Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

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WoodSpinner
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Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by WoodSpinner » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:31 am

All,

Wondering if there is some BH wisdom I can tap?

DW and Inare heading to Australia as our First big trip, post-retirement, and I have 4 days in Sydney before the tour kicks off.

Figured this would give us a chance to relax and get used to the time change....

Any suggestions on hotels, B&Bs, or AirBnB to book?

What part of the city should I target—basically we are tourists on our First trip down under.

Thanks in advance.

WoodSpinner :beer

livesoft
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by livesoft » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:35 am

I always stay at the Holiday Inn Darling Harbour, but someone else pays for it.

I recommend you all do the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb. Do it at least twice on, but on separate trips: Day-time and Night-time.
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Bacchus01
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:39 am

livesoft wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:35 am
I always stay at the Holiday Inn Darling Harbour, but someone else pays for it.

I recommend you all do the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb. Do it at least twice on, but on separate trips: Day-time and Night-time.

Harbor Bridge
Rocks area
Opera House
Harbor boat to beaches - easy ride, lots of views, nice shopping lunch areas
Olympic Park (train from downtown)
Bondi Beach area - must go out there.

Most dinner/night clubs in the Rocks are more formal. No jeans or tennis shoes. Pubs are less formal.


You can walk pretty much the entire Sydney downtown area

stan1
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by stan1 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:56 am

Day trip to Blue Mountains National Park. We hired a guide with a 4x4 so got to see some rugged parts of the bush.

Day trip to Hunter Valley wine region if you are interested in that.

Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb is well worth the price. We've found the bridge climb to be a fun activity after an early morning arrival waiting for hotel room to be ready (keeps the adrenaline going and helps stay awake until 8 PM).

Sydney Tour is also worth the price of admission on a sunny day.

Guided tour of the Opera House and a concert, play or opera booking.

Ferry from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay or Manly. View from the water and fresh air is probably just as important than the destination. There are nice hikes out to scenic points at both.

Bondi but unfortunately the Bondi Junction train station is about 1 1/2 miles from the beach itself so you may want to transfer to a bus or take a taxi/ride share.

SrGrumpy
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by SrGrumpy » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:28 pm

I've been to Sydney many times. My last visit, in April, we stayed in an Airbnb at Bondi beach. Brilliant. There's a strip of stores and eateries, and I swam in the famous pool that abuts the ocean. Transport to the city is easy, although the CBD isn't that interesting (apart from the Opera House, of course).

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by jabberwockOG » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:29 pm

stan1 wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:56 am
Day trip to Blue Mountains National Park. We hired a guide with a 4x4 so got to see some rugged parts of the bush.

Day trip to Hunter Valley wine region if you are interested in that.

Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb is well worth the price. We've found the bridge climb to be a fun activity after an early morning arrival waiting for hotel room to be ready (keeps the adrenaline going and helps stay awake until 8 PM).

Sydney Tour is also worth the price of admission on a sunny day.

Guided tour of the Opera House and a concert, play or opera booking.

Ferry from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay or Manly. View from the water and fresh air is probably just as important than the destination. There are nice hikes out to scenic points at both.

Bondi but unfortunately the Bondi Junction train station is about 1 1/2 miles from the beach itself so you may want to transfer to a bus or take a taxi/ride share.
This - great advice. Sydney is an amazing place, great food, good museums, and to my mind the most beautiful city and natural environs I have ever visited. Be sure to check out the city parks, get out on the harbor, and also see outskirts especially Eucalyptus forested areas and amazing local fauna.

62andret
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by 62andret » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:58 pm

Was just there in early October.

Australian Museum
Art Gallery of New South Wales.

cheerio!

Bmac
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by Bmac » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:38 pm

For four days I would recommend staying near Circular Quay. Probably more expensive than further out, but excellent for walking to The Rocks area, Opera House, Botanical Gardens, Harbour Bridge, etc. as well as access to all the ferries, obviously. Staying out at Bondi would be very inconvenient for general tourist activities, especially with just a few days. We stayed at the Marriott. The Habour Bridge Climb is awfully expensive. We chose to just visit the museum in the south tower and walk across the bridge on the pedestrian path. Still great views and the museum is quite interesting. Instead we spent those dollars on a one day Blue Mountain tour, which was well worth it. The Opera House tours are great. There was also an afternoon “opera light” concert that was terrific (even our pre teen daughters enjoyed it). If you only visit one beach, I would choose Manley over Bondi just for the ferry experience, if nothing else. If you do go to Bondi (bus is probably easiest) there is a beautiful shore walk that you can take to Congee Beach (Bondi to Coogee Shore walk) and then return to Circular Quay on a different bus. You will want/need to get Opal Cards to use the bus/train/ferry system. I believe this website will be very helpful for trip planning on the public transit system: https://transportnsw.info/#/train. The biggest surprise for me is how nonforeign Sydney feels. A beautiful city, for sure, and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit, but it honestly seems no more international than Vancouver, B.C,

bob60014
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by bob60014 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:48 pm

We are leaving in a few weeks staying in Syd for about 6 days, then going to visit family near Canberra. In Syd we are staying at the Marriott Circular Quay which is in walking distance to:
Ferrys, The Rocks, Opera House, Royal Botanic Gardens, CBD and easy access to transportation. We also plan on going to Manly Beach, Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbor and whatever else we may have time for. On our return before leaving the country we will be going to the Blue Mountains for a few days. Happy travels!

sevenseas
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by sevenseas » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:51 pm

Was hoping someone would mention the Bondi to Coogee Beach walk (or Coogee to Bondi, as I did). Easy public bus ride out and back. Highly recommended for spectacular coastal views and to get away from downtown for a bit. I also stayed near Circular Quay (Radisson Blu) and was happy with my choice. Easy daily walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens (gorgeous, free, and hilarious entertainment from the sulfur-crested cockatoos) to Opera House and ferries. Manly is also worth the ferry ride out; mellow beach town with nice eateries. Fantastic food; I found the Asian food in particular to be excellent (Malaysian, Indian, Thai...). Wonderful city, wonderful people. Have a fantastic trip!

Bacchus01
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:57 pm

sevenseas wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:51 pm
Was hoping someone would mention the Bondi to Coogee Beach walk (or Coogee to Bondi, as I did). Easy public bus ride out and back. Highly recommended for spectacular coastal views and to get away from downtown for a bit. I also stayed near Circular Quay (Radisson Blu) and was happy with my choice. Easy daily walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens (gorgeous, free, and hilarious entertainment from the sulfur-crested cockatoos) to Opera House and ferries. Manly is also worth the ferry ride out; mellow beach town with nice eateries. Fantastic food; I found the Asian food in particular to be excellent (Malaysian, Indian, Thai...). Wonderful city, wonderful people. Have a fantastic trip!

I’ve done that hike and highly recommend. But it’s strenuous by some standards.

JDTHOOSIER
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by JDTHOOSIER » Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:22 pm

Woodspinner -

What is the tour you plan to do? Australia is at the top of my travel bucket list, and planning to go there as my post-retirement gift.

mbres60
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by mbres60 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:35 pm

We too are going to Sydney. I have reservations at both the Holiday Inn Old Sydney and the Marriott Harbor at Circular Quay. They are refundable so I can research before I decide. I don't know if one is a better location than the other.

Many of the sites are on our list to see (although we are NOT climbing the Harbor Bridge. Besides the expense it is a bit to ambitious for us. If you have access to todays Washington Post Travel section there is a big article about a mother-daughter trip to Sydney. They did the bridge.

bob60014
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by bob60014 » Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:29 pm

mbres60, Both hotels are in good locations but we chose the Marriott for the ease of access to the Circular Quay train station, getting to/from the airport. I was going to do the bridge climb but as you say it's a bit pricey. We are going to the Pylon Lookout instead. Cheaper, similar views and less fewer steps!

rama13
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by rama13 » Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:23 pm

There's a hostel in the Rocks that is really nice--Sydney Harbor YHA. We had our own ensuite with a view of the Opera House for a ridiculously amazing price.

Opera House tour is cool, and so is the Hyde Park Museum. Also recommend taking a trip out the Featherdale Wildlife Park. Public transportation is very easy and affordable.

Enjoy!

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by WoodSpinner » Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:51 pm

All,

Many thanks for your insights. Leaning towards Simpson of Potts Point. Anyone have any experience? Lot’s to think about, really interested in the Brige climb— will be a real test in overcoming my fears.

Excited, this will be our First big retirement trip.

WoodSpinner

livesoft
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by livesoft » Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:04 pm

WoodSpinner wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:51 pm
really interested in the Brige climb— will be a real test in overcoming my fears.
On the Bridge Climb, you wear a jumpsuit provided and a safety harness. You are always locked in with a carabiner to a guide cable, so there is no possible way to misstep or fall or jump or have an accident. It's practically like a tethered walk in the park.
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TravelforFun
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by TravelforFun » Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:50 pm

Have you seen this Sydney travel blog?

http://www.bocung.com/2013_sydney_australia.html

TravelforFun

Seoulseeker
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by Seoulseeker » Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:43 pm

I love Sydney. You should have a wonderful time!

A couple of suggestions, several of which have already been made:

Get a reservation for nighttime dinner at Cafe Sydney as soon as possible. The food is great and interesting (I suggest the Bugs and Dabbies as an appetizer) but what you go for is the view. Really spectacular as it sits on top of the old customs house right between the opera house, but the place books up to a couple of months in advance. Try for seats on the terrace. At least go for drinks at the bar.

Go to the Rocks on Saturday and enjoy the street fair with local goods for sale and lots of activity to watch then watch the sunset from the park at the Sydney Observatory park on the Rocks, then go for dinner at the Glenmore Hotel nearby (but try to schedule when there is not a cruise ship in the harbor, as it can block part of the view). Often there are fireworks at the Opera House on Saturday nights so this is ideal. They don't take reservations. The food is good and the atmosphere great with wonderful views.

This may be controversial, but do not waste time or money on climbing the Harbor bridge. They make a 15 minute climb take about 2.5 hours and costs a bundle, and the views are pretty much exactly the same as from the deck of the bridge, which you can walk across for freewithout having to prebook. Better for those who may not like heights anyway. I agree that is is worthwhile both at sunset and after dark as the views from the bridge are wonderful.

Definitely take the ferry to Manley Beach, either from Darling Harbor or from the Circular Quay (and be sure you pronounce it "Key" or the locals will laugh at you). I would go in the early afternoon, have dinner at Manley Beach and take the ferry back after dark. Bring a camera because the sailboats in the harbor make a wondreful sight. You might check the Yacht Clubs regatta schedule as this is really beautiful with all the spinnakers out! Great opportunity for photos of the Opera House as well.

Go to Bondi Beach and on the far right (as you face the beach) is Bondi Breakers, which is a pub and restaurant. Get a beer and enjoy the view, then do at least some of the walk along the cliffs to the south. You can make this walk as long or as short as you like.

Go to Victoria Mall. Don't buy anything because it is very pricy, but do get a long black or a flat white and sit and enjoy the scene at a really beautiful mall (for those unfamiliar a long black is like an Americano, except the espresso is poured over the water instead of the other way around, which preserves the crema).

Go for a walk through Hyde Park and Victoria Park. Be sure to look at the fruit bat hanging from the treetops in Victoria Park. If you go at sunset you can see them taking off as a group.

The Blue Mountains are well worth a trip.

Take the ferry to the Taronga Zoo. Great views on the way and from the zoo, and really good exhibits of native wildlife.

Take an evening stroll around Darling Harbor. The restaurants are not great by and large by Sydney standards, but its a very nice walk. Also dont rule out going to North Sydney which is developing a cool vibe and has a lot of great restaurants and bars with wonderful views of the city. Might be a good thing after a walk across the Harbor Bridge, or walk the Harbor bridge at sunset, go to one of the restaurants on the North side with a view then walk back in the evening.

This is a good start at least. I hope you have a great visit!

margered
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Re: Where to stay in Sydney? What to see?

Post by margered » Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:19 pm

We had a great private docent tour at the zoo for about $4. That's was for our entire party, not per person. Also a great docent tour of the botanical gardens.

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