jørn Utzon was inspired to design The Sydney Opera House’s famous sails when peeling an orange. If placed together the segments would form a perfect sphere.
How to get around
Get out on the water
Sydney boasts a comprehensive public transport network, with its buses, trains, light rail and ferries connecting the city’s attractions, beaches and suburbs with ease. Having said that, walking along the harbour’s edge is surely the best way to take in the sights, and there is no better view of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge than from the Manly ferry. Hiring a car is necessary to explore further afield, although tours to the outlying attractions such as the Blue Mountains are easy enough to arrange.