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Sydney, Australia Featured

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Tourism in Sydney, Australia forms an important part of the city's economy. The city received 22.6 million domestic visitors and 2.7 million international visitors in year ending Dec 2009. The most well known attractions include the Sydney Opera House, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Other attractions include Royal Botanical Gardens, Luna Park, the beaches and Sydney Tower.

Sydney Harbour

Port Jackson is the natural harbour of Sydney. It is known for its spectacular natural beauty, and in particular as the location of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The area around the harbour foreshore contains pockets of bushland which was once common around Sydney, containing a surprising range of native animals.

Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is one of the most distinctive and famous 20th century buildings, and one of the most famous performing arts venues in the world. Situated on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, with parkland to its south and close to the equally famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, the building and its surroundings form an iconic Australian image. It was included in the Olympic Torch route in 2000 to the Olympic stadium. It was the backdrop of some events for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, including the triathlon—which began at the Opera House—and the yachting events on Sydney Harbour. The dramatic exteriors have not been matched with technically superior interiors, and the Opera House's reputation as a music venue has suffered as a result.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the main crossing of Sydney Harbour carrying rail, vehicular, and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district (CBD) and the North Shore. The dramatic water vista of the bridge together with the nearby Sydney Opera House is an iconic image of both Sydney and Australia. The South-east pylon for many years operated as lookout and tourist attraction, containing a number of telescopes and antiquated arcade games which operated on pennies, long after that currency had gone out of operation. The pylon has recently been renovated and returned to its tourist function.

Since 1998, Bridge Climb has made it possible for tourists to climb the southern half of the bridge. Tours run throughout the day, from dawn to dusk and are only cancelled for electrical storms or high wind. Night climbs are also available. Groups of climbers are provided with protective clothing appropriate to the prevailing weather conditions and are given an orientation before climbing. During the climb, attendees are secured to the bridge by a wire lifeline. Each climb begins on the eastern side of the bridge and ascends to the top. At the summit, the group crosses to the western side of the arch for the descent. Each climb is a three-and-a-half-hour experience.

The shores of Sydney Harbour are home to a number of historic batteries, bunkers and forts, many of which are now heritage listed. Some of these forts date back to 1871 and were part of Sydney Harbours defence system that was designed to withstand a seaborn attack. There are four historical fortifications located between Bradleys Head and Middle Head on the north side of the harbour; the Middle Head Fortifications, the Georges Head Battery, the Lower Georges Heights Commanding Position and a small fort located on Bradleys Head. The forts were constructed from mostly large sandstone blocks and consist of many tunnels, catacombs and underground rooms.


Watsons Bay

Watsons Bay sits on the end of the South Head peninsula and takes its name from the sheltered bay and anchorage on its western side, in Port Jackson. It provides some of the best views across the harbour to the city of Sydney and the Harbour Bridge. The Gap is an ocean cliff on the eastern side with views to Manly, North Head, and the Pacific Ocean.

Watsons Bay is a mostly residential area with some recreational areas and beaches, including one legal nude beach. Some restaurants, cafes and the Watsons Bay Hotel are located here, with Doyles on the Beach, one of the Sydney's most famous seafood restaurants, located on the foreshore of Watsons Bay.[citation needed] The naval base HMAS Watson is located nearby at South Head.

The Rocks on the shores of Sydney Harbour

The Rocks is an inner-city suburb, tourist precinct and historic area of Sydney. It is located on the southern shore of Sydney Harbour adjacent to the city centre, close to where Sydney was first settled in 1788. The close proximity to Circular Quay and the views of the iconic Harbour Bridge, as well as the historic nature of many of the buildings, mean that the Rocks is very popular with tourists. It features a variety of souvenir and craft shops, and many themed and historic pubs. The Rocks Market operates each weekend, with around 100 stalls. There are numerous historic walks through the area, visiting historical buildings such as Cadman's Cottage, Sydney Observatory, and the Dawes Point Battery, which was the first fortified position in New South Wales.

Sydney Tower

Sydney Tower is Sydney's tallest free-standing structure, and the second tallest in Australia, the Q1 building on the Gold Coast being the tallest. It is also the second tallest observation tower in the Southern Hemisphere after Auckland, New Zealand's Sky Tower[citation needed]; though Sydney Tower's main observation deck is almost 50 metres higher than that of the Sky Tower. The Sydney Tower is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers. It is known by locals as the Centrepoint Tower, after the shopping centre building the tower sprouts from.

Sydney Tower Skywalk, or just Skywalk, is an open-air, glass-floored platform circling Sydney Tower at a height of 260m above ground level. The moving viewing platform extends out over the edge of the main structure of Sydney Tower. This attraction is more than twice as high as the popular BridgeClimb walk to the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge. From the platform the seaward horizon is 58 kilometres away, although inland features such as the Blue Mountains can be seen at further distances. See Sydney Attractions Group.


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Official Name:
Commonwealth of Australia
short form: Australia

ISO Country Code: au

Country Calling Code: +61

Capital City: Canberra (pop. 347 000)

Other Cities:
Adelaide, Brisbane (1.6 million) Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne (3.5 million), Sydney (4.2 million), Perth (1.3 million)

Democratic, federal-state system recognizing British monarch as sovereign.
Constitution: 9 July 1900.
Independence (federation): 1 January 1901.

Location: Oceania, continent between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean.
Area: 7.7 million sq. km. (3 million sq. mi.); about the size of the 48 contiguous United States.
Terrain: Varied, but generally low-lying.

Relatively dry, ranging from temperate in the south to tropical in the north.

Nationality: Australian(s).
Population: 20.3 million (2005)
GNI per capita PPP: $ 31 020 (year)
Ethnic groups: European 92%, Asian 6%, Aboriginal 2%.
Religions: Anglican 20%, Roman Catholic 26%, other Christian 21%, other non-Christian 5%, no religion 15%.
Languages: English (official), Italian 12,4%, Greek 9.2 %, Cantonese 7.9 %, only 51 000 people speaking an Australian Indigenous Language at home.
Literacy: 85%.

Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD)

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