Sydney: A City Of Fireworks

Baz Luhrmann, Australian film director and producer once said, “if Paris is a city of Lights, Sydney is the city of fireworks”. Whilst it’s true, Sydney is a hard not to fall in love with when one comes from op above; nice weather, scenery, people. One should be prepared for the fact that a million other tourist had the same idea and went down under as well. And that’s probably one of the best traveling destinations they’ve chosen in their lives.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mickitakespictures/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mickitakespictures/

Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales, and the biggest city in Australia with an approximate population of 4.6 million people. It is on Australia’s south-east coast, on the Tasman Sea and is the site of the first British colony in Australia. Today this can be visited as the tourist attraction the Rocks. The Discover the Rocks museum takes you through the stories of the lives of before the first settlers and up to today (admission free) and tells you the story of the establishment of Sydney in 1788 at Sydney Cove and the lives of the first settlers.

Sydney has a temperate climate with warm summers and mild winters, with rainfall spread throughout the year. So there isn’t a specific time one should avoid, it really comes down to what kind of traveler you are, and what you are looking for. If you are considering going to Australia, I would personally recommend going there in December – February. You would escape from cold and boring Danish winters and would change it into warm Aussie summers! It would definitely be nice break from frosty Europe, but even in wintertime the temperatures are nothing to compare to Denmark. The coldest month is July, with an average of 8-16 degrees so even winter here doesn’t come close to the definition back home. One thing to bare in mind, if visiting country during its coldest periods, you should expect that it’s going to be cold inside, probably as cold as outside. Many houses do not have heating systems nor good isolation.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcoetzee/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcoetzee/

 

When talking about dates, 26 of January is a date not to miss. 26 of January is Australia’s day and a public holiday/party day, where one can expect a number of activities both in the Darling harbour and in various public places. The night, as accepted, ends with firework. (This day is also known as invasion day, when the first fleet landed in 1788, so some people have mixed feelings about the celebration).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dukekim/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dukekim/

Another day is ANZAC Day, 25 April, and it probably is Australia’s most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. This day is used as a national remembrance,which takes two forms. Dawn service – the time of the original landing. And the Parade where ex-servicemen and women meet to take part in marches through the major cities. And being Australians after the parade it becomes a day for party, getting drunk and playing two-ups, a traditional gambling game, which is illegal 364 days of the year.

Mardi Gras is another event that might be fun to participate in; the Gay and Lesbian parade in February involves over 10.000 participants, and which usually is a breathtaking show out in the open for both participants and observers.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/andy_tyler/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/andy_tyler/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnonolan/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnonolan/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnonolan/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnonolan/

Best area to stay: Central Sydney. Public transport is fairly expensive, therefore, if you have intentions of seeing as much as possible, you don’t want to be too far away from everything. That being said there are different areas depending on priorities. Central or CBD (Central business district) are located in walking distance from all the main attractions in Sydney and are therefore a good choice if you only have a short time in the city. Kings cross is the official party-district of Sydney, and has a lot of low-budget backpackers. This is where the party never stop. Surry hills have a lot of cafes and bars, and are considered the chick area and where a lot of locals go out on the weekends. If you are here to surf Bondi or Coogee are the places to be, but have in mind it is a bit out of the city and you will have to catch transportation everywhere you go.

 Sydney Harbor

Must see: Below you will be taken through a walk-about of Central Sydney and what simply must not be missed. Being Danish first you must visit the almost-Danish Opera House created by Jørn Utzon, which is said to be an architectural masterpiece. The opera house is located in Port Jackson which is commonly known as Sydney Harbour. And right next to the Harbour Bridge, which is worth a walk just to enjoy the view.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/briancaldwell/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/briancaldwell/

The hinterland of the metropolitan area is surrounded by national parks. The coastal regions around Sydney feature many bays, rivers, inlets and beaches. Bondi beach is the lord of all beaches in Sydney and where everyone goes , but while in Sydney don’t forget to pay a visit to Bronte, located close to Bondi, but much less touristy and crowed. Another lovely beach is Mainly located a ferry-trip away, and while here take the mainly walk. For the rainy days go to Darling Harbour an visit the Aquarium and the Sydney wild life zoo or simply enjoy the view from one of the cafes, insider tip, Darling Harbour is a free WIFI hotspot. If having a little more time the Art Gallery of NSW and the contemporary museum of art (both admission Free) are also a good choice.

Blue Mountains

Denmark is flat. Australia is not. Therefore, if you come (or live) in such a flat country as I do, you might want to visit Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains are a dissected plateau carved in sandstone bedrock. They are now a series of ridge lines separated by gorges up to 760 metres. It is a beautiful place and definitely worth a weekend-camping trip. You can take a guided tour on a day out there, but doing it yourself gives freedom and is a lot cheaper. The most popular place in the Blue Mountains are called the Three Sisters and is where most tours will take you, which is right next to The Katoomba Scenic Railway, was said to be the steepest railway in the world, and originally part of the Katoomba mining tramways constructed between 1878 and 1900. The cable railway line descends 415 metres through sandstone cliffs, via a rock tunnel with a maximum gradient of 52 degrees. Also, at this location is the Scenic Skyway, a glass-bottom aerial cable car that traverses an arm of the Jamison Valley, and the Scenic Cableway, the steepest aerial cable car in Australia. Both part of The Giant Stairway, a walking track that runs down a cliff into the Jamison Valley, providing access to nature walks through the valley.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/neil-chc/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/neil-chc/

But if one is interested in hiking, climbing, mountain biking or in other ways exploring the Blue Mountains is incorporated into the Greater Blue Mountains Area World Heritage Site, consisting of seven national park areas and a conservation reserve so there is plenty of space for everyone.

One thing for sure – no matter what activities you choose, Sydney will leave you an impression that you have, no, must come back to do it all again.

Anne Kølner

Traveling enthusiast and photographer

Enthusiastic traveller and world explorer, willing to observe every single well-populated as well as uninhabited area on the Earth. I believe that only the day Disney stops being fun will be the day I will retire to a quiet boring life, relaxing on the beach.

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