Of the many cities I have lived in, Sydney, Australia is my favorite. It is the cleanest, most friendly city I have resided in. Syndey is located in New South Wales, and is the largest city in Australia with a population of around 5 million and increasing. It is also the only place I've been in where it is summer during Christmas.

Anyways, I'll just provide a few pointers on what's interesting there (yes, even after all that time I still remember everything, I love that city):

Fellow Sydneysiders: Add whatever you felt I missed out.

Syndney Opera House
This is obvious. It must be seen to be believed. The most graceful building I have seen. The inside is pretty good too. Has plenty of good shows.

The Rocks and Circular Quay
The Rocks was Sydney's first European settlement. It offers cafes and excellent shops, as well as good food, and the Sunday market. Circular Quay is Sydney's main harbor, and is a very nice place to spend an afternoon. Lots of performers, shops, food, etc.

Central Business District
Shopping district. Very glitzy. I liked the restored historical buildings.

Kings' Cross
In a word, nightlife. Location of the annual Mardi Gras.

Ed note: The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is actually held a few clicks south of King’s Cross, running from Hyde Park, up to Oxford St Darlinghurst. However, the inaugural (and violent) event was indeed held in King’s Cross.

Bondi Beach
Sydney's most famous beach. Excellent surf. Good cafes. Also provides a very good workout for the eyes, if you know what I mean.... ;)

Randwick and Coogee
THIS IS WHERE I LIVE!!!! Actually I live in a suburb called Maroubra, very nice neighborhood. Randwick is the site of the horseraces. Coogee is a beach and shopping district.

Manly
Very rich area. More beaches. More food. Enuf' said. You see why I like Sydney?

Homebush Bay
SIte of the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Around 20 km west of downtown. Has been renovated, it is now a very picturesque area.

Darling Harbor
Darling Harbour has lots of shops and food, but it also the venue for all kinds of entertainment with street theatre performers and groups of musicians busking around Cockle Bay. Darling Harbour`s attractions include museums, amusement parks, the Panasonic IMAX Theatre and Sega World. I love games.

Flea Market (Paddy's Market)
Go there. Chances are you will find many many great deals. Also next to the a lot of museums downtown. Good stuff.

Sydney is my centre. I was born and raised here and am quite attached to this city with its many contradictions. Dman summed it up pretty well in Sydney: my favorite city but I'd like to amend and add a local's perspective.


Most people will think of the iconic Sydney Opera House or Sydney Harbour Bridge (aka Coathanger) or just Sydney Harbour when they think of Sydney.

The Harbour itself has been described as one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world, although it is by no means the largest of the lot. Although the Harbour was the site of Sydney's original colony, it was not the original landing site of the First Fleet in 1788. Instead it was Botany Bay, a large calm bay fed by Georges and Cooks Rivers, approximately 7km South of the Harbour and the CBD. Botany Bay was first chosen as the landing site by Captain Arthur Phillip because it was near Captain James Cook's original landing site at Kurnell (1770), but it was rejected becuase there was no fresh water nearby. Phillip decided to move further up the coast and found Sydney Harbour, aka Port Jackson and Sydney Cove, freshly watered by the Tank Stream (now all but disappeared under concrete and steel).

The First Fleet and its cargo of convicts (mostly petty criminals) settled at Sydney Cove and became the penal settlement known as Sydney, with Cpt. Phillip as its governor. In doing so they displaced the Koori and Eora, local tribes.

Until very recently a replica of this early colony could be found at Old Sydney Town, 250km North of Sydney on the Pacific Highway (Route #1), but it was closed for lack of interest in 2003. Sorry about that.

Sydney, amongst its many charms, is now probably most famous for its hosting of the year 2000 Olympic Games. For months prior to the commencement of the circus, the city was plastered with pro-Olympic propaganda, while the residents were held to their long-suffereing silence by the forces of the mass media.

An underground resistance, in a typically laconic Sydney-style arose, and bumper stickers started to appear everywhere:

Keep taking your medication. Our Olympic visitors must suspect nothing.

Other places I highly recommend in Sydney:

These are all beautiful places to visit, especially if one appreciates nature. There is also one place I can't believe DMan missed: that's the Royal Botanic Gardens area. There you can find the domain, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the beautiful Mrs Macquarie's Chair, where you can dangle your feet in the harbour, with a stunning view of the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, North Sydney and the CBD.

For people who are young and hip, Newtown and Glebe are must-go places. This is where all the bright young things hang out, but they're also cool places to visit. Newtown is full mostly of University students and can be compared with, say, the Village in New York.

Its amusing that the main shopping street in downtown Sydney is called "Market Street", just like in San Francisco. Both streets are similar, but the one in SF is at least twice as wide and features some very aesthetic trams. In return Sydney has the Sydney tower, located on Market Street, which offers folks an awesome 360° birds-eye view of the city and the usual UFO-type restaurants.

For the Las Vegas enthusiasts, there is the StarCity casino, located next to Darling Harbour. They have $2 roulette tables and a nice 'all-you-can-eat' buffet restaurant.

Sydney has many small suburban beach towns. While many are found in any tourist guide (e.g. Bondi Beach, Manly), there are also several less-known places to explore (e.g. Bronte, Marouba and to an extent Coogee). The best thing to do is to just drive along the coast to discover new places.

Over 60% of Sydney workers live in the western suburbs, and a good proportion of rest live further of Sydney (e.g. Wollongong). No surprise then that the trains are always packed in the morning.

Location location location.

Sydney, like other major world cities, and unlike the mythos associated with Australia's homegenous, egalitarian and rustic character, is in fact a highly fractured, divided place. Class, ethnicity, political orientation and age are perhaps as clearly deliniated in the spatial geography of Sydney they might as well rebuild the Berlin Wall there. Remember that Sydney started out as the most unegalitarian of institutions - a prison colony - so it is no wonder that the divisions stuck.

Northern Beaches At the top, hugging the coast. Too distant to be a viable part of the commuter belt. Famous for surfers, and defensive surf Nazies who hate Westies invading their beaches.

North Shore North of the harbour attracts the most affluent Sydneysiders, especially those suburbs to the south with views of Sydney Harbour. The further north or inland one goes, the BMW ownership quotient decreases. The topography of the north shore with lots of peninsulas and bays (Slartibartfast would be proud) allows for entire suburbs to be secluded away from the rest of world, less for a leafy road or two that leads out over an isthmus. Politically conservative, but the rise in importance of social justice issues amongst the leisured class may make it harder for John Howard to claim the north shore as his heartland.

Eastern Sydney Commonly means east of the city and south of the harbour. Like the north shore, except perhaps more solidly upper-middle class. Less ultra-rich types to ruin the social fabric. The rich live on the harbour. Closer to the city is the sleaze centre of King's Cross and the gay cruising zone of Paddington, while Italians and Greeks have been long established around Leichardt and Botany. Transient British and New Zealanders concentrate around Bondi. Again, politically more likely to be conservative.

Inner City South of the Central Business District is Ultimo, where lots of monstrous, poorly built apartments struggle to get a view of the harbour. Down below in the streets is the vibrant Chinatown, the happening Darling Harbour, the superflurous monorail and the disadvantaged aboriginal enclave of Redfern.

Inner West Gentrified working class area that has long since been taken over by what is known as the latte-set. All Western cities 'ave 'em: single, predominantly Anglo professionals living in the converted warehouses in Balmain or Newtown, the who like to consider themselves progressive minded and capable of poetry. Further west the cityscape becomes more suburban...and ironically more multicultural, like Strathfield with a large middle-class Chinese and Korean community. Strongly Labour voting, and if the left-leaning Australian Democrats or Greens ever get a seat in parliament, it will probably come from the inner west.

The West Far from the beach and other water features, the expansive suburbs are treeless, hot in summer and eternally bland. In fact it was the heartland of the Australian working class, who settled out here in the 1950s and 1960s in droves, often as the first generation to enjoy home ownership. But along the way the West suffered, caused by heroin and the hollowing out of manufacturing industry inducing dispair and poverty. In certain parts ghettos have formed on ethnic lines, noted for social disadvantage and crime, in particular Cabramatta (Vietnamese), Lakemba (Lebanese) and Blacktown (Aboriginals).

Yet Anglos stuck in multi-generational unemployment are just as likely to go feral. The Westie character has emerged as an Australian varient of the carny, complete with tracksuit pants, beanie, Winnies and a thirty-something grandmother in the family. Traditionally Labour voting, but law and order concerns may see seats in this area turn over to the Liberal Party.

Parramatta New South Wales second town, settled by free settlers and graziers about 20 kilometres inland, who would later form pillars of Australia's own aristocratic squattocracy. Two hundred years later it has long since been geographically subsumed by Sydney, but its own dynastic pretentions makes it feel unique, if vulnerable, from the suburban warzones around it. The aspirational class from western Sydney who have finally come good aspire to move to Paramatta. Liberal voting.

In no other city in Australia do people cast judgement on their fellow townsfolk with such derision. Unless of course, it is because they barrack for another football club.

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