Once seen as isolated, parochial and immature, Sydney has grown up to become spectacular, brash, colourful, hedonistic and a major world destination. Arranged intricately around the coves and beaches of an enormous and convoluted natural harbour, the city is home to almost a quarter of Australia's population. In January 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip, commander of the 'First Fleet', weighed anchor in Port Jackson. With a modicum of arrogance, and ignoring the local Aboriginal proclamations of 'Warra Warra' (meaning, approximately, 'bugger off'), he declared the entire continent a British penal colony. Now, where once stood a conglomerate of sorry-looking shacks and lock-ups full of bedraggled convicts, stands a forest of glistening high rises. In the shadows of these shiny pieces of modernity stroll cosmopolitan hordes of workers, proud of their welcoming and vibrant city. Lauded as the 'real' (though not administrative) capital of a harsh and colossal continent and an economic and political focal point of the southern hemisphere, Sydney is a sexy city. This guide covers of all the city sights, from Darling Harbour cruising to Chinatown shopping Knowledgeable information on the Blue Mountains, National Parks surrounding the city and northern beaches.