Port of Sydney (Australia)
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Although it is a modern city strongly influenced by British roots and current American popular culture, Sydney's real character is derived from its exotic location and brash beauty. Walking through the glass and concrete downtown, known as the Central Business District, you could be in any other Western-culture metropolis -- until a fluorescent red and green lorikeet parrot swoops overhead or an unexpected flash of the brilliant blue harbor appears between the skyscrapers.
Any proper visit to Sydney must begin in the harbor, which is both the birthplace of the city and its current iconic centerpiece. The area is called Circular Quay (pronounced "key" by locals). It is hard to imagine a more picturesque setting for a city's heart than this, with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge displayed against the inlet's bright water.
Sydney spreads across a massive geographic area, but the majority of its most interesting areas can be found near the ocean coast in the area known as the Eastern suburbs, as well as in its delightful inner-city neighborhoods, which each possess a distinct vibe. Oxford Street, the main thoroughfare running east from downtown to the ocean beaches, hosts Sydney's famous gay and lesbian Mardi Gras parade each February and is popular year-round because of its upscale shops and cafes.
Sydney is a well-balanced blend of a big city lifestyle and the laid-back Australian mentality. Although Aussies who hail from other towns often disparage Sydney for its flashiness and hectic pace, urban inconveniences seem minor here compared to places like New York and London. Tourism is a huge industry around Sydney, and locals are accustomed and happy to providing visitors with service, helpful directions and a rousing welcome to the stunning city that they call home.
Top Sydney (Australia) Itineraries
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Where You're Docked
Ships dock in two different spots, depending on size. Those that cannot fit underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge will find themselves tied up at the atmospheric and centrally located Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay, adjacent to the Rocks, Sydney's original old city. Smaller ships dock at White Bay. Just underneath the bridge, ships have awesome views of the Sydney Opera House.
Those at Circular Quay are in the middle of everything. Water taxis, ferries, trains, cabs and buses all depart regularly from the wharf location. Those at White Bay will need to catch a shuttle or taxi to the city, as there is no public transport.
A third location for ships in the increasingly popular Sydney Harbour is a tender position out beyond the Sydney Opera House. Ships transport passengers to Darling Harbour via tender boats.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
Currency is the Australian dollar. Check www.xe.com for the latest exchange rates. ATMs are easily accessible all over the city. Money also can be exchanged at banks and bureaus. There is a currency exchange booth located in the main Circular Quay terminal, beneath the railway stop. The nearest bank is a St. George directly across from the main terminal at 20 Loftus Street.
English -- but be careful, because Aussies shorten everything when they speak. Breakfast becomes "brekkie," sunglasses are "sunnies," and a bathing suits are called "cossies" (short for swimming costume!). Even the word afternoon gets turned into "arvo." Other unusual expressions and words pop up in Australian English, as well -- to "spit the dummy" means to get upset, and to be "chuffed" is to be excited about something.
Sydney (Australia) Awards
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