After disembarking from your MSC Grand Voyages cruise ship in Sydney, you’ll realize that Port Jackson carves Sydney in two halves, linked by the Harbour Bridge and Harbour Tunnel.
The South Shore is the hub of activity, and it’s here that you’ll find the city centre and most of the things to see and do. Many of the classic images of Sydney are within sight of Circular Quay, making this busy waterfront area on Sydney Cove a logical – and pleasurable – point to start discovering the city, with the Sydney Opera House and the expanse of the Royal Botanic Gardens to the east of Sydney Cove and the historic area of The Rocks to the west.
By contrast, the gleaming, slightly tawdry Darling Harbour, at the centre’s western edge, is a shiny redeveloped tourist and entertainment area. On an MSC Grand Voyages cruise excursion you can discover the iconic Sydney Opera House, just a short stroll from Circular Quay, by the water’s edge on Bennelong Point. It’s best seen in profile, when its high white roofs, at the same time evocative of full sails and white shells, give the building an almost ethereal quality.
“Opera House” is actually a misnomer: it’s really a performing-arts centre, one of the busiest in the world, with five performance venues inside its shells, plus restaurants, cafés and bars, and a stash of upmarket souvenir shops on the lower concourse. Another unmissable MSC Cruise excursion is the charismatic Sydney Harbour Bridge. North-east of Circular Quay, it has straddled the channel dividing North and South Sydney since 1932; today, it makes the view from Circular Quay complete.
The largest arch bridge
in the world when it was built, its construction costs weren’t paid off until 1988.