Top 10 Reasons To Visit Sydney
Take an exciting trip to the land down under, where hot beaches, amazing art and beautiful attractions are the norm. Here are 10 reasons you must visit Sydney, Austrailia.
1. Bondi Beach
Bondi may just be the most famous stretch of sand in the world. This glorious 1-km long sweep of golden sand, with rugged Ben Buckler at its northern end and the Bondi Icebergs to the south, is Sydney's favourite playground, packed with swimmers, surfers and people-watchers. Just before the beach is the lively Campbell Parade, beyond which is a diverse suburb that embraces surf culture, artists, actors, media tycoons and the vibrant Jewish, Kiwi, Brazilian and Pacific Islander communities. There is some serious money and glamour in Bondi, but it's never snobbish and always great fun.
2. Sydney Opera House
The Opera House's magnificent harbourside location, stunning architecture and excellent programme of events make it Sydney's number one destination. The modern masterpiece reflects the genius of its 1966 architect, Jorn Ultzon. In 1999, Ultzon agreed to prepare a guide to design principles for future changes to the building. This was welcome news for all who marvel at his masterpiece and for the four million visitors to the site each year.
3. Sydney Harbour
Arguably the most beautiful harbour in the world, it took the Parramatta and Lane Cover Rivers thousands of years to carve it from the sandstone. Well protected from off-shore winds, the harbour is also remarkably deep in parts. From its working docklands to its pristine and secluded beaches, this harbour is a natural asset that most cities can only dream of. Over the last 200 years the harbour has seen vast real estate developments, now comprising a lively array of apartment buildings and large residences, each vying for vantage points of the gorgeous harbour views and bustling maritime life.
4. Taronga Zoo
The zoo occupies a spectacular setting amide 28 ha (75 acres) of landscaped bushland overlooking the harbour. Just above the wharf is the Sky Safari, which carries visitors up the hill, over the enclosures and terraced slopes to the lovely Edwardian Entrance Pavilion and Information Centre. The centre provides tour information and brochures describing the zoo's 380 resident species and 2,200 individual animals. Many enclosures recreate natural habitats such as the Australian Walkabout, which enables visitors to actually experience the animals' original environments. Finally, magical views complement the enjoyable ferry ride returning to Circular Quay.
5. Royal Botanic Gardens & The Domain
Located around Farm Cover on the shore of Sydney Harbour is the spectacular Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain. Established in 1816, the oasis in the heart of the city occupies the land on which the first crops were planted. Australia's oldest scientific institution is home to an impressive collection of native and exotic plants and trees. The grounds also house an art gallery and music school.
6. Art Gallery of New South Wales
Conceived in the 1870s and opened to the public in 1909, AGNSW contains some of the finest artworks in Australia. Situated on a grand drive in The Domain, it has always been a wonderful place to escape the heat and bustle of the city. More than a million visitors a year enjoy its permanent collection of Australian, Asian, Aboriginal, contemporary and European art. The Yiribana Islander Gallery is of particular interest, presenting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from different communities and backgrounds.
(Photo courtesy of CAHairy Bear/Flickr)
7. Sydney Harbour Bridge
Nothing you've seen can prepare you for the size and surprising beauty of the world's largest steels arch bridge, opened in 1932. Its balanced composition and the graceful sweep of its southern approach have captivated artists for years. Francis Greenway proposed a bridge in 1815, but the logistics vexed engineers until 1911, when John Bradfield suggested a single-span bridge. By then North Shore's rapid growth demanded a solution, the only alternative being a long road trip through the western suburbs. Most visitors can easily understand why Sydneysiders love their old "coathanger".
8. Darling Harbour and Chinatown
Cockle Bay was once a working harbour district where some of Sydney's poorest lived in hovels surrounded by shipyards, cargo wharves and quarries. In anticipation of the 1988 Bicentenary, a huge redevelopment project was launched to reclaim this 54-ha (133-acre) site, and the area was revitalized through the wonderful Aquarium, the Maritime and Powerhouse Museums, and the Cockle Bay and King St Wharf developments. Combined with a visit to Chinatown, Darling Harbour makes for a lively and entertaining excursion.
9. Powerhouse Museum
One of Sydney's most distinguished and popular cultural institutions, the Powerhouse Museum has an extraordinary array of treasures across decorative arts and design, science, technology, space, transport and social history. A superb series of temporary exhibitions complements the range of inspiring permanent galleries. Kids can lose themselves in the interactive play spaces, Zoe's House and the Magic Garden. It's also worth setting aside time to explore the shop for unusual and exclusive gifts.
10. The Rocks and Circular Quay
Near Circular Quay, The Rocks is a sanitized precinct of narrow laneways, galleries, boutiques and restaurants. West of the Argyle Cut, the road cuts through solid rock in the 1860s that links east with west, the area is mainly residential. The Rocks sprang up beside the Tank Steam following the First Fleet's arrival on 26 January 1788. Within days, Governor Phillip's prefabricated canvas and timber residence was erected and the convicts housed in tents beneath the sandstone outcrops that gave The Rock its name. Nowadays the open sewers, drunken sailors, convicts, brothels and plague-ridden rats are long gone, and the area is ideal for a winding stroll and a cold ale at a historic hotel; try the Hero of Waterloo or the Lord Nelson.
(Photo courtesy of Dean Ayres/Flickr)