Sydney brings together two regions: the Cumberland Plain and the Hornsby Plateau.
The most populated and dynamic of the Australian cities sums up "the Australian way of life" by herself: for its cachet (not only due to its Opera House and iron bridge, which are more or less the only monuments in the city), its greenery (botanical garden), its activity (King Cross) and its magnificent setting, with Botany Bay at its centre, and the Pacific beaches around it (Bondi Beach is the most famous) and the outlines of the Blue Mountains. Just take a cruise in the Harbour, cross Sydney Harbour Bridge on foot, and climb up to its arch to have a better view of the city, or to the summit of the ATM Tower Centrepoint. Have lunch in one of the port restaurants (The Rocks, Darling Harbourg, Manly, Watsons Bay). Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Australian Maritime Museum, the Chinese Garden, the Sydney Aquarium and the Royal Botanic Garden.
Sydney's former industrial port is today an attraction for the whole family. At the weekend, many street theatre performances take place. For children, there are playgrounds and for adults, there is the IMAX Theatre, which houses the largest cinema screen in the world. Adults can rummage through the dozen or so interesting shops, or relax in the chic restaurants and cafés on the waterfront.
The shell-shaped roof of the Opera House in the harbour is the emblem of the city of Sydney. Danish architect Jörn Utzon won an architectural prize and the right to build the Opera House thanks to his revolutionary design for the building. After seven years of struggling with Australian bureaucrats, who considered his project too expensive, Utzon gave up. His work wasn't completed until after 14 years thanks to a lottery that provided the necessary funds. The Opera House is home to the opera theatre, a concert hall and a drama theatre.
Sydney Opera House, guided tours every day from 9:00am-5:00pm, A$16.20 (£9.60), Bennelong Point, www.sydneyoperahouse.com
Australia has a particularly strict immigration policy. The authorities are very vigilant of infringements. Anyone outstaying the legal length of their tourist visa (usually 6 months) or working without being declared will not be deported but will be banned from entering the country for several years. If during you stay in Australia you decide to submit an immigration application, you must do so from your home country.
Up to now, thanks to its geographic isolation, Australia has escaped the various animal epidemics, such as foot-and-mouth disease for example. An army of officials posted at the border ensure that this does not change. As soon as you land in Sydney, visitors are warned about bringing food into the country. Fruits and meat are absolutely prohibited, while other foods (such as chocolate) are tolerated if you fill in a declaration at customs. Any violators discovered by the specially trained sniffer dogs or security screening face a heavy fine.
Edna's Table Typical Australian dishes like kangaroo and crocodile, 204 Clarence Street, City, Tel. +61 (0)2 92 67 39 33
The Hogarth Galleries Aboriginal Art Centre (7 Walker Lane, Paddington) and the Aboriginal & Tribal Art Centre (117 George Street) sell authentic pieces of aboriginal art.