Sydney is the heart of New South Wales and the state's capital. A bustling center for industry and business and a major world port, it boasts 3.5 million inhabitants. Spreading over some 670 square miles, the city seems to stretch as far as the eye can see to the west, north and south. Where Sydney's metropolitan area ends, the wide-open bush of New South Wales begins.
Its beautiful harbor is studded with bays and inlets and crowned by the billowing sails of the incomparable Opera House. In 1770, Captain James Cook sailed his ship the Endeavor into Botany Bay, claiming the east coast of the island continent for England and naming it New South Wales. Today this international metropolis has long outgrown the stigma of its convict origins. The harbor is undoubtedly the key to Sydney's splendor. The famous Harbour Bridge spans the bay. Like many of the world's major cities, Sydney is a contrast of old and new.