Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia's harbourside city with the world's friendliest people has been voted several times as the best city in the world for visitors. Here we give you a glimpse of what is available, all you have to do is explore! With an average of 240 days of warm sunshine and blue sky each year, Sydney is Australia's favourite city with the world's most beautiful harbour. The harbour provides a playground for jetboating, sailing, swimming, harbour scenic flights, dining, fishing, climbing the Harbour Bridge and sightseeing at the Opera House or nature walks. It is also the perfect backdrop to many other city experiences. But there is more than just seeing Sydney. Sydney is the capital of New South Wales, a state of Australia. So, make time to experience it all - you can safely self drive, train or go by private tour to the majestic mountain ranges & World Heritage Rainforests of the Blue Mountains, endless white sandy beaches at Port Stephens, fresh seafood at Central Coast, delightful wine growing areas in the Hunter Wine Country, outback koala and animal farms, fruit picking in the orchards of Illawarra. You will be enthralled by the experiences available in Sydney and beyond.

Bursting with character, Sydney is a vibrant city catering to all your desires whether you seek exhilaration and exploration or 100% relaxation. Discover Sydney's unique blend of dining, shopping and recreation options in one of the world's most attractive city environments. The personality of Sydney's dining scene is as distinctive as the city itself, reflecting its multicultural diversity and willingness to embrace new things. Find a fresh approach to flavour combinations at numerous gourmet restaurants, many of which are on the harbour and enjoy outstanding views. While high-end dining experiences are plentiful cafe society thrives in Sydney's inner precincts and beaches. Paddington and Balmain have flourishing pub-dining scenes and quality food is also on offer at historic pubs in The Rocks.

Sydney's shopping offers everything your heart could desire. The City Centre is home to major retail centres offering a range of boutiques and specialty stores, and international designers including DKNY, Versace and Gucci. Find Australian designers such as Morrissey, Collette Dinnigan and Alannah Hill in Oxford Street, Paddington. Recreation is a specialty of Sydney's, a city that takes full advantage of its natural environs. Soak up Sydney life on the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk, just one of many on offer. The Rose Bay to Watson's Bay and The Spit to Manly walks hug the harbour offering spectacular views. Challenge yourself by climbing Sydney's Harbour Bridge or enjoy a thrilling jet-boat jaunt. Gain an insight into Sydney Harbour's history on a cruise, or board a yacht to explore the harbour's hidden coves. For further relaxation experience the holiday feel of Sydney's Northern Beaches stretching from Manly to Palm Beach or escape to outer Sydney to explore areas steeped in history and rich in natural beauty.

Scenic Highlights:

Sydney Harbour: The harbour is the defining characteristic of the city. Criss-crossed by ferries and carpeted with yachts on weekends, it is both the city playground and a major port. Its multiple sandstone headlands, dramatic cliffs, rocky islands and stunning bays and beaches make it one of the most beautiful stretches of water in the world, and the area offers a close-up of Aussie beach culture at its best. The best way to experience the harbour is to go sailing, but if you're lacking nautical skills there are plenty of ways to enjoy it. Try catching the Manly ferry, swimming at Nielsen Park, walking from Manly to Spit Bridge, having a drink at Watsons Bay, dining with a view at Milsons Point, Balmoral or Circular Quay.

Darling Harbour: Once a thriving industrial port, Darling Harbour is now a vast harbourside leisure park. Its various venues include the excellent Sydney Aquarium and Powerhouse Museum, the Australian National Maritime Museum, the touristy Harbourside shopping mall and Seaworld amusement park.

Bondi Beach: Bondi Beach is the grand dame of Sydney's beaches, with a magnificent sweep of sand and a never-ending series of majestic rollers. You can also see Aboriginal rock engravings a short walk north.

Circular Quay: Circular Quay is built around Sydney Cove and is considered by many to be the focal point of the city. The first European settlement in Australia grew around the Tank Stream, which now runs underground into the harbour here. For many years this was the shipping centre of Sydney, but it's now both a commuting hub and a recreational space, combining ferry quays, a railway station and the Overseas Passenger Terminal with harbour walkways, restaurants, buskers, parks, the Museum of Contemporary Art and, of course, the Sydney Opera House.

Blue Mountains: This 250,000-hectare mountain range is among the most spectacular of Australia's many natural wonders, and was World Heritage listed early in the millennium. The mountains get their hazy cobalt tint from the eucalyptus oil released by thousands of gum trees. The region's limestone caves, sandstone cliffs, waterfalls and swimming holes are just an hour's drive from Sydney - close enough for a daytrip, but also worth exploring over a couple of days.

Hunter Valley: This picturesque area just north of Sydney is a wine-lover's paradise, with more than a hundred wineries open to the public, gourmet restaurants galore and a diverse range of accommodation options, all within two hours' drive of Sydney. See how some of Australia's top-shelf wines are made on a tour of the Tyrells or McWilliams wineries (there's plenty of opportunity to sample the produce), or spend a day exploring the region by horse-drawn carriage. If you're really feeling extravagant, splurge on a hot-air balloon tour of the Hunter.

Activities:

- Sydney Opera House, Australia's most recognisable icon, perched dramatically over the sea, may look like sails in full flight but the architect's inspiration was the segments of a mandarin. It's a truly memorable place to see a performance, listen to a free outdoor concert or sit under a cafe umbrella and watch harbour life go by.
- The AMP Tower is the tallest structure in Sydney. it is a steel tower topped with a circular, gold anodised structure housing an observation deck and a revolving restaurant. It offers sweeping views of the entire city and Sydney Harbour.
- The Bridge Climb, is a 3½ hour adventure and an experience that will never be forgotten on one of the world's most modern wonders … The Sydney Harbour Bridge.
-Taronga Park Zoo has a vast array of exotic and local animals, reptiles and birds in a spectacular setting.
- The Sydney Aquarium is regarded as one of the world's best. More than 150 metres of clear 'tunnels' pass through the underwater exhibits so you see fish and sharks swimming around and above you.
- The Sydney Sculpture Walk is a major City of Sydney initiative, providing a uniquely artistic experience of the city to Sydneysiders and visitors alike.
- The Art Gallery of New South Wales is the leading museum of art in New South Wales and Sydney, and one of Australia's foremost cultural institutions.
- The Museum of Contemporary Art is Australia's only museum dedicated to exhibiting, interpreting and collecting contemporary art from across Australia and around the world.
- Enjoy swimming, surfboarding or windsurfing at Manly
- Royal National Park, 30km (19mi) south of city, is the oldest gazetted national park in the world.
- Jenolan Caves, tens of millions for years and the combined efforts of billions of coral polyps have created NSW's most impressive limestone rock formations. The Jenolan Caves are a labyrinth of age-old limestone tunnels and underground rivers, located around three hours' drive from Sydney. Visitors can join a tour or explore the nine public-access caves at their own leisure.