potpourri of last-minute Sydney questions

Oct 9th, 2011, 05:41 PM
  #1  
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potpourri of last-minute Sydney questions

Thanks all for your patience as our trip nears. Here are our (hopefully) last few questions, mainly regarding accomodations:

1. Staying in the Rocks area - I know it is subjective, but the best that you can answer, how much does the cost outweigh the ease of getting to the sights - Bridge, Opera House, Botanical Gardens, Manly Beach, surrounding suburbs and cute day excursions - ? We were thinking of getting one of those week passes that allow you to use bus, train, ferry unlimited, so does that help negate the need to get pricey hotels in the heart of it all?

2. One good option looked like the Travelodge Wynward - what is this area like in reference to the above points?

3. We hope to spend some time just walking Sydney and dipping off into side streets exploring - but not really interested in the seedy bar/nightclub life. Preferably looking for areas where the walls aren't thumping at 2 AM. What are areas to avoid, not only in terms of lodging but also sightseeing and maybe walking around at dusk? What are the seedy/unsafe areas of Sydney (we keep reading about King's Cross).

4. We've narrowed down a potential 3-day side trip to either Great Ocean Road, Cairns minus the GBR water excursions (semi-submersible would be okay if it is really a good way to see pretty coral and fish), Brisbane for the Australia Zoo/Lone Pine +/- Fraser Island, or Tasmania for the convict history. Natural beauty or outdoor walking options would be a huge plus with access to outback-like scenery. Do you have any advice as to which location would be the "easiest" in terms of frequent flights, easy airport transfers and transportation within city, easily accessible and multiple side trip options, etc?

5, Trip timeline is 1st 2 weeks of November. Approximate weather patterns in Sydney around this time of year? Is it fairly crowded time in terms of any holidays? How easy or difficult is it to make last-minute hotel or flight arrangements in Sydney or beyond (booking a last minute flight to Brisbane, for example) even within a couple days?

I know these are broad and difficult questions. Thanks again, you all have been most patient!
itspat is offline  
Oct 9th, 2011, 08:30 PM
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I just checked the map on Wotif.com and it seems like Travelodge Wynward is fairly close to the Rocks, so it would be a convenient choice.

I have stayed at the Holiday Inn at the Rocks several times, but even its prices have gone up relative to the US dollar (though well below the pricier places at the Rocks). Have you checked out the Russell?
http://www.therussell.com.au/rates-specials.html

We have stayed at Darling Harbor and Manly in the past and we would not stay there again, not because these were not good areas--they were, but as tourists we found ourselves catching the ferry back to Circular Quay every day. We also stayed the Regent (now the Four Seasons) in the CBD, and we found this area lacking in charm compared to the Rocks (we like being close to the water)nalso it didn't have the range of restaurant and cafe choices that the Rocks offered.
Diamantina is offline  
Oct 9th, 2011, 08:37 PM
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Well maybe I can answer some of those questions.

1.I imagine you will be doing a fair amount of walking but I think the weekly pass will be beneficial to you as well. The Rocks is fine to stay in but you don't need to be there to see things, especially with your pass.

2. The Travelodge at Wynyard is in a handy position for sightseeing and is right near one of the rail stations which are on the airport line if you use that.

3. Dusk should be ok for Kings Cross if that area interests you and there are some smart restaurants there. Late at night could be a little more dicey ( though not necessarily ). I used to live there and I like it but would be careful at those late hours. I would say it is mainly the one main street with others being very nice.

4. Will have to leave this one to others.

5. That time of year would normally be lovely in Sydney but I must say our weather has been very changeable lately. I would not worry about coming at that time. It is before the school holidays so that won't be a problem.

I hope that has been some help and others will join in. Have a great stay here.
Peteralan is offline  
Oct 9th, 2011, 08:46 PM
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I think if you have only three days for a side trip, going to Brisbane to see the Australia Zoo (one hour away) and Fraser Island (four and half hours away at least), won't be so practical, plus all the time you fritter away in airports (checking in, waiting for flights to take off and so on). Seems like a lot of driving for three days, not a lot of relaxation.
Diamantina is offline  
Oct 9th, 2011, 11:29 PM
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3. Kings Cross is a bit unsavoury and I wouldn't feel safe wandering around the side streets at night, although I used to as a young woman going to the nightclubs and cafes. And although it is very busy, George St in the movie precinct can be a little unpleasant. It doesn't feel that way, although I know of people who have been attacked there, and also there are people who will sneak away your wallet around there and in Chinatown. Fortunately police wander around there regularly. But I certainly wouldn't let that stop me going to take in a movie there. The really unsafe places (like Redfern station or the back streets of Woolloomooloo) are very unlikely to capture tourist interest. Sydney is mostly safe if you don't take risks like walking in Hyde Park in the dead of the night!

Lavandula
lavandula is offline  
Oct 10th, 2011, 01:26 AM
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Hi itspat,

I stayed at the Travelodge Wynyard in June this year. The rooms are small but have been refurbished. I found the accommodation more than satisfactory for the price. The kicker for me was the proximity to the rail station just two doors down. We hopped on the train at the airport and it practically dropped us at the hotel door. Too easy.

We did a lot of walking and perhaps would have done more except we encountered a lot of rain. We walked down to Circular Quay and Darling Harbour though I have to say we caught a cab to The Rocks but really only because of the rain.

I would recommend the hotel though bear in mind it is not 5 Star but the staff were good but I can't report on the food as we did not eat there.

As for a 3 day side trip why not think about The Blue Mountains, the Jenolan caves etc as I agree with Diamantina that 3 days probably only will equate to 1 maybe 1 1/2 days when you take out the time needed to spend at airports etc.
I do hope you have a fabulous trip!

And hello to you Peteralan I hope you and our Greynomad are both well!
stormbird is offline  
Oct 10th, 2011, 02:07 AM
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In terms of seedy areas of Sydney, I agree with Lavandula, the area around Central Station and George street are both unpleasant and crowded.

I used to live in Kings Cross, it's seedy but because it's the heart of organised crime, it's very safe to walk the streets--far less amateurs. As Peter says there are some very good restaurants there: Jimmy Liks and others down the Potts Point end.

The main selling point of the Rocks is the possibility of a harbour view. On the weekend however the place is often noisy with lots of people (sometimes noisy). Wynard is an easy walk down to the quay. Largely the city is not that vibrant at night.

You could also consider being closer to where the most interesting restaurants are but not in the city at all: Surry Hills is good for this. There's Berta, Mahjong Room, Vini, Porteno and Billy Kwong. This is also an area very well served by public transport.
Susan7 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2011, 08:51 AM
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Hmmm....we are staying at the Meriton serviced apartments on Pitt St (Pitt and Bathhurst) over the holidays. Looks very close to George Street and the movie houses. Most of the TripAdvisor reviews say it is a good location. Should I look for some other place to stay in a less seedy location?
steamboatsista is offline  
Oct 10th, 2011, 02:36 PM
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Steamboatsista, you are one street back so it's not so bad. The area you are in is good for public transport and it's close to Chinatown. You are within walking distance to more interesting areas: East Sydney, Surry Hills.
Susan7 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2011, 03:34 PM
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Thanks, Susan7. The price is right at the Meriton Pitt Street and it gets good reviews, but I have been looking longingly at the Adina Crown Street in Surry Hills lately. How is Surry Hills for public transport to Circular Quay and Darling Harbour?

Itspat, I found some great Sydney walks at this site:

http://www.squidoo.com/top-10-sydney
steamboatsista is offline  
Oct 11th, 2011, 02:07 AM
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Hi Stormbird ans Susan. Nice to see you guys again. Cheers from me and Greynomad.
Peteralan is offline  
Oct 11th, 2011, 02:13 AM
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Steamboatsista, there is a good transport sysyem from there to the city.
Peteralan is offline  
Oct 11th, 2011, 02:19 AM
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Steamboatsista, you can easily get from Surry Hills to Circular Quay. You would walk along Crown st to Oxford st and then take the 380 or the 333 bus. The part of Oxford st bordering Surry Hills is also a bit seedy, but it is where there are a lot of gay nightclubs so it's pretty safe from women

For Darling Harbour, are you wanting to go the Aquarium, there's not a lot else there of great interest, other than the Maritime museum?

You could take the ferry from Circular Quay to Darling Harbour but that's a bit of a round-about way to get there--mind you the ferry ride is great. I don't think there's a bus from Oxford st to Darling Harbour. But I think the M40 bus goes fairly close to Darling Harbour. The new M buses are really good for tourists because there's a voice and a text in the bus that tells you the name of each stop.
Susan7 is offline  
Oct 11th, 2011, 07:16 AM
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I guess I was thinking about the fish market when I said Darling Harbour, but I see now that is not really its location.

Glad to know that my husband will be safe in Surry Hills from all those good looking Australian women
steamboatsista is offline  
Oct 17th, 2011, 07:33 PM
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Hi, itspat. I've just had a week in Sydney staying with my sister - weather was lovely and warm - 21 most days. My sister was working although she was able to take off an afternoon and the day I flew back. I spent most days walking around the city exploring, especially up and down George Street.
One idea is to get a 48 hour pass on the Sydney explorer / hop-on-hop-off bus - $56. There are two tours this pass entitles you to do - The Sydney Tour and The Bondi Tour. I didn't have a huge amount of tine so I just did the Sydney tour one day and the Bondi on the day the ticket ran out (I got mine at 2:00 p.m.) I didn't get off but it gave me a good idea of places I wanted to have a closer look at, some of which I did in Sydney the next day. Next visit to Sydney I will again buy a pass and hop-on-hop-off, especially in Bondi.
The ferry trip to Watson's Bay / bus back to the city is a great trip. We had a superb day weather-wise, and I enjoyed Barramundi at Doyle's (hotel).
I visited the Sydney Wildlife World and Sydney Aquarium at Darling Hsrbour - well worth it, but do allow yourself plenty of time to see both. I spent over two hours at Wildlife World, and then only had 40 minutes in aquarium, not nearly enough.
Enjoy your trip - I really enjoyed my nearly-7 days in Sydney, and will be back again.
Dot
dottyp is offline  
Oct 18th, 2011, 03:04 AM
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Thanks for the update, dottyp., and the suggestions from all of you. We'll be in Sydney for a few days in January so really appreciate the friendly and informative approach of these forums.
eliztravels is offline  
Dec 6th, 2011, 06:38 PM
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Just wanted to say we have returned from a wonderful trip! As with any wonderful vacation, one returns to the day-to-day duties of "normal" life and I have not had time to sit down and write a proper trip report or give feedback. But I just wanted to say that this forum was THE best source of friendly and helpful information... and I just wanted to say thanks! Hopefully back soon with an informal trip report!
itspat is offline  
Dec 6th, 2011, 08:14 PM
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Great to hear, itspat - looking forward to a TR!

Lavandula
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