Sydney was established in the 1780s – the first European settlement in Australia. Since then, the city has expanded eastward to the coast and westward to the Blue Mountains. It now stretches 55 kilometres from east to west, and 60 kilometres from north to south.
Sydney is one of the world’s most highly rated cities in terms of quality of life. It was ranked by The Economist's Global Liveability Report 2011 as one of the world's most liveable cities and was voted ‘world's best city’ by readers of Travel & Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler magazines. Why not come and decide for yourself!
Population and demographics
Sydney is home to 4.4 million people. The city’s international flavour is due to the fact that 40% of its residents were born overseas. The main nationalities are:
- British (5%)
- Chinese (2%)
- New Zealander (2%)
- Vietnamese (1%)
- Lebanese (1%)
- Italian (1%)
- South African (1%)
Other countries with large resident populations are Greek, Hong Kong, South Korean, Filipino and Indian. People from Asia account for 11% of Sydney’s population, while people from the Middle East and North Africa account for about 3%.
Australian Aboriginals, the indigenous people who have inhabited the country for about 40,000 years, represent 1% of the population.
Sydney’s climate is pleasant, with temperatures rarely exceeding 35 deg C in summer or falling below 6 deg C in winter.
Average temperature ranges
Summer (December to February): 18.3 – 25.5 deg C
Autumn (March to May) 14.5 – 22.1 deg C
Winter (June to August) 8.7 – 16.9 deg C
Spring (September to November) 13.3 – 19.8 deg C
Sydney’s rainfall ranges from an average of 70 mm in September to 130 mm in March. Much of the summer rain falls in dramatic afternoon thunderstorms that bring in milder temperatures.
Sydney’s excellent ratings in quality-of-life surveys are due to the quality of its air and water, the beauty of its natural environment, and the level of infrastructure and services available. On the other hand, Sydney does experience traffic congestion during the morning and evening peak hours.
A unique feature of Sydney is the many suburban beaches along the city’s coastline, each with its own charm and character. Then there is Sydney Harbour, which divides the city between north and south, and offers scores of sheltered ‘harbour beaches’ that are very popular.
Sydney’s pleasant climate, multicultural population and attractive natural environment make it an ideal place to experience diverse cultural and culinary delights and to get involved in a huge range of outdoor and indoor activities.