Thursday, August 23, 2012

Amazing Things to Do In Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia, the largest and most famous of Australia’s cities, is at once a gorgeous demonstration of nature’s beauty, and a tribute to the incredible works of man. Architecture, art and theater, shopping and sightseeing, all combined with the fantastic scenic harbor and beautiful sun-drenched beaches, can all be found here, in possibly the most exciting city in the world.

Your adventure MUST begin with a harbor cruise – or as the Aussies say, Harbour. Ever since I saw “Finding Nemo,” I’ve wanted to see Sydney Harbour, preferably from the water. The skyline, the beauty, and of course, the incredible profile of the world-famous Sydney Opera House, standing majestically at the edge of the water…

Sydney Opera House, Australia

 There are several different cruises you can choose from; some are your basic half hour ferry ride across the harbor, and some are lengthier with more commentary (more like a tour than a cruise.) There are afternoon coffee tours, night cruises to enjoy the city lights, and a wonderful sunset dinner cruise on a luxury yacht. Something to fit every budget and dream.

Be sure to head out to Manly Beach for a taste of small-seaside-town inside a big city. Manly is surrounded on three sides with water and boasts 18 different beaches, where you can swim, snorkel, surf, kayak and sail. Exquisite restaurants and tons of family-friendly attractions make it the perfect little resort town.

And while you’re there, take a look at the infamous Nautilus sculpture at Manly Wharf. Ostensibly shaped like a seashell lying on its side, the sculpture has drawn more than its share of public scrutiny and is familiarly called the “steaming pile of dog poo.” You’ll have to judge for yourself whether or not you agree.

For the truly adventurous – or just for those people with the greatest stamina – you can actually climb the steps inside one of the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons. Two hundred steps to the top and one of the greatest views in the city. You’ll also get a full history of the bridge and its construction, from one of the many friendly and knowledgeable tour guides.

Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons

Pretend you’re royalty and head over to Government House at the Royal Botanical Gardens. This free activity features guided tours which run every half hour through the lovely mansion. It’s not only a museum but a working State House, and you can attend actual government functions. The private quarters are closed to the public, of course, and the House is occasionally closed to visitors during special events, so be sure to check the calendar before scheduling your trip.

If you happen to be in Sydney during the winter holidays, you might want to extend your trip through New Year’s Eve. Sydney has one of the first and greatest New Year’s Eve shows in the world. Imagine celebrating New Year’s Eve nearly a full day before all of your friends and relatives!!! And New Year’s Eve in Sydney is truly spectacular, with pyrotechnics that will blow you away. There are numerous amazing Harbour cruises designed to take advantage of this special night, but be sure to book early, as they sell out quickly.

For another fabulous idea, try touring the abandoned tunnels in Sydney, part of an underground railway system that was never finished. This great article by Jack Pearson, freelance travel writer, gives details on the how and the why.

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