Perched on the shores of the largest natural harbour in the world, Sydney is the brash, bold and stunning state capital of New South Wales. Although the area has been populated by native tribes since the Paleolithic era, it was not until 1788 that British explorers first sailed into Port Jackson and founded a penal colony on the site where the Sydney skyline now soars. Positively bubbling with exuberance yet quintessentially laid-back, Sydney boasts a thriving arts and culinary scene, beautiful beaches and marvelous displays of contemporary architecture besides the iconic Opera House. Notorious as one of the world's most expensive, Sydney is also one of the most livable cities, ripe with hip enclaves and ever-evolving culture. There's a constant flurry of new restaurants, bars and nightclubs to try alongside time-tested staples. On the flip side, the urban cityscape is heartily fringed with greenery, riddled with parks and nature reserves teeming with native wildlife. Cockatoos, flying foxes and possums are often spotted mingling with the denizens of the urban jungle, while the koalas of Taronga Park Zoo are always ready for a cuddle. From walking the Harbour Bridge and the stunning views from Sydney Tower to the surfers' paradise that is Bondi Beach and the verdant fonds of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney is a vibrant wonderland of delights.