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The clouds roll in, blocking the mid-summer sun. They're gone an hour later and the horizon returns to a shimmering blue. The damp, warm atmosphere caresses sub-tropical gardens in which hibiscus and native bush flourish. Yet two years ago there were fears that the city would run out of water.

A huge bridge spans one of its two harbours, but ferries still cross to its north shore and outer islands. Sailing clubs and marinas hug the coastline; possessed joggers take over the neighbouring foothpaths.

Sport is endemic. Red socks became a mark of solidarity during a recent international contest. The city will help host the return match in four years time.

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