This article belongs to Travelwise column.

Sydney has been one of Australia's main international destinations for visitors from other countries and while other Australian cities are now beginning to make an impact, Sydney is likely to remain Australia's main gateway for some years to come.

The first shock to the system for visitors upon arriving is Sydney Airport. It must be one of the world's worst airports. It is badly designed, badly constructed, badly operated as well as badly overcrowded. The best thing for visitors to do is to depart Sydney Airport, quickly.

Sydney has its best-known attractions such as Sydney harbour, the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and all of those are worth visiting. The best way to do that is by taking a city tour. Companies such as Australian Pacific Tours and AAT King's are the best qualified for those trips.

Walking around the Sydney CBD is fairly safe but night-time adventuring into some Sydney locations is not recommended.

A harbour cruise is recommended but visitors must be careful in terms of not getting ripped off. The biggest cruise companies on Sydney Harbour are not always the best in value for money terms.

To have a look at some of the attractions that are located just outside Sydney, the best mode of transport is a motor vehicle. Plenty of choices here.

The areas recommended for visitors to have a look at are the Blue Mountains west of Sydney and the Southern Highlands on the south-western regions. These regions are well sign-posted and easy to get to.

Hotel accommodation in Sydney ranges from the luxurious to the basic and most are good value for money and there is a wide choice.

Public transport ion Sydney varies. The buses in Sydney are fairly good while the train system is total crap. However, a ferry ride to Manly, a beach-side suburb is good value and for those of you who simply must, Bondi beach is not too far away either.

Remembering that Australia is a large place, seeing other parts of Australia either means travelling long hours and long distances by road or flying. My recommendation in terms of flying to other Australian destinations are either Virgin Blue for interstate travel and Qantaslink for regional travel.

I do not recommend flying with Jetstar.

Long distance train travel ex-Sydney is fairly basic and slow and not very good value for money either.

In all, for those looking at taking an Australian holiday, Sydney is a reasonable gateway.

Recommendations: Venture outside Sydney to have a closer look at what is on offer. Take in the various attractions preferably with tour companies. The Sydney bus system is fine, the trains should be avoided.
Beware of ripoffs.

Rating: 65 out of 100