One of the world's great cities, Sydney blends gorgeous scenery, global culture, top beaches, and "g'day, mate!" attitudes that make everyone feel at home. There's also heaps to do both night and day in the Australian metropolis, from outdoor adventures to indoor intellectual pursuits to match just about any interest.
What We Love
Ferries: Where else can you catch such a wide array of harbor cruises (and dazzling waterfront scenery)? Whether it's the boat to Manly, an hour-long cruise up the Parramatta River, or just a short trip across the harbor, Sydney's ferries are always spectacular.
Beaches: More than two dozen strands cover all the basics — from clothing-optional to family-friendly — including coves with Aboriginal rock paintings, historic shores with Victorian-era bathing pavilions, and national park beaches framed by wilderness.
Best Known For
The Opera House: Nearly half a century after it was was completed (in 1973), Sydney's iconic waterfront theater still looks like something from the distant future rather than a structure from our own age.
The Harbour Bridge: The gargantuan "coat hanger" is even cooler now that you can climb to the summit via vertigo-inducing catwalks and steel arches.
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Who It's Best For
The Easily Bored: If you relish a broad range of events and activities — water sports and wildlife, museums and music clubs, gourmet eateries and rowdy pubs, luxury brands and hip one-off shops — Sydney is the city for you.
Urban Explorers: Safe, easy to navigate, and blessed with great public transportation, Sydney has dozens of interesting neighborhoods waiting to be explored outside of the city center.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It Isn't Cheap: Sydney is now on par with places like Paris and Tokyo when it comes to the cost of eating out and other activities.
Red Alert: A dip in the sea could be dangerous. Rip currents, poisonous jellyfish, and, yes, even sharks can make a day at the beach more hazardous than at first glance.
Joe Yogerst is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Travel + Leisure.