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A Guide to the Sydney Region

Say Sydney and immediately the harbour, the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and the beaches spring to mind. Yes, these are all iconic sights of Sydney, but it doesn't represent the huge area that makes up the whole Sydney region. The Sydney region is a coastal basin that stretches across the Cumberland Plain and the Hornsby Plateau from the Hawkesbury River in the north to the Royal National Park in the South and from the Blue Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east, covering more than 12,000 kms. With a mass of harbours, beaches, mountains, valleys, rivers and national parks, this part of NSW has more to offer the visitor than just its eponymous city, fabulous though it is and a major destination in its own right.

If you are choosing to explore this gorgeous region of NSW, you will need to narrow down your choice somewhat as each area can offer more in the way of some activities than others, although every taste will be catered for - from sizzling beaches in summer to mountain yuletide festivals in winter, from bush walks in the gifts from Mother Nature to thrilling theme park rides.

Here are just some of the highlights of the Sydney Region:

Royal National Park - The world's 2nd oldest national park is heritage listed and packed with interesting attractions and exciting activities. Amongst its make-up are beaches, bush land and rainforest all with plenty of flora and fauna. You might cycle, walk, swim, visit Bungoona Lookout, bird or whale watch, cycle, surf, or just enjoy the scenic beauty.

North Shore - Undeniably one of the most admired stretches of coastline in the world. Usually demarcated geographically as the area between Middle Harbour and Lane Cove River, it includes upmarket, leafy suburbs, national parks and some unique landmarks, the most obvious of which is Sydney Harbour Bridge (which connects North Shore to South Shore). The tourist hotspots in North Shore include the Taronga Zoo in Mosman, Luna Park (theme park), Kirribilli House (Prime Minister's house) and beautiful Balmoral Beach.

Blue Mountains - Another heritage listed area within the Sydney Region, marking the western boundary. An area of outstanding natural beauty, the mountains are just 50kms from the city, so are a favourite escape for Sydneysiders. The villages and communities brim with art, culture and gastronomic delights amid stunning mountain scenery and fertile farmlands. Natural attractions include the Wentworth Falls, the Three Sisters rocks at Jamison Valley and the Jenolan Caves. Walks, a scenic railway and lookouts make the beauty easily accessible.

Eastern Suburbs - Running between South Head and Botany Bay, here is where you will find the beach most closely associated with the world vision of Australia - Bondi. Close to are Bronte, Coogee and Marouba beaches and as stunning as they all are, the historical significance of this part of Sydney and indeed the country, cannot be overlooked. The cultural attractions of Botany Bay are a must visit for every Australian.

Hawkesbury Region - Made up of various areas gloriously endowed by Mother Nature, the Hawkesbury Region is probably one of NSW's best kept secrets. There's the fertile valley of the Heartland, the rolling peaks of the Sydney Hills region, the lush Hawkesbury Valley at the foot of the Blue Mountains, the peaceful Hawkesbury Highlands and the Hawkesbury Gateway, serene bush land which abuts Sydney's Central Coast. These are the areas to unwind and relax, visit historic towns like Richmond, Windsor and Wiseman's Ferry, get out into the country to pick your fill of super fresh produce or paddle in a creek.

MacArthur - The southernmost part of the Sydney Region, it is fast changing its face from semi-rural to suburbia, being just over 40kms from Sydney CBD. Whilst Woollindilly remains mostly given over to agriculture and the supply of water to the city, elsewhere, the residential areas of Campbelltown and Camden are thriving. Attractions of the area include Mount Annan Botanic Garden (Camden), Japanese Tea Garden (Campbelltown), Wirrimbirra Sanctuary (Bargo), NSW Rail Transport Museum (Thirlmere), MacArthur Square (Campbelltown Shopping (District) and Sydney Skydivers (Picton).

Towns located in Sydney

  • Alexandria
  • Bondi Junction - A busy gateway from the coast to city
  • Chatswood - Chatswood on Sydney's lower north shore offers
  • Crows Nest - Crows Nest is a trendy leafy suburb just a hop, skip
  • Dee Why - Dee Why is a mere 28 kms away from the Sydney CBD
  • Hornsby - Hornsby is a suburb of Sydney and is just about 25 km from the central business district
  • Hurstville - Hurstville is a bustling suburb of South-West Sydney
  • Kogarah - Kogarah is a South Sydney suburb in the heart of the St. George area
  • Leichhardt - Leichhardt is a suburb of superb Sydney. Just about 4 kilometres west of the city's CBD
  • Manly - One of the premier holiday spots in Sydney
  • Marrickville - Marrickville is one of the many close-in suburbs that feeds workers and students to Sydney each day and welcomes them home again each evening
  • Mosman - Mosman is a jewel in the crown of Sydney, offering visitors and locals alike the enjoyment of a holiday location
  • Newtown - Newtown is a suburb of Sydney and is about 4kms from Sydney's central business district
  • North Sydney - In the frantic hurry to book the next holiday, hidden gems
  • Randwick - Randwick is a suburban, mainly residential, area in the south-east of Sydney
  • Strathfield - Strathfield is a small suburb in the West of Sydney
  • Surry Hills - Located just outside Sydney's bustling central business district, Surry Hills
  • Sydney - Probably the most famous destination in the country, Sydney needs no introduction