What Ocean is Sydney Australia on?
Southern Australia offers an overload to the senses with its vibrant, cosmopolitan cities, impressive wine regions, diverse wildlife and spectacular natural landscapes.
Find out more about these exciting destinations below.
A multi-cultural city of more than four million people, Sydney is a vivid metropolis built around one of the most stunning harbours in the world.
The dramatic view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House surrounded by the glorious harbour is an iconic image of Sydney and Australia. You'll no doubt have seen countless images of this stunning city but nothing quite compares to seeing it in real life. Wander around the foreshore or take a cruise on the water to see these two architectural feats from a whole new angle.
While relatively young compared to other cities around the world, Sydney still has a rich and colourful history. After more than 40, 000 years of habitation by Aboriginal people, Sydney became the first European settlement in Australia when the First Fleet landed at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788 with thousands of convicts in tow. This European influence is visible in the colonial style architecture of buildings like the Queen Victoria Building and the convict-built Hyde Park Barracks.
Imagine what life might have been like 200 years ago in colonial Sydney by sitting in Mrs Macquarie's Chair on the harbour foreshore. The historic seat was carved out of sandstone by convicts in 1810 for Mrs Macquarie, the wife of the then NSW governor, Lachlan Macquarie. Mrs Macquarie was homesick for her native Great Britain and was known to sit and take in the panoramic views of the harbour while waiting for ships to sail in with news from home.
Take a stroll through the busy Circular Quay to absorb the vibrant harbour and continue on to The Rocks where you'll find plenty of interesting boutique shops to take home the perfect souvenir. The Rocks is the oldest area of Sydney, once inhabited by the indigenous Gadigal people before the first European settlers claimed the land. You'll find quaint cafes, restaurants and boutique stores nestled in the heritage preserved sandstone buildings.
Sydney has some of the best beaches you’ll find in the world; beautiful stretches of sand and surf all within easy reach of the city’s centre. To the north of the city is Manly Beach, a great place to swim, stroll or enjoy an ice cream under the shady pine trees. The city's eastern suburbs are known for their spectacular beaches – none more so than the famous Bondi Beach which is the most popular beach in Sydney with both locals and travellers.
There’s plenty to entertain visitors to this great city. Try Darling Harbour, Sydney’s premier entertainment and leisure district for restaurants, museums and attractions or check out the hip bar scene of inner-city suburbs like Surry Hills and Darlinghurst for popular restaurants, cafés and bars.
Take a scenic three hour drive west of Sydney and discover the magnificent Blue Mountains, which were first crossed in 1813 by explorers Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson. This World Heritage Listed National Park is recognised internationally for its incredible geographic, botanic and cultural values and boasts a stunning landscape of dense eucalypt forest, grand escarpments, waterfalls and cave systems.
The area is home to 90 different species of eucalyptus trees and the greatest and most diverse concentration of eucalyptus trees in the world. Ever wonder why the Blue Mountains are called blue? The air is filled with several finely dispersed droplets of eucalyptus oil. These oil droplets not only delightfully perfume the air, but combined with dust and water vapour; they scatter rays of brilliant blue light earning this spectacular mountain range its name.
The local indigenous people hold this land and many sites within the national park as culturally sacred including a number of ancient rock art sites depicting stories from the past. You can immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture at the Waradah Aboriginal Centre with dance and didgeridoo performances, authentic artworks and souvenirs from the local Darug and Gundungurra tribes.
One of the most striking landmarks of the Blue Mountains is the amazing rock formation known as the Three Sisters. Each pinnacle stands at 922, 918 and 906 metres tall respectively. The best place to view of the Three Sisters is from Echo Point, a lookout perched on the edge of a 170 metre cliff face. Here you can learn about the Aboriginal dreamtime legend of the Three Sisters.
Travel further along the scenic Cliff Drive through the Blue Mountains and you'll come to Jenolan Caves, one of the oldest known open cave systems in the world. Known to the local Aboriginal people as ‘Binoomea’ (meaning Dark Places), the Jenolan Cave system stretches over an enormous 40 kilometres of multi-level passages, many still undergoing explorations. There are nine caves open to visitors, all featuring amazing lighting, underground rivers and limestone formations.
Travelling through the Blue Mountains you'll come across a number of quaint villages and towns such as the picturesque village of Leura. You'll notice many of the region’s villages and landmarks are named after the European explorers Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson who first crossed the rugged mountain terrain in 1813.
Escape to the picturesque Hunter Valley just a couple of hours north of Sydney and indulge in life’s great pleasures of food, wine and nature.
The world famous Hunter Valley is in the heart of Australian wine country with the region’s rich history stemming from the early pioneering era. Since its early beginnings, the Hunter Valley has produced many world renowned fine wines and has grown to boast more than 150 wineries.
Not just famous for its wines, the Hunter Valley also has a growing olive industry, producing excellent cold pressed olive oil. Treat your tastebuds to local gourmet food and wine with the perfect backdrop of charming vineyard landscapes. You can also sample premium local beers and the unique alcoholic ginger beer at the boutique Bluetongue Brewery, opened in 2003 by four Hunter Valley locals.