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Random questions about Sydney - we are headed there in 5 days!

Random questions about Sydney - we are headed there in 5 days!

Jun 20th, 2005, 10:12 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 6
Random questions about Sydney - we are headed there in 5 days!

Wow! I have so many questions, I don't know where to start! Help in answering any of these would be much appreciated!

A little background - my husband and I (both just turning 30 this year) are staying at the Holiday Inn Old Sydney, and we will be there from July 2 - July 6. I have never even been outside of the US before, so I am absolutely thrilled (and a little nervous) about our big trip!

Here it goes:
Opera House - what should be done there? Just a basic tour, or is the backstage tour worth it? Do most people just walk around it on their own, or are the tours a better way to go?

Bridge climb - I would love to do this, but it seems a little pricey - is it worth it?

Bars - where are some cool places to hang out in the evening? Is the ice bar opened yet?

Restaurants - we love all kinds of food, and we've seen many popular restaurants recommended, but would love any "off the beaten path" ideas as well.

Animals - of course, I want to get up close and personal to those adorable kangaroos and koalas - where is the best place to do that? The Taronga Zoo?

Wineries - where are the best/closest wineries? We live in California and love going to Napa, so we can't wait to see a winery in Australia.

Beaches - which is better - Bondi or Manly? I know it will be chilly when we go, but I would like to just walk along the beach while we are there.

Other important things - The Rocks? Sydney Tower?

I know I am missing so much, so other suggestions would be appreciated as well. And, since I'm sure these questions have been asked by other posters, referrals to a specific post are great too!

Thanks in advance!
Lauren724 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2005, 04:07 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi, Lauren! You have two replies to this question on TripAdvisor.... I just got through typing a LONG one for you (the second), so, rather than cut-and-paste, I will simply direct you back to that site.

One thing I didn't get around to saying in the other reply is that if you have an absolutely beautiful Sydney winter day while you are here - and there are plenty of those in July -- you might like to get to Manly by doing the Spit Bridge to Manly walk. From the Holiday Inn, walk up George Street to Wynyard Station, and at the back (right, up the escalator) of Wynyard Station there is a park, where you can get a bus (at Stand C) to the Spit Bridge. From the far side of this bridge there is a signposted three-and-a-half-hour walk to Manly which, I promise you, will be one of the best experiences you will have in Sydney.... and it's free! Lots of quiet beaches, a rain forest, aboriginal carvings, and some of the best views in the southern hemisphere. Take a packed lunch with you, and then when you get to Manly have an early dinner at one of the restaurants around the Corso. Then return to Sydney by evening ferry.

There are several posts about this walk on this forum.... just do a search above.
Alan is offline  
Jun 20th, 2005, 04:52 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 240
I'll tackle as many of your questions as I can...here goes my 2 cents:

I loved the Opera House tour (been there three times over the years) Morning tours offer a better chance of seeing more of the performance spaces. It really is worth the money to see the inside (however, just the exterior will take your breath away). Near the Opera House is the Botanical Gardens, be sure to wander through there.

Had two friends do the bridge climb, one loved it, the other thought it wasn't worth the money. I like just walking the bridge and then having dinner or lunch in Kirribilly on the other side and walking around Luna Park.

Take the bus or a cab to Newtown or Glebe for dinner or lunch. There are so many great restaurants in those areas and they both have great neighborhood feels. While in Newtown wander around Camperdown cemetery (a few blocks NW of King St on Church Street). Chinatown would be another interesting spot for dinner. As would Harry's Cafe de Wheels at the wharf in Wooloomooloo near the W hotel.

As you mentioned, the beach scene will not be too big while you're there. If you're more active definitely do the Manly walk mentioned above. Otherwise, a walk from Bondi to Waverly Cemetery (and beyond) offers some spectacular views of the ocean. Watson's Bay is another great area for city, harbour and ocean cliff views.

Evening harbour tours are very enjoyable...taking an evening ferry from Manly or Taronga can give you the same views without the narrative or the high price tag.

A walk through Hyde park by day and night.

Didn't hit all your questions, but I hope it gives you some ideas. Have fun.
yesiree100 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2005, 07:30 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,116
Bridgeclimb was great (!)fun but if all you want is a good view and to take your own pictures, the Pylon Lookout on the Harbour Bridge is the way to go. Much cheaper and the view is very similar to that from the top.

As suggested above, a walk through the Botanical Gardens is a must. Besides exotic trees and plants, you'll should see colorful wild parrots, fruit bats and the fantastic view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

Taronga Zoo is nice, but is more remarkable for its magnificent harbour views than as a zoo. Nothing that special about seeing 'roos and koalas at Taronga over seeing them in some US zoo, I would say. The ferry ride to Taronga, like that to Manly, is great for seeing the harbour. (No need to go on a separate harbour cruise, in my opinion.)

Another nice coastal walk is that between Bondi and Tamarama beaches. Havent done the Manly-Spit walk, but will do so the next time I'm in Sydney for sure.

Been up the Sydney Tower on a few occassions...can't say it is my favorite Sydney attraction. Instead, I liked the Sydney Observatory, behind the Rocks. Nice views and a good sense of Sydney history - it's the place where a ball was dropped on a mast so that ships in the harbour could set their chronometers.
RalphR is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 06:18 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Opera House - go to a performance - much better than a tour.

Bridge - never done the bridge climb, but love to walk across. And there is a great view from the SE Pylon and a fascintating museum too.

Walks: Spit to Manly; Bondi to Coogee the best known long hauls, but there are others just as mind blowing that will take only an hour. Check out the brochure provided by Sydney Ferries.

Eateries - good advise already given.

Wineries - I wouldn't waste a day of my time if I only had 2 and and a half going to the Hunter Valley. It's "nice" but if you want to spend a day out of the city go to the Blue Mountains. The Hunter will disappear fairly quickly from your memory banks. The Blue Mts, will live with you always.

Ferries - no need to take a "cruise" just take a normal ferry. Manly is great but for scenic value do the round trip to Mosman, preferably leave late afternoon in that amazing light; get off, wait for the next one and return to the city at dusk. Amazing!

Have the most amazing time.

fuzzylogic is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 09:06 AM
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A huge thank you to all of you! Your advice makes planning so much easier! We can't wait!

Lauren724 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 05:51 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,638
If you don't get up to the Hunter, then please by a bottle of Scarborough Chardonnay or Pinot Noir (exceptional Hunter vineyard) from David Jones in Market Street, Sydney & drink it in your hotel room with a some camembert, brie, olives, cold raost beef & salad. Yummmm! Carpet picnics are great!
Lyndie is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 06:09 PM
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Or take it dowen to Harry's Cafe de Wheels with some glasses & enjoy in by the water! Have a great time in Sydney!
Lyndie is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 02:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You all make it sound so good, I want to do this myself, and I live in the Hunter Valley and work near Pokolbin.

Great ideas about the bottle of wine, carpet picnic and also on the waterfront at Harrys. This captures the whole spirit of a holiday.
Brushtail is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 09:43 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Brushtail-you're one lucky person. God's own country! We've travelled the world, visited most famous wine areas, loved the Loire & Napa Valleys & most specifically Mondavi's vineyard & the very magic Opus wine there but nothing is a spectacular as the Hunter in Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter! Off to enjoy a warm rich Hunter Burgundy with some magic Hunter Cheese! Wouldn't be dead for quids! Have fun!
Lyndie is offline  
Jun 25th, 2005, 10:53 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 93
Aren't we all funny? I live in a gorgeous part of the world, see kangaroos every day on my way to work, I am within cooee of the Hunter vineyards, yet I am busy saving like mad to go somewhere else.

In my case, it is three weeks in a campervan on the South Island of New Zealand in September. 13 weeks to go, and counting down.
Brushtail is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 03:17 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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I also think you should go to a performance at the Opera House. I remember we waited in a line before one of the shows, and were able to purchase unused tickets inexpensively. Someone on here can comment if they still do this (I haven't been to Australia in 8 years - I studied abroad there).

I also think you should check out both Manly beach and Bondi Beach, but if you HAD to pick one, I'd pick Bondi. I saw Bondi briefly in July, and there were people actually surfing at that time of winter. I then saw Manly in December and it was really nice.
amelie is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 11:33 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 13
Hi Lauren, we just got back a couple of weeks ago and you will love it! You must not miss Fishface restaurant on Darlinghurst Rd. It is wonderful!

Ferry back from Manly after sunset and you will get a fabulous harbour view.

petermichelle is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 03:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I would also recommend taking in a show at the Opera House. We were fortunate and the Symphony was playing there and it was marvelous. Got our tickets online before leaving on our trip. Oh, you can't tour the house unless you purchase a tour - sorry!!

We loved the Bondi beach walk along the cliffs - it was great - much better and nicer than Manly IMHO. Also had brunch there and the food was pretty darned good too!!

There's an Australian Bar and B&B right in the Rocks that was great to meet people and enjoy the evening - also had good pizza there. Another place we enjoyed was called Meat and Wine over at Darling Harbor - reasonable and met other folks there.

The Blue Mountains are spectacular as are the Three Sisters - for us it was a highlight over Hunter Valley. I guess its much like Napa and Sonoma but the mountains are unique.

We loved using the Ferry system and went everywhere that we could using it and the train everywhere else. They have a great system

Hubby did the bridge climb and I did the pylon and the bridge walk. I was quite happy and impressed with my lower version. Later we walked through Botanical Gardens eating an ice cream cone.

We loved our time in Sydney and in Australia and can't wait to go back for the third time!!
LN is offline  

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