Hornsby & the Upper North Shore
Hornsby lies in the heart of the upper North Shore, which is – with the older and more established Eastern Suburbs (see the Bondi Neighborhood guide) – the classiest/most expensive part of Sydney.
While the East is, at times, quite urban in feel, the Upper North shore is most definitely suburban…. Think swimming pools, mansions, Mercedes Benz, and so many trees you'd think you were in a forest. Hornsby is the major services centre for the Upper North region – a bone-fide city in its own right, and with Chatswood and North Sydney, one of the three main centres on the Northern Side of Sydney Harbour. Gordon and St Ives are the Upper North's ritziest areas, with their large blocks exploding with beautiful old mansions and plant life.
There are plenty of reasons to come over to the North side of the Harbour - for instance, some of Sydney most beautiful and accessible National Parks. Of particular note are Ku-Ring-Gai, which is home to some of Sydney's best preserved aboriginal sites, and Lane Cove National Park, which has some very beautiful areas that are very easily accessible by even the least fit tourists.
Most people who visit Australia are keen to see some native animals. Of course, the best way to do this is au naturale, out in the bush; but if you are short on time, or a little tent-shy, then the best place in Sydney to do it is at Taronga Zoo, which is much to be preferred to some of the tackier and ethically questionable Wildlife businesses to be found in the Sydney area. The aspect from Taronga – on a spit of land poking out into the Harbour – is fabulous, and it is easy to access, with frequent ferries leaving Circular Quay.