First time in Sydney, Australia

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sabhen
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Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2016 1:03 am

First time in Sydney, Australia

Post by sabhen » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:14 pm

I will spend about 8 days in Sydney. I am traveling solo. Can fellow Bogleheads suggest sites of interest, public transport or car rental, things not to miss? I like museums, mingling with the locals (I thought a visit to Toastmasters club). Areas to avoid perhaps?

straws46
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Re: First time in Sydney, Australia

Post by straws46 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:28 pm

A trip by boat from circular quay to the Sydney zoo was a fun experience. A day trip to the Blue Mountains was ok. We took the train/subway to and from the airport. It was clean and easy and fast. The highway traffic was bad due to construction and people were missing flights as they sat trapped in cabs on the highway, so the train was definitely the way to go. A tour of the opera house and a climb on the bridge are big attractions, but we opted to just watch other people climb the bridge. Darling Harbor has some tourist attractions but it was pleasant just to walk around the parks, and visit churches and government buildings. Hope you have a great time.

aerofreaky11
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Re: First time in Sydney, Australia

Post by aerofreaky11 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:32 pm

If you're the outdoorsy type I would suggest spending a night at the blue mountains. There are some cool restaurants and a good vibe in the towns near the entrance to the park. Also wouldn't miss the botanical gardens if you're into that kind of thing. Also, the walks or runs along the beaches are beautiful.

bob60014
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Re: First time in Sydney, Australia

Post by bob60014 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:23 pm

Sydney is easy to get around. The CBD, Circular Quay, Rocks, Opera House, Barangaroo etc are in the same area, its compact and highly walkable. This will be the area most tourists will be. We took the rail from the airport to our hotel in Circular Quay, used the ferry for a few stops and walked the rest. On our trip to the Blue Mountains we rented a car as we went on from there to visit relatives in Canberra.

Check out :
Circular Quay
The Rocks
Opera House - stop for a drink or meal at the Opera Bar. Sit outside, the view of the bridge, Circular Quay and Opera House is very good here, especially at night.
Bridge Climb or walk across the bridge.(while thrilling to climb, to save money go up Pylon Tower instead, the views are great)
Royal Botanic Gardens
Hyde Park/Anzac Memorial
Taronga Zoo - take the ferry
Manly Beach- take the ferry. Explore the area, restaurants and shops are plentiful.
Watsons Bay - ferry, several nice restaurants, walk the Gap trails on the ocean side, spectacular scenery.
Bondi Beach- touristy but the waves here are great.
Pitt St- walk it from Circular Quay down to Chinatown. Shops, restaurants, World Square and Tower Eye are along the route.
Darling Harbour- Try the Malay Restaurant or other very good restaurants around and south of the Barangaroo Ferry stop.

A day trip the Blue Mountains.

Look at Google maps, it's easy to plot out activities.

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WoodSpinner
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Re: First time in Sydney, Australia

Post by WoodSpinner » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:57 pm

OP,

Should be a ball....

We enjoyed:
- Day at Bondi Beach
- walk through the Botanical gardens
- tour the Opera house
- Climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge

WoodSpinner

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: First time in Sydney, Australia

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:09 pm

With respect to the Sydney Opera House, which truly is world-class, I forsook the tour and attended an opera. It was comic and English-language. Being fluent in Italian is not necessarily a prerequisite.

How can I possibly go to the Sydney Opera House and not attend an opera?

PJW

SrGrumpy
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Re: First time in Sydney, Australia

Post by SrGrumpy » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:17 pm

8 days is a lot in a somewhat overrated city. I echo the Blue Mountains. I'd also drive 3 hours and spend a night or 2 in Canberra - especially if you like museums and/or are a political junkie.

https://visitcanberra.com.au/attraction ... -galleries

If you swim, you must experience the Icebergs pool in Bondi. Oh, and there are also rock concerts, etc. at the Opera House in case opera isn't your thing.

nesta
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Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:30 am

Re: First time in Sydney, Australia

Post by nesta » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:29 pm

I was there solo last fall and really enjoyed it. I did a walking tour the first morning to get an idea of things I might want to explore more in depth on another day.

Other activities:
Manly Beach
Blue Mountains bus trip
Sydney Opera House, I went to a tap show
City bus tour

Great city and felt very safe traveling by myself.

TravelforFun
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Re: First time in Sydney, Australia

Post by TravelforFun » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:06 pm

Bring a lot of money because that is one expensive city.

TravelforFun

stan1
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: First time in Sydney, Australia

Post by stan1 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:10 pm

bob60014 wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:23 pm
Sydney is easy to get around. The CBD, Circular Quay, Rocks, Opera House, Barangaroo etc are in the same area, its compact and highly walkable. This will be the area most tourists will be. We took the rail from the airport to our hotel in Circular Quay, used the ferry for a few stops and walked the rest. On our trip to the Blue Mountains we rented a car as we went on from there to visit relatives in Canberra.

Check out :
Circular Quay
The Rocks
Opera House - stop for a drink or meal at the Opera Bar. Sit outside, the view of the bridge, Circular Quay and Opera House is very good here, especially at night.
Bridge Climb or walk across the bridge.(while thrilling to climb, to save money go up Pylon Tower instead, the views are great)
Royal Botanic Gardens
Hyde Park/Anzac Memorial
Taronga Zoo - take the ferry
Manly Beach- take the ferry. Explore the area, restaurants and shops are plentiful.
Watsons Bay - ferry, several nice restaurants, walk the Gap trails on the ocean side, spectacular scenery.
Bondi Beach- touristy but the waves here are great.
Pitt St- walk it from Circular Quay down to Chinatown. Shops, restaurants, World Square and Tower Eye are along the route.
Darling Harbour- Try the Malay Restaurant or other very good restaurants around and south of the Barangaroo Ferry stop.

A day trip the Blue Mountains.
This is a pretty comprehensive list, and I have been to all of them myself at least once or twice on multiple visits to Sydney. Sometimes just going out on the ferry to Watson Bay or Manly for a few hours is relaxing in and of itself. I do think the bridge climb is worth it. It is just a spectacular view and fun. We've done it twice the day off arrival after the flight while waiting for our hotel room to be ready in the afternoon. For the Blue Mountains vicinity just for a little variety we hired a guy with a 4WD for the day who took us out on some dirt roads in the bush with some good views.

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ResearchMed
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Re: First time in Sydney, Australia

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:10 pm

We'll be there after a cruise from Auckland to Sydney, in about a month.

One thing that appealed to us, but we haven't done it yet: Spend the night IN the Taronga Zoo.

There is a new Lodge there (opened last month), and there is a special sanctuary area surrounding it.
There are also special excursions after the zoo closes to the public, and again the next morning before it opens.
There has already been a few large tents (glamping, I'm guessing, but the "facilities" are shared).

We've heard good things from others who have done this.

RM
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AlohaJoe
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Re: First time in Sydney, Australia

Post by AlohaJoe » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:52 pm

A few non-typical suggestions that are slightly more local.

The CarriageWorks weekend farmers market.
Belvoir Street theater company in Surry Hills
Pilu at Freshwater (Sardinian restaurant)
Picnic at Shark Island
Cocktails and/or camping at Cockatoo Island
Quarantine Station Ghost Tour at North Head
Lawn bowling at the Clovelly Bowling Club

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Watty
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Re: First time in Sydney, Australia

Post by Watty » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:57 pm

We were there about six months ago but we went on a five week trip to several parts of Australia.

A few sort of random comments;

1) Keep an eye on the bush fires, they are already having a very bad year and you may get smoke in Sydney.

2) Taronga Zoo- They were doing lots of major construction when we were there and I doubt it would be done by now. That meant there were some long walks around the construction areas and major parts of the zoo were closed which wasted a lot of time. You can check on the status of the construction but you may want to skip that.

3) You can certainly find plenty to do in Sydney for eight days and that would be fine but three days would also be plenty to see the highlights. Airfare is generally reasonable in Australia so you could easily fly somewhere else while you are there. We liked Melbourn more than Sydney but it is another large city so unless you really like big cities you might pick someplace that has a different feel. In many ways both Sydney and Melbourne are not all that different than US cities to try to get out of them.

As I recall our flight to Brisbane was only about a two hours from Sydney and that area would have a lot of access to beaches and less developed areas. We did not go into Brisbane, we just picked up a rental car there and headed North to the "Sunshine Coast" which is less developed but we had a lot more time. South of Brisbane is the "Gold Coast", we did not get there but but what I read it is very developed and some people compare it to Miami Beach which would not be something we are interested in.

4) Check to see if there is a school break when you will be there. They have several of them throughout the year and during school break there will be more families on vacation so you may need reservations farther in advance and prices may be higher.

5) We thought that the Australian Museum in Sydney was excellent but I was just double checking their website about something and they are closed for a major renovation until the middle of 2020. :annoyed The Australian Zoo near Brisbane was really good if you like zoos and there lots of Australian animals that you can get real close to and in some cases touch or feed.

6) With such a short trip I would not try to see the Great Barrier Reef because you can run into bad weather and have your tour cancelled at the last minute. Seeing it is tricky since so much of it is not doing well and at best you would likely need to take a very long or over night boat ride to get to an area that is still worth seeing. We got out to see it and it was OK but not all that great compared to what we have seen in Mexico and the Caribbean. You may be there during Hurricane season , which they call Cyclones, so keep an eye on the weather.

7) We did not go to see Uluru(Ayers Rock). It is a long flight there and would have been expensive and eaten up a lot of time. It would be sort of like going to see the Grand Canyon just because you were in New York City. Don't forget that Australia is huge country, when I was planning my trip I saw a map of Australia overlying the continental United States and they are virtually the same size.

8) You do not want a rental car in a large city like Sydney but we had rental cars when we were not in large cities. I did not find driving on the left to be that bad but I have driven on the left in other countries. Some credit cards may exclude Australia from their rental car insurance coverage so you may want to check on that. If you were not planning on it consider getting a rental car to get outside the cities.
TravelforFun wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:06 pm
Bring a lot of money because that is one expensive city.
Any big city will tend to be more expensive but the exchange rate compared to the dollar is really good now which really helps. I didn't do a detailed study but my impression was that Sydney was not much different than a large US city.

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