blue mountains

Old Jan 5th, 2004, 09:53 AM
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blue mountains

Is this a "must see"????

We will be in Sydney for 5 days - should we include this (would only be a day trip)?

Thanks!
Monica
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Old Jan 5th, 2004, 10:58 AM
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Yes, I thought this was the best thing about our trip to Sydney.

If you're there for 5 days, I'd say you can well afford to set one day aside for the mountains. We went with Wonderbus and thoroughly enjoyed the trip.
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Old Jan 5th, 2004, 01:14 PM
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It depends on how you want to spend your time. If you prefer urban exploration to natural scenery and the outdoors, then it might not make sense to spend a whole day in the Blue Mtns. If you do value natural scenery, then it is a very worthwhile trip, and quite accessible from Sydney. There is a commuter train that will take you to Katoomba, where you can spend the better part of a day without any sort of a packaged tour.
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Old Jan 6th, 2004, 01:26 PM
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I am not sure that I would classify this as a 'must see', but my family did rent a car and drive there and hiked the Katoomba trail, did the cable car ride and heard the tale of the '3 sisters.' The blue mountains are gorgeous and I agree with stevelondon that with your 5 days there you can certainly afford one day to go there.
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Old Jan 6th, 2004, 07:22 PM
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Hi, mishoe01!
With only five days in Sydney, I think I would just "sample" the Blue Mountains with a one-day trip. Check the weather before you set out -- in winter the best parts of the mountains can fog up so much that you can literally see nothing; this is a point against the idea of taking a guided your, where you may have to book ahead. The tours run in all weather, and the operators won't care much if you don't see what you came for.

Don't hire a car from Sydney, or a good part of your day will be used up in sampling not the mountains but Sydney's traffic jams followed by an ugly freeway, some of which is actually "walled-in". Take the train to Katoomba, and then either use the public transport -- buses to the best spots (a single ride is about $2.40 or you can get on and off all day for $12) are everywhere -- or, if the idea of hiring a car appeals, THEN do your hiring and save time and money.

The trains are air-conditioned and fast, though not very frequent (one every hour for most of the day). Try to avoid going at weekends, as the rail company frequently closes the lines for what they optimistically refer to as "line servicing", obliging you to go by special buses which are slower, run irregularly, require you to follow vague signs even to find them, and are often quite uncomfortable even for a short trip. Weekday trains are mostly delay-free, and if you leave Sydney after 9 a.m. are reasonably-priced (if you buy your ticket in advance you must specify that you do plan to leave after 9 a.m., or you will be charged nearly twice the price).

Have a great time!
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Old Jan 7th, 2004, 05:53 AM
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Hi mishoe01,
Yes the BM are a must see it is so beautiful up there. One note of caution, the cable car base ticket office at Katoomba is currently in the middle of building work and improvements and this is helping to create long queues at busy times. The cable cars are still operating at normal but long queues in the strong sun are a worry.
If you can pre purchase tickets you can avoid the long queues, much to the annoyance of those waiting.
The bus links are great too.
Train is easy and quite cheap (get off peak... right alan !)

Have fun

Muck
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Old Jan 7th, 2004, 06:16 AM
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Thanks for the comments - going the end of March....was thinking of including a stop at Featherdale (on the way in?) and then Olympic Park (on the way back). No problem using the train - is it easy to get to Featherdale by train?

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Old Jan 7th, 2004, 04:23 PM
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Hi, again, mishoe01!

Because I have two kids who love animals, and because Featherdale is not too far from where I live (in the lower Blue Mountains), it's a place I visit nearly every year. Nonetheless, I must say that I really don't think it's an advisable trip for you, as a tourist. It's not HARD to get to by train, but it is a bit of a nuisance: it's about 1 km from Doonside Station, which isn't too far to walk, especially by the end of March, but the problem is that not many trains (and NO Mountains trains) stop at Doonside. The other nearest station is Blacktown Station, where everything stops (including the Mountains Trains, except at some peak hours)... but, at 2 km walk, this is a little too far for comfort, especially if you're tight for time and plan to do some more walking once you get to the Mountains. You'd really have to take a taxi, which wouldn't be difficult at Blacktown Station, where there is a rank on the southern side -- but getting one back might incur a bit of a wait.

Another mitigating factor must surely be that Featherdale derives much of its income from tour bus operators. From around 10a.m. onwards there are HORDES of tourists -- Japanese and Korean are the "flavour of the month" right now --pouring out of buses and pointing their cameras at you at every step. Eight or nine buses and the place is so full that it's not that easy to see anything (although it's the one place I know in Sydney where you get to hold a koala).

Now, none of this detracts from the exhibits at the park itself... they are certainly worth seeing. But you can see them at other places, too, and the most "obvious" one is the much-bigger, much-better Taronga Park Zoo, which is really worth a day of your five days in Sydney. Do this instead of Featherdale: on one of your five days in Sydney, buy a Daytripper Pass ($AUD15). Catch the ferry to Taronga Zoo and spend four or five hours enjoying the animals and the harbour scenery. When you catch the ferry back to Circular Quay, hop on the Manly Ferry (same ticket)and cruise for 35 minutes along the length of our harbour. Have dinner at one of the eateries around Manly Wharf -- maybe, if you still want to see more wildlife, visit the shark aquarium there. Then either catch the ferry back to Sydney, or, if you've seen enough of the harbour by this time, hop on a city bus and see some of the nicer Sydney suburbs, such as Mosman and Cremorne. These sure beat Doonside and Blacktown! Don't buy another ticket -- that Daytripper is all you need for ferries, buses and trains. I promise you that this will be one of the best days you'll have in Sydney (if the weather is good), and you'll get far more out of it than a rushed trip to Featherdale in the middle of some of Sydney's least-appealing areas.

Now, for the trip to the Olympic Village. On the way back from the Mountains by train, alight at Parramatta, or, if the train stops there (ask the conductor) at Granville. Change onto a suburban train (going the same way) which will stop at Lidcombe. At Lidcombe Station there is a smaller "shuttle" platform which has trains leaving to Olympic Park (only a five minute ride) about every fifteen minutes. Since this last shuttle line is a new one built (of course) for the Olympic Games, there is a supplement in the cost of a ticket to use it. Frankly, there's not much to see there unless there is some kind of event happening, but around Easter they may have free movies in an area called "the Overflow", and, even if there's nothing, it's very flat and easy to walk around in. It's also easy to get lost, so don't forget where the station is!

Have a great time -- hope this has been of some help.
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Old Jan 8th, 2004, 11:20 AM
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WOW Alan!

Thanks so much for the above!! I had considered Taronga - can you get a picture taken w/ a koala there too?
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Old Jan 8th, 2004, 01:44 PM
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Hi Monica,
Taronga is a great zoo.
You can get a picture taken with a Koala with your own camera for $3.00.
Seems an economical thing for them to do really.
You don't get to hold it just stand by it.
They have recently had two lion cubs born too they are so young yet so big !
Well worth a visit.
Muck
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Old Jan 8th, 2004, 10:21 PM
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If you drive the Great Western from Sydney to Katoomba (3 Sisters) you can make a quick detour at Paramatta to the down-under Krispy Kreme!

(mmmm!)

Sydney downtown traffic is awful, though.
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Old Jan 9th, 2004, 11:45 AM
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Alan and Mucky, thanks loads for the info above.. I am cutting and pasting away. I was debating between Featherdale and Taronga and this has made the choice that much easier. Since we don't leave until Sept 21, I will most likely post a landslide of weird questions.. Can you possibly stay continuously online for the next 9 months to provide additional rich and informative responses??? lol
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Old Jan 9th, 2004, 11:55 AM
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Thyra

None of us have anything better to do - we're here constantly to attend to your every whim, and answer any and every question!


Ask anyway!
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Old Jan 9th, 2004, 12:07 PM
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Margo, Oh great! In that case,,, can I wear aqua trainers for running in Sydney? Do I need yellow fever vaccinations? Can I bring my pet lizard and my man-eating Hollywood cactus? ...Please Please I must know now! But seriously, just wait.. y'all best brush up your notes on day spas, and the Manly Jazz festival...
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Old Jan 9th, 2004, 02:08 PM
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Thyra
Believe me these guys never eat or sleep they are always here for us visitors to their beautiful country.
Some of them even get the cops to wait outside our hotel.
Just in case we misbehave....lol
;-)

Have fun

Muck
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Old Jan 9th, 2004, 02:53 PM
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Dear Mucky,

You know, I haven't been on the Australia/NZ boards long.... (veteran Euro and Africa forums).. but I suspect the cop thing just applies to you.....
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Old Jan 9th, 2004, 04:47 PM
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They weren't the Sydney cops... it was Interpol. Mucky is well-known beyond the Waldorf!

The Manly Jazz festival, Mishoe..... my son was in it a few years ago, so I will ask him and report back.
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Old Jan 10th, 2004, 03:22 AM
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lol
I am sat here chuckling to myself.
Thank you, you always make me smile.
Oh by the way- I think your all bonkers.



Muck
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Old Jan 10th, 2004, 10:11 AM
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Thyra

All the rest are OK - but aqua trainers - REAALLLLLYYYY!!! Although you could probably get away with wearing them in February, during Mardi Gras - but only with a spangly, sparkly frock!

We can arrange cops for any suspicious visitors - but that's only inclided Mucky so far!
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Old Jan 11th, 2004, 05:34 PM
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Thyra, just to ensure that you're fully in the loop, that's the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Margo's right, you might need more than acqua trainers to get a gig on one of the floats.

mishoe01 ... I think some years ago the Australian government's tourism minister had a publicity shot go badly wrong and in a bad mood described koalas as "ill-tempered creatures with a nasty habit of peeing on the unwary" or words to that effect. He was probably just unlucky, but you might be better off standing alongside your chosen marsupial after all.
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