If you’re looking for a place with lots of people and plenty of activity going on, try Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, located halfway down the coast of New South Wales. It perches on the southeast corner of Australia, right on the edge of the Tasman Sea. From its beginnings in 1788 as a British colony through today, year after year it ranks on the list of the world’s top metropolitan centres.
After it was discovered by British Captain James Hook, the British sought to populate it with convicts and work the land, but they soon moved northward because of the unyielding sandy soil. Many of the native Aborigines—the Eora people, so-called by the British because they said they lived “eora” or “here,” as well as the small colonies of Gweagal Aborigines who lived amidst the clay pits—died from illnesses such as smallpox brought over by the British. By 1820 the few natives left were baptised by the British settlers. Commerce flourished, and Sydney soon boasted roads, bridges, and a government of sorts.
Today Sydney serves as a primary financial centre, which encourages the growth of health and human resources as well as cultural opportunities to spring up around the city. The local government is relatively small for such a large city and the various areas of Sydney include many Local Government Areas (LGAs), each of which boasts its own elected officials, much like the boroughs of London.
Sydney has a little bit of everything: Many corporations and demographers count it among the world’s most livable cities. You’ll find a world-class metropolitan opera, a deep-water port, and the magnificent Sydney Harbour Bridge, an amazing single-gate bridge that was completed after more than a decade in 1932. Many people visit the Royal Botanic Gardens with its wondrous Pyramid Glass House, and the Chinese Gardens of Friendship also merit a look. No matter what part of Sydney you visit, you’ll find yourself in the thick of the hustle and bustle—there’s something for everybody!