Famed as the home of the world-famous Sydney Opera House, this beautiful city is a cultural delight with plenty to see and do.
Australia's oldest, most famous and some say finest city, Sydney is the central hub of the land down-under, a capital city in all but name.
Only rivalled in terms of its size, economic power and population by its smaller sister Melbourne, Sydney holds sway over much of the Australian tourist industry, claiming most of the thousands of backpackers, travellers, honeymooners and holidaymakers journeying to Oz.
From its convict beginnings in 1788, the city has come a long way in terms of its world reputation, with a high class of culture, sophisticated and tolerant inhabitants and some of the most stunning natural surroundings of any city in the world.
Traditions And Culture
Sydney is a truly diverse and multicultural city made up of many different cultures. Waves of immigration from countries such as Greece, Italy and scores of regions in nearby Asia Pacific have made the city a veritable mosaic of different ethnic backgrounds and traditions.
Sydney also boasts a vibrant artistic culture brimming with musical and theatrical activity. The Sydney Symphony is internationally renowned and frequently performs at the Sydney Opera to public and critical acclaim.
Meanwhile, Jazz and new music has found a home in places like The Basement. Sydney is also famous for its alternative rock scene and many Australian rock bands such as INXS, Midnight Oil and AC/DC started out in the city.
Recommended In And Around Sydney
One of the best ways to see Sydney Harbour is definitely from the water. There is a wide range of water-based activities tourists can enjoy including sailing, canoeing, and windsurfing. For those who aren't afraid of getting a little wet, Spit Bridge and Balmoral are the best places to hire equipment.
Any self-respecting Aussie will tell you that one of the best activities to do at Sydney's beaches is surfing. The best beach sites for surfing include Bondi and Tamarama on the south shore and Narrabeen, North Avalon and Palm Beach on the north.
Diving is also a popular pastime in Sydney. The best shore dives in the city are the Gordons Bay Underwater Nature Trail, north of Coogee; Shark Point, Clovelly and Ship Rock, Cronulla. Popular boat dive sites include Wedding Cake Island, off Coogee around the Sydney Heads.
The areas surrounding the city also contain some stunning scenery, with the Blue Mountains inland, the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase and Royal parks, and the Hawkesbury River which streaks north of Sydney just some of the wealth of opportunities to explore.
At night, one of the best sights in the southern hemisphere is that of the Sydney Opera House lit up – an experience second only to listening to an opera inside.
The locals love their theatre and film, and many combine outdoor cinemas and stylish clubs, with young surfers pouring off the beaches to live the hedonistic lifestyle inland in the glut of night-time venues the city has to offer.
Old Coathanger – most commonly known as Sydney Harbour Bridge – is also a must for any visitor; one of the city's and Australia's most iconic structures, it is there to be seen, touched and climbed.
For one of the best views of the city, climb the 200 stairs to the top of the south-east pylon, to witness Sydney from a breathtaking angle.
Although shopping in the city's main areas is pretty similar to many other cities across the globe, there are small gatherings of eclectic designer and fashion shops in some of the more central sectors.
Sydney is a modern, yet traditional and beautiful city, proudly holding the nation's head up high and continually displaying its ability to hold its own among the world's premier holiday destinations.
Weather In Sydney
Sydney has a temperate climate - summer temperatures average at around a comfortably warm 25 degrees C (77 degrees Fahrenheit). However, peak summer days can get as hot as 40 degrees C (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
Some of the best months to visit are the summer bookends of March to April and October to November, when the clear warm days lead into mild and breezy nights.
Torrential downpours can occur at any time between October and March, while winters are cool rather than cold.
Destination Checklist For Sydney
- Sydney has a population of around 4.4 million.
- The official language is English but over 30 different languages are spoken from Greek and Italian to Chinese and Hindi.
- The Australian dollar is the official currency in use.
- Sydney is ten hours ahead of GMT.
- The city's international dialling code is +61.