“The best things about Sydney are free: the sunshine, the harbour and the beach are free.” Russell Crowe
The best things about Sydney may be free, but the city is one of the most expensive for tourists and visitors. It used to be cited as the second most expensive city in the world to live in, after Tokyo. Today, it is supplanted by Singapore, Paris, and all the major cities in Switzerland.
It is not clear how the aborigines called the place. There were 5,000 of them around, when Arthur Phillip established the first British penal settlement there in 1788, with 850 convicts.
The Aborigines had been there for 30.000 years, as per radioactive carbon studies,
If Paris is the City of Light, Sydney is simply Sydney. It is sometimes called the Emerald City (literary association) or the Harbour City (geographical association), but neither sticks. It is simply Sydney, given after Thomas Townsend, the first Viscount of Sydney, England.
After the annihilation of the Aborigines, Sydney confronted a serious problem triggered by the discovery of gold around Melbourne. There was no gold in Sydney. But the city survived mostly due to its strategic location and its role as a door in the Pacific for European ships coming from Good Hope Cape.
Over the last two centuries, Sydney has grown into the most populated urban center of Oceania, but also as a very diverse metropolis of 5.1 million residents, speaking 250 different languages, from Mandarin to Hindu to Maori, with origins everywhere in the world.
Sydney is a major economic and financial center. Many multinationals house their Asian Pacific headquarters in Sydney. The locals provide IT and financial services. Manufacturing, tourism, scientific research, international education are other staples of Sydney’s economy.
Recently Sydney had to contend with a major drought. It has not snowed in Sydney since 1836, but rainfall is regular throughout the year, about two days per week. Otherwise, the city remains one the 15 most visited on the planet. The hosting of the 2000 Olympics was major turning point for tourism.
The main attractions are the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour, the Sydney Tower, and Blue Mountains. Others points of interest are Bondi Beach, Circular Bay, the Botanical Garden, Luna Park, Taronga Zoo, Luna Park, See Life Aquarium, Wild Life Sydney Zoo, the National Museum, and the Harbour Cruise Showboat.
In Sydney, carry a lot of pocket money. A regular dinner may cost $80 and a 20-minute taxi ride above $50.
(Odler Robert Jeanlouie, Friday, October 5, 2018, Sydney, Capital of New South Wales.)
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