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Presenter : Justine Shapiro

Sydney City Guide

Traveller Justine Shapiro spends a week in Sydney, the gateway to Australia. On the eastern Pacific coast in the state of New South Wales, Sydney was the first port of call for the convict ships of the 1800s, carrying their cargo of outcasts from British cities to the penal colonies.
image: IIan Wright watches in wonder

The best way to get your bearings in Sydney is to take a ferry tour around the harbour. Justine buys a weekly travel ticket, then finds a cheap hostel to rest her weary backpack in the King’s Crossdistrict.
On a mission to overcome her fear of heights Justine gets up early to scale Sydney Harbour Bridge. The climb can only be done with an organised group, so in spite of her vertigo Justine is in safe hands and the panoramic harbour view is definitely worth it. Back on terra firma Justine sets off to explore of Sydney’s history at The Rocks, an early settlement, and at the Colonial House Museum.
Bondi Beach, the most famous beach in the world, is the place to flaunt the body beautiful or just check out the lifeguards. Bondi is also the starting point for the coastal walk, a scenic cliff top promenade which many Sydney-siders incorporate into their fitness regime. En route to the Waverley Cemetery, which is surrounded by stunning coastal vistas, there’s the less populated Tamarama Beach and Bronte Beach, more popular with the locals but no less spectacular.
For all its European heritage Australia’s closest neighbours are Asian countries. The Sydney suburb Cabramatta is populated by a vast Vietnamese community. Also of non-European descent are the Aboriginal peoples, who, although they lived on the land for 64,000 years before the arrival of the first convict ships, have only been counted as citizens since the referendum of 1967. Justine joins a tour which takes in cultural aspects of aboriginal life and gives an insight into the way the Aborigines have been brutally treated by the European colonisers.
Justine ventures outside the city limits to Katoomba, gateway to the Blue Mountains. The mountains are so called because of an eerie blue haze on the horizon, the vapour exuded by the eucalyptus trees. Her guide takes her through the bush and the rainforest region surrounding Beacham Falls, and she communes with the Kangaroos, Australia’s national animal…though unfortunately her new-found friends are on the menu that evening.image: Gay & Lesbian Mardi GrasBack in town, Justine goes to a contemporary music performance at the world-famous Sydney Opera House. The Opera House was the product of an international architecture competition won by Danish-born Jorn Utsen, son of a naval engineer. Utsen drew his inspiration from childhood memories of billowing sails in the shipyards as he watched his father at work.A day trip to Bundeena is just a short ferry trip away, a calm backwater away from the urban sprawl. Justine witnesses the Festival of the Living, and hooks up with a local who takes her to the local RSL club, one of the many servicemen’s clubs all over Australia.Sydney has a long history of wild parties, ever since the legendary orgy that took place when the first ship of women convicts docked in the harbour after eight months of abstinence on the high seas. The biggest event in Sydney’s calendar takes place in February, the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Justine is invited to join in the procession by Robert, who has entered his fabulous costume Colours du Jour.
On her final day in Sydney Justine takes a quick Harley Davidson tour to some of the sites she hasn’t had time to see in just a week, including the Sydney 2000 Olympic site and the wealthy north shore region.

Places Mentioned - Australia

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Destination Guides

Australia

Pacific

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New South Wales

South East Australia

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Pacific

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