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Things to Do in Sydney

So often mistaken for the Australian capital that you’d be forgiven for forgetting all about Canberra, Sydney is Australia’s largest and most headline-grabbing city—and it’s likely to be your first stop if you're arriving Down Under from abroad. If you’re short on time or just want some help getting your bearings, tours of the Harbour City abound. Many begin in Sydney Harbour, where the futuristic, concrete-sailed façade of the Sydney Opera House and the towering Sydney Harbour Bridge provide a spectacular backdrop to events like the New Year’s Eve fireworks display and the legendary Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Exploring the rest of the city reveals one postcard-worthy scene after another—the colonial architecture of the Rocks, the bronzed lifeguards and dripping surfers of Bondi Beach, the sweeping panoramas from Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, and the adorable kangaroos and koalas of Taronga Zoo. Harbor boat tours, guided bike tours, sunset dinner cruises, and scenic helicopter and seaplane flights help you see it all from every angle. Once you’ve checked a Sydney Harbour whale-watching cruise, Sydney BridgeClimb, opera house backstage tour, and Bondi surf lesson off your bucket list, it’s time to escape the city. Sign up for a Hunter Valley wine-tasting tour, a visit to Scenic World in the Blue Mountains, or a day trip to the country’s capital—again, that’s Canberra, although Sydney residents won't hold it against you for thinking otherwise.
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Avalon Beach
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Avalon Beach may have served as the backdrop for an episode of ‘Baywatch,’ but it’s the impressive waves, orange coral sands and 25-meter salt water rock pool that make this a hot spot among Sydney’s beach bums and surfers. Both longboarders and surfers share the gnarly waves, but there’s also plenty around here for land lovers as well. The Bangalley Headland Walk winds through a stretch of protected bushland known as the Careel Headland Reserve, and local rugby clubs host regular high-energy matches that are full of real Aussie spirit. There’s even a nearby nine-hole golf course for travelers looking to improve their line drive.

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Waradah Australian Centre
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If you want to know more about Australia’s indigenous owners and wish to see or purchase genuine Aboriginal arts and craft, consider a visit to the Waradah Aboriginal Centre (sometimes referred to as Koomurri Aboriginal Centre) in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains.

One of Australia’s best Aboriginal cultural centers, Waradah is the place to learn more about Australia’s unique heritage and first peoples, as well as witness traditional Aboriginal dance and didgeridoo performances. Various shows featuring Aboriginal dancers or musicians in traditional costume are scheduled throughout the day and include an introduction to the story and an explanation of the significance of each performance.

The recently refurbished fine art gallery contains genuine Australian Aboriginal paintings, while the center’s shop has a large collection of more affordable and varied Aboriginal art and crafts, such as totem statues, ceramics, glasswork and didgeridoos.

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White Bay Cruise Terminal (WBCT)

The largest city in Australia, Sydney is often considered one of the best cruise ports in the world, making it a must-see for anyone heading Down Under. Founded in the late 18th century as a British penal colony, it is also one of the oldest European settlements in Australia. Modern and cosmopolitan, Sydney is also laid-back and welcoming, with a variety of culture, history, art and nature to enjoy.

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