White beaches, blue harbours, gilded lifestyles and lots of flash.
Sydney is Australia's oldest city, the economic powerhouse of the nation and the country's capital in everything but name. It's blessed with sun-drenched natural attractions, dizzy skyscrapers, delicious and daring restaurants, superb shopping and friendly folk.
Although it's come a long way from its convict beginnings, it still has a rough and ready energy, and offers an invigorating blend of the old and the new, the raw and the refined. While high culture attracts some to the Opera House, gaudy nightlife attracts others to Kings Cross.
'No one in Sydney ever wastes time debating the meaning of life - it's getting yourself a water frontage.' - David Williamson - Emerald City
Sydney wasn't a planned city and its layout is further complicated by its hills and the numerous inlets of the harbour, its focal point. The centre of Sydney is on the south shore of the harbour, about 7km (4mi) inland from the harbour heads. Skyscrapers in the Central Business District (CBD) vie for dominance and harbour views, but the city's relentlessness is softened by shady Hyde Park and The Domain parkland to the east, Darling Harbour to the west and the main harbour to the north. The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the harbour tunnel link the city centre with the satellite CBD of North Sydney and the suburbs of the North Shore. Sydney Airport is about 10km (6mi) south of the city centre. Central station, Sydney's main train station, is in the south of the city centre, and the main bus terminal is located outside it.