ArticleAn Iconic Harbor
Despite being a relatively small town, Cairns commands an important area known as The Gateway to the Reef - and offering a tropical forest and Nature's own “country-club” as a bonus. While it's not everywhere in Australia that Nature is as rampant, the aquatic component is indeed ubiquitous. Among the reasons Cairns tours are so popular, is that they celebrate water and its role in Australian society.
Throughout history human settlements had for a variety of reasons been founded near water sources – and there are rivers in most big cities on all continents. One such city, Venice, is essentially all water - and that's quite literally one of a kind. Another city, Amsterdam, harnessed water to serve a unique commercial project. Even so, Australia is clearly in a class of its own because a vast majority of its towns and cities (including almost all of the major ones) are coastal. That unique geography could hardly fail to change the status of water for the whole country: from mere necessity of life to a cultural – and even spiritual – icon of that “island continent”. No wonder that waterfronts have become for Australia what downtowns are for North America, and city centres for Europe – namely, vibrant entertainment hubs attracting locals and tourists likewise. One would be hard put to find a place or an area anywhere in the world that could fit this description better than Sydney Harbour.
Compared to many city centres, the Harbour isn't big. Certainly, it's much less sprawled - and yet, it's packed with both action and attractions. The former is provided for by street entertainers. The woman in the picture is about to end up in that tiny box she is standing next to.
…and those two pipes actually make music
Just around the corner, there is Sydney Museum of Modern Arts - and right next to it, the Royal Botanic Garden
Together with a promenade lined with eateries and boutiques, they form a circle, thus giving the area (and the nearby subway station) its name - Circular Quay
Each segment of the circle is an exploration project in its own right - together, they could occupy one for several days on end. The fact that they take a back seat to a relatively recent newcomer to the Circle, speaks volumes about the magnitude of the latter…