Sydney is the largest Australian city. And the most beautiful.

Its natural beauty, tourist attractions, urban development and quality of life put it in a strong position to compete with the best cities in the world.

In the annual Mercer surveys of local living conditions of more than 400 cities, Australia's premier city ranks high. Its quality of living earned it an enviable place at number 10 for 2008 to 2010.

Various other surveys prove that it is one of the best cities to live in or to travel to. For example since 2002 the travellers reading the Condé Nast Traveller magazine have rated the capital city of New South Wales (NSW) as one of the top world cities. And in October 2011 they voted it as the best one. Just a couple of days after the International Festivals and Events Association recognised it as the world's most outstanding city in the over one million population category.

While there is a strong competition with Melbourne, another top city in Australia, people love Sydney for its attractions, climate, restaurants, accommodation and shopping.

Sydney CBD skyline City skyline view from Darling Harbour

Sydney History

The area around the Harbour was home to various groups of Aborigines long before Europeans discovered it. In 1770, a significant year in Australia history, James Cook dropped anchor at Botany Bay.

18 years later, in 1788, Arthur Phillip in command of the First Fleet entered the Harbour and established the first British colony in Australia. The Rocks is considered the birthplace of Australia.

The Present

NSW capital covers a huge land area and its population lives in more than 650 suburbs. Here are some quick facts about its suburbs and roads.

sydney circular quay port jackson

It starts from Port Jackson which includes the magnificent harbour with its Circular Quay (here at the left).

Then extends west towards the Blue Mountains, north towards the Central Coast and Gosford and borders Wollongong in the south.

Here is more information about facts and figures, the population and where they live.

But its heart is the City and its CBD (Central Business District).

opera house sydney vivid sydney festival The Vivid Festival

It is there that you can find the Opera House and do the Harbour Bridge climb.

Here they are photographed at night during an amazing lights festival.

The Kingsford Airport is probably the first thing you see when you come here. Here is more information about it and the hotels you can get at the airport. And here is a map to help find your way around.

The town has museums, parks, gourmet and specialty restaurants, luxury hotels, dance clubs, entertainment. They are just some of the temptations that pull you into the City. But there are so many things to do in Sydney, whether you are a tourist or a local.

First it's the weather. Then the vibrant atmosphere every month. Both combine to offer you such a nice climate and make it a desirable city to live in. Here is more information about the weather and what to do in spring, how to enjoy the summer, where to go in autumn and what to do in winter.

Catch a glimpse into the events in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December.

Entertainment is big. There are many annual festivals and events. Here is just a brief line up of some of the events celebrating:

opera house sydney 2 vivid sydney festival Click the image above to read about the Vivid Festival in 2009

Tourist Attractions in Sydney

Some of the top tourist attractions are the:

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