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Sydney's location, at the heart of a magnificent ocean bay, means that beautiful beaches and unparalleled scenery are easy to find. As the largest and most visited city in Australia, Sydney acts as the gateway to Australia and is also blessed with numerous world-class attractions.
From the classic Sydney Opera House, sun-soaked Bondi beach and wonderful museums, travellers visiting Australia have many, excellent reasons to spend quality time in Sydney. Be sure to also spend a day as a Sydneysider (resident of Sydney) as well, by frequenting one of the many hip, sidewalk cafes, partaking in the thriving restaurant scene or hiking in the nearby Blue Mountains. With such a diverse range of activities, it is no wonder this is one of the world’s most attractive and popular cities.
Located in the heart of Sydney, beautiful Darling Harbour offers the perfect mix of leisure and entertainment. Numerous restaurants, bars and shops as well as Sydney’s zoo, aquarium and maritime museum attract both travellers and locals. Darling Harbour, with its plentiful parks and gardens and fun seaside atmosphere, is best explored on foot.
The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts building whose design was selected out of a competition against hundreds of others. Construction took 14 years and required more than 100,000 workers, but most people will think it was worth the effort. Today, the opera building is one of the most famous buildings in the world, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Those looking for a tour of this iconic building should partake in the excellent Taste of the Opera House tour, where you will wine and dine your way around the Sydney Opera House’s restaurants and bars.
The legendary Sydney Harbour Bridge connects the north and south shores of the harbour, stretching from the business district to Milsons Point. The largest steel arch bridge in the world was opened in 1932 after eight years of construction. There are numerous ways to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge and enjoy its unforgettable views over Sydney. For walkers, the eastern footpath overlooking the Opera House is recommended. For those who love more extreme adventures, one can climb the bridge (safely, with a tour) to a height of 440 feet, offering spectacular panoramic views of the city.
Bondi is probably the most famous beach in the city (and perhaps the world) and packed with swimmers, surfers and sun worshipers. On the beach there are free electric barbecues for hungry beachgoers, so be sure to bring some steaks and enjoy the atmosphere! If you can bring yourself to leave the beach, you’ll be rewarded with nearby cosy restaurants, hip cafes and trendy designer shops. It is very easy to spend a weekend at this beach area without getting bored!
This harbourside quarter of Sydney is where European settlement in Australia began. If you are looking to learn more about the history and founding of Sydney, be sure to wander down the cobbled, historic laneways and visit some of the original sandstone houses. Also on offer are the popular, open-air Rocks Markets with their artisanal wares and some of the town’s most upscale restaurants, offering excellent harbour views. Intrepid explorers will also find some of Sydney’s oldest pubs dotted around the neighbourhood.
Explore Australia's oldest botanical garden, an oasis in downtown Sydney, and learn more about local plants and indigenous cultures in this 200-year old Australian institution. Formerly part of the governor's garden, today it is open daily to visitors. The gardens also feature numerous, popular events held throughout the year. This is an engaging attraction that should be on everyone’s to-do list while in Sydney. Admission and tours of the gardens are free.
More laid back and quieter than Bondi, Manly Beach, located 15 km north of Sydney, is popular for its unique blend of wide, ocean beaches and quiet, sandy coves. Accessed from Sydney Harbour by ferry, Manly beach offers many exciting activities, from surfing and snorkelling to shopping and strolling on the Corso boardwalk. A unique experience is the Cabbage Tree Bay Eco-Sculpture Walk, that showcases many sculptures depicting the local wildlife and history of the area, as you make your way along the coastline, to Shelly Beach.
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