Sydney is known for...
1. The Harbour and Harbour Bridge:
Walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge – known affectionately by locals as The Coathanger due to its shape. The Bridge celebrates its 80th birthday this year (2012). Walking across or climbing the bridge affords great views of the Opera House, the Parramatta river and North Sydney. Circular Quay is the main hub for ferries, trains and buses and is one of the most action-packed places in town for outdoor restaurants, art galleries, markets and the heritage Rocks area. Sailing in or out of this iconic spot on a ferry across the Harbour and past the laughing mouth of the clown entrance to Luna Park or by the iconic Opera House as the sun glitters on its white sails, is always a breath-taking moment.
2. The Opera House:
Probably the most famous landmark and international symbol of Sydney, the Opera House is the jewel in the city’s crown. Modern, ahead of its time in terms of design and filled with fantastic theatre, music and song, the Opera House proudly sits on the water basking in the sunshine. Designed by Dutch designer Joern Utzon, construction began in 1958 and was completed in 1973; the acoustics took a long time to perfect. Have your photo taken on the steps up to the main foyer and then take tea at Bennelong, where a solo soprano will serenade your afternoon treats.
3. The beaches and surf:
Dial it down with a stroll along Sydney’s coastal walks, where native flowers plunge into sapphire seas. Lucky Sydneysiders often hit the beach after work and the city boasts stunning beaches and great surf at spots in the north, south and east. Experience Bondi beach at sunrise and watch the surfers catch an early morning wave. Walk the coastal path to Bronte after. Spy the beautiful people at skinny beach Tamarama, known to locals as Glamourama. Bask on the white sands and bathe in the shallows at Balmoral. Hop on the ferry to Manly the second ‘surf town’ to Bondi. Breathe in the salty air and cool down in the lap pools from Dee Why to Curl Curl and head further north to the beautiful northern beaches of Whale and Palm. Here the city speed is left behind and surfer relish the wide stretches of golden sands and big swell and cucumber cool vibe.
4. Good times:
Sydney is for hedonists. Mix beautiful people with 100s of restaurants serving incredible food, rooftop bars, cool clubs and pop up as well as beachside and long serving bars and there you have it: the fun capital of Australia. You don’t have to wait until the weekend to party here, in fact some of the best nights start midweek and Sunday afternoon is usually swinging. Festivals, pool and beach parties, pub quizzes and pool competitions, lawn bowling (yes this is trendy and another excuse for an outdoor get together with beers as well as bar be cues on the beach, (just bring your food and some coins to fire up the grill at beaches around town) are all to be discovered. The music scene is happening with local and international bands gigging around town. Cocktails just get more and more inventive and creative and beer is served up in schooners (glasses slightly smaller than a pint to keep the beer chilled for longer and midis – small glasses. Bar-wise, there are the super sophisticated, bars with secret entrances and pass codes, whiskey and cigar style prohibition lounges, sprawling outdoor bars and good old fashioned pubs.
Watch fireworks blast and light up Darling Harbour every Sunday night. Why? Because celebrating the weekend every weekend seems like a fine idea to Sydneysiders and why not? Sydney knows how to put on a show. Fireworks in this city are all about visual art, integrated with the sounds of musical artists and a fusion of art and music. Fireworks for pretty much any major celebration, Australia Day and Vivid in the light and fire festival all culminate to the main event at the “dress circle” (the natural theatre stage made by the harbour) on New Year’s Eve where the city lights up at 9pm and then again at midnight with the biggest fireworks display of the year.