If I had to choose a place to settle, Sydney in New South Wales, Australia would definitely be my first choice. I am completely dazzled by the unparalleled charm of this city.
Sydney is a river city with strong cultural vibes. The stereotypical impression that most people may have of Sydney is that it is a modern metropolis built by Westerners, probably with a few nice churches and museums to boot. While that may be true, there’s more to the city than that, of course.
To get a good view of Sydney, head to the Sydney Harbor Bridge and climb to the top – it’s 134m high, to be exact. The bridge, built in 1932, offers climbers a 360° view of the metropolitan area, over its 1,687 km²!
When you’re up there, you’re guaranteed a powerful visual impact of the city.
I love the topographical features of Sydney’s CBD or central business district – the hilly terrain that is centered in downtown Hyde Park. The city has developed a kind of gradual slope along the artery to the north which is crisscrossed by several roads in an east-west direction, where it then joins the piers. It is flanked by clusters of modern buildings interspersed with many masterpieces by great architects – a scene that underlines the harmonious coexistence between man and the environment.
I’m also captivated by the captivating aroma of coffee from the cafes dotted along the road, alongside some of the best Asian restaurants in town.
It is truly a land of multiple treasures. From what I understand, under the city is a mine of minerals, including coal and gold. That said, the ground here is mostly hard granite, which is why large-scale mining activities are not suitable here. This allows the city to retain much of its original topographical splendour.
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For our Sydney Harbor Bridge experience, we opted for the most popular Twilight Climb package, as it offers the most mesmerizing sunsets and night views of the city. We gathered at 4:15 p.m. and put on our safety gear. After some safety briefings and basic training, we started our ascent at 5pm, one after another as we climbed step by step.
It was still light at the time and under the clear blue sky and pristine white clouds, we managed to capture the entire panorama of Sydney before our eyes.
From above, we marveled at the unparalleled beauty of Sydney Harbor’s waterways, embellished by azure blue seas and vast expanses of greenery, with the Blue Mountains hundreds of miles away barely visible that day. . We could almost visualize Admiral Arthur Philip’s fleet of Great Britain slowly making its way to Port Jackson in 1788…although in reality all we could see were modern ferries.
Climbing ahead of us, our knowledgeable guide stopped at certain points to explain the history of the beautiful bridge and helped take pictures for each of us. We were slowly ascending and taking into account all the stops and pauses, the sun soon began to set.
We weren’t worried as the night glow made the night view of Sydney all the more alluring. What was even more breathtaking were the millions of city lights accented by the glorious Sydney Opera House light show, illuminated Sydney Harbor and the seemingly endless lines of city traffic.
The Sydney Opera House is perhaps Australia’s most iconic building. Thirty-four years after its completion in 1973, the imposing structure was finally inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2007. This speaks volumes about the unique characteristics and symbolic importance of the Sydney Opera House which not only presents the best of 20th century architecture but also unreservedly manifests its infinite and sustained artistic essence.
With the help of the national tourist board, Destination NSW, Malaysian fellow travelers were able to visit the opera house. We were ushered into two main auditoriums, smaller rooms as well as peripheral equipment for an invaluable lesson in aesthetic appreciation.
As I sat quietly inside the main auditorium – which has a seating capacity of 2,679 – with my eyes glued to the largest mechanical pipe organ in the world, I vowed to myself that I would return one day and to sit in this very spot as an audience member, and enjoy an epic orchestral performance.
As it was a Saturday, our hosts suggested we visit The Rocks Market, a sort of flea market that sells handicrafts including handicrafts and souvenirs. It is said that the granite boulder of The Rocks was Admiral Philip’s landing spot in 1788. This explains why the old buildings here are so majestically elegant.
Instead of shopping, I chose to rest my feet at a nearby restaurant, one that was full of character and had a cool vibe. Cup of coffee in hand, I sat quietly, watching and admiring the beautiful sight of passers-by walking under the buttresses of the Sydney Harbor Bridge.
Later we strolled slowly down the slope towards the promenade and snapped some more pictures of the Sydney Opera House from across the water.
We walked further and stopped at Tetsuya, Australia’s first top rated omakase restaurant. Some 18 of us were delighted and honored to have dined at this multi-award winning establishment.
After Sydney, we headed to the Blue Mountains, about two hours away. It is a Unesco World Natural Heritage Site, covering one million hectares of forested land dotted with sandstone cliffs, canyons and waterfalls.
Although it was raining at the time, the incline railway, cable car, and skyway in the Scenic World Blue Mountains were still operational. We were amazed at the stunning natural beauty of the misty Blue Mountains, even in light drizzle. Here you can walk along rainforest trails and admire the gum trees and eucalyptus that abound.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t see the famous Three Sisters from Echo Point Observatory, but our guide still gave us a fascinating account of the three pretty sisters who fell in love with three brothers from a different tribe. .
We really enjoyed our time in NSW, both in town and in the mountains. Sydney is always vibrant no matter what time of day or day of year, while the Blue Mountains were simply mesmerizing.
The opinions expressed are entirely those of the author.
Leesan, the founder of Apple Vacations, has traveled to 132 countries, six continents and enjoys sharing his travel stories and insights. He is also the author of five books.