The city of Sydney on the east coast of Australia is as idyllic is it appears from its instantly recognisable cityscape. It boasts a rich and intriguing history, famous beaches and iconic landmarks, with a diverse and friendly population, all spread around an elaborate shoreline of Port Jackson’s yacht-filled inlets, bays and rivers. It is the capital of New South Wales and the largest city in Australia.
The Harbour City can trace its roots back to 1788, though Aboriginal occupation dates back at least 30,000 years, and today Sydney is dotted with dignified Victorian architecture that sits alongside gleaming modern designs, none more emblematic than Sydney Opera House. For the best views of it all, head to the top of Sydney Tower or scale the steel spans of the Harbour Bridge.
Pubs, markets, modern restaurants, theatres and galleries old and new add an exciting, sophisticated cultural air, while the fine weather and surrounding natural wonders of New South Wales make it a very outdoorsy place, and a great base from which to explore nearby beaches, mountains and national parks.
When to go
Sydney is great at any time of year, even during the winter months between June and August when things cool down a touch. Summer, from December and February, is for sun seekers and beach lovers. There are few better places in which to celebrate New Year's Eve, Sydney being one of the first major cities to do so and with a spectacular fireworks display.