What you need to know about Sydney
Sydney is the largest city in Australia with a population of 4 million people. Sydney is located on the southern coast of New South Wales between the smaller coastal cities of Wollongong and Newcastle. In comparison to other cosmopolitan cities the Central Business District is quite small but greater Sydney comprises over 600 suburbs and occupies an area of 2,500 square kilometers.
Sydney is an easy city to move around in with an excellent train, bus and ferry service which covers all areas in the greater metropolitan area. Driving in Sydney is not too overwhelming but the roads are very congested during the morning and evening peak hour.
The temperature averages a warm 26° C in summer and averages around 16° C in winter. Sydney is bathed in sunshine for around 342 days of the year and has an average annual rainfall of approximately 1220 millimeters (48 inches).
Sydney - Number One City!
Sydney has been voted the world's best city by the international "Travel & Leisure Magazine" two years in a row. Sydney scored an 87 per cent approval rating among travellers and tourist industry workers.
Sydney is famous for its excellent surfing beaches. There are also some popular beaches along the harbour foreshores that don't have any surf including Redleaf, Nielsen Park, Parsley Bay and Camp Cove. Most of Sydney's 37 beaches are situated within 30 minutes of the city's CBD by public transport.
Starting from Barrenjoey Head at the northern tip of Sydney's north shore and moving south, the main beaches are: Palm Beach, Whale Beach, Avalon, Bilgola, Newport, Mona Vale, Narrabeen, Collaroy, Dee Why, Curl Curl, Freshwater, Queenscliff, North Steyne and Manly. Just south of Manly is Fairy Bower and Shelly Beach.
On the south side of the harbour the main beaches from north to south are Sydney's famous Bondi Beach, Bronte, Coogee and Cronulla.
Sydney is well known for being a multi-cultural city and as such there is an abundance of restaurants boasting cuisine from all parts of the world. Sydney has some of the finest food you will find anywhere in the world. Fine restaurants are not just confined to the CBD but can be found in Suburbs across the city.
Shopping in Sydney
The city boasts a huge network of shopping arcades, malls and department stores. Most of the large department stores and shopping centers are located within a few blocks of each other.
Shops are generally open from 9-5pm Monday through Friday (with the exception of Thursday when most stores will open until 9pm), 9-4pm on Saturday and some stores in the city will open on a Sunday but hours vary so it's best to call up and check. Almost all outlets accept the major credit cards like AMEX, Diners, MC, Visa. You can also use Maestro or Cirrus electronic network debit cards in most stores.
The suburbs of Sydney also have a variety of shopping malls, which include casual eateries, cinemas and other attractions such as ice skating and ten pin bowling.
Sydney has an extensive public transport network that includes buses, trains and ferries. All Sydney suburbs are accessible by public transport and trains can also be taken to tourist attractions such as the Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley.
The Australian Currency is dollars and cents. Our notes are $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills. Our coins are 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, $1 and $2.
Sydney presents no real health risks for visitors from overseas. Tap water is fine to drink and eateries are required by law to maintain a high standard of food preparation. Air pollution is quite high but is less of a problem than some other metropolises. Those people with fair skin should take particular precautions in the sun. Those visitors with little experience swimming in the surf should be cautious and always swim between the warning flags. The cost of medical care is not as exorbitant as found in the US but travel insurance is highly recommended.
Electricity voltage: 240 volts
Units of measure: metric
Public phones: 40-cent untimed local calls (Sydney metropolitan area)
Emergency phone number for police, ambulance and fire: 000
For additional information about Sydney visit http://sydney.citysearch.com.au/