Sydney is considered by some to be one of the more beautiful cities in the world and hence its nickname the “Emerald City”. At least this much is certain – it is the pride of Australia and definitely the country’s most vibrant, thriving, and cosmopolitan cities. Economically, its nickname as the “Queen of the Pacific Rim” stems from its importance as a financial center for the Asia-Pacific Region. And since it played host to the 2000 Olympic Games, Sydney’s global profile has been on the rise. Visit Sydney today and you’ll find a booming center of business, art, fashion, design, and cuisine. You’ll also find lush green parks, large open spaces, gold beaches, inland waterways, views of the Blue Mountains, unique architectural styles, excellent restaurants, first-rate shopping, and fine museums and galleries.
Sydney is perhaps most famous for its iconic Opera House. It is one of the most recognized structures ever built. It stands with its shell-like curves on Sydney Cove overlooking the sparkling blue waters of Sydney Harbour. The Opera House, however, is not just all looks and no substance. It plays host to many touring ballet, theatrical, and musical productions as well as conferences, weddings, and parties.
Sydney is also famous for its signature Sydney Harbour Bridge with its famed arch-design. Colloquially referred to as the “Coathanger”, this bridge is the world’s largest steel arch and widest long-span bridge. If you’re into climbing, you can actually take a tour and climb the southern half of the bridge, starting your ascent from the eastern side of the arch and descending down the western side. The entire ordeal takes a long three hours and a half, but every minute of it is pure fun. After all, how many other landmarks let you touch, grab, hold, and imprint your dirty feet all over?
Darling Harbour is another notable Sydney attraction. Close by the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, this harbour is a very touristy area. At Darling, you’ll find a few museums like the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Powerhouse Museum as well as the Sydney Aquarium. And while shoppers can hit the seafood and flea markets of Paddy’s, gamblers can hit up the Star City Casino. There are also a few restaurants, cafes, and bars for those who just want to sit and relax.
Naturally, there are also dozens of beaches in Sydney if you want to tan, swim, surf, or just stroll. Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte, Manly, Cronulla, and Wattamulla are all popular beaches. Bondi is famed for its three kilometer coastal walk that actually takes you to other beaches like Bronte, Coogee, and Tamarama. Along the way, you can pick up some fish and chips, ice cream, or popsicles as you pass by some of the stalls. And if you like ferry rides, you can take one that will float you to Manly beach. The view of the harbour during the trip out is breathtaking.
While Sydney is definitely a worthwhile place to vacation, it is also not the cheapest. It ranks as the most expensive city in Australia and the 19th most expensive in the world. But if you compare it to the New Yorks and the Londons, Sydney is definitely a better value proposition. With that in mind, hopefully you’ll find it easier to stomach the cash outflow that will be needed to realize the Sydney experience.