THE weather has been rubbish, the hospitals are crook, the trains are late and crowded, and housing prices are through the roof.
Yet Sydney still sparkles in the eyes of more than 10,000 people in 20 countries who have rated it the world's best city for the second year in a row.
The daily struggles and stresses of Sydneysiders have failed to damage its reputation as the city where the sun shines, the people smile, the facilities are first-class and the economy is booming.
The annual Anholt City Brands Index, the brainchild of British branding expert Simon Anholt, rated Sydney top of the pops ahead of London, Paris, New York and Rome. Arch rival Melbourne came in sixth.
Although Sydney was not as well-known as either London or New York, not even a little obscurity could shake its "overwhelmingly positive" image.
The conclusion that Sydney was one of the top three cities for employment and business opportunity, alongside London and New York, was probably a case of "success breeding success", the study concluded.
"It seems that a city which is strong in several brand dimensions can acquire momentum, boosting its standing in other areas," it said.
London and Paris were let down by the lack of satisfactory, affordable accommodation and worries about the friendliness of the locals. New York is seen as dirty, expensive and unsafe.
Premier Morris Iemma - in desperate need of a boost after a horror week - was thrilled with Sydney's top ranking.
"Winning this title for a second year confirms independently what we already know: Sydney is a truly great city of which we can all be proud," he said.
"It's the best city, not only in Australia, but the world.
"Sydney has shown that it is not just a great tourist destination, but it is truly a global city, ranked top of the class for beauty, climate and friendliness.
"Importantly, the index also found that Sydney is seen as one of the top three cities for employment and business opportunities. This vote of confidence in our city is a great credit to Sydneysiders and the local tourism industry as well."
Sydney Chamber of Commerce executive director Patricia Forsythe said the index demonstrated Sydney's competitive advantage as a business destination.
"Sydney is unique in its combination of great lifestyle and economic opportunity," Mrs Forsythe said.
"Sydney's prosperity is directly related to its cultural diversity and social vibrancy."
Sydney ambassador Peter Holmes a Court said Sydney "had it all".
"The great thing about our city is it has a business culture that takes on the world, a sporting culture second to none, and a lifestyle that is the envy of people everywhere," he said.
On Friday night, Sydney's Bridgeclimb took out the major award at the Qantas Australian tourism awards.
Top of the world ... Aqua Dining restaurant shows why Sydney's views are the best in the globe.
Click to view image: '158276-aqua_020308_wideweb__470x3192syd.jpg'
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