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Sydney, Australia: What to see and do
Once the overshadowed stepsister to the culturally-chic Melbourne, Sydney came into her own via her famous architecture, a rising economy, and succeeding in wresting the exceptional honour of hosting the Olympics in the year 2000. Standing amidst a volatile sibling rivalry to ascend as Australia’s fastest growing city, the former ‘exile colony’ now proudly glows with her iconic twin landmarks of the Sydney Opera and Harbour Bridge, the surfer’s heaven of Bondi Beach, and the eucalypt forests of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Blue Mountains. Also known as Port Jackson (the name the inlet was bestowed when the first European docked into the then Sydney Harbour), the metropolis’ main activities area is a picturesque playground of connecting islands, white-sailed ships on blue waters, and what Sydneysiders call the ‘Coat Hanger’. Framed against the dazzling sky of water-colour blue or a palette of orange and red, the Harbour Bridge is the steel crown jewel that lifts you 134 metres above sea level and into the view of the nearby Opera House. The architectural brainchild of Danish Jorn Utzon who was said to have drawn his inspiration from palm fronds, Mayan temples, and promiscuous reptiles; the art performance venue hosts your attendance of Sydney’s best in dance, concerts, opera, and theatre of the established as well as the emerging kinds.
Next, follow in the footsteps of the first rebels of the Local Government Act on swimming suits as you find your sun-tanning spot on the sands of Bondi. Previously of a more conservative penchant on the issue of swimwear (both men and women were required to have suits covering from the armpits to the knees), the beach with ‘water breaking over rocks’ breaks taboo when it opened its stretches to the public and when sun-worshippers were allowed to don a two-piece cloth. A former private estate that once belonged to newspaper editor and political reformer Edward Smith Hall, Bondi was sanctioned a public reserve after Hall’s son-in-law threatened to cut open access to the beach.
Then, have an Eucalyptic breath of fresh air as you ascend into the mountainous region of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Blue Mountains, located west of the city. Home to the lone Three Sisters, the bush-walking track of the Jamieson Valley, and origin of the Aboriginal legend of Dreamtime, Sydney’s highlands is a tour against a backdrop of the eponymous blue haze that arose from light reflecting off water droplets and dust particles in the valley. Part of the treasure that is the Australian bush, the city’s natural park is your host to the towering rock formations, grey kangaroos habitats, and a panoramic mountain-biking experience on the plateau.