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Need Advise on sites to see for Melbourne and Sydney.

Need Advise on sites to see for Melbourne and Sydney.

Old Oct 25th, 2006, 06:11 AM
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Need Advise on sites to see for Melbourne and Sydney.

A friend and I will be traveling to Australia for 3 weeds in Feb "07". We'll be staying in Sydney for 2 weeks with a friend who lives there. He has offered the use of his car but coming from Wisconsin we're a bit worried about remembering to drive on the left side of the road (don't want this to be our last visit)so we plan on using public transportation. What is the best and most reasonable to use (bus,train, etc.)? We know we are going to see the view from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, probably from the Pylon, and then enjoy some other sites and local pubs. Any suggestions?

For our third week we'll be staying in Melbourne. What is the best option of public transportation to get there? In Melbourne we're thinking to renting a car and travel south/west. We're interested in touring some wineries. I've researched the web sites but need suggestions on narrowing down the list because we also want to see other places. I've come up with possible wine tours in Yarra Valley, Mornington Penninsula, and Healsville for their Grape Grazing Festival. How would you rate those and why. Other areas that sounded interesting were the zoo in Werribee, the Nathional Wool Museum in Geelong, Phillip Island to see the penquins or maybe drive the Great Ocean Road.

I know it's asking a lot, but we only have 3 weeks and we want to make the most of them.

Thanks for any help you can give!
kalwi is offline  
Old Oct 25th, 2006, 08:15 AM
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Hi kalwi!
We're both from WI but now live in MN. Tim had no problems driving on the left in NZ in January, but I never tried it.
Where in Sydney does your friend live? That will determine the best form of public transport.
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Old Oct 25th, 2006, 10:42 AM
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Sydney has a good metro system for getting around town as well as trains for further afield. Don't forget the Sydney Opera House, and from nearby you can take a ferry to Manly, a nice little beach community not far away. Bondi Beach I found a disappointment.

A suggestion. Instead of going south to Melbourne (You could see the lot in one day), why not north along the Gold Coast via Surfer's Paradise to Brisbane? Some theme parks and other attractions in the area. Spend a week in Sydney. Travel north and you can decide how much time you want to spend there, then south again to spend the rest of the holiday in Sydney.

I found Sydney a bit too newish in places. Kings Cross area was a bit slummy, with prostitutes hanging out of windows and drunks on pavements last time I was there. It may have changed since then.
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Old Oct 25th, 2006, 10:59 AM
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Sydney too newish? It's the oldest city in Australia, and some of the history is well preserved in the Rocks area and places like Hyde Park Barracks.
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Old Oct 25th, 2006, 03:58 PM
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Kings Cross will probably never change.

You can buy a travelpass for use on Sydney transport that will depend on where you are staying in Sydney and were you want to go as Liz suggests. The passes are colour coded that will determine how far you an travel in a radius from the city centre. They last for a week and are good for ferries, trains and buses. ferries are a great way to see the harbour.

If you buy them to inlude travel to and from the airport you need to pay extra for a gate pass as the platforms are privately owned.

They range in price from $33 for a week to $55 for a week (aus$). Great value.

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Old Oct 25th, 2006, 10:43 PM
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For Sydney, if you're going into the city and nearby areas then I'd take public transport. There are times when a car is handy. You may wish to drive up to the Blue Mountains and have the flexibility of stopping at places like Leura, Blackheath etc or visit Botanic Gardens like Mt Tomah, Mt Annan etc. Or take a drive up to the Port Stephens area (there are discussions on this in other threads). You can see kangaroos at dusk in their "natural" habitat in Euroka Clearing on the way to the Blue Mountains (used to be many but now down to a few due to increased no of tourists) or go koala spotting near Port Stephens. There are areas in the Blue Mountains where tourist coaches don't go like Sublime Point with spectacular views. Evans Lookout and Govett's Leap have great views too. Most tourists only visit the Three Sisters.
So keep the car.
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Old Oct 28th, 2006, 08:49 AM
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Reply to Tim and Liz: My friend lives in North Ryde on Cook Street. You thought you might have suggestions for public transportation. Thanks
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Old Oct 28th, 2006, 11:37 PM
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I certainly wouldn't try to get around either Sydney or Melbourne city centres with a car. I would simply rely on public transportation.

The tram network in Melbourne is excellent and will get you to all the places you are likely to want to go to, including St. Kilda, Chapel Steet, Prahran and Lygon Street, Carlton which are the suburbs most travelled to outside the city centre.

If you want to do a winery day you could combine Healesville Sanctuary (for the native animals) with any number of wineries in the Yarra Valley. I would however definitely give the main weekend of the grape grazing festival a miss as it is extremely popular and there will be 1000's of people around. There are plenty of one day winery tours that you can book yourself on if you want to be able to imbibe yourself.

The penguins at Phillip Island are very cute but you have to decide whether you have the time to fit them in. I would give the wool museum in Geelong a miss unless you have a particular interest. If you are doing the Great Ocean Road you could certainly stop by at the Werribee Open Range Zoo and do a tour. However, it seems a bit redundant to come to see a zoo specialising in African/Asian animals (springbok, tigers, rhinos etc) whilst in Australia.

In terms of travelling from Sydney to Melbourne you really need to fly. Its only about one hour by plane, 12 hours by car along the extremely boring Hume Highway or considerably longer if you went via the coast or over the mountains to add interest to the trip. If you wanted to do either of those options I would be making a three day tour of it. You could catch the train but once again it eats up a lot of time and nowdays you can often travel cheaper by plane than train. You would only use the bus if you are a backpacker with no money
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Old Oct 29th, 2006, 11:38 AM
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Good point about why go to Werribee Zoo to see animals native to Asia and Africa. I guess it'll be at the bottom of the list. Are there any winery tours that are better than others near the Melbourne area? We are looking for a place to stay for a week in or around Melboune but haven't had any luck yet. We want to go from Feb. 25- Mar. 3. We're flying out of Sydney that afternoon.
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Old Oct 29th, 2006, 05:13 PM
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For Sydney, have a look at:

This is the public transport info line.

I put in Cook Street, North Ryde, and requested directions for different places.

I wouldn't even consider a car for around the city area - only if you wanted to go bush (or thereabouts!)

Sydney city is alos good for walking, or just wandering.
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Old Oct 30th, 2006, 10:30 AM
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kalwi, Sorry I can't give any recommendations for wine tours out to the Yarra Valley. As a local I have always driven myself. I feel that you could easily wait until you are in Melbourne before booking on to one. That gives you the chance to check what the weather is likely to be etc. The tourist office will help you choose one.

As to where to stay, do you wish to be in the city itself or a bit outside. There are also lots of B&B's in the Yarra Valley area if you would like to stay out there for one night ranging from simple to very upmarket. If you have the money to splash around Chateau Yering is wonederful. (Even listed in the European Relais et Chateau guide). If a night out in the Yarra Valley takes your fancy, certainly consider doing a hot air balloon flight over the vineyards early the next morning. Incidentally hot air baloon flights are available over the city itself. Check out www.hotairballooning.com.au

If the rest of your trip is basically in the cities I would strongly recommend that you do take a bit of time to get out into the countryside at some point. There is so much more to Australia than just its cities. You mentioned the Grat Ocean Road as a possibility and February is a great time of year ato do this. The weather should be hot/very hot and the kids have gone back to school so you won't be overrun by locals on their own holidays. If you have a whole week for Melbourne, I definitely wouldn't spend the whole week in the city (especially after having spent 2 weeks in Sydney) but schedule only a couple of days in the city itself and then do a bit of a driving tour.
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Old Nov 1st, 2006, 01:52 PM
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You have picked a great time to come to Sydney and Melbourne. The weather will be great. I am not sure what your interests are nor your fitness level. A friend of ours came out from the UK and borrowed one of our bikes and used the bike and train to get around. He had a fab time and saw lots of things.

From North Ryde, you'd probably have to catch a bus to the train station, then the train to the city. There could be buses into the city your friend should be able to assist.

Many tourist totally by pass the central coast and head straight to port stephens, it's a lovely spot but so is the central coast and it's so much closer to where you are staying.

Seeing you have two weeks in Sydney, I have a few suggestions for a couple of nice days out that most OS visitors would never do. Catch the train from Epping Station, (short bus ride from North Ryde) north to Hawkesbury River. It's about a 30 minute train ride. A great way to see the river is to catch the Riverboat Postman cruise, this is a service that delivers mail to isolated houses along the river it takes approx 3 hours and runs Monday to Friday, it departs at 9:30 and returns approx 1:15. I just called them for a few more details as they don't have a website, the cost is $45 for an adult, you pay cash on the day as they don't have credit card facilities, but you will need to book a few days ahead - 02 9985 7566, they are located right next to the train station. You can google it and find some reviews on it. On returning, stop off at the pub next to the station and enjoy a nice cold beer or glass of wine and some lunch - I highly recommend the fresh plate of prawns .. mmmm and the hot chips were pretty good too , if you still have a little energy to burn you can wander around the waterfront before catching the train back to Epping. Train timetable can be found at www.cityrail.com.au

A nice day at the beach can also be had a little further north of Hawkesbury River on the Central Coast. You can catch the same train this time getting off at Woy Woy, about 15 minutes further on from Hawkesbury River. From Woy Woy you can take a bus to Ettalong Beach or a Taxi, it's only a 5 min drive from the train station. Or you can go a little further and get off at Gosford and catch a bus or taxi to Terrigal Beach, this would be about a 20 minute drive to the beach. Both spots are lovely. At Ettalong you have the Outrigger Resort over looking broken bay, you can have lunch here or there is a great cafe I love to go to which is located near the ferry wharf - it's yummy and a real bargin. From here you could take the ferry to Palm Beach then a bus back to Sydney and return to Epping. It would be a big day, but well worth the effort. http://www.palmbeachferry.com.au/pal...rry/splash.asp

Also in the region there are some great bush walks or hikes as you would term it.

Just a few suggestions that might be of interest. Cheers
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Old Nov 1st, 2006, 04:39 PM
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Best form of transport in Sydney is train (in my humble opinion), but North Ryde is not on the train line. Probably a bus to the station - your friend should be able to help you. In Sydney, there is the Bridge and Opera House - a walk across the bridge from Milson's Point to the city is great. The Rocks in great for history, and if you like markets there are nice Sunday morning markets. Be sure to catch a couple of ferries on the harbour - we usually suggest a ferry to Manly. You could also do a ferry to Paramatta (up the Paramatta River and then bus back to North Ryde). Remember to leave time to look beyond the city. The Blue Mountains are great - really you need a car. Also Port Stephens / Nelson Bay - great beach destination.
In Melbourne you can buy daily tickets which allow travel within certain zones on bus, train and tram. The Yarra Valley Wineries are a good day or weekend trip; combine with Healseville Animal Sanctuary - great place to see Australian wildlife. Take some seed to the neighbouring park (great place for a picnic lunch) - feed the colourful birds who are happy to oblige for the camera. Don't miss the Great Ocean Road - especially try to get as far along as the 12 apostles.

Around February / March you should be able to go without pre-booking accomodation during the midweek. Not sure about weekends.

Have fun!
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