Sydney is renowned for its iconic architecture, golden beaches and natural harbor. The city was settled in 1788 by Captain Arthur Phillip of The First Fleet with a total of 11 ships of convicts and officials with plans to establish a colony. One can say that Sydney has certainly come a long way since then, regularly appearing on ‘Top 10 Places to Visit’ and ‘Best Cities in the World’ lists with plenty of sights to see and things to do.
Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the Sydney Opera House is a World Heritage site designed to mimic the billowing sails of the yachts in the harbor. Construction was completed in 1973 for $102 million, ten years past deadline and 1,457% over original budget. This iconic structure has five different stages for various performances including opera, theater, ballet, and concerts. The Opera House has more recently taken measures to become more sustainable and reduce its environmental impact.
The Sydney Opera House sits on the largest natural harbor in the world. One of the best features is the Sydney Harbour Bridge, completed in 1932 after 9 years by over 140 workers. Affectionately called “the coathanger” by Sydneysiders, the bridge can be explored by foot or, to fully appreciate the amazing views, a BridgeClimb that allows you to climb the arc of the bridge.
See Sydney come alive in May & early June during VIVID – a unique festival of light, music and ideas featuring the spectacular illumination of the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and other architectural delights. Alternatively, be one of thousands who flock to the harbour for the New Year’s Eve celebrations with an amazing fireworks display and celebratory atmosphere to match.
There are endless experiences outside of Sydney to enjoy. If you prefer to explore the countryside and sample local wines, then you will definitely want include a visit to the Hunter Valley. The Hunter Valley is the hub of a thriving wine industry, where grape vines were planted over 150 years ago, offers an excellent gourmet escape for a day or overnight. With more than 150 top-class wineries, vineyards and cellar doors as well as a selection of day’s spas and a golf course, the Hunter offers a perfect escape from bustling Sydney. Join in the festivities at the annual Hunter Valley Wine Festival in June every year for a memorable experience.
Located only 90 minutes from Sydney, the Blue Mountains was named as a result of the hazy mist created from the oil of the eucalyptus trees that rise above the valleys and sandstone outcrops. The mountains are perfect for sightseeing hiking and exploring with great lookout points at Govett’s Leap and Gordon Falls. Jenolan Caves offers a tour of the “show caves”, ghost tours, and the Grand Canyon, a gulley at the end of Govett’s Leap shaded by rainforest. On the 3rd and 4th Saturday of the month, the Underground Cave series features local performers on the cello, violin, and guitar.
For an Outback experience, make your way by train or coach to Broken Hill. This isolated mining city is referred to as ‘The Silver City’, the ‘Oasis in the West’ or the ‘Capital of the Outback’. Travel out of Broken Hill to Silverton – the backdrop to many blockbuster movies including Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Mad Max 2 and Mission Impossible 2. See the Living Desert Sculptures or visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service and learn about medical treatment in the ‘bush’. There are also several art galleries that capture the essence of the Outback to explore.
If you are seeking a place to unwind and relax, head to Byron Bay, a melting pot of surf culture and alternative philosophies and hedonistic indulgence. This easternmost town is home to sweeping surf beaches, lush rainforests, and exceptional dining and new-age retreats. Try yoga on the beach, massage and mud wraps at retreats, go whale-watching, learn to surf or enjoy kayaking. Join music lovers at Tyagarah, just north of Byron Bay, every Easter for the Byron Bays Bluesfest. Previous acts have included Ben Harper, Hozier, Zac Brown Band, Counting Crows, Train and Xavier Rudd to name a few.
Ready to experience VIVID at Sydney Harbour, sample the wines of Hunter Valley, or explore the Jenolan Caves? Book your next vacation to New South Wales with Down Under Answers! Visit them online at www.duatravel.com or give them a call at 800-889-1464.