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Blue Mountains

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Mar 21st, 2013, 03:06 PM
  #1
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Blue Mountains

Hello! I'm taking my first trip to Australia in May, just have time to do a short visit in Sydney and Melbourne for 4 nights each. Typical American vacation, I know .

I'd like to spend time exploring both cities and also have a day trip in each. While in Melbourne I'll be visiting the Yarra Valley for a wine day. But here's the question: while in Sydney, should I visit the Blue Mountains? The tour I can afford is with Oztrek, $55, which was highly recommended from a guidebook and includes several nature walks. Sounds great but the tour takes a full day, and because I have such a short time on this first trip to Sydney I'm wondering if I should I stay closer and visit, i.e., the Sydney Harbour National Park if I want to go hiking in nature?

Btw I'm an active 40-something woman who loves exploring cities and discovering breathtaking scenery unique to an area. I live in LA now and go on moderate hikes a lot at the beaches and parks. I've waited my whole life to get to Australia and want to make the most of seeing what's worth seeing. If Blue Mountains can't be missed, I'll do it. Or are there other suggestions? And are there any local hiking groups?
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 12:04 AM
  #2
 
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There are a number of local hiking groups and lots of walks to do in and around Sydney. A little research will find them but I would recommend a trip to the Blue Mountains as the sandstone scenery is very special.
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 03:03 AM
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The Blue Mountains are special! Take the day trip.
$55 sounds a cheap day out. It is well worth it. I would even suggest splitting your time to two nights in Sydney and two in the Blue mountains or even just one night in the mountains. It is a long commute to and from the mountains and thre is plenty to see and do in and around the Blue Mountains.
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 04:15 AM
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Hi Marlydawn

I've taken a look at the Blue Mountains tour you've chosen, and it certainly seems very comprehensive. Advertised price is now $59. You could easily spend a day on this tour, then have time to see the best of Sydney harbour (by foot, ferry or both), Opera House, Botanical Gardens & Rocks area.

Another great suggestion would be the Taronga Zoo (see http://taronga.org.au/taronga-zoo) - this could be combined with harbour activities. Our Zoo is quite unlike those I've seen in US and Europe, and would give an up close and personal view of our native animals. Di
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 11:11 AM
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Hi di2315,
I had considered Taronga combined with a ferry ride, but it's a bit pricey. That said, is Taronga the Sydney zoo to go for over Wild Life Sydney?
Thanks
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 11:12 AM
  #6
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Thanks for your feedback everyone, it sounds like I should definitely see the Blue Mountains!
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 11:23 AM
  #7
 
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Taronga vs Wild Life Sydney - no comparison.

Taronga is the real deal - and getting there is part of the deal. It is spectacular.

You're travelling a long way to see Australia - don't go for the cheap and boring, albeit quicker, animal option.
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 02:27 PM
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That Ostrek tour sounds as if it covers all the good bits of the Blue Mtns.

They mention that the lunch costs in Leura/Katoomba are inexpensive. I disagree - they are tourist prices. If you are on a tight budget (sounds like you are) look carefully at the menu on the door. We pack our own lunch and drinks when we visit now.

Agree that Taronga Zoo is well worth the price - I'm not even much of an animal lover.

You aren't pension age, but for those who are reading this who are, Taronga gives discount for international pension card holders. http://taronga.org.au/taronga-zoo/vi...sion-discounts
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 02:42 PM
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I've not been to Wild Life Sydney, I prefer Taronga for it's size and position - along with the animals, you get fabulous views of the harbour. WLS was built in a large tourist area specifically to cater to tourists; Taronga is an open-air expansive zoo with a much wider range of creatures.

If you're interested in walks around the harbour, take a look at http://tinyurl.com/a4de3yq - there's plenty to choose from! Di
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Mar 23rd, 2013, 08:58 PM
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Marlydawn, I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that where you are from in the US may influence whether or not you see the Blue Mountains as very special. (I'm from the US, and I have visited the Blue Mountains). Given your short period of time in the area, that might influence your choice.

No one flame me. I love the Blue Mountains, both trips there I enjoyed very much and if I have a chance I will go again. But If I were coming all that way, for a short time, I would want to see things that were really unique and different from where I was from.

So MD, if you are from the southwest, or have spent a lot of time there (Utah, NM, AZ, etc) the Blue Mountains may not be as exotic. (no, I am not saying it is just like the SW)

There are some really fabulous walks around Sydney. A popular one is the Spit Bridge to Manly Walk, which takes you through all sorts of terrain, and neighborhoods, and you get great views back at Sydney. Throw in some rock carvings as well. Another possibility, and it doesn't seem to get mentioned here much, is Royal National Park. There is a fantastic track along the coast, and it is so beautiful.

I'm not saying don't go to the Blue Mountains. Just want to offer up some additional thoughts.
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Mar 25th, 2013, 12:11 AM
  #11
 
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No matter what your itinerary for a trip around Australia is, if ur a backpacker Sydney will almost certainly be your first stop.
and u mast visit Luna Park, Sydney Opera House, Open Air Cinema, Sydney Botanic Gardens, The Rocks, Bondi Beach, Port Jackson Islands, Chinese Garden of Friendship
happy journey dude
..............................
my trip
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Mar 25th, 2013, 04:47 AM
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No matter what your itinerary for a trip around Australia is, if ur a backpacker Sydney will almost certainly be your first stop.
and u mast visit Luna Park, Sydney Opera House, Open Air Cinema, Sydney Botanic Gardens, The Rocks, Bondi Beach, Port Jackson Islands, Chinese Garden of Friendship
happy journey dude
..........................
my trip
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Mar 25th, 2013, 04:49 AM
  #13
 
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No matter what your itinerary for a trip around Australia is, if ur a backpacker Sydney will almost certainly be your first stop.
and u mast visit Luna Park, Sydney Opera House, Open Air Cinema, Sydney Botanic Gardens, The Rocks, Bondi Beach, Port Jackson Islands, Chinese Garden of Friendship
happy journey dude
..........................
my trip
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Mar 26th, 2013, 04:36 AM
  #14
 
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You should take a trip to the Blue Mountains for the day.
Go to Taronga Zoo, one of the most beautiful zoos in the world.
Take a walk from Circular Quay up Argyle St under the Sydney Harbour Bridge approaches to Observatory Hill. The view from the top is well worth the walk and the Observatory is worth seeing.
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Mar 26th, 2013, 10:42 AM
  #15
 
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If you're going to do only one tour from Melbourne I'd say it should be the Great Ocean Road. Melbourne's a wonderful city--but if your heart's set on the Yarra Valley I'd take an additional day away from the city to see some of Australia's iconic coastal views.

And I do agree that the Blue Mountains are good way to spend a day out of Sydney--even though it rained and became foggy shortly after I arrived .
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Mar 27th, 2013, 10:08 AM
  #16
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Appreciate the feedback everyone! I have recently been to Sedona AZ and that was spectacular. I see what you mean. So many things to see and do. And in Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road, yes I've heard of that and will look into it. Thank you!
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Mar 29th, 2013, 02:38 PM
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bmk
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Mar 29th, 2013, 04:37 PM
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Marlydawn are you seriously committed to this itinerary now? It's just that the reason most people visit Australia is the natural environment (Great Barrier Reef, Daintree, Uluru, Kakadu, Nigaloo Reef, Tasmania etc), our cities are not the main tourist attractions.

Have you thought of perhaps going to the Reef or the Centre instead of a second city?
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Apr 1st, 2013, 11:48 AM
  #19
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Hi Susan7,
I always prefer to see cities first, since I'm a city girl, then on subsequent trips see more countryside and natural environs. Since I don't snorkel I didn't think a trip to the reef was necessary, and I'm highly interested in food and wine exploration. Always find that cities offer the most there. I will be taking day trips outside of the city and going on hikes, and that makes me happy. But yes, my itinerary is set at this point. Thanks for the heads up though. I'll explore beyond the cities next time.
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Apr 8th, 2013, 10:51 PM
  #20
 
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Hey
You said you like: "discovering breathtaking scenery unique to an area." Yes do the Blue Mountains, Ferry to Manly and the Great Ocean Road out of Melbourne.

Just got back from a month in Australia my life time goal as well (am from the Outer Banks of NC) You will love Melbourne it is much more like a European City, everything is so close and easy to get around and has great food, nice gardens. You should go on the Great Ocean Road Tour which is breathtaking scenery unique to Australia and much better than the wine country. Save that for the Napa Valley back here in the states.

Sydney is more like New York City; book your stay as close to Circular Quay or in the "Rocks" as possible.

Day 1 take the (beautiful) ferry over to Manly Beach and do the hike over there around the beaches out to the Sydney Harbor National Park and back to the Ferry area, (see Barbara for all the information in the info Center once you get off the ferry at Manly!) It is a great ferry ride you see the Harbor, all the beaches and the coast and the town is fantastic for cafes.
The next day you can do the walk over and through the Sydney gardens all along the waterfront around the Opera House back through the "Rocks" area and over the Sydney Bridge.

Day 3 would be the Blue Mountains for sure it is like being on the rim of the Grand Canyon with a rainforest below. You walk down paths with rushing streams and waterfalls and beautiful vegetation.

Australia was a good trip much more expensive then I had planned, concur with the comments about lunch prices with the tours, much better off to do it on your own. Pack your water and there are then many better choices at all the locations where the tours stop.
Glad I went but more than anything it also made me appreciate all the beauty we have in the US, like you said you just got back from Sedona AZ and you live in Southern California. You should go do the Great Ocean Road and the Blue Mountains so you can say you have been to Australia and seen their country.
It would be like someone coming here 10,000 miles from Australia and staying in LA and not seeing the PCH and Big Sur and then going to Las Vegas and not going out of town to see the Grand Canyon.
Make the most of it as it will be a long time if ever that you go back! Have fun.
John
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