Whether you are plunging into the surf at Bondi Beach, talking to the animals at Taronga Zoo, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge or sipping cocktails at the Opera House it’s hard to resist Sydney. The Harbour City is the perfect combination of natural good looks, glamour and indulgence. Celebrated for both its world-class cuisine and its outdoor lifestyle, Sydney also has a rich cultural life, with plenty of theatre, opera, ballet, live music and contemporary dance performance. Despite its 21st Century image, the city has preserved much of its early European and colonial heritage. Visitors can easily sidestep Sydney’s fast-paced energy by sailing (or kayaking) on the harbour, taking a bushwalk or learning to surf.

Who goes there: Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruises Australia, Celebrity Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Holland America Line, Cunard, Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises.

Cruisers like: Sydney’s hit parade includes art galleries, national parks, mountain ranges, beaches and bridges. First stop is the Sydney Opera House, Joern Utzon’s architectural masterpiece, which is the venue for performances of all kinds – guided tours are available. On the other side of Circular Quay is the Sydney Harbour Bridge – join an organised climb across this famous 1932 engineering marvel. For something completely different jump aboard the cross-harbour ferry to Manly, a delightful English style seaside resort. Beach lovers will be spoilt for choice. Apart from Bondi Beach, Australia’s most photographed stretch of sand, swimmers, snorkelers and surfers will enjoy nearby Tamarama, Bronte and Coogee.

Best for: Couples, young families, older cruisers, shopaholics, outdoor types, culture vultures, food lovers, barflies, surfers, ocean swimmers and history buffs.

Getting around: Cruise ships dock at either Circular Quay or White Bay. The city is easily accessible from both. Sydney has an integrated transport system based around an Opal card used on ferries, buses, light rail and trains.