For this series on iconic ports of call, we’re highlighting nine cities that have leveraged their more industrial past to flourish into world-renowned, waterfront destinations. Several travel professionals share suggestions on where to go, what to see and what to do in order to fully appreciate these maritime metropolises.
“Sydneysiders are some of the friendliest and most laid-back people in the world,” says David Macklin, hotel manager at the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney. “Our culture is very much about living the good life.”
With a seemingly endless array of attractions—world-class shopping and dining, beach (Sydney has no less than 37 of them) and harbor activities, quick day trips to the Blue Mountains and the wineries of the Hunter Valley area—Sydney and its grand waterfront leave little for any traveler to desire. The modern history of Sydney began with the arrival of a British fleet of ships in 1788 and the foundation of a penal colony. The fleet consisted of roughly a thousand settlers, 778 of which were convicts.
Opera House: Catching a performance at this gleaming Sydney icon is a definite must. A variety of tours are another great way to learn about the history and workings of the Opera House.
Harbour Bridge: Those travelers wishing to push adventure to new heights should spend a day climbing to the top of this iconic landmark, which has a harrowing history all its own.
Royal Botanic Gardens: One of Sydney’s most visited attractions, the garden opened in 1816 and is one of the world’s most important botanical institutions. It’s also an idyllic spot for a picnic.
Sea Life Sydney Aquarium: Home to the world’s largest collection of all-Australian aquatic life with more than 13,000 animals from 650 species.
The Rocks: This historic district, once home to Sydney’s Aboriginal people, is now a must-visit area filled with shops, restaurants, museums, hotels and attractions.
This article is an excerpt from the July, August, September edition of the Traveler magazine. Click here to access the full issue.