Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Founded: 1788; Incorporated: 1842
Location: Southeastern Australia
Flower: Banksia Ericifolia
Time Zone: 10 PM Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Elevation: 42 m (138 ft) above sea level
Latitude and Longitude: 33°55'S, 151°10'E
Coastline: 60 km (37 mi)
Climate: Temperate with mild winters and warm to hot summers
Annual Mean Temperature: 12°C (54°F); January 9°C (48°F); July 23°C (73°F)
Average Annual Precipitation (total rainfall): 1,140 mm (45 in)
Government: Local councils
Weights and Measures: Metric system
Monetary Units: Australian dollars
Telephone Area Codes: 2 (Sydney area code); 61 (country code for Australia)
Postal Codes: 2000–2060

2. Getting There

Centered around the Port Jackson harbor on Australia's east coast, Sydney is 870 kilometers (540 miles) north of Melbourne and nearly 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) south of Brisbane. The greater metropolitan area encompasses Botany Bay to the south, reaches to the foothills of the Blue Mountains in the west, and extends into an area of national parks to the north.


Four main highways provide access to Sydney: the Pacific Highway/Sydney Newcastle Freeway (Route 1 north of the city) leads northward to Newcastle and Brisbane; the Western Motorway (Route 44) leads westward to Strathfield and the Great Western Highway; Princes Highway (Route 1 south of the city) leads to Wollongong and the south coast; and the Hume Highway leads southwest out of the city to Mittagong and eventually Melbourne.

Bus and Railroad Service

Greyhound Pioneer provides service between Sydney and points throughout Australia. The smaller McCafferty's and Kirkland's lines also service Sydney but do not run nationwide. Both interstate and regional train service is available.

The State Rail Authority of New South Wales provides passenger rail services throughout Greater Sydney and other population centers in the state. Its Countrylink service provides long-distance service throughout New South Wales, and also interstate service to Canberra, Melbourne, and Brisbane on an updated fleet of high-speed XPT and Explorer trains, transporting more than 2.6 million people annually.


The Kingsford Smith Airport, located about ten kilometers (6.2 miles) south of Sydney's central business district, is Australia's busiest airport. It is served by some 45 international passenger and cargo carriers.


Sydney is served by Port Jackson, one of Australia's busiest ports, as well as a newer port in Botany Bay devoted exclusively to petroleum products.

Sydney Population Profile

Population: 3,665,000
Area: 1,735 sq km (670 sq mi)
World population rank1: 71
Percentage of national population2: 19.5%
Average yearly growth rate: 0.4%
Nicknames: CBD (central city), Sidneysiders (residents), Oz (Australia)


  1. The Sydney metropolitan area's rank among the world's urban areas.
  2. The percent of Australia's total population living in the Sydney metropolitan area.

3. Getting Around

Sydney is built around a vast harbor with many coves, bays, and inlets. The harbor runs through the city, dividing it into northern and southern sections, which are connected by the Harbour Tunnel and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The central business district and heart of the city is contained within the 13 square kilometers (five square miles) of a narrow peninsula in the southern half.

Bus and Commuter Rail Service

Sydney Buses operates buses throughout the city. Bus service is divided into seven zones, with the main terminals located at Circular Quay, Wynyard, Town Hall, and Central Station. Buses serve some areas, including the suburbs of Watsons, Rose Bay, and Vaucluse, which are not on rail lines.

CityRail, operated by the State Rail Authority, provides suburban and intercity rail service over a 3,218-kilometer (2,000-mile) network throughout New South Wales. With 301 stations and over 2,000 trips per day, CityRail carried 266.5 million passengers in 1997–98. Sydney also has a light rail line providing tram service from Central Station to stops in the central city and a monorail that loops through the central business district.


Sydney's popular ferry service, operated by the Sydney Transportation Authority, provides a picturesque and inexpensive mode of local transportation. Ferries cross Sydney's harbor between Circular Quay and the north bank, also traveling to points eastward and westward.


A variety of organized tours of Sydney are offered. Popular tour lines include Australian Pacific, AAT King's, Newmans, Murrays, Great Sights, and Clipper Gray Line tours. Tours are offered to a variety of sites outside the city. These include tours focusing on Aboriginal culture and Australian wild-life. In addition, Sydney's ferries afford a unique sightseeing experience. Harbor cruises take visitors to the area's parks, beaches, coves, suburbs, and other sites. Cruises with commentary are offered regularly on the city-operated ferries on both weekdays and weekends. Harbor cruises are also offered by commercial lines.

19. Tourism

As the principal arrival point for visitors to Australia, Sydney has become a major tourist center, with numerous hotels, motels, and restaurants. During the Australian bicentennial in 1988, an estimated one million visitors joined the city's harbor-front festivities.

22. For Further Study


City of Sydney. [Online] Available (accessed December 27, 1999).

Excite Travel. [Online] Available…/australia/new_south_wales/sydney/ (accessed December 27, 1999).

Official Site of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. [Online] Available http://www.olym…/sydney/virtual_sydney/sydney.html (accessed December 27, 1999).

Government Offices

Governor, New South Wales
Level 3, Chief Secretary's Building
121 Macquarie Street
Sydney, NSW 2000

Tourist and Convention Bureaus

Australian Tourist Commission
Level 4, 80 William St.
Woolloomooloo, Sydney
NSW 2011

NSW Travel Centre
19 Castlereagh Street
Sydney, Australia

Sydney Visitors Information Centre
106 George St.
Sydney, Australia


The Australian
Level 19 Darling Park
201 Sussex S, 2001

Daily Telegraph Mirror
2 Holt St.
Surry Hills, 2010

The Sydney Morning Herald
Level 19 Darling Park
201 Sussex S, 2001


Clark, Manning. A Short History of Australia. New York: NAL Penguin, 1987.

Drew, Philip. Sydney Opera House: Jorn Utzon. London: Phaidon Press, 1995.

Hughes, Robert. The Fatal Shore. New York: Knopf, 1986.

Kirkpatrick, Peter. The Sea Coast of Bohemia: Literary Life in Sydney's Roaring Twenties. St. Lucia, Queensland: University of Queensland, 1992.

Lindsay, Jack. The Roaring Twenties: Literary Life in Sydney, New South Wales in the Years 1921–6. London: Bodley Head, 1960.

Matthews, Anne. Sydney and New South Wales. Passport Books. Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Publishing Group, 1993.

McHugh, Evan. Sydney. The National Geographic Traveler. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 1999.

Morris, Jan. Sydney. New York: Random House, 1995.

Polin, Zena L., and Stephen G. Gatward. The Other Side of Sydney: An Independent Traveler's Guide to Wonderful Australia's Largest City. Saint Paul, MN: Marlor Press, 1996.

Spindler, Graham. Uncovering Sydney: Walks into Sydney's Unexpected and Endangered Places. Kenthurst, Australia: Kangaroo Press, 1991.


Sydney [videorecording]. Hosted by Al Roker. Thirteen/WNET production by Engel Brothers Media Inc. MPI Home Video, 1997. Copyright held by Educational Broadcasting Corporation. 1 videocassette (ca. 58 min.): sd., col.; 1/2 in.