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Cradled between the sparkling Pacific Ocean and the Blue Mountain ranges is Sydney. Water truly dominates this coastal city, with its world-famous beaches (think Bondi), its range of fantastic outdoor saltwater baths and one of the world’s most picturesque harbors.

Curled around Port Jackson, Sydney unfurls around numerous delightful coves and secluded bays. The venerable Sydney Harbor Bridge links the city’s original South side central business district to the more recently developed North Shore.

The city’s celebration of the arts, stemming from its iconic Sydney Opera House, is evident throughout. Sculpture gardens, street art, eclectic architecture and vibrant artisan street markets blend together in a visual cornucopia.

Parks proliferate throughout the city, carnivals mob the streets, and gleaming silvery displays in the country’s biggest fresh fish market give way to chic shopping and buzzing business districts. Sydney’s warm summers and mild winters make it a magnet for people in search of the Australian dream. Indeed, Australia’s economic and financial hub lures no fewer than 40,000 newcomers every year for the work and lifestyle opportunities on offer.

What is special or unique about your city?
Located on the east coast of Australia and built on the shores of Port Jackson, Sydney is now home to almost five million people, drawn from many cultures. In addition to having magnificent beaches and parks, Sydney also boasts two world-famous icons: the Sydney Harbour Bridge (opened on March 19, 1932) and the Sydney Opera House (built in the 1960s and officially opened on October 20, 1973). Combined, these assets make Sydney one of the world's most popular places to visit.

What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city?
Sydney is not a planned city (such as Canberra). Its layout is complicated by the surrounding hills and the numerous inlets of the harbor, with its center on the south shore, about 7 kilometers inland from the harbor heads.

It is considered a safe city compared to its big-city counterparts in the rest of the world. In addition, Sydney is proud of its multicultural heritage, which is clearly reflected through the wide range of cuisine available in restaurants and at many specialty stores.

Are these impressions likely to change?
Sydney, true to its reputation, is very livable. Most expatriates report fond memories of their assignments in Sydney.

What is the local language?
English is the official language of Australia. A basic knowledge of it is important. However, please note that many Australians use a number of colloquialisms. At first, English speakers from other countries may have occasional difficulties understanding parts of everyday Australian-English speech.

How easily could I live in this city without knowing this language?
Speaking and understanding English will be quite important while living in Sydney. There are many types of language classes available. These include classes run by the government, community groups and private training organizations.

What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city?
As Sydney is a very diverse city, new arrivals need to be tolerant of other cultural beliefs.

How might the local weather affect my daily life?
Sydney's climate is generally temperate, with average summer temperatures in the high 20s (degrees Celsius), although this can rise to the mid-30s with high humidity. However, torrential downpours often break the heat between October and March. Winters are mild compared to Europe or North America.

Is there anything else I should know about the overall character of your city or its people?
While Sydney began its life as a penal colony (the oldest settlement in Australia), it is now a vibrant sun-soaked city with great diversity. It is also the economic powerhouse of the nation and is considered by many to be Australia's capital in everything but name.

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