Sunny, seductive Sydney is a high contender for the title of the
world's most ideal city. It is slick and smart, the streets are
clean, the neighbourhoods and busy pedestrian precincts pristine,
the parks sublime, the water in the huge harbour blue, and the
landmark buildings breath-taking. Sydney's population is
approaching five million, but it is easy to leave the frenetic
urban pace behind with just a simple ferry ride to the North Shore
for a bush walk, enjoy a stroll along the harbour beaches or take
any one of a number of daytrips to explore the 'real' Australia on
the city's doorstep.
Just like its characteristic white-sailed Opera House, Sydney
seems to cruise effortlessly through nights and days filled with
myriad entertainment opportunities, sophisticated shopping,
memorable museums, and strings of beautiful beaches. Visitors find
it exhausting to take it all in, even though the tourist precinct
where most of the interesting attractions are to be found is
concentrated in quite a small area around the downtown waterfront
and harbour area.
The fact that Sydney is a thriving seaport and industrial city
has been cleverly concealed behind attractive pleasure and leisure
grounds and residential suburbs, making full use of the scenic,
watery geographical location. The harbour area is dominated by the
span of one of the world's largest arched bridges, backed by
towering skyscrapers. It is all a far cry from the remote penal
colony established by the British back in 1788.
Another plus for visitors is that compared to most big cities
Sydney offers excellent, reasonably priced food, accommodation and
public transport. The city also has an excellent suburban rail
network, with its hub at Circular Quay in the city centre, and full
use is made of the waterways with ferries and passenger jet boats
plying to and from various points.