Driving: Sydney to Blue Mountains

May 28th, 2004, 09:31 PM
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Driving: Sydney to Blue Mountains

Well, it seems from the varied comments that it's one man's traffic is another man's open highways. Thanks for the words of warnings about the drive, however. We hope we will get a lot of sleep on the flight since we are going first class (FF miles) on Qantas, which have the seats that go flat (I read on their web site--any voices of experience??) Inner-city Sydney--is that terrible to drive in or just not scenic? We have the lovely directions given by Neil_Oz and a Sydney map and an optimistic attitude. Don't shout much at each other--married 34 years so we've gotten over that. Even though we land at 0730 we still have to go through customs, get our bags and get to the rental car place. I imagine it will be after 9 before we start. Is the traffic better then? Well, if we're not driving fast, we can accommodate better to the left-hand drive!
SnRSeattle
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May 29th, 2004, 12:46 AM
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Don't stress. Inner Sydney isn't that terrible to drive in, just a bit stop-and-go. At that time of the day you'll be travelling against the flow once you get onto Parramatta Rd (Gt Western Hwy), and once you're on the M4 it'll be a breeze. Anyone used to driving in the larger US cities shouldn't have a problem. If it helps, our first experience of RHD was in Boston and I didn't find it too painful. Mind you, I wasn't behind the wheel, as to avoid any accusations of male chauvinism I'd handed the keys to my wife. Initially her view was a little different, but she rose to the challenge. It's like maths - the more you worry about it the worse you'll do.
Neil_Oz is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 05:34 AM
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Hi, SnRSeattle!

Neil is right (he almost always is) about Sydney not being "all that terrible" to drive in, but still, if you can avoid the experience, you'll have a better day. Is it possible for you to leave the airport by public transport or taxi and pick up the car about ten miles out of the city? The point is, while there is a fast (but unscenic) freeway to the foot of the Blue Mountains, it begins at Concord, ten miles out of the city. To get out there you have to take your chances on the "old" roads that were built when Sydney was just a town. They simply haven't kept up with the growth, and are pretty-well jam-packed for most of the day. Also, the way out isn't all that well-signposted, if you're a stranger in town, and what signs there are are lost in a horde of advertising billboards. Negotiating lane changes, alerting yourself to signposts, and trying to remember which side of the road you're driving on -- that might just constitute a stressful ten miles.

I am starting to sound like such a killjoy! I think I will just shut up and leave it to you -- really, it's not as bad as some cities, and I don't want to make you dread the whole experience. But if you have an alternative plan -- like catching a taxi to Central Railway station and then training it to the foot of the mountains, getting off at, say, Emu Plains or Valley Heights and picking up a hire car there, then you might just be glad you went for "Plan B". (Just don't try the trains at weekends, however! Mountains trains on the weekend? Our State Rail system wouldn't want to make things that easy for you!)
Alan is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 06:59 AM
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It's rumored that SnR has driven at LeMans and the concours at Arroyo Seco and navigated the Oregon cutoff from the Old Santa Fe Trail, so can probably navigate the streets of Sydney.
A/D
AndrewDavid is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 08:44 AM
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Not exactly LeMans, but 1000 miles in England, 23 days in France, some days in Italy including into Rome, 23 days in Germany (including getting lost in Munich), NYC many times, and, of course, Seattle daily. Stop and go we can handle. R doesn't even get mad when I give him the wrong direction, only if I refuse to choose a direction. Will look into the Concord connections, though. What about coming back to Sydney. We are currently dropping off at a rental car site near our hotel in Darling Harbor. Should we do the Concord thing then, too? BTW, we go up on 1 July-- Thursday and return onthe Saturday.
SnRSeattle
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May 29th, 2004, 12:04 PM
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SnR - just put your head down and go....no - let me rephrase that....decide on a likely route and stick to it!.

I've lived in Sydney almost all my life (so far!) - and I live out in the direction of Concord and the start of the M4, as mentioned. I still get lost between the airport and my place. (and don't get me started about getting lost in the northern hemisphere - where everything is rea-a-l-l-l-y- wierd!)

margo_oz is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 12:19 PM
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Margo, We could adopt to the accent or the lack thereof, but never adjusted to the sun moving across the northern sky. We were always looking for shade on the north side of buildings. Not!

AndrewDavid
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May 29th, 2004, 12:58 PM
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AD
I suspect that the sun is the issue - I didn't realise just how much I used it subconsciously, but I get lost repeatedly in the northern hemisphere. Even in Ireland, where they drive on the same side of the road, I'm constantly lost. On the continent, where the traffic goes the other way, I'm just hopeless. Even when I use a good map, and know the direction we're going - my body still doesn't believe it.

I find it odd - because here my sense of directioin is usually pretty good (except between the airport and home!)
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May 30th, 2004, 06:49 PM
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Margo_Oz,
It is nice to know I am not the only one who uses instinct for direction. For me, it is the ocean rather than the sun. I spent the majority of my life on the East Coast of the US, except for three years living on the West Coast north of Los Angeles. I hadn't realized how I subconsciously used my relation to the water to get me where I needed to go until I repeatedly got on the highway headed in the wrong direction. While learning my way around, kept trying to go east to head home to the beach. Usually figured it out before bumping into the mountains, though
Kev1561 is offline  
May 30th, 2004, 07:00 PM
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First class sky beds and 34 years of married life.No worries!

Just have $2.20 in A$ for the m4 toll and keep your wits about you where the princes highway runs into king st at newtown.

If you find yourself in the back of arncliffe trying to get directions in arabic just tell 'em Neil from Canberra sent you.

The city should be pretty quiet coming back in on a saturday.
johhj_au is offline  
May 30th, 2004, 07:45 PM
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Yes, I'm known to all around there - have a kebab on me. (John, as a Northside guy you should be more au fait with directions in Cantonese?)

My Sydney directions are strictly on a "do as I say, not as I do" basis. Every time I go back the buggers have changed the roads on me and I usually end up seeing areas of the city that I didn't really mean to.
Neil_Oz is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 12:09 PM
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I'd offer to come and guide you - but who knows where we'd all end up!
margo_oz is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 12:57 PM
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Undoubtably wih a parking ticket.
A/D
AndrewDavid is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 08:21 PM
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at least, and when we got out of the airport.....???
margo_oz is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 12:29 AM
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Don't ask me. I'm still in a state of shock after receiving in this morning's mail a demand for the outrageous sum of $127 as a result of (allegedly) travelling at 70 kph in a 60 kph zone during my last visit to Sin City - a foul slander, but what can you do? Of course, this has nothing to do with revenue raising, it's a matter of keeping the roads safe from tearaways like me, never mind the fact that in 45 years of driving I've never so much as dented another vehicle (the occasional tree, perhaps, but I have an explanation, Your Worship...)

I'm thinking of claiming diplomatic immunity. It must have worked for the guy in the silver Merc who passed me on the Hume Highway doing about 250 a while ago.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 02:57 PM
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Well Neil, You can come to visit, but we won't let you drive

A/D
AndrewDavid is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 04:17 PM
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Well, AD, I have fond memories of Santa Fe - nobody booked me there, and I didn't get lost. What more can a man ask?
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