Published: January 2013 – Destinations Magazine
Crowned the nations favourite city by Australians and ranking third in the world for 2012 City Reputation Index, Sydney is a city that personifies diversity. This is a city of a multitude of experiences for shopping, culture and ethnic blend.
It is a city buzzing in cosmopolitan delights, picture-perfect beaches and harbour attractions that host the world recognised Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Sydney is increasingly seeing hatted restaurants push culinary expectations; luxury hotels gain world-wide acclaim and chic hidden bars popping-up all over the place.
The iconic Sydney Opera House is a top attraction for visitors and just a short walk from the other side of Circular Quay at Bennelong Point. With over 3000 performances a year from Opera to Jazz, plays to dance, orchestras to movies to name a few, the Sydney Opera House is enjoyed just as much on the inside than from its unique architecture on the outside. Views from the Sydney Opera House extend across the harbour to the northern beaches and look out towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Built in 1932 and affectionately known as ‘the coat hanger’, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is most recognised as an Australian icon around the world. Every year on New Years Eve, the Sydney Harbour Bridge lights up the night sky in spectacular displays of fireworks to bring in the New Year. Visitors have the opportunity to climb the bridge and gaze over the beauty of the harbour city.
Sydney Harbour itself radiates beauty from fantastic views of the city and surrounds. To see it in all its glory, you can take a cruise around the harbour to see the grand vistas of Sydney, its many attractions and numerous islands. This will allow perfect vantage points to see the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Cruises operate throughout the day or for a special evening, take to the water for a dinner cruise.
A short ferry ride from Circular Quay is the picturesque Darling Harbour, home to a number of attractions to keep travellers from all walks of life entertained. This area of Sydney is a hub of waterside restaurants, bars and clubs that in the warm summer nights are a popular spot to enjoy a cool evening by the water.
The European history of early colonial explorers is never more evident in Sydney than in the historic Rocks area. Oozing character and heritage, the Rocks area sits on the shoreline of Sydney Harbour and offers everything from boutique shops to fine art galleries. Many of Sydney’s well known restaurants are situated here and a night of dining can normally include spectacular street entertainment. Even a walk around the historical buildings and museums with displays and artefacts from a much earlier Sydney will transport you back in time to when the city was first colonized.
Just a short trip east from the city centre is one of Australia’s most famous beaches, Bondi Beach. Believed to be an Aboriginal word meaning ‘the sound of breaking waves’, Bondi Beach is approximately one kilometre long and the widest beach in the Sydney region. The warm clear water, golden sands and beach lifestyle attracts visitors from near and wide to this seaside playground. The Bondi Baths at the southern end of the beach are over 100 years old, while at the northern end of the beach there is the children’s wading pool.
Meanwhile, a scenic ferry ride from Circular Quay gets you to Manly Beach, another of Sydney’s famous beaches. The esplanade is littered with local shops, cafes and seaside delights and it is the perfect place to enjoy an ice-cream on the beach. You can escape for just a few hours to these northern shores, or spend the night at one of the many hotels along the esplanade and make a weekend of it.
With all these places to visit and things to do in Sydney, you would find it hard to believe the city turns it on even more, with various events year round. Not only does Sydney attract people from all over to attend the many sporting events and cultural shows, but the city is a favourite host to international stars, music festivals and concerts.
From iconic landmarks and sensational culinary experiences to the spectacular display of New Year’s Eve on Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Festival that sees an explosion of exceptional theatre, dance, music, visual arts, film and more take over Sydney’s venues and streets, Sydney is a city that has it all.
By Kate Webster