Sydney is Australia's oldest city, the economic powerhouse of the nation and the country's capital in everything but name. It's blessed with sun-drenched natural attractions, dizzy skyscrapers, delicious and daring restaurants, superb shopping and friendly folk.
Although it's come a long way from its convict beginnings, Sydney still has a rough and ready energy, and offers an invigorating blend of the old and the new, the raw and the refined. While high culture attracts some to the Opera House, gaudy nightlife attracts others to Kings Cross.
From the Lonely Planet travel guide.
Sydney's urban area is in a coastal basin, which is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Blue Mountains to the west, the Hawkesbury River to the north and the Royal National Park to the south.
Port Jackson, better known as Sydney Harbour, is one such ria and is the largest natural harbour in the world.The urban area has around 70 harbour and ocean beaches, including the famous Bondi Beach. Sydney's urban area covers 1,687 km² (651 sq mi) as at 2001. The parts of the city with the oldest European development are located in the flat areas south of the harbour. The North Shore was slower to develope because of its hilly topography and lack of access across the harbour. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened in 1932 and linked the North Shore to the rest of the city.
Sydney is Australia‘s largest city, and has a population of approximately 4.1 million residents. Inner Sydney was the most densely populated place in Australia with 4,023 persons per square kilometre.