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Sydney

Sydney is the most populous city in Australia, with a metropolitan area population of approximately 4.28 million (2006 estimate) It is the state capital of New South Wales, and the site of the first British colony in Australia, established in 1788 at Sydney Cove by Arthur Phillip, leader of the First Fleet from Britain. A resident of the city is referred to as a Sydneysider.

Sydney's urban area is in a coastal basin, which is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Blue Mountains to the west, the Hawkesbury River to the north and the Royal National Park to the south. It lies on a submergent coastline, where the ocean level has risen to flood deep river valleys (ria) carved in the hawkesbury sandstone. Port Jackson, better known as Sydney Harbour, is one such ria and is the largest natural harbour in the world. The Sydney area is not affected by significant earthquakes. The urban area has around 70 harbour and ocean beaches, including the famous Bondi Beach. Sydney's urban area covers 1,687 km² (651 sq mi) as at 2001.The Sydney Statistical Division, used for census data, is the unofficial metropolitan area and covers 12,145 km² (4,689 sq mi). This area includes the Central Coast, the Blue Mountains, and national parks and other unurbanised land.

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