Around the World by Train: Australia
20319 · By Katie Shaw
Episode 4 of Channel 5's Around the World by Train with Tony Robinson sees the Blackadder actor head down under to uncover the unique quirks and incredible railways of Australia.Read more
The state capital of New South Wales is situated on the picturesque south-east coast of Australia, with a population of approximately 4.5 million. Sydney was discovered in 1770 when James Cook landed in Botany Bay on the Kurnell Peninsula. It was here that he first made contact with an Aboriginal community, leading to the initial European habitation of Australia at Sydney Cove. Celebrated as the 'Queen of the Pacific Rim', vast, vibrant Sydney is home to one of the world's most beautiful harbours fringed by beautiful sandy beaches. The imposing Opera House is the jewel in its crown.
The city is a thriving centre for both business and the arts with all the cosmopolitan amenities from top shopping, excellent restaurants and a buzzing atmosphere. The North Shores offer truly spectacular views of the opera house, bridge and harbour. North of the city the beautiful stretch of coast from manly to Palm Beach has a relaxed beach ambiance with the Pacific Ocean on one side and Pittwater on the other. The peninsula covers about 11.2 miles (18 kilometres) of open coastline with great seaside dining, surf beaches, waterways and boatsheds. On the other side of Pittwater is Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, which has pockets of rainforest with a river, creeks, waterfalls and Aboriginal rock art.
Opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1973, the masterpiece of late modern architecture, designed and largely built by Jørn Utzon is a multi-venue performing arts centre admired internationally and treasured by the people of Australia.
The largest and widest steel arched bridge in the world, at 1,513 feet wide (48.8m), weighing over 39,000 tonnes took over eight years to construct. Building started in July 1923 and was not completed until March 1932. Today you can climb Sydney Harbour Bridge (payable locally) reaching the summit at 440 feet (134m) into the sky, taking in the dramatic views of the city.