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potpourri of last-minute Sydney questions

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Thanks all for your patience as our trip nears. Here are our (hopefully) last few questions, mainly regarding accomodations:

1. Staying in the Rocks area - I know it is subjective, but the best that you can answer, how much does the cost outweigh the ease of getting to the sights - Bridge, Opera House, Botanical Gardens, Manly Beach, surrounding suburbs and cute day excursions - ? We were thinking of getting one of those week passes that allow you to use bus, train, ferry unlimited, so does that help negate the need to get pricey hotels in the heart of it all?

2. One good option looked like the Travelodge Wynward - what is this area like in reference to the above points?

3. We hope to spend some time just walking Sydney and dipping off into side streets exploring - but not really interested in the seedy bar/nightclub life. Preferably looking for areas where the walls aren't thumping at 2 AM. What are areas to avoid, not only in terms of lodging but also sightseeing and maybe walking around at dusk? What are the seedy/unsafe areas of Sydney (we keep reading about King's Cross).

4. We've narrowed down a potential 3-day side trip to either Great Ocean Road, Cairns minus the GBR water excursions (semi-submersible would be okay if it is really a good way to see pretty coral and fish), Brisbane for the Australia Zoo/Lone Pine +/- Fraser Island, or Tasmania for the convict history. Natural beauty or outdoor walking options would be a huge plus with access to outback-like scenery. Do you have any advice as to which location would be the "easiest" in terms of frequent flights, easy airport transfers and transportation within city, easily accessible and multiple side trip options, etc?

5, Trip timeline is 1st 2 weeks of November. Approximate weather patterns in Sydney around this time of year? Is it fairly crowded time in terms of any holidays? How easy or difficult is it to make last-minute hotel or flight arrangements in Sydney or beyond (booking a last minute flight to Brisbane, for example) even within a couple days?

I know these are broad and difficult questions. Thanks again, you all have been most patient!

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