Queries on Sydney and Melbourne

Old Dec 27th, 2002, 05:52 AM
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Queries on Sydney and Melbourne

I will visit OZ(Sydney and Melbourne)for the 1st time. Please assist in my queries.
1. Is it possible to see Sydney for one whole day? Only picturesque spots will be visited.
2. Is Blue Mountains worth visiting?
3. Which is better, Taronga Zoo or Melbourne Zoo? Interested to see all OZ native animals.
4. Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney or Melbourne?
5. Is it worth to include Philip Bay in our Melbourne trip?
Old Dec 27th, 2002, 06:55 AM
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Hi leniram,

We went to OZ for the month of August, did not go to Melbourne on this trip. But I can tell you we spent 5 days in Sydney and wished we had more time.

Good luck, have fun!
Old Dec 27th, 2002, 12:30 PM
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Sydeny in one day (even just the highlights) means you'll miss out on a lot - I'd say 2 days - preferably 3.
If time is an issue forget the Blue Mountains.
Melbourne Zoo is much better than Taronga Park Zoo - but if you're really interested in Australian animals, go to Healesville Sanctuary - about 1 hour out of Melbourne.
Botanic gardens in melbourne is much much better.
Port Phillip Bay is next to Melbourne - not nearly as spectacular as Sydney - but you'll see it anyway!
Old Dec 27th, 2002, 08:23 PM
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Hi, Leniram!
Sydney is a small, compact city, very nicely laid-out for the foot-explorer, and you can certainly see a lot in a day.... but, that said, there will also be a lot that you will miss, and I would agree with Brenda that three days would be ideal. If one of these days must be "stolen" from your Blue Mountains trip, then so be it... don't forget that with a trip to the Mountains, you will be on the train (or coach) for some two hours each way, and if you're tight for time, there are better ways to utilise it.
An important point for your one day in Sydney will be the location of your hotel. Try to choose one near Circular Quay and the Rocks, so you step out of your door and you are ready to sight-see. Don't let the travel agent stick you up at the Mercure at Sydney Terminal Station, or the Chinatown Holiday Inn, or somewhere like that, where you have to do a lot of walking before you even start to see what you came for.
Melbourne Zoo may be, as Mary avers, better than Taronga Park Zoo -- I haven't been to Melbourne Zoo in thirty years, and I can't remember a thing about it -- but I would have to disagree that you should choose Melbourne over Sydney here. Taronga Park Zoo gives you some of the best views in Sydney -- really, some of the best views in the southern hemisphere --and if you have such little time to spend here, that's a great way to see Sydney AND cater to your taste for animals at the same time. So, with respect to Mary, forget all about Melbourne Zoo or any of the other wildlife parks, and do a day at Taronga. It's just a ten-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay (where the Opera House and the Bridge are). Why spend an hour each way travelling somewhere out of Melbourne?
I would have to say the same for the Botanical Gardens. I am sure Melbourne's is very nice, but the Sydney Botanical Gardens starts at the Opera House and ends up at the Art Gallery and historic buildings of Macquarie Street, so a walk through here would allow you to take care of some important Sydney sites at the same time!
Once you have decided where you are staying, write in again, and I will work out a walking route which will cover all the best parts of Sydney (and the Botanical Gardens)in a single day. If, when you write back, you say that you have managed to squeeze an extra day or two out of your Melbourne itinerary, I will be able to plan much better (and include Taronga Zoo)!
(P.S. What time of year are you coming? This could make quite a difference on "picturesque" sightseeing!)
Old Dec 27th, 2002, 08:30 PM
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I think you mean Port Philip Bay.This is the bay that Melbourne is situated on.I live in Melbourne and love it but Sydney is the more spectacular city.You can die never having been to Melbourne but you must see Sydney Harbour.
Old Dec 27th, 2002, 11:19 PM
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Pleased to receive good replies. THANKS!Our trip will be on July or August. To include Blue Mountains(definitely) and will extend our stay in Sydney for 2 more days. Aiming to visit S'ney Opera House, Darling Hrbr,Hrbr Bridge,Taronga Zoo and Royal B. Gardens. Anymore unique attractions to suggest?
Old Dec 27th, 2002, 11:53 PM
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Hi we were in Sydney during Oct 2001 and 4 days was not enough to see all the great places in Sydney.
The bridge climb is a must, but don't drink any booze before or you will fail the breath test and they won't let you climb !!
Ceterpoint tower (AMP Tower) is fantastic too, it has the best view of Sydney and the surrounding area and I believe it is the highest observation platform in the southern hemisphere.
(I am sure I will be corrected if I am wrong !!)
If you want to see a great live webcam taken from the rocks and looking out over the bridge and Opera house try this site>> www.viewsydney.com
I spend hours controlling this little camera, and when we were there I made it my mission to find the camera..lol
We are planning to return next Dec 2003.
Have fun

Old Dec 30th, 2002, 01:07 AM
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The general comment that Sydney is a small compact city is I am afraid simply nonsense - at over 4 million people and suburban you will find that it is a very large city in area. Even for the centre if you consider night life areas like Kings Cross as well as Rocks area, Darling Harbour, Domain and so on, Sydney is still not small in comparison to lots of European cities or US for that matter.
I would totally agree with +ve comments made about TAronga Park and Botanic Gardens - views from both places are far superior to anything Melbourne has to offer. Also suggest you go out to a place like Watsons Bay or Manly to see the Heads (with spectacular cliffs) and experience more than just centre life. Unless you want to see just cities, I would drop Melbourne for the Blue mountains or higher priority would be the Barrier Reef for totally unforgettable scenery under the ocean.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 08:00 AM
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In Australia, they bill the Blue Mountains as the "Grand Canyon" of their country. I found it VERY underwhelming myself, especially if you have been to Austria, Switzerland, Alaska, Grand Canyon.....etc. Also, the tourist stops were very dirty, especially where the gondola ride is. Sydney is really fabulous and so many other things that are really grand.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 12:06 PM
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I have NEVER seen the Blue Mountains billed as our Grand Canyon and I would never compare them with mountains in Austria, Switzerland or Alaska as those places are cold areas of the world with high snow covered mountains and the Blue Mountains are nothing like that at all.
The Gondola ride is just a small thing to have a bit of fun on. To enjoy the Blue Mountains properly you have to be there for a hike through the wilderness area and for the unique flora and fauna that abounds. If you want a quick in and out then NO it is not worth the trip but if you wish to experience some of what is typical Australian wilderness then Yes it is worth the visit. Also if you like caves then it has some wonderful cave systems. The mountains are not high ones and there is not snow covered tops on them either. It really depends on what you want to see. I note that you are from Singapore (right?) If that is the case then perhaps a trip up into some of the lovely wilderness is a real treat for you.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 02:40 PM
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Hi Just got back from a 12 day trip to Aus. It was wonderful and the people are so nice. We were in Sydney for 5 days. I think Blue Mountains is quite a waste of time. We were disappointed by the drive which was boring and then the mountains left us unimpressed.
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 03:05 PM
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Hi, again, leniram!
Just two comments to add to all the excellent advice you have received here already:
(i) The Blue Mountains is only "underwhelming" and a waste of time if you just go up there and look into the valleys. To appreciate the mountains you MUST walk down into the valleys and under some of the waterfalls. From the top, they are nice, but nothing like the Grand Canyon, and I have never heard them billed as such, either. I think that is an overseas comparison, not a home-grown one! The tour buses are to be avoided as they take you to the lookouts, and then whisk you off to the souvenir shops and restaurants... a waste of a day. Go by train, and walk DOWN from Katoomba or Blackheath... or from Wentworth Falls along to Katoomba. You won't find it "underwhelming".

(ii) Sydney is, indeed, a city of four million people, and if you want to see all their homes, it's a large area to cover, full of dormitory suburbs, many of which are an hour by train from the centre. However, if you want to see the scenic parts of Sydney, you will concentrate on just a couple of square kilometres around Circular Quay, Hyde Park, the Rocks, and Darling Harbour... with a couple of ferry rides thrown in. This is a small and compact area, with something to see every two minutes. Nick's opening comment, therefore, is unhelpful.
Old Jan 3rd, 2003, 12:33 AM
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Having lived in Sydney, Perth, London, Munich, Warsaw, Chicago and now Vienna - I still hold to the comment. London is far greater centre (and twice the population), but the general tourist area incorporating the areas mentioned is still larger than the central areas of lots of other European cities and the fact that people do tourist trips to suburbs such as Watsons Bay (Doyles is a favourite), Manly etc make it far bigger than lots of other cities - e.g Chicago has less tourism to nice suburbs such as Davis, making Sydney still far from compact. If you go to a city and stick to 2 sites - as some people seem to focus on the Rocks and thats it, any city is compact.
Old Jan 3rd, 2003, 03:45 AM
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Hi, Nick! I am sure that all that you say is true, and although I have been to both London and Chicago, I can't really find much comparison between them and Sydney, so I can't comment there. But how about New Orleans? This is more like I think Sydney is to the visitor... lots of dormitory suburbs they never see (and why would they?) but a nice easily-defined central area which can be seen on foot in a couple of days, and the boats to the "outlying" areas go from right there in the tourist centre.
That said, I bow to your greater knowledge of cities of the world than my own (I lived my whole life in one city!), and I am sure leniram will take both our viewpoints at their worth and plan his couple of days accordingly.
Old Jan 3rd, 2003, 08:19 AM
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Hello again! esp. to Nick and Alan. I am carefully weighing every advice and noting down salient points.
My trip sched has been changed to Feb 2003 and because everybody raves about Sydney, I will spend 4 days in the city.
Thanks everybody. Excited to take pictures over there.
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