Few cities in the world can claim to have as iconic a skyline as Sydney, particularly around the harbour area. As the backdrop to the Sydney Olympics in 2000 it gained the attention of the world and has become – more than ever – a must see for tourists to Australia.
Of course, much of the famous skyline of Sydney Harbour is due to the Sydney Opera House. Officially recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 it is not just an opera house, but rather one of the busiest entertainment spaces in the world with as many as 1,500 performances each year from the likes of the Sydney Theatre Company, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Ballet.
That said, it’s not all about the Opera House, in close proximity to the Opera House is Sydney Harbour Bridge, home to the annual New Year’s firework display and one of the most famous bridges in the world. In recent years visitors have been able to climb the south side of the bridge, with appropriate guides and safety equipment. The climb is not for the faint-hearted, but the view from the top is well worth the three and a half hours of effort.
A less well known attraction of the Sydney Harbour area are the forts that are dotted around the area. These were built in the mid 19th century as a first line of defence against sea born attack and in addition to being above ground have a network of tunnels and catacombs and hidden chambers below the forts themselves. They’re not too expensive to visit and are definitely worth the entrance fee.
The last of the popular tourist destinations in – or more accurately, near - the Harbour area are the Botanic Gardens. The Gardens cover an area of around 30 hectares and are a great place to enjoy some peace and quiet in a bustling and vibrant city. The Palm Grove at the centre of the gardens is particularly noted as a feat of planning and foresight, but the whole area is a lovely place to chill out on a long day’s sightseeing.
Travelling to Australia has always been popular with British tourists and has never been cheaper than it is today. There are loads of cheap flights to Australia available through the likes of Flight Centre if you book early enough, and that’ll leave you plenty of money to spare on having an absolutely great time.