At the heart of Sydney - Australia's oldest, largest and most diverse city - is the outrageously good-looking Sydney Harbour. Like a psychedelic supermodel, the city curves and sways through this glamorous maze of sandstone headlands, lazy bays and legendary surf beaches. The Sydney experience is essentially physical - dunk yourself in the Bondi surf, sail under the Harbour Bridge on a yacht, jog along the Coogee cliff tops or rampage through Centennial Park on horseback. Everybody seems to be outside - the beaches are swarming, street cafés buzz and the harbour blooms with sails.
Jealous as hell, the rest of Australia stereotypes Sydney as more body-beautiful than bookish, more carpe diem than museum - a narcissistic 'Sin City' fixated on sunglasses, salons and soy lattes. Sure, there's a lot of blonde dye in Bondi, but the genetic legacy of the British and Irish convicts who built Sydney is more evident in gutsy self-belief than anything mirror-worthy.
Sydney is no less complex socially than it is on the map. An edgy multiculturalism ignites the food scene and fuels the nocturnal life - you'll lose yourself in the restaurants, bars and clubs just as easily as on the streets. Aboriginal heritage makes an impact through art; you'll see many urban galleries celebrating indigenous culture.
Whether it's the launching pad or the final fling of your New South Wales adventure, your Sydney days will be active and engaging, your nights indulgent and intense. The rest of Australia is in denial - Sydney is as good as it gets.
Ready to go?
These tours & activities make it easy:
- Explore Australia's east coast on a 7-day journey from Sydney to Brisbane
- Experience the bush with a 4-day tour from Sydney
- Enjoy the views on a luxury Sydney harbour cruise
Last updated: Feb 1, 2013
Tips & articles
15 February 2013
This is an excerpt from Lonely Planet’s A Year of Festivals....
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