It is easy to love Sydney. Like a pick ‘n’ mix sweet bag, the multicultural Australian city contains the best bits of the classic tourism cities; its corporate city skyline supplemented with beautiful harbours, green natural parks, kilometres of beaches and a vibrant cultural scene. The most iconic works are the Sydney Harbour Bridge and a certain opera house.
What about its green prospects? City of Sydney Council aims to provide low-impact energy and water via green networks and infrastructure hubs as part of a scheme dubbed ‘Sustainable Sydney 2030’. There’s also a strong emphasis on business with the introduction of a voluntary ‘carbon offset’ scheme, green conference centres and energy-efficient offices. There are initiatives, too, for tree planting, free ‘sustainability workshops’, ‘community gardens’ run by residents and more.
To follow this green mantra, here are five natural ways to enjoy Sydney.
Walk the harbours
Sydney’s intricate geography makes it a wonderland for beautiful seaside walks. Its 240 kilometres of shoreline are filled with idyllic resorts, restaurants, cafés, yachts, entertainment centres, natural parks and excellent photography points. Cross the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge or stroll down to Circular Quay, The Rocks or Darling Harbour.
Go to the beach
Where to begin? Sydney has 39 ocean beaches, often surrounded with cafés, shops and bars. And lots of people. Some of the best are located along the south-east coast, and a scenic walkway stretches from Coogee Beach via Bronte Beach to the one-kilometre-long Bondi Beach – the most famous in Australia. Others worth visiting are Manly and Tamarama Beach.
Visit the parks
Considered the ‘lungs of the city’, the 3.6-square-kilometre Centennial Park includes an equestrian centre and a 3.5-kilometre running track. Unlike cities where parks are placed on the outskirts, this is only five kilometres from the business district. Alternatively, settle down for a picnic in Hyde Park, found in the very heart of the city.
This giant cultural event has enlivened Sydney’s summers since 1977. For three weeks, up to 1,000 artists dish up entertainment such as dancing, theatre, visual arts and music, to the joy of festive Sydneysiders – and a healthy portion of tourists. Its many events are spread across several of Sydney’s major venues. Dates are 5-27 January.
See the opera house
It may not be an outright nature-embracing activity, but for anyone with a sense of cultural appreciation, this is a must. The symbolic Sydney Opera House is home to 1,600 performances a year, including opera (obviously), ballet, theatre plays, music and comedy. Take a day tour or book a seat for one of its unforgettable night shows.
Location: the Australian south-east coast
Area: 12,144 km2
Currency: Australian Dollars (AUD)
Time zone: UTC/GMT+11
Photos: Ben Bryant, Selfiy, Iofoto, Ronald Sumners, Nicholas Rjabow [all via Shutterstock.com], Antonia Hayes.