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Sydney is Australia’s largest city. It is one of the few global metropolises that can also lay claim to pristine beaches and vibrant national parks. Its harbour has been called the most beautiful harbour in the world.
Sydney is often ranked highly according to global quality of life surveys. In 2012, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Sydney 7th in the world for liveability.
Home to about 4.5 million people – that’s one in five Australians – Sydney is the capital of the south-eastern state of New South Wales. Most of its residents live in an urban sprawl over 4,000 square kilometres, which is the same size as London.
The world-famous Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge flank Sydney’s beautiful harbour and act as an entry port to the city’s central business district of high-rise office blocks, hotels and restaurants.
Just a short drive or ferry ride from here will take you to some of the world’s cleanest and prettiest beaches, such as Bondi Beach in the east or Manly Beach in the north. The Sydney metropolitan area is littered with some quality national parks, home to some of Australia’s unique flora and fauna. At Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park in Sydney’s north, you can see important historical Aboriginal sites as well as swamp wallabies, echidnas and pelicans.
Sydney has a pleasant temperate climate with an annual average temperature of 21 degrees Celsius.
When to go:
Sydney can be visited year-round, but the best weather is from September to April.
- Climb to the top of the Harbour Bridge. The organised Bridge Climb will guide you to the summit of the bridge, 134 metres above Sydney Harbour, where you’ll have spectacular views of Sydney.
- Wander around Circular Quay, the central focus of Sydney Harbour. Here, you can catch a ferry to Manly Beach on Sydney’s northern beaches or to Watson’s Bay at Sydney’s eastern tip for a dip in the ocean or some fish and chips. If that’s not your thing, catch a ferry over to Luna Park and get your thrills on the rollercoaster.
- Catch a ferry to Taronga Zoo to discover some of Australia’s wonderful native animals and many more from around the world. The seafront zoo on Sydney’s north shore also has wonderful views of the city.
- Take a tour around Sydney Opera House or catch one of its many daily shows. Its restaurant, Guillaume at Bennelong, is one of Sydney’s best restaurants with awe-inspiring views.
- Have a picnic in the Royal Botanic Gardens and afterwards walk across to the Art Gallery of NSW to see its fine collection of colonial and 19th century Australian art as well as some of the European masters.
- Take a day trip to the Blue Mountains for hiking or to the Hunter Valley for wine tasting.
- Eat in one of the Sydney’s many fine restaurants to discover the unique Australian cuisine, which combines influence from its European heritage and Southeast Asian neighbours.