DIY Sydney surroundings

Old Mar 13th, 2015, 12:20 PM
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DIY Sydney surroundings

Instead of shoveling my paycheck into the coffers of AAT Kings or the various local guides, we'd like to determine how to structure our own trip in and around Sydney - specifically, bushwalking, whale watching, etc. outside the capital of NSW. Thoughts were day trips to the Blue Mountains, Wollongong down to Budderoo or Fitzroy Falls, and similar.

The VisitNSW site is geared primarily toward connecting visitors with tours. Has anyone done it themselves? If so, resources you used; where did you stay; other tips?

Thanks.
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Old Mar 13th, 2015, 02:17 PM
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Hi Russ
I'm a local, but do day trips to those & other places around Sydney often.

Sydney's a great city, with lots of wonderful Harbour walks, interesting museums & art galleries, good public transport, fantastic ferry system - and the CBD ( Central Business District) ("downtown" to you) is very walkable.
You can also hire bicycles which, while perhaps not fantastic in the inner CBD, can be a nice way to venture a little further afield.

Much of what's the most interesting places & activities are free, or with very

Absolutely no need to Big Bus yourselves!

A couple of questions to get started:

When are you coming?
How long will you have?
How many are in your party?
Will you ( can I persuade you to) rent a car for the out-of-town bits?
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Old Mar 13th, 2015, 03:12 PM
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We'll be there in early June for four nights before flying to a bunch of red monoliths in the middle of the country. Both the better half and I have been before (2x in my case).

Family of four, two adults, two miniatures (7, 5). I have no resistance to hiring a car to go to Katoomba or wherever, but one question is can we get out of the city reasonably easily if we stay in or near CBD. Thinking driving in Sydney is the closest Aussie approximation to driving in NYC or London.
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Old Mar 13th, 2015, 04:05 PM
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Easy to get out of the city if you stay in the CBD. Driving around IN the CBD is an expensive & unnecessary PIA.

However, if you rent a car from any of the outlets in William Street ( I like Bayswater Car Rentals), you're practically on the approaches to north, south & west exit roads. Coming back is just as easy.
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Old Mar 13th, 2015, 06:29 PM
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For the Blue Mountains, another option is to take the train. We did this on our own too; took the train to Katoomba and back from Leura. You can purchase a MyMulti pass for trains, buses, and most importantly ferries and use it as much as you want for the time period you purchase it for.
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Old Mar 16th, 2015, 07:02 AM
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No desire to take 2-hr train rides to and from Katoomba with the hobbits. And Bok2 - no way we'd use the car for Sydney itself. Bad enough driving where we are in a place we're accustomed to. The car is for excursions.
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Old Apr 21st, 2015, 09:40 PM
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Hey why don't you Visit Sydney, It is one of the best place in Australia. It is a perfect destination for summers. Enjoy Sydney beaches and other interesting things to do in Sydney.
You should read some Expert's Travel Blogs to know how to plan your trip and what are best things you can do while you are on vacations. Take some guidance from there.
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Old May 2nd, 2015, 11:45 PM
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I don't suggest going to Wollongong. It is fairly industrial, and while there are really nice beaches, there are better beaches closer to Sydney. Take a ferry over to Manly and explore that area. The ferry ride is always enjoyable.

If you want to get out of the city, I do recommend Featherdale Wildlife Park in Western Sydney if you have young kids. I remember it being less touristy than other animal parks/zoos, and some of the animals (all natives) are not in enclosures, so your kids can see the wallabies hopping around freely. Mind you, it has been years since I last went.

http://www.featherdale.com.au/
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Old May 6th, 2015, 11:11 PM
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I thought of this thread two days ago, as I just took the train to Katoomba for the first time. Took a school excursion up there. I highly recommend taking the train. It is an amazingly beautiful trip. It would make for a long day if you intend to do a bush walk on the same day however.

You will obviously check out the Three Sisters, but there is a really nice new arts centre that recently opened.

If you are only hiring a car for one day, perhaps save that for the day you go to Featherdale.
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Old May 7th, 2015, 12:26 AM
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I've just returned from a 2 day, 2 night stay in the Blue Mountains with friends. Two were from the UK & had not been before.

A tip from another friend had us stopping at the Conservation Hut at Wentworth Falls for lunch. Good tip. Great views, easy access & parking.

It's an easy, well signposted drive up from Sydney, about 90 mins, via the Great Western Highway, from the CBD.

At this time of year, the autumn colours were delightful, the days crisp & cool, nights cold but not freezing.

After a wet week in Sydney, we were blessed with fine weather and the views across the valleys Three Sisters & escarpments were spectacular.

We did the Scenic World triple & absolutely loved it. The Adult pass costs $35 & covers unlimited rides on the Skyrail, cable car & railway and entry to the walkway. There are also family packages.
At the moment, there is a sculpture exhibition along one of the 30 minute
walks. Finishes 10 May 2015.
www.scenicworld.com.au

We only had time for one walk, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Saw a lyrebird.
He was more interested in scratching for a worm lunch than displaying his fan or mimicry talents, which gave us a few glimpses of him as he moved around.

Glimpses of the landscapes & occasional falls through the trees were a delight; ruins of old iron pieces of equipment from the area's mining history reminded us of the people who had pioneered, worked & lived here before the forest reclaimed itself.

We stayed at a cottage just behind Leura Mall, a great location. Visits to the Leura Gourmet Deli ( more lovely views from the lurid green room at the back); the Leura Cellars and an excellent dinner at Silks with other friends kept starvation & dehydration at bay.

The Hydro Majestic's recent renovation drew us there and we had a quite acceptable light lunch in the new Pavillion, a large room built into the eastern side of the old Pavillion wing. We did t have time for a good look through the renovated main building or Casino - next trip!

The new Pavillion houses a gift shop, but more interesting are the many artefacts, prints & photographs, doors, windows & painted screens from the original buildings. It's worthwhile taking the time to discover these amongst the retail offerings.

The Carrington at Katoomba has retained it's "Grand old Hotel" feeling & furnishings. There's a wonderful new usage for the old Boiler Room behind the southern side of the hotel though - The Carrington Cellars & Deli is a serious FIND.

There's a new Cultural Centre just to the south of the Carrington. Lovely space, housing what looks like a permanent exhibition of the World Heritage site, and one it two other exhibitions.

I was disappointed to find an entry fee for all the exhibitions. Not because I couldn't afford it - but because I think it is hard enough to encourage people to regional galleries, and to showcase our unique nature, wildernesses - and artistic talent - without putting a price on people's viewing of it.

Time was running short yesterday, but I had time for a visit to Everglades, a short wander around the charming gardens & a bowl of excellent pumpkin soup overlooking the Jamieson Valley from an upstairs dining room.
Have a look at the charming & whimsical relief wallpaper when you go. And at the iron insets in the garden walls.

Lovely couple of days - enough to whet the appetite for another few days up there soon. Tip: mid week is quieter than weekends.
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Old May 11th, 2015, 02:38 PM
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Thanks Bokhara2.

Em89 - Wollongong thought comes from wondering specifically where we can search for whales or sea mammals or if we should just wait until we're in Adelaide the next week (second weekend of June) and go to one of the nearby peninsulas.
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