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Departure via SQ 231 (B777-213)
Departure via SQ 232 (B777-313)
Sydney in brief : Australia's premier city is the oldest settlement in
Australia, the economic powerhouse of the nation and the country's capital
in everything but name. Built on the shores of the stunning Port Jackson,
you would have to die and go to heaven before you see a more spectacular
setting for a city. It's a vital, self-regarding metropolis, exuding both
a devil-may-care urbanity and a slavish obsession with global fads.
The Sydney area was the ancestral home of the Cadigal band (also known
as the Eora people), whose territory extended from the south side of Port
Jackson from South Head to Petersham. There are some 2000 Aboriginal rock
engraving sites in the Sydney area, and many of Sydney's suburbs have
Aboriginal names. The city of Sydney began life as a penal colony in 1788,
and for the next 60 years received the unwanted, persecuted and criminal
elements of British society. Despite its brutal beginnings, the city's
mixture of pragmatic egalitarianism and plain indifference has transformed
it into a thriving multicultural society. Sydney now attracts the majority
of Australia's immigrants and the city's predominantly Anglo-Irish heritage
has been revitalized by large influxes of immigrants, including Italians,
Lebanese, Turks, Greeks, Chinese and Vietnamese.
The centre of Sydney is on the south shore of the harbour, about 7km (4mi)
inland from the harbour heads. Skyscrapers in the Central Business District
(CBD) vie for dominance and harbour views, but its relentlessness is softened
by shady Hyde Park and The Domain parkland to the east, Darling Harbour
to the west and the main harbour to the north. The Sydney Harbour Bridge
and the harbour tunnel link the city center with the satellite CBD of
North Sydney and the suburbs of the North Shore. The city's airport, Kingsford
Smith (otherwise known as Mascot), is about 9km (6mi) south of the city
centre. Central station, Sydney's main train station, is in the south
of the city centre, and the main bus terminal is just outside it.
The city has a population of over 4 million and is growing fast. The inner
city areas of Woolloomooloo, East Sydney, Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, Paddington,
Newtown, Glebe and Balmain are an interesting mix of bohemian, gentrified,
gay and traditional working-class suburbs. There are three distinct socio-geographic
areas outside the inner suburbs: the wealthy eastern suburbs stretching
from Kings Cross to South Head; the middle class family-oriented North
Shore; and the less wealthy and much disparaged western suburbs, stretching
inland for over 50km (30mi) to the foothills of the Blue Mountains.
The harbour is the focal point of the city, and its beaches, coves, bays
and waterside parks offer welcome release from the rigors of urban life.
Criss-crossed by ferries and carpeted by yachts on weekends, it is both
the city playground and a major port. The string of ocean beaches on the
north and south shores offer dramatic cliff scenery, great waves and a
close-up of Aussie beach culture at its best. Kings Cross is the city's
budget accommodation centre and has a well developed travellers grapevine.
The less stressful alternatives are Glebe, Bondi Beach and Manly. The
international hotels are concentrated in the city and the Rocks.
There are heaps of good restaurants in Darlinghurst, Kings Cross, Paddington
and Glebe, and a few around Circular Quay. For cafes, try Oxford and Victoria
Sts in Darlinghurst, Stanley St in East Sydney, King St in Newtown or
Norton St in Leichhardt. Sydney's theatres are scattered around the edge
of the CBD, the Opera House is on the edge of Circular Quay, the mainstream
cinema complexes are on the ugly neon strip of George St. The best nightlife
is centered on Oxford St and in Kings Cross. Louts in the city centre
on Friday and Saturday night can make it a less than enjoyable experience.
The Rocks can be fun, but the area is overtly aimed at tourists. The city
has a large and vocal gay community centered on Oxford St. Been there
for two nights.. interesting place indeed.
List of Visited Places
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