Go about two hundred years back in time and imagine the First Fleet – the eleven British ships crammed with convicts, arriving on Australia’s southeastern coast of the Tasman Sea with the intention of settling a penal colony. Now picture the present-day sparkling metropolis, leader in arts and architecture, encircled by natural parks and shining bays and populated by a multicultural and open-minded society. This revised fairy tale is nothing less than the Cinderella-style transformation of Sydney, Australia.
Urban & Natural Charms
Once used mainly for shipping, the Circular Quay today is a leisure area with walkways, shops and restaurants. It is locked between Sydney’s two most prominent landmarks: the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. From the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge you can catch some breathtaking views of the Sydney Harbour and count its green isles and white sailboats. Get immersed in Sydney’s parks at the Royal Botanic Gardens, the second oldest in the world, with rare roses and typical Australian flora, or the Domain where you can also enjoy a jazz concert. Art lovers shouldn’t miss the Australian Museum and the Art Gallery of New South Wales – both important starting points for discovering the Aboriginal art and culture.
To visit some authentic Aboriginal sites embark on an exciting trip around the Sydney Harbour. Ferries, cruise vessels and yachts offer various ways to explore the coastline and the six islands known as the Sydney Harbour National Park. You can camp on Cockatoo Island, have a cheese and wine tasting at Fort Denison Island, or reach the exclusive Manly beaches to try your new surfing board.
Another tourist favourite is The Rocks, once considered a slum area, now part of Sydney’s cultural and historic heart. Have a walk around its Victorian buildings, old pubs, and warehouses turned into shopping malls, and look for souvenirs, perfumed soaps and ceramics at The Rocks Market.
People & Cuisine
The past unhappy union between the indigenous people and the British criminals and sailors is now long replaced by a lively multiethnic society with immigrants from all around the world. You can have a round the globe trip in Sydney by simply experiencing the diverse menus: Turkish kebabs, Italian pizzas, French cafés, Greek taverns, Chinese teahouses and many more. Dining in Sydney can be a true adventure: with the starry sky above you, the dark blue Harbour next to you and the colourful dishes in front of you, all accompanied by a chilled bottle of Australian wine.
You will soon get infected by Sydneysiders’ captivating lifestyle: the picnics in the park, the Harbour boat trips, the Blue Mountain excursions, the local beer at the historic pubs, the ordinariness about seeing kangaroos and koalas, the sailboat competitions and surfing lessons on Bondi beach and the meditation walks at the Chinese Garden of Friendship. Inevitably you will be transformed too and, as a happy ending to your trip, you will be proud to call yourself a Sydneysider.
A guest post by Nazeli K. Kyuregyan.