Sydney is quite the place, dominated by an enormous harbour. According to Wikipedia, the harbour (Port Jackson) has a 317 km perimeter - that's a lot of shoreline. There are all kinds of bays and inlets, and it must be difficult to build roads through the hard rock. Although there is the Harbour Bridge, the best way of getting about has to be the ferry system. It's a big city by South Pacific standards, and moderately old. (That's 240 years or so, which is nothing much to a European or Asian, but a long time if you are an antipodean colonial.)
It was a short visit while we were on our way to New Zealand, and we went mainly to catch up with old friends who live in Sydney. And although we had been there before, those visits were even more fleeting; this one at least allowed us to see a bit of Sydney. We went to the downtown area and walked around in the rain looking at public art (looked good too!) Wandered the shops downtown in the Queen Victoria Building, which had some interesting stuff and some amazing clocks that displayed Australian and British history. Explored the streets and shops in Balmain, and visited the Sydney Zoo, which has some impressive snakes and lizards. The Wallabies and Koalas looked much less threatening. Toured the coastal beaches, where the motorcycles gather in great herds. We watched the teenage boys swim in surging waters that we would never have ventured into, and watched the boys ride their bikes over impossible rocks along the shore. Caught up with our friends. Went to the funfairs of Luna Park and walked back across the Harbour Bridge. And enjoyed the varied art in the Art Gallery of New South Wales - a very handsome art gallery.
The Rocks is an old area of Sydney, as old as Sydney itself, and is right next to the downtown centre of Sydney. It was the source of a big anti-development fight in the early 1970's. Now it's a mixture of upmarket restored residences and public housing, and a tourist area. Being tourists ourselves, we thought it appealing.
Luna Park is fun. Colourful - it is after all a fun fair. And there it is, peaking out under the Harbour Bridge, snugged up right alongside towering apartment blocks. Rides that I would not take lest I lose my lunch, and mirrors that suggest I had too much lunch anyway.
Sydney Zoo: plenty of snakes and lizards. Wikipedia has a very long list of Australian snakes, and assures us that the most venomous snake in the world is the Australian Inland Taipan. We did not record which snakes we saw, but knowing that half of the most venomous snakes listed were Australian did not encourage us to get too close!
The Art Gallery of New South Wales had much to offer, from a very quirky (and expressively Australian) chess set through beach paintings and abstract swirls, bronze horsemen, stagecoach robberies, anatomy classes, European masterpieces and asian statuary. They allowed photography too, which I particularly appreciated.