“Nice car and good price; service is excellent.”
“Nice car and good price; service is excellent.”
Sydney is the largest city of Australia, although it is not the capital, as many people think. The capital is Canberra, which became the capital due to the rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne. It was finally decided to build the capital in between these two big cities.
Sydney is a very international city, and it is located on the place where the first Brits stepped onto the Australian continent and founded a penal colony. Except modern skyscrapers and the beautiful Opera House, there are also Victorian style buildings, for instance in the restored area called The Rocks.
The city has over 4 million inhabitants, most of them of British or Irish descent, although there are also large groups of immigrants from other parts of the world: Southern-Europe (Greeks, Italians), China, South-Africa and the Middle East (Lebanese).
Sydney is located on the east coast of Australia in de state of New South Wales, of which it is the capital. The city is situated on Port Jackson, which is better known as Sydney Harbour. This natural harbour is the beginning of a deep bay of the Pacific Ocean that runs right through the city. The British explorer James Cook preferred a bay somewhat to the south, Botany Bay. These days, that bay is also enclosed in Sydney's metropolitan area. The oldest part of the city is located around Sydney Cove, an inlet on the south end of Port Jackson. The wooded hills of the Blue Mountains are situated to the east of the city. The mountains owe their name to the blue-grey mist that is produced by the oil vapours of the Eucalyptus trees. On the coast there are many magnificent beaches, often in the middle of residential areas.
Sydney is the most important port of Australia. Although there is industry (for instance machines, food, electronic products and paper), it is overshadowed by the service sector. The city is the country's financial centre, with head offices of most banks and insurance companies, and a large stock exchange.
Multinational companies have their regional head offices in Sydney, and there is also a considerable film industry (Fox Studios). In addition, the share of scientific research centres is growing. The city has no fewer than four universities.
Tourism is also important to the local economy: annually the city attracts 2.5 million foreign tourists. Australians themselves also like to visit Sydney for one of several days.
Kingsford Smith International Airport is the most important airport of Sydney and the biggest in Australia. It is located eight kilometres to the south of the city centre on Botany Bay. There are many international connections, with many flights each day to New-Zealand and Asia cities like Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok and Tokyo. There is a train connection to the airport, and there are also shuttle buses between the airport and hotels in the city centre.
Bankstown Airport is located in the south-west of Sydney. It is a small airport that is used primarily for private and business flights.
CityRail is Sydney's train system, it is in part a kind of metro. Outside the centre, the trains move above ground, in the centre underground. In addition, there is a lightrail service from the Central Station to Lilyfield and a monorail that runs around the main shopping area and Darling Harbour.
Visitors to the city will mostly use the buses. There are over 300 lines that are numbered according to the area they service. Buses beginning with the number 1 service the northern beaches, those that begin with the number 2 the northern suburbs, those with a 4 the west and south, and number 5 the west. Buses beginning with the number 6 are school buses. Furthermore, there are ferry services across Sydney Harbour.
Sydney's Central Station is located on Eddy Avenue. There are train services to, among other places, Melbourne (travel time: 10 hours), Brisbane (12.5 hours), Adelaide (26 hours) and Perth (64 hours).
In front of the station lies the Sydney Coach Terminal, from where buses depart for, among other places, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide and Melbourne.
To begin with, people drive on the left side of the road, which means the steering wheel of your rental car will be on the right side. Sydney's infrastructure was improved considerably when the city was awarded the 2000 Olympics. The connection to the airport, for instance, was made a lot easier, thanks to the Eastern Distributor tunnel. The Cross-City tunnel, which was opened in 2005, connects Kings Cross and Darling Harbour, and removes traffic from the roads in the centre of the city.
Finding a place to park in the centre of Sydney is difficult, and parking in the street is not cheap. In addition, there is only limited time parking in many streets. It is easier to park your car in one of the car parks around the centre and proceed by public transport. A good choice is the centrally located Queen Victoria Building (QVB) Car Park on York Street. Near the popular Bondi Beach, the ban on stopping your car, for whatever short period of time, is rigorously enforced.
Most people who rent a car in Australia want to see more than Sydney alone. Keep in mind that Australia - outside the large cities - is an exceptionally empty place. Bring enough food and water, as well as plenty of fuel.
Petrol stations may be hundreds of kilometres apart! If you drive at night, beware of Kangaroos that are attracted by the headlights.
The luxury hotels are located to the west of the central business district. Mid-class hotels are predominantly located in North Sydney, Inner West and North Shore. Cheap hotels and guesthouses are located in the south of the centre, in Glebe and Kings Cross, near the southern beaches like Bondi Beach and Coogee, and near Manly Beach in the north. Sydney is an economic and cultural centre and also attracts many tourists. Book your hotel room in advance.
For more information about Sydney, we recommend Google, and the following sources: