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Stopping in Sydney, Australia

If you’re like me, you’ve probably seen the amazing fireworks display

in Syndey Harbour that rings in the new year a full 16 hours before midnight here in the US. Have you ever wondered about what else Sydney Harbour has to offer? 


First and foremost, there’s the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Completed in 1932, the bridge (affectionately referred to as “The Coathanger” by some) carries car, rail, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic over the waters of the harbor. The south pylon of the bridge contains a museum and the more adventurous among us can even strap into a harness and jumpsuit and take the 1,332 stair climb to the top of the bridge’s arch-can’t you just imagine how stunning the views of the harbor are? For those who aren’t too keen on getting that high up, there’s also a tourist lookout in the south pylon and an express climb for those who want to have a quicker-and less strenuous-bridge climbing experience.


Second only to the bridge in terms of recognizable Sydney landmarks-and possibly even more prolific-is the Sydney Opera House. Built over a 14 year period, the opera house opened in 1973. Known for its distinct shape and Expressionist architecture, this building is home to Opera Australia, the Sydney Theatre Company, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. This UNESCO World Heritage site is visited by millions of people a year and offers guided tours. Suggest clients stop in for a performance in one of the halls while they’re there!


Located adjacent to the Opera House, the Royal Botanical Gardens are over 200 years old, making them the oldest scientific institution in Australia and one of the earliest surviving colonial botanic gardens in the world. There are over 5,000 plants spread over 72 acres, including an extensive collection of native Australian plants. With incredible views of the harbor, opera house, and harbor bridge to enjoy from various points and no admission fee, this is an amazing, peaceful diversion from the hustle and bustle of the city. Visitors can take a stroll among the plants, fountains, and statues, enjoy one of the many small ponds and sub-gardens, or visit the beautiful, historic Government House museum (which is one of the finest examples of Victorian architecture in all of Australia) or the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, both of which are located adjacent to the gardens. 


If museums are more their style, Sydney has plenty to choose from! The Australian National Maritime Museum celebrates the rich maritime history of Australia. It boasts seven main galleries that cover everything from the discovery of Australia and its seafaring history to the importance of water to the native Aboriginal peoples and everything in between. You can even board a few naval vessels, both real and replica, or view historical ships in the harbor. 


Your science buff clients will enjoy the Powerhouse Museum. This science museum boasts an impressive collection of items that encompass all sorts of technology, from steam to space and beyond. There are several permanent exhibits (including exhibits about space, transport, computers, sustainability, and more) and additional temporary exhibitions to provide even more variety. 


History majors will love the Hyde Park Barracks, which served as barracks, a hospital, a courthouse, a jail, and a mint at one point or another in its 200-year history. Australia started its life by serving as a penal colony for Britain and this museum helps bring that narrative to life. While the museum is currently closed for refurbishment and enhancements, it is set to reopen in early 2020 to transform it into “a rich new, immersive visitor experience like no other in Australia.”


The artist in your group will love the Art Galley of New South Wales. This museum has an incredibly diverse collection, including pieces of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Australian, Contemporary, Pacific, Western, Asian, and photographic art. There are also around 40 temporary exhibitions held every year, as well as hosting many pieces for various art prizes throughout the year. Even the building itself is an ever-evolving work of art, with new wings and additions being added as the overall collection grows within its walls. 


As you can see, there’s more to Sydney Harbor than just a great fireworks display! We’ve barely scratched the surface of what there is to do and see-there are many additional museums and attractions to be enjoyed as well as incredible shopping, restaurants, and recreational activities. If you ever find yourself down under, make sure to add Syndey to the top of your list-you may never want to leave!

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