The First Time I Saw Sydney

Amanda Berry recalls her first glimpse of Australia's capital

Sometimes we grow up with images of a place, thinking we’ll never see them in real life. But when you finally get there, those images are just as magnificent as you expected. Sydney is one of those places.

I have a real affinity for towns and cities surrounded by water. It’s why I love Hong Kong. So much in Sydney happens around water – whether it’s going to Rose Bay, Woolloomooloo for the restaurants, or Bondi Beach.

The first time I went to Sydney was on holiday in the early 2000s. I did all the touristy things – the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb, the Royal Botanic Gardens, a tour of the Opera House – but what you remember about places are the people. I love Australian people: they’re so open, friendly and incredibly hospitable. They want to show off their city and take you to lovely places.

I’ve been to Australia multiple times since – back to Sydney and also Melbourne. I’ve driven 700 kilometres north of Sydney to Byron Bay (and saw the sea the entire way), but I feel like I’ve only seen a tiny bit of Australia. I’d love to go to Uluru and camp. I’d like to see Cairns and Perth. There are still many adventures waiting for me.

Amanda Berry
Credit: Mike Pickles

Amanda Berry is the chief executive of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta)