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Sydney, Australia

Sydney

Great Destination:

5

Value for Money:

3

Total Stars:

8.0

Personality Types that Like it Best

Broad appeal, especially for Mid and Centric Venturers and Mid and Centric Authentics

Did You Know….?

  • Meant to cost $4.5 million, the city’s opera house cost $64 million and opened 10 years late.
  • Stadium Australia, built for the Olympics, covers 39.5 acres; its roof covers 7.5 acres.
  • It takes 10 years and 8,000 gallons of paint to cover the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  • Trees on the grounds of the Sydney Observatory were planted to be used for hangings.
  • More than a third of Australia’s manufactured goods are made in Sydney.

City life, Down Under

Sydney, Australia’s largest city with a population approaching 5 million, is the nation’s business and financial center. It is the political capital of New South Wales, too.

But Sydney has another face. It sits on one of the world’s most beautiful harbors and boasts a climate that makes it a playground for lovers of an outdoor lifestyle. In other words, it’s ideal for anyone who wishes to combine sightseeing with some active playtime.

It may have had an ignominious beginning — it was founded as a penal colony — but, for North Americans, Sydney is the best loved of all Australia’s cities. It is the country’s most cosmopolitan and, some would say, the most beautiful given its dramatic harbor. Sydney also got a boost by hosting the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Indeed, the city is gorgeous. It’s hard to miss its best-known emblems: the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. For those who can’t contemplate climbing the bridge, walking across it is a fine way to see it and the city, too. As to the world’s most recognizable opera house, it is striking, both for its unique design and its position jutting out into the harbor. The best part is the exterior, but it’s worthwhile to tour the interior or attend a performance — which would not necessarily be an opera.

A chunk of Sydney’s history is rooted in an area called the Rocks, located below the southern end of the city’s great bridge. Here, convicts and their keepers established the first settlement in 1788. Today, historic workers’ housing and other buildings are preserved; many are now cafes, restaurants, shops and galleries that appeal to modern sensibilities — and to tourists.

Sydney, the 21st century city, serves up a full range of cultural choices, a lively nightlife and a rich collection of ethnic and fine dining establishments — and, no surprise, it offers numerous water sports options, many available year-round because the climate is so mild. Visitors appreciate Sydney, as well, as a safe destination with friendly hosts. For some, it is especially appealing to head way south in winter, just in time for summer Down Under.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Of course, you know about the BridgeClimb, but consider climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge at night for the best bragging rights — and a nighttime view of the city.
  • Dive with the sharks in the controlled environment of Oceanworld Manly. Other companions in the water will include stingrays, sea turtles, moray eels and others. Then, go surfing on Manly’s beach.
  • Go out on the town at night. Or start in the afternoon by sampling the goods at these historic pubs in the Rocks area: the Australian, the Lord Nelson or the Mercantile. Make your way to a few wine bars, too. Or, head straight to the clubs.
  • Board the Thunder Jet, for the jetboat ride of your life, in Sydney Harbour. You’ll enjoy (or not) speeds of more than 50mph, 270-degree turns, wild fishtails and on-a-dime crash stops.
  • Book a tandem skydive over the area’s beaches.
  • Take the Skywalk, a stroll around the outside of Sydney Tower. You will be harnessed to a safety rail and led along purpose-built external platforms as your guide points out the city’s landmarks. If you dare, walk out onto the glass-bottomed platforms for a view of city crowds 853 feet below. It’s your choice.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Sail on the America’s Cup yacht Spirit, built for the San Diego Challenge in 1992. Join a regularly scheduled three-hour jaunt for sailing enthusiasts and nonsailors, as well. No sailing experience is required.  Or, kayak in the harbor; rent equipment in Manly.
  • Sign up for a BBQ seafood cooking class at the Sydney Fish Market at Blackwattle Bay. The market is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Stick around Sydney Fish Market for a meal, or skip across the bay to taste 12 kinds of fresh oysters at the Boathouse.
  • How (often) do you like your coffee? If a fan, consider the Rocks Aroma Coffee Festival. Plan ahead: It is a one-day event in July, and it includes workshops for the really serious.
  • Go to the theater. Yes, you can see many of the shows in New York, but if you don’t live in or near New York, that does not matter.
  • Have a nightcap at the Blu Horizon Bar in the Shangri-la Hotel in the Rocks. The 36th-floor bar offers a to-die-for view of Sydney’s lights, harbor and the opera house.
  • Shop at the Paddington Markets, held each Saturday, for a chance to pick up the latest in fashion, housewares and jewelry from the city’s rising designers.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Have high tea at the decadent Victoria Room (offered Saturdays and Sundays) in the Darlinghurst neighborhood.
  • Board your whale watching cruise at Darling Harbour.
  • Get inside the city’s iconic opera house. Even if you cannot see an opera or other production, take a tour of the building, which is now a World Heritage site.
  • Dine waterside in the historic Rocks district or on the wharf at Woolloomooloo Wharf.
  • Time your visit for the food festival most suited to your palette. Choices Include the annual Italian Gusto event, Spanish Quarter Festival or the more ecumenical Feastability food and wine fair, all in September.  That timing doesn’t work? Consider the Manly Food and Wine Festival, in June.
  • See a cricket game at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult Destination New South Wales at www.sydney.com