Visit Sydney: The Travellers Paradise

By: Bruce Gow

For the 10th consecutive year Sydney has been voted the world's best city (Top 10 Cities Overall) by the international 'Travel & Leisure Magazine'. It scored an 87 per cent approval rating among travellers and tourist industry workers. The last two years, it has been number one on this list. Judge by yourself and take a trip to one of the world's most beautiful cities!

Size
Sydney is one of the largest cities in its land size. It reaches across 1580 square kilometres. This is the roughly the same as London and more than double New York 's 780 square kilometres. Amsterdam is 167 square kilometres, and Paris is a mere 105 square kilometres. There are 1, 426, 266 dwellings in Sydney .

Population
Sydney 's population is 5,570,000

Sydney is Australia 's oldest city, the economic powerhouse of the nation and the country's capital in everything but name. It's blessed with sun-drenched natural attractions, dizzying skyscrapers, restaurants that serve deliciously daring cuisine, superb shopping and friendly folk.

Although it's come a long way from its convict beginnings, it has not lost its energy, and offers an invigorating blend of the old and the new, the raw and the refined. While high culture attracts some to the Opera House, nightlife attracts others to Kings Cross.

Sydney is a city blessed with long stretches of heavenly beaches, a pleasant climate that sees over 300 sunny days a year, a strong economy, a stable local government, and a population of open-minded, outgoing entrepreneurial types who are love showing off their city.

Orientation
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +10 (Eastern Standard Time)
Telephone Area Code: 02

Sydney 's layout was not planned, and is further complicated by its hills and the numerous inlets of the harbour, its focal point. The centre of Sydney is on the south shore of the harbour, about 7km (4mi) inland from the harbour heads. Skyscrapers in the Central Business District (CBD) vie for dominance and harbour views, but the city's relentlessness is softened by shady Hyde Park and The Domain parkland to the east, Darling Harbour to the west and the main harbour to the north. The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the harbour tunnel link the city centre with the satellite CBD of North Sydney and the suburbs of the North Shore . Sydney Airport is about 10km (6mi) south of the city centre. Central station, Sydney 's main train station, is in the south of the city centre, and the main bus terminal is located outside it.

Currency
Dollars and cents. Notes: $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills. Coins: 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, $1 and $2. The Australia dollar is floated on the world currency market and is presently fluctuating at around 74 to 75 cents to the US $.

Health
Sydney , like most parts of Australia , presents no real health risks for foreign visitors. Tap water is potable, restaurants and eating places are required by law to maintain a high standard of food preparation, and the city is generally clean. Smog is less of a problem than with cities such as London , Hong Kong and Bangkok , but is still quite high. Sunburn can be a problem for those who are fair-skinned. Also, those with little experience in swimming in the surf should be cautious when swimming at Sydney 's famous surf beaches, Bondi and Manly, and should always swim between the warning flags erected by lifeguards. Medical costs in Australia are not exhorbitant like in the United States and Europe , but travel insurance is still recommended.

Handy to Know :
Electricity voltage: 240.
Units of measure: metric.
Public phones: 50-cent local calls ( Sydney metropolitan area).
Phone directory assistance: 1223 ( Sydney area), 1223 ( Australia ), 1225 (International).
Phone international dial out prefix code: 0011
Coffee: around $3.50 a cup, sometimes less, quite often more in tourist areas.
Petrol (gas) in cents per litre: approximately 120
Emergency phone number for police, ambulance and fire is 000.

Sydney is also one of the safest cities to live in, with a reputation for fine dining. Two Sydney restaurants have been named in the world's top 50 for 2006, with Tetsuya's ranked fifth and Rockpool coming in at 30th.

Sydney has something for everyone. Do visit this beautiful and vibrant city

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