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Australia Travel and Vacations You Are Going to Love it

SYDNEY IS THE PLACE TO VISIT IN 2005! Welcome to a land where convicts were the first settlers, where kangaroos, koalas, and wombats still roam, and where everything seems a little different. When it is summer here, it is winter there. The Pacific Ocean is on their east coast. Driving on the left is right. Welcome to Australia and the land Downunder!.Having just returned from a delightful visit to Sydney, I can say that Sydney tops my list of favorite cities.

The people there are very friendly and genuinely like Americans. There is an enormous range of interesting things to see and do. Central Sydney can be easily walked. It is a city where my husband and I were able to explore historic buildings along the waterfront, wander through lush parks, shop for bargains in the street markets, enjoy exceptional entertainment, and sample a vast array of fine food. It is easy to access the beaches and outlying areas by ferry, bus or light rail.The city was settled in 1788 when the first convicts arrived from Britain, establishing a prison colony at Sydney Cove, now known as the Rocks.

Today many Sydneysiders are proud to trace their heritage to these original settlers. One can catch a glimpse of the past in this bustling area that was named for the rugged cliffs that were once the dominant feature here. The Rocks Market, open every weekend, is a beehive of activity.

It has a wide variety of quality craft and food items. The two dominant features of Sydney Harbour are the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. The bridge is best remembered as the site of the spectacular millennial fireworks show. My husband and I awoke one morning to see over 5,000 marathon runners crossing the bridge.

This was the run to determine who would compete in the Olympic marathon in September.The famous Sydney Opera House, with its unusual multi-arched roof, is home to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Australia's premiere opera, ballet and theatre companies. We had the privilege to attend a performance of the Symphony in the Concert Hall, the largest hall with seating for 2690.Sydney's restaurants are not only numerous and of the finest quality, but they are remarkably inexpensive when compared with other cities of the world. There is something for every taste. Some of the regional specialties that we sampled included kangaroo, emu, crocodile, octopus and a wide variety of fresh seafood including Balmain bugs.

We spent one morning exploring Homebush Bay, the site of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. The architecture and immensity of the complex is overwhelming. The Olympic Park Railway Station will be able to accommodate 50,000 people per hour during the games.A day trip that I highly recommend is a tour of the Blue Mountains, an area of dense forested valleys, canyons with steep cliffs and waterfalls. We took a four-wheel drive adventure along an exciting back road to the Cathedral of Ferns, a pre-historic rain forest, before visiting the famous Three Sisters rock formation. One of the most rewarding stops was at a wildlife park where I had some eyeball encounters with koalas, kangaroos, snakes and emus.

A two-hour drive along the coast north from Sydney is the scenic way to get to the Hunter Valley, Australia's oldest wine-producing area. Our two-night stay included accommodations at the Convent Pepper Tree, a beautifully restored 1909 convent that is now an elegant guesthouse. It is located in the heart of more than 80 wineries and 40 restaurants. The highlight of our stay was soaring 1200 feet above the vineyards in a hot-air balloon.Australia is a very affordable vacation for Americans now with the great exchange rate. The Aussies are superb hosts, and Americans will feel very much at home with their casual way of life.

Particularly this year, you couldn't choose a more exciting place to visit than Sydney.

.Toni James is one of our many travel experts, that visit the top worldwide destinations in order to make sure we can help you choose the best Vacation Choices no matter what your taste and your budget want to take you. Visit us at http://www. or for more info on how we can help you make the most of your Travel Plans.

By: Toni James


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