3 Days in Sydney

Old Feb 6th, 2005, 04:45 PM
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3 Days in Sydney

Hi,

I'm spending 21 days in Australia - Brisbane, Perth , Darwin and Sydney.

I am staying at L'otel in the Paddington area of Sydney. I have three full days in Sydney and want to see as much as I can.

I would appreciate any ideas/plans for my 3 days including places to eat, things to see, things I shouldn't miss etc.

I will be there in early August.

Thanks!

Does anyone know if you can hire a private tour guide in Sydney? Just a thought!!
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Old Feb 6th, 2005, 04:59 PM
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Paddington is a really great location to stay at. Check out Oxford St for shopping in the day and a lot of great bars at night. If you're there on a Saturday, have a look at the markets. Catch the 380 bus to Bondi Beach or the same bus (in the other direction) to Circular Quay. I would suggest catching the ferry to Manly and having a wander around there.
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Old Feb 6th, 2005, 06:24 PM
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Hi, canuck1usa!

August is usually a dry month in Sydney (about three years ago the whole month passed with a nil rainfall)but it can get windy, and it varies wildly between gorgeous spring days and "winds-that-go-right-through-you" days when you curse the wind tunnels which man has made with the tall buildings of Sydney fronting narrow streets (you are fortunate that there are no skyscrapers in Paddington: you'll probably enjoy walking around that area more than in the CBD, which is often topcoat-area at this time of year).

You will really have to plan your days around the weather... it's possible that a list of museums and the location of, for instance, the art gallery will come in handy if the day turns nasty.

On the positive side, the frequent winds make Sydney and its harbour virtually pollution-free at this time of year, allowing some crystal-clear photography. Plan on walking across the Harbour Bridge, and maybe a visit to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains (only if there's no fog that morning -- the fog can, in winter, hang around the mountains all day, reducing visibility to zero). If you catch the bus to Bondi Beach, as Porcelina has suggested, you really should go another kilomtere further on and take a few photos of the Sydney skyline from the Dudley Page Reserve.

Paddington is a picturesque "Greenwich-Village"-type area which you will enjoy, and it's within walking distance of King's Cross and Centennial Park, both of which might be worth a look. Between Paddington and Darlinghurst are some great ethnic restaurants. And the Jewish Museum is also nearby -- just past St Vincent's Hospital as you walk towards King's Cross..... this hardly ever gets a mention on the forum, but I found it an unforgettable experience, as it's staffed by volunteers who, when they show you exhibits from the holocaust, know what they're talking about from first-hand experience.

Have a wonderful time!
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Old Feb 8th, 2005, 01:14 PM
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Hi Canuck1usa

I stayed at l'otel in November. Decent hotel for the price I paid. Paddington is a great area. You may also want to take a walk further up into Woollahra (sp?). Lots of cute shops and galleries.

I had dinner twice at a restaurant called The Victoria Room on Victoria Street. It's about a 20 minute walk from the hotel. Great food, service and funky, original, but elegant decor.

I second the recommendation for taking the 380 bus to the beach. You can jump off at Coogee Beach and walk along the cliffs to Bondi Beach.

Have a great time!
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Old Feb 8th, 2005, 02:25 PM
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Somebody may be able to answer your question about a private guide - I can't, sorry - but personally I doubt that much value would be added. Sydney is an easy city to get around, public transport is good and reasonably priced. With a little research you'll soon come up with a list of must-sees/ must dos that will occupy your 3 days.

As for eating, the Sydney Morning Herald published an excellent restaurant guide that you should be able to pick up at any newsagent. In addition you'll find many threads on this forum (search on sydney +restaurants, say) with specific recommendations. Budget as always is a factor.

If you're spending 21 days in Australia I strongly recommend investing in a guidebook covering the cities in question. This will answer most of your questions, and you can top up your knowledge here. Have a great trip.





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Old Feb 8th, 2005, 04:15 PM
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Hello canuck1usa,

At 15 AUD per day, the DayTripper ticket that gives you acess to Sydney's public trains, buses and ferries is a great value.

Although at 36 AUD the Sydney Explorer bus is more expensive, it's still good value. It's a hop on / hop off bus that lets you off at 26 spots that are of interest to tourists, and it comes by every 18 minutes.

http://www.sydneypass.info/sydneyexplorer/

A Google search brought up a private guided tour that cost 275 AUD for half a day and 495 AUD for a full day. The maximum size of the group it accepted was 8 people, but the price was the same whether 1 person or 8 people used the service.

I really couldn't see the point of the private tour for a person whose home language was English. Every destination that was listed on the tour company's website was freely accessible to the public, so it wasn't as if the price included admission to attractions that charged entry fees. Furthermore, the price did not include refreshments (tea, coffee, or lunch), for which passengers had to pay themselves.

If you look at the Sydney entry in the Fodor's Destinations section, do a word search for Sydney here at Fodor's and, as Neil says, consult a guidebook, I'm sure you don't need a private guide for Sydney.

Guided tours at one or two individual attractions are another matter. I very much enjoyed the guided tour of the Opera House. I haven't been to the Jewish Museum that Alan mentioned, but it sounds good.

You also could consider a commentated Harbour Cruise, but I don't think that's good value either. If you've informed yourself about Sydney's history by reading your guidebook, a public ferry across the harbour will serve you just as well.

My two cents.
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Old Feb 8th, 2005, 05:43 PM
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A couple of years ago I read about how some tour groups were being skinned by their Japanese tour operators. It seems that their itinerary included, at a hefty additional charge, an optional "harbour cruise with lunch". They were then bussed to Circular Quay, where the tour guide would purchase the necessary number of Manly ferry tokens. Lunch was a fish-and- chips on the Esplanade at Manly. Then back to the city!

Even worse, it seems, is what's happening to some Chinese tour groups at the Gold Coast. Overseas tourism is relatively new to China and the tourists, hampered like most Japanese by the language barrier, are being taken to the cleaners by some Chinese-owned tour operators. They hit a carefully selected part of the Gold Coast and are told that "this is Surfers Paradise" (it isn't - if they enquire about the big buildings they can see to the north, the real Surfers, they're told it's Brisbane). Then the guides make sure they only visit a succession of shops owned by related interests, where they get fleeced. They're discouraged from going anywhere else by being told that they'll be abused and perhaps assaulted by the notoriously racist Australians. Then they go home. It doesn't bear thinking about what sort of impression of Australia this is creating, but of course that's not the dodgy tour operator's concern. At that stage, I read, attempts to stamp out these practices were being frustrated by a lack of Commonwealth-State government coordination.

This sounds like a variation on what often happens to foreign tour groups in China, minus the dire warnings about racism. Tours to popular sights are heavily loaded with a succession of grossly overpriced shopping opportunities which pay the guide a large commission, and the tourists, victims of the same language barrier, more often than not have no idea how much they're being overcharged. On top of that they're inveigled into tipping the already wealthy guide (something no Chinese would do).

Ah, the joys of free enterprise!
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Old Feb 8th, 2005, 06:00 PM
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Hmmmmmm.....private guiding????

Hmmmmm.....500 bucks/day???

Hmmm.....

Like the others, I'm not too sure just what value a private guide would have. You may do better to decide what you want to see, and get about by taxi - if you don't want to hit public transport.

There are some good walking tours that will take you around some of the historical areas - that may be a good start. I can't give any specifics, but recall that Maureen Fry had some quite good walks. The city part of Sydney is not that big (but the suburbs go on forever!)

The harbour cruise with commentary was reported as not being so interesting - apparently the commentary seemed to cover mostly real estate prices - which may be of some small interest to Sydneysiders, who are not doing these cruises, and of absolute minimal interest to the tourists who are.

One thing I did recently, which I would recommend, was a visit to Fort Denison, an island just east of Circular Quay. The tour, which included the return ferry trip, and a guided tour of the island, was $22 - and there is a cafe there which served reasonable (but not too cheap) food. It was a pleasant place to have lunch, on a Saturday with the racing yachts screaming past. You can book at John Cadman's Cottage, which is a little old white building on the west side of Circular Quay - apparently one of the oldest buildings in Sydney, and headquarters for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Sydney Harbour National Park branch.

Have a look at the National Parks website - http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/ - there are some interesting things there.
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Old Feb 8th, 2005, 08:31 PM
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Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all the info!!

I was kidding about the private tour guide!!

I arrive in Sydney on a Friday - is the Paddington Bazaar worth checking out on Sunday?

I'm a real type A personality and like to have everyday I'm in a city all mapped out - I don't want to miss anything!

I've waited 20 years to visit Australia - I'm leaving my husband and son at home........... It will be a long time before I visit agin!

Keep the info coming - I'm finding this site very helpful!

Am I right in thinking that there are Aussies out there answering??

If so - one of you could be my tour guide!! KIDDING!!!!!

Thanks!
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Old Feb 8th, 2005, 09:17 PM
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At $500 a day I could be tempted... but I should defer to Sydneysiders like Alan and Margo. I have a marked ability to get comprehensively lost in any city greater than 10,000 population, including my own. This may affect my usefulness as a guide.
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 03:43 AM
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Well, Neil, how about this.... you be the guide, with all the responsibility, and I'll tag along and keep you both from getting lost, and we'll split the $500.

Hi, canuck1usa! You'll like the Paddington Market, I think -- though I admit I haven't been there in 15 years, but my memory is that it was one of the more "genuine" markets around Sydney. It's not at all a large market..... only plan on an hour out of your morning to go through it.

Do you like "art" movies and strange theatres where you lie on cushions and take your shoes off? Then you should plan on an evening at Govinda's in King's Cross; it's an Indian vegetarian restaurant run by the Hare Krishna devotees, is cheap as chips, the food is beautiful (not very spicy, which may disappoint you if you like your Indian food ultra-hot... for myself, it's a relief), and it's quite near to where you're staying... you could probably walk to it (but take a taxi back late at night, just in case). Eat from 6 till about 8, and then go upstairs and stretch out for their movie, which used to be free for diners but which, if memory serves, they have recently introduced a small surcharge for.

Can't think of anything else to direct you to right at the moment, but if anything comes to mind, I will come back here a third time.



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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 04:40 AM
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While many of you will debate the value of a guided tour, we took one on our trip (just returned) and were happy for having done so. Our time in Sydney was short, so we took a brief (3 hours) overview tour of the area with Wendt on Tours (www.wendtontours.com.au) that was customized to our interests. While we are typically intrepid and resourceful explorers, there was only so much we could see on our own in the limited time we had, and this company came well-recommended. At $90/hour it was pricey, but it was just me and my husband with the guide, Margaret Wendt; at the end of our 3 hours, she dropped us of at Taronga Zoo, where we spent the balance of that day.
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 02:15 PM
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Hi canuck....just a note to let you know that the Paddington markets are only on Saturday. Re Mae's suggestion, the walk is actually Bondi to Coogee if you are taking the 380 bus. It is a lovely walk. Enjoy!
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Old Feb 9th, 2005, 06:37 PM
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Oy! You pair!

"Well, Neil, how about this.... you be the guide, with all the responsibility, and I'll tag along and keep you both from getting lost, and we'll split the $500."

and you'll need someone to come along and point out the decent coffee shops.....
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