Sydney is the capital of New South Wales, on the continent of Australia. That’s right; it’s not the capital of Australia, as many people seem to think. “The Land Down Under” is split into states and each has its own centre of administration. I suppose they all need a shelter nearby with the infamous indigenous fauna. We’ve all seen those clips with spiders larger than a human torso, relaxing under a toilet seat. Kangaroos and koala bears; animals considered as “cute” can be a true pain in the ass. Especially koalas, those beasts are vicious. It looks like everything in Australia wants to kill you. But the aboriginal people don’t seem to be all that bothered. Weird, isn’t it? Perhaps it’s some kind of biblical plague; the land itself turning against the colonial invaders.
Maybe it’s karmic justice for slaughtering the natives during frontier wars. The British have had a thing for good old bloodshed during their colonial era, and maybe that’s the cause of their current many misfortunes. *cough* Brexit *cough*. I’m just messing around, but the fact is that the aboriginal tribes’ numbers now equal to 3% of Australia’s population. Their culture was focused around the area of modern Sydney and that’s where most of the archaeological discoveries take place. The beginning of the city itself is nothing but sinister. It started out as a penal colony. They actually spent resources to transport convicts from England to the other side of the globe, with beaches and perfect weather. The official version is that they did that to halt French advances towards the eastern part of the continent. I believe they did that hoping the cargo won’t survive the trip. Those that did survive eventually became a proper part of the society and founded this country. People with convict ancestors are now low-key celebrities.
There are a few spots worth checking out if you feel like getting more into that history. The Kate Owen Gallery (http://www.kateowengallery.com/) at 680 Darling St hosts exhibitions of unique art made by modern-day Aborigines. Australian Museum (http://australianmuseum.net.au/) at 1 William St delves into the history and ancient artefacts found throughout the continent. The Sydney University is home to Macleay Museum, the last of the big three. It’s currently closed but they should reopen soon when they’re done preparing a new wing. If you would rather experience the Australian animal kingdom, without the risk of getting mangled/injured/eaten then Taronga Zoo (https://taronga.org.au/) is the place to go. It’s located 12 minutes away from Circular Quay and the ferry ride is an experience by itself. You can even spend a night in one of the luxurious campsite tents with a view at the Sydney Harbour and the Opera House. Not that long ago it was hailed as the 8th wonder of the world, next to the likes of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. But people are building artificial islands now. Times change and so does the scale of awesomeness. So it seems the Sydney Opera is around the lower end of the epic-meter now, although to my opinion it’s still impressive and elegant.
The harbour is the pulsing heartbeat of the city, its business centre, its communication and nightlife hub: all in one in place. I mentioned the ferries, but it’s worth noting that it’s the most pleasant and popular way of moving around Sydney. They’ll even take you to some of the 100 beaches spread around and outside of the city. Bondi and the quiet, suburban Manly are two amazing, sandy spots to get your tan on. If you ever considered giving surfing a go, then you’re in luck, Sydney has some of the best waves in the world. Sitting in the sun and swimming can be exhausting. So there’s no better way to regain your strength than sip on delicious beer and snack on fresh seafood. The iconic “Coathanger” bridge is nearby, you can climb to the top of it and witness Sydney from yet another perspective. If you’re in town with your kids and they misbehave, just take them to the Luna Park (https://lunaparksydney.com/). Even the entrance is nightmarish and would traumatize any child and cause a lifetime of coulrophobia (clown phobia). They market it as vintage, but it’s rather terrifying.