Muckies Sydney trip report

Old Jan 15th, 2004, 05:14 AM
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Muckies Sydney trip report

And so to Sydney 27/12/2003
Having been to Sydney 2 years ago we were really excited about returning and this excitement was enhanced by the knowledge that there had been a battle of words on this site regarding the integrity of the Waldorf Apartments on Liverpool st .
We were really looking forward to the Waldorf challenge.
The Waldorf has become quite a subject and all happening whilst I was unable to or unwilling to pick up my e mails or check internet.

We arrived at Sydney and bought a return ticket on the KST Sydney Airporter which leaves from just outside the terminal.
It was really good value at $13.00 each or £52 for us all return, we just had to call them the day before we needed to be collected to be returned to the airport. Door to door service at a reasonable price.

Travelling through the suburbs of Sydney late on a Saturday night we saw places and things that we wouldn?t normally notice, ie exotic clubs and drunks.
As we went along George st it seemed to be getting worse but Liverpool st despite being quite busy with restaurants and the odd drunk here and there was not quite so lively and we arrived quite safely at the Hotel.
I guess 11:30 Saturday night is not the best time to arrive anywhere.

We got out of the bus outside the Waldorf and went in to the reception, it was not very big but appeared modern, had 2 lifts and the chap at reception was nice enough.
We checked in and got 2 sets of keys and two magnetic passes.
Upon entering the lift the magnetic passes need to be run in front of a receiver and this allows you to select your floor and room. Quite a good system really, we were on the 12th floor and we were not able to get the lift to any other floor apart from the pool on floor 25 and the lobby.
I have seen this security system before in European hotels, it works quite well..

We headed from the lift towards our room.
Opening the door and entered.
The apartment was quite large had a large kitchen area on the right side with fridge freezer, dishwasher cooker and microwave.
There was a breakfast bar and plenty of cupboard space.
On the left was the bathroom, which had a large shower cubicle, a separate reasonable sized bath a sink and toilet then a washing machine, dryer and an ironing board.

The main living area comprised of a large open space, sofa, 2 easy chairs a dining table and chairs.
TV in the corner of the room which appeared to pick up most channels including Fox sport etc.
With large windows all around and a sliding door out to the balcony.

The main bedroom had a queen size bed a large built in wardrobe with a safe inside.
Plenty of room and this room also opened up on to the large balcony.
Having requested a high room with a view with the hope of seeing something worth seeing, I was disappointed to see very little apart from the backs and sides of other tall buildings.
All in all, the room was reasonable for the cost considering the time of year we were here.
We all went to bed and awoke fairly early to investigate.

28/12/2003
The pool on the roof was really nice had reasonable views and a sauna too.

My wife checked the facilities in the kitchen with a view to cooking a meal, she was disappointed, there were just not sufficient pots and pans to enable any serious cooking.
We had been eating out in various restaurants for almost a month and a nice meal in our rooms tonight would have been nice.
I proceeded to go downstairs and my magnetic card worked nicely as I headed out to the reception area.

The Waldorf is really well located, just 5 mins walk from Darling harbour, the area looked different in cold light of day and all the previous nights unsavoury characters from George st had turned into tourists and people heading to work.

Just down the road is the Chinese garden.

Directly across the road is a wholesale shop that has some of the cheapest prices for the typical tourist souvenirs.
Next to the Waldorf is a restaurant called Mammas kitchen,it looked quite plain but worth a visit later in the week.
I picked up some groceries in the store next to Mammas kitchen and headed back up the lift.
My Magnetic card bleeped the system in to operation.
But I was unable to select my floor, I tried all the floor buttons and the only one that worked was floor 7.
A bit surprised I went to reception and changed it. It would appear that we had been given 2 cards but one was for a different floor !
Ok off I went with my new card only to find that my key would not open the door.
It turned out that we had been given the pass and key to a room on floor 7 as our second set !!
Not sure if there was anyone in this other room, but I could easily have found out.
The room number was hidden in a code stamped on the key and once I recognised that I could have had access to the room.
Anyway key got swapped and all was well.

The decoration at the Waldorf was a bit tired in places, but it was acceptable. The bedding was comfortable and clean and the sofa bed was easy to make up and put away.
These are serviced apartments and the maid comes in every day to replace towels etc.

In conclusion, the Waldorf was a reasonable choice for the time of year. The prices were not hiked up nearly as much as other hotels and apartments do on New Years Eve, but the condition was that the higher New Year price applied to 3 nights and we were tied to 3 nights at the higher price. It averaged out at around $235 a night for our 6 night stay.
I think that if we were to stay at any other time of the year we would perhaps choose something else for the same price but get a lot more for our money .
But for NYE it was a good base.

Today is the market day at the rocks and we strolled down there to join in the atmosphere and get our first close up view of the bridge and Opera House.
I also took the opportunity to find once again the location of the cameras used on the view Sydney website. This site is run by the harbour foreshore authority and the cameras look like Ned Kelly helmets on top of the building.

The Rocks area was interesting as ever and we strolled around to circular quay, soaking up the warm sunshine.
There was a ship in port and we later watched as it sailed off up the harbour.

29/12/2003
Our first place to see was Centerpoint tower, it is a fabulous place to visit, the view from the observation platform is simply wonderful and we could see for miles.
We also stopped at the coffee shop on the floor down from the observation platform and watched Sydney in all its splendour.
In the Centerpoint tower it is possible to take a tour of Australia, it?s a themed ride which was quite interesting and worth seeing if you have the time, this was the second time we went and it was still interesting.
Today we were booked on the Bridge climb.
I did it 2 years ago with my son, but my daughter was just a few mths too young so this was her opportunity to do the climb together with my wife who missed out last time as well. They were a little apprehensive and despite re assurance from us they were still nervous when we got to the entrance at 13:30 ready for our 13:55 climb.
As usual the safety aspects of the climb were 100% the most important thing, bridge climb is not particularly cheap but attention to detail is perfect.

Having got past the breath test, we were asked to fill out all sorts of wavers and guarantees that we were I good health and fit enough to do the climb.
We proceeded to get our suits, handkerchief, hats glasses strap and belt .
Left our belongings in a locker and off we went for the training. Personally I think the training is more difficult than the climb, but that is my opinion.

We took our positions remembering that once in line that is how we will stay as the continuous loop that the belts are fixed too will not allow changing positions for photographs etc.
The weather was perfect, hot sunny and a bit breezy, we fitted our radios and off we went. Our guide was great (Marilyn?) she put everyone at ease, got me to take the tail and the climb began.
My daughter was afraid when we got to a ladder that took us up to the top, but once there she was full of excitement as the view was unbelievable. We really took our time and felt we were up there for ages, the usual assortment of photographs were taken by the guide and we really enjoyed it.
Whilst we were there a plane flew overhead spelling out the name BOSE which is an Audio manufacturer, with smoke, anyone reading this who was in Sydney that day will remember the moment clearly .
Our climb ended where it had begun at the metal gates, we handed our headsets and radios back and headed off to collect the photographs.
One group picture is free but others can be bought too.
A great visit to a great Icon?.

We left the bridge and retired to a German bar around the corner where the longest coldest, tastiest stein of beer went down my throat without touching the sides.
I was back in paradise.

Mammas Kitchen restaurant appeared quite a reasonable place to eat, the spag bol was cheap and we could take away a meal and eat it next door in the apartment, which suited us.

We ate in Mammas Kitchen today, it was really busy and although our service was fine and we had no problems, other tables meals were very late. Some people were receiving their meal 45 mins after the first one was brought to the table ! so it was quite understandable that people were walking out !
So not a good place when busy, but we found it ok at quieter times.

30/12/03
Next day we headed for the Blue Mountains, Alan, gave us advice on getting to Katoomba by train. We went to Sydney station and bought 3 off peak adult tickets and 1 off peak child ticket, I thought that the first child travels free in Sydney, however according the large jolly chap at the ticket desk this was not the case on trains !
So we caught the 9:02 train to Katoomba, it was waiting at the platform at 08:40 and left exactly on time.

This train journey takes around 2 hours and is fully air conditioned. The seats are really interesting as the backs can be moved either forward or backwards to allow seating in fours. Its probably quite common but living in the UK with one of the most dreadful rail networks in the world here you will understand that I am not too familiar with the use of trains.
Alan had kindly offered to escort us around some of the Blue Mts and we met him at his local station. He took us to the Eureka clearing and we were so lucky to see our first kangaroos in the wild. The clearing is a great place to go and we had some cool drinks and snacks that Alan kindly brought along. It really was a good visit.
Alan then took us to Echo point and the 3 sisters, this was a little crowded and it was a very hot day but the view was spectacular and one we will never forget.

The towns and villages are really quaint and none more so than Leura. Alan recommended it to us and it was just a lovely place.
We carried on further on to Katoomba where the transport by bus is really easy and cheap around $2.50.
Alan left us by the entrance to the chairlifts and we went on to get some closer views of the Blue Mts.
Once again Thanks to Alan for his time and kindness?.we all appreciated his knowledge and great ideas.We had a good morning with him and it was so good to meet him.

The Sky rail.
We joined a queue to buy tickets for one of the 3 lifts, unfortunately due to building work, around the ticket office the queues were really building up.
The sun was really hot and we were all wilting after 45 mins stood in this queue.
Even the manager of the place was concerned as he was bringing sun screen out for everyone to save them from the hot sun.

We were all getting a little impatient hot and bothered and it didn?t help when several coachloads of people with pre purchased tickets literally pushed past everyone in the queue. There was no explanation as to why they were pushing past and tempers were beginning to show with many people to the extent that everyone formed a human barrier to stop them coming through, quite frankly it was a pathetic situation to be in as the queue to buy tickets would not move until those who had bought tickets had taken their ride, unfortunately the only ones taking the ride were those from the coach trips.

Moral of this story is to arrange tickets before arriving or hope that the building work will soon be finished.

Due to the situation we decided to just take the Skyrail as the queue was shorter and moving quicker this effectively just travels over the gauge stops then comes back, but despite this short trip it was a great view and excellent photo opportunity.
Next time we will come when its not as hot and not as busy.
We took the bus back to Katoomba station and travelled back after a hot but enjoyable day.
When we got to the Waldorf I had a call from Patw who was staying just across the road she was down in the lobby so we had a chat for a while, it was really nice to meet her whilst we were talking, there was a call for me at reception it was Margo Oz .
So we had a kind of Fodors meet even though it was not perhaps as planned.
It was great to meet and talk to Alan, Pat and Margo. Great people to know.





New years eve.
One of our main reasons for coming to Australia at this time of year was to see the NYE fireworks, we marvelled at their splendour last year on TV and we promised ourselves that we would get there one day. We didn?t realise that it would be next year.

With 2 teenagers and my wife having a dodgy knee picked up in Tokyo, we decided we needed to find a decent spot to see the fireworks, especially after the Panasonic sponsorship never happened as promised.
So we headed to the opera house at 11:30 am !!
Is that dumb??
I never queue for anything at home, I would never ever contemplate waiting 12 hours for fireworks, but this was different, this was Sydney.

Keeping ourselves entertained was quite easy as food and drink were all reasonably priced and we took our places opposite the bridge and next to a corporate function area along side the opera house.
The area seemed to be full of British, a family from Kent and a family from Bridgend (15 miles from my home) were along side us.
As 9pm approached people were vying for places and frequently trying to take our seats or squeeze in along side us.
We were having none of it, an Indian woman who was with about 25 of her family was trying her best to pinch a seat despite arriving at 7:45pm.
I had to ask her which part of the word NO she was having difficulty with, she then proceeded down the other end to try someone else.
I am normally quite a easy going guy but we had taken our places at 11:30 am and there is no way that anyone was going to turn up at 7:30pm and take our places.

Later on an English woman asked my son if she could sit down he explained that we were not giving up seats for anyone and we had been there for 9 hours, so got quite shirty with him so I tore her off a strip, she then proceeded to work on the guy next to us, who said she could sit down, hell she called 5 of her family down who proceeded to try and squeeze in too. NO way were they taking my places!!!

Come the midnight fireworks she moved and let her son mount his tripod there blocking the view of many people behind.
Some people !!!

Anyway the fireworks were fantastic the procession of boats going under the bridge was amazing and we all thought that the 12 hour wait was worth it.
The bridge really is the greatest prop for fireworks, London has an equal amount of these props but typically seem incapable of utilising them.
The English know the cost of everything and the value of nothing !!!!
(I am welsh by the way)



We then began to walk back through the mountains of litter back to the hotel.
Sydney fireworks were a fabulous experience and we were satisfied in the knowledge that we wanted to be there and we were.

Reading about the disastrous weather at home and the amount of organised functions that were cancelled we were so pleased to be in Australia.
New Years Day
New Years day was already planned in advance, we were off to Taronga Zoo.
A short ferry ride away and the chair lift awaits. This zoo is great has all the animals expected plus a few more, unfortunately we did not see the sun bears which were there 2 years ago when my wife and daughter visited as an alternative to the bridge climb.

We didn?t take the opportunity to get a photo taken by a guide with our camera standing next to a Koala, for the princely sum of $3. Instead I positioned my daughter nicely in front of a Koala and the angle made it look like she was next to it. I did that for free !
Quite a lucrative idea for Taronga .

We left the Zoo in the afternoon knowing that our Visit to Sydney, indeed Australia was almost over, we were to pack ready for our collection in the morning.

Our last night in Sydney ended in a similar way to our last night in Melbourne, Hard Rock Café. This was a great experience, HRC is a smaller place in Sydney than it was in Melb, and there it was surely once some kind of church and the atmosphere was great, a live band set the schene and the food was great.
To cap it all a colleague from Wales I know was here with his family and the family from Bridgend who were next to us on NYE were here too. This capped off a great night and we had a good chat and a laugh.

We left the HRC with my wifes feet hurting from too much walking all day and grabbed a taxi back to the Waldorf.

02/01/2004
We packed our bags and left them in the lobby, and went for a final walk around darling harbour, which was quiet. Did some more shopping and headed back for the bus collection at 12:45.
The bus was dead on time and we went to the Airport for our flight to Singapore.

We left the Waldorf with happy memories of a good base in Sydney, despite one or two concerns about its Saturday night location it served us reasonably well for the cost over NYE.
There had been some BA flights stopped around the world due to terrorist threats, security was really high at Sydney airport and no matter what I did I couldn?t stop the metal detector bleeping when I went through.
In the end they gave up.


The flight was an hour late. But well worth the wait.
It was the very best service and flight that I have had with Qantas. Believe it or not we enjoyed this flight.
We arrived at Singapore tired but happy, aiming to get a good sleep before heading back to London 24hrs later.

There were so many things we had planned to do in Sydney that we didn?t have either the time or the energy.
Manley spit to manly walk hire a car to Bowral were just some things we will leave for next time.

Cheers

Muck
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Old Jan 15th, 2004, 08:20 AM
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Dear Muck,
Thanks for your 2 trip reports. I'm sure we saw you on TV here in the states as we watched the fireworks.

AndrewDavid
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Old Jan 15th, 2004, 09:03 AM
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Hey Muck!! Thanks a million.. I have been trying to get a loose itinerary put together for our 4 days in Sydney and you provided loads of useful info... I am cutting and pasting this away as well... I am with much appreciation, putting together a personal guide book to Sydney that should be called the Margo, Alan, Mucky guide since so much of their combined wisdom appears in it already.

Couple of questions if I might: Do you recall the name and location of the German pub with the wondeful steins you enjoyed after your bridge climb. And, how scared was your daughter? I really long to do the bridge climb, but my palms sweat standing on a tall balcony... thanks again for the lovely report.
T
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Old Jan 15th, 2004, 12:45 PM
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Hi,
I will try to remember the German place, its on a corner just by the bridge climb, has Lowenbrau signs all over it. Alan, Margo Oz do you know the name?
Sorry will post when I remember the name.
Emma my daughter was probably suffering from a mixture of excitement and aprehension, not really scared to death, she went a bit quiet before the climb, but we couldn't shut her up after it.
One thing I left out from the report.
How could I !!
Draling harbour restaurant.
Cafe Fiorianis The worst service for the most price we have ever had anywhere in the world.
The meal for 4 cost $223 we really didn't over order,the staff were useless kept bringing the wrong stuff to every table, we were even left with the credit card and bill of someone else, it was just left on our table..lol until we asked the waitress if she might want it.
Hell it was the most dreadful service ever.
I mean, had the meal been at Mammas Kitchen and costing $12 I would have been disapointed.
I really hope they get their act together.
We spoke to the manager who really didn't give a hoot.
Dreadful service and we will never ever recomend it or visit the place again.

Muck
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Old Jan 15th, 2004, 01:17 PM
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Well Muck - happy to read your Sydney adventure!! Sounds like you and the family did it up really well in Sydney for the New Year. I'll keep this on file for when we return to OZ.
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Old Jan 15th, 2004, 05:11 PM
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The bavarian place is

the lowenbrau keller
argyle st
the rocks


within 500 metres of the lowenbrau there must be 50 aussie pubs...at least 5 claim to be the oldest in australia.Walk up argyle under the bridge approaches to the "real" rocks,,have a beer at the "Hero of Waterloo",the Lord nelson,the pallisades etc

the rooftop bar at the Glenmore is a local secret.

Hell Muck,
Going on the bridgeclimb,knocking back steins of imported beer,$250 meals...I hope you can afford your Glamorgan membership this year.
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Old Jan 16th, 2004, 12:15 AM
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Thats the place.....didn't choose the german place for any reason other than I was hellish thirsty and there was a spare table outside, oh and of course the stein, saves ordering 4 glasses straight off...lol
Your right I'd better get out busking, where's my guitar?

Glamorgan, season starts in April, fixtures are out now, not sure if I will get a season ticket, but will definately go down when I can.
Let me know when your in town, don't forget your coming to see a game too.

Cheers

Muck

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Old Jan 16th, 2004, 02:14 PM
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Well - the Mucky mob came and went (under police surveillance!) and we're mostly all still alive (not sure about Alan!?)

They seemed to fit a lot in - a good trip report.
The main message: Avoid the expensive and crap restaurants of Darling Harbour!

I missed Mucky, except by phone, due to indifferent health, but, next time......
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Old Aug 31st, 2005, 01:31 AM
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topping for carmen94
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Old Aug 31st, 2005, 11:53 AM
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Gadzooks!
This popped up and I thought the Muckies were coming again!

I even called all security services!
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Old Sep 1st, 2005, 03:21 AM
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Be on your guard Margo...we will be back !!!

;-)

Muck
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