Sydney is Australia's oldest city, the economic powerhouse of the nation and the country's capital in everything butname. This amazing city buzzes with multicultural energy and offers everything anyone could ask for in a travel destination: a staggeringly beautiful harbour spanned by an equally striking bridge (known as 'The Coathanger'), the famous Opera House, a pleasant climate, heavenly beaches and surf, plenty of great restaurants, bars and nightlife, and interesting neighbourhoods. In short, Sydney is Australia's international darling.

It is ironic that a settlement that began life as a British penal colony has been transformed in just over 200 years into one of the world's most tolerant and diverse societies, with a mix of ethnic groups contributing to the city's cultural life. Chinese newspapers, Lebanese restaurants and Greek Orthodox churches are as much a part of the city as its English and Irish traditions. Evidence of the region's original inhabitants survives in the Aboriginal stencils to be found in coastal caves, and in the indigenous names of many streets and suburbs.

The harbour divides Sydney into north and south, with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Harbour Tunnel joining the two shores (the suburbs north of the bridge are known collectively as the North Shore). The city centre is roughly from Circular Quay to Central Station. To the west is Darling Harbour, while to the east lie Darlinghurst, Kings Cross and Paddington. Three kilometres further southeast, along the coast, are the ocean-beach suburbs of Bondi and Coogee.


Sydney is blessed with a balmy climate, rarely dropping below 10ºC at night, with average summer temperatures of around 25°C and over 300 sunny days a year. Summer temperatures can reach 40°C and high humidity can make it oppressive, but heavy downpours often break the heat between October and March. Winters are cool rather than cold. The weather in March-April and October-November is delightful, with clear, warm days and mild nights.


Despite Sydneysiders’ fixation with waterfront properties, the city’s corporate culture has always been balanced by the knowledge that the best things about life here – the beaches, the mountains, the surf and the much-loved harbour – are open to all, and are free. Along with a strong outdoor culture Sydneysiders enjoy an equally vibrant arts culture, with an impressive array of world-class galleries, a thriving theatre and dance scene and, of course, the Sydney Opera House – the heart of performance in Australia. While it's the opera that really shines here, you can also witness theatre, comedy, music, dance and ballet. While Sydney doesn't have as dynamic a music scene as Melbourne, you can still find live music most nights of the week.


There's some seriously stunning stuff to see in Sydney; just walking around all day being amazed by the beauty of the city's harbour, dramatic cliffs and stunning beaches would be entertaining enough. You'll never run out of things to see and do in this superb city, but here are a few ideas to get you started.

Photograph, walk or best of all climb Sydney Harbour Bridge, one of Australia's most imposing and iconic sights. If you're low on money, check out the spectacular view from the Pylon Lookout, or, if money's not such an issue, you must do the once-in-a-lifetime BridgeClimb.

Surf, swim, sunbathe or spectate at Bondi Beach (Campbell Pde), Sydney's most popular sweep of sand. It's also well worth taking the two-hour coastal walk from Bondi Golf Course to Coogee Beach, especially for the Aboriginal rock engravings. If you prefer less-populated beaches, try one of the many fabulous northern ones, such as Bilgola, Palm Beach or Whale Beach.

Take a scenic ferry ride to Watsons Bay and head to Doyles Palace Hotel for the time-honoured tradition of a beer in the beer garden, while enjoying the fabulous view of Sydney Harbour.

Discover the richness of Australian marine life at the magnificent Sydney Aquarium, with its three 'oceanariums' moored in the harbour and transparent underwater tunnels.

Go shopping! The hub of city shopping is Pitt St Mall, but it's much more relaxing to shop for fashion on popular innercity strips such as Oxford St, Paddington; for furnishings and antiques on Queen St, Woollahra; for CDs around Crown St, Surry Hills; and for souvenirs at Paddy's Markets in Chinatown.


Sydney loves a party, and any excuse will do. The city has plenty of festivals and special goings-on year-round. Following is a small sample; for more, visitor information centres will be able to advise you what's on when you're in town.

Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras – This world-famous, month-long festival, held from February to early March, includes a sports carnival, the Blessing of the Mardi Gras, theatre performances, a film festival and much more. It ends with an amazing parade (first Saturday in March) and the Mardi Gras Party.

City to Surf Run – On the second Sunday in August more than 50,000 runners pound the 14km from Park St in the city centre to Bondi Beach; some take it seriously, while others dress up in costumes and are just in it for fun.

Festival of the Winds – Held on the second Sunday in September at Bondi Beach, this kite-flying festival with a multicultural theme includes competitions for the best home-made kites and music and dance performances.

Sculpture By the Sea – This free outdoor sculpture exhibition utilises one of Sydney's greatest natural settings, the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk, to display stunning artworks from local and international artists.

Sydney Hobart Yacht Race – On 26 December, Sydney Harbour is a sight to behold as hundreds of boats crowd its waters to farewell the yachts competing in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

Source of information: Study in Australia