Sydney can’t help but dominate New South Wales (Nsw), if only because most of the state’s population lives in the capital. However, beyond the metropolis, the state — six times the size of England — is as varied as dairyland and desert or vine-yards and craggy mountains.
Sydney Ever since 1788. when the first convoy of convicts arrived to build a new nation, Sydney’s harbour has stolen the show. It is so stunning that people alongside are inspired to achieve-ment and joie de vivre. Australia’s oldest, liveliest and biggest city (total population just over 4 million) has good reason for self-congratula-lion. Its 2000 Olympics were acclaimed as the ‘best Games ever’ by International Olympic Committee president Juan
The Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Antonio Samaranch. The Games gave Sydney yet another excuse to party — something that the city does frequently and fervently, as anyone who has witnessed the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade will affirm. Mardi Gras brings over 500,000 people — by no means all of them gay — onto the streets. It pumps about AS 100 mil-lion into Sydney’s economy. If the world had a lifestyle capital, Sydney would be a strong con-tender — something that is richly ironic, considering that the city started out as a British penal colony. Sydney is sun-drenched, brawny, energetic, fun-loving and outdoor-oriented. It ranks highly in world lists of favourite tourist destinations: its residents know this and they revel in it. After hours — and Sydneysiders do live for the after hours —Sydney offers every imaginable cosmopolitan delight. It’s a sunny coincidence that beaches famous for surfing and scenery arc only a few minutes away. Most of the world’s great cities have a famous landmark that serves as an instantly recognisable symbol. Sydney has two: the perfect arch of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the billowing roofs of the Sydney Opera House. That’s what happens when engineers and architects embellish a harbour coveted by artists as well as admirals.
For a quick appreciation of the intricacies of Port Jack- 4 son (the official name for Sydney Harbour), gaze out from the top of Sydney Tower at Centrepoint, Sydney’s tallest building. See the clear blue tentacles of water stretching from the South Pacific into the heart of the city. Schools of sailing boats vaunt the harbour’s perfection in the reflection of the skyscrapers, the classic Sydney Harbour Bridge and the exhilarating opera house. It’s a pity that Captain Cook never noticed this glorious setting as he sailed right past on his way home from Botany Bay. Most sightseeing tours — by land or sea — leave from Circular Quay (short for Semi-Circular Quay, as it was more accurately named in olden times). Although cruise ships and water taxis alike dock here, most of the action involves commuter forties and fast letcar catamarans. The quayside’s quota of human interest features hasty travellers, leisurely sightseers, street musicians, artists and hawkers. Whether you see Australia’s busiest harbour from the deck of a luxury liner, a sightseeing boat, or a humble ferry, don’t miss this invigorating angle on the city’s skyline.