Solo traveler in Sydney

Old Mar 14th, 2005, 08:37 AM
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Solo traveler in Sydney

I will be traveling solo in Sydney from March 17-29th. My husband was suppose to go with me but now has to work. I have never traveled to another country from the USA alone before. I was wondering first of all about the money. Is it better to get Australia money before leaving the US? Also, I have heard it is better to use debit or credit cards for a better exchange rate. Not sure which is better. I was wondering how easy it is to use public transportation, as I will not have a car.

Lastly, can anyone recommend things to do for a single female around 50 years old in Sydney?

Thank you for any information you can share!

debhaynes is offline  
Old Mar 14th, 2005, 11:53 AM
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First, I''m glad you're willing to take the trip solo--many people would have backed out under these circumstances. I am a single American woman in my 40's and have traveled to Sydney 3 times, two of them solo.

ATM's are plentiful, and I simply used them to get money while in Sydney. I don't use debit cards, but if you do, I recommend using one that requires a pin number (some don't). I don't think it is necessary to get currency before you leave. If it would give you peace of mind, just get a small amount, say $50 or so. I used to do this when I first started traveling 20 years ago, but ATMs are so plentiful now, I don't do it anymore. But do what makes you feel comfortable.

I also used my credit card for purchases. I think some banks tack on service charges for foreign transactions and some don't--check with your particular bank for their policy.

Public transportation is very easy, particularly if you stay in the CBD (Central Business District). If you can afford it, The Rocks is a convenient place for a first-time visitor to stay. Hyde Park, mid-George St. near Town Hall, and Darling Harbour are also popular (I'm not a fan of Darling Harbour, but that's just my humble opinion--many visitors like it). You can catch buses, trains, and ferries from Circular Quay to anywhere in the Sydney area.

Here are two websites you may find helpful:

Additionally, the TimeOut guidebook for Sydney is excellent. There are also a lot of very nice and very knowledgeable people on this site such as Alan,Prue, Liz and others who can answer your questions.

When I was in Sydney I went to museums, the opera house, hiking in the Blue Mountains, climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, took ferries sightseeing, went to Manly, Bondi Beach, Royal Botanic Gardens, Queen Victoria Bldg, shopping,....and there were still things I wanted to do but ran out of time.

Hope you have a wonderful trip.

walkabout is offline  
Old Mar 14th, 2005, 02:57 PM
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Hi, Deb!

I just this minute finished typing a half-dozen "must-dos" for Lisa, under her heading about "must dos for 4 days in Sydney". Just about everything in that post is applicable to you... even the Spit Bridge-Manly walk will be okay for a solo person, as I see LOTS of solo walkers when I do the walk, which is annually.Sydney is pretty safe, really.

Just stay away from King's Cross after about 10 p.m., and preferably altogether!

You have been given excellent advice about money.... you can't go anywhere in Sydney nowadays without falling over an ATM, and there are heaps of bureaux-de-change in the central business area (the Commonwealth Bank may give a better exchange rate, however), and their eyes always light up when you take out a wad of American dollars, as they are so easy to get rid of! American Express is everywhere. Visa and Mastercard are well-regarded. I'd say, just plan on handling your money like you would at home; your eyes will light up when you see our prices, which will look VERY cheap when you take the exchange rate into consideration!

Have a wonderful time!
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Old Mar 15th, 2005, 03:09 AM
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Hi Deb - walkabout's post is absolutely spot on. I arrived as a lone female and did all those things. The one thing I would add is to get yourself down to the sydney ferries info office on Circular Quay and pick up one of their brochures for walks around the harbour that you can access by ferry. Spit to Manly is the famous one, but if you have less time there are other shorter ones.

Oh, and go to a performance at the SOH if you possibly can.

I'm about your age.

Welcome to Sydney.
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Old Mar 15th, 2005, 09:38 AM
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Hi Deb--as a former Sydneysider (female) now living in U.S., who's been back to Sydney many times over the years, I agree with the previous posters re money, things to do, etc. If you make any substantial purchases, see if they'll refund or subtract the GST (the equivalent of Europe's VAT). When I buy knittng wool on the Internet from Oz, they always subtract the GST. If you are a knitter, stock up there, as prices on Australian wool, especially with the exchange rate, are very good.
I don't remember if people mentioned Taronga Park zoo and Featherdale and other nature sanctuaries, where you'll see weird and wonderful Australian native animals like the platypus, wombat, and of course koalas and kangaroos. You might begin your stay with an organized bus tour of the city and environs to give you an overview. They also have bus tours to the Blue Mountains, which is a lovely area--no trip is complete without a visit to the Three Sisters at Katoomba, with parrots, rosellas, and cockatoos flying about.
You can get anywhere easily on public transportation. One of my favorite trips over the years is to just take the Manly ferry from Circular Quay over to Manly and then walk through the Corso to Manly beach.
Relax and enjoy! It's making me homesick just to think about it!
pears43 is offline  
Old Mar 15th, 2005, 12:58 PM
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Thank you all very much for your most helpful replies. I feel much better prepared now.

Take care,
debhaynes is offline  
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