is a haven for all types of people. Whether you are a nature lover, an adventurer, a photographer or simply a traveler, the city is sure to have something for you. Built around a coastal basin bordered by the Pacific Ocean, the Harbour City has some of the world’s best beaches. From diverse wildlife to a thriving shopping scene, few places can match the New South Wales capital for sheer diversity.
Admiral Arthur Phillip first landed in Australia in 1788, naming his first settlement Sydney Cove (instead of Albion, as was planned) after the British Home Secretary who issued his charter. Before Phillip, the area was inhabited by the Cadigal, an aboriginal people that lived the area up to 30,000 years prior.
Despite resistance from the aboriginal residents, developments and urbanization went into full gear. By 1822, the settlement had become a full-fledged town with banks and a constabulary. The local council was incorporated two decades later, making Sydney the first Australian city.
For Sydney, the start of the gold rush in the 1850’s marked the beginning of rapid development, as well as a rivalry with nearby Victoria. Although it was badly hit by the Great Depression, it had grown into the nation’s financial capital by the 1980’s.
Sydney attracts tourists from all interests, especially with the iconic Sydney Opera House along Sydney Harbour. The free-entrance opera house is one of the most well known landmarks in the world, and no Australian tour is complete without it. For more kid-friendly entertainment, the world’s largest IMAX screen can be found at Darling Harbour, while the Sydney Observatory offers a similar visual feast.
Nature lovers will feel right at home in Sydney. Taronga Zoo is a popular attraction for its diverse wildlife; over 2,600 animals call it home. Go back in time at Wollemi National Park with the living fossil of the Wollemi pine, or watch the glow worms there perform their display. The Blue Mountains – yes, they really look blue – are a local favorite because of all the walking trails and the camping grounds there.
Jetsetting shopaholics will love Sydney for its rich and diverse shopping options. Although local shopping malls like the Sydney Central Plaza and QVB carry popular brands like Salvatore Ferragamo and Calvin Klein, the local fashion scene is a gem waiting to be discovered. Many local designers like Peter Morrissey and Nelson Leong have boutiques in Sydney offering a distinctly Australian take on fashion.
Art is a big thing in Sydney. Every January, the city hosts the Sydney Festival, a huge celebration with over 50 events ranging from modern music to traditional dance. It is also in January that the Big Day Out music festival comes to Sydney annually with dozens of bands and some of the biggest names in rock music.
With all those places to visit, it is a good thing that the city has an extensive public transport system. Buses, however, will be a better idea as most of the train lines run from the main CBD to the surrounding areas. But with so many distractions in Sydney, public transport is usually the least of any traveler’s worries.