Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Australia & the Pacific
Reload this Page >

Suggestions for a day or two of exploring Sydney but not the usual tourist areas we will seeing.

Suggestions for a day or two of exploring Sydney but not the usual tourist areas we will seeing.

Feb 13th, 2004, 10:44 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 392
Suggestions for a day or two of exploring Sydney but not the usual tourist areas we will seeing.

We will be in Sydney for four days on arrival and three days before departure. Other than the usual Sydney sights + a day trip to the Blue Mountains (using Alan's suggested itinerary), can anyone suggest places of interest to visit in and around the city that are not on the usual tourist path that might provide a nice experience.

When in Ireland last year an Irish resident suggested a park at the edge of the commercial and shopping area (Grafton Street)where we could people watch at lunch time. Also an upscale seaside village community close by. They were among the highlights of our trip.

Can you make suggestions for an interesting experience?
michi is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 06:36 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 774
1.
Take the ferry to Manly, cross the road and walk down "The Corso" to Manly beach and have a surf if you wish (dressing sheds available) then turn right past the Surf Club and follow the delightful path to Fairy Bower. There are cafes and sculptures and free swimming baths on the way, and another non-surf beach at the end, for snorkling or swimming. Cross the beach and climb the path up the hill for a good but short bush walk, and a great view of the cliffs and pounding surf from the top.

2. Ferry ride to Parramatta , under the Harbour Bridge and up the Parramatta River. Parramatta is a very multicultural city, and the second oldest white settlement in Australia.

3. Take a scenic train ride to Newcastle,get out at the beautiful sandstone-edged Hawkesbury River. Here you can ride the Riverboat Postman delivering the mail every day. Or get out at Gosford Station,a typical country town only an houir from Sydney, or continue to Newcastle.(2-3 hours) Newcastle Station is right in the city, still mainly monocultural, and easy walking distance to the surf, free ocean baths and great scenery. For a shorter trip, get out before Gosford at WoyWoy, and have fresh take-away fish and chips from the river-edge co-op. Delicious!

4. There are tours of the Rookwood Necropolis for something really different, but I wouldn't do this on a hot day.

5. Don't worry too much - you'll find lots to do however long you stay. People are friendly and generous with advice. Enjoy!
Carrabella is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 11:41 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 16
I agree 100 per cent with what Carrabella has recommended.

The Hawkesbury River area and surrounds are really magnificent.
You can hire canoes, or as she said take boat rides along the river .

I also think Fairy Bower is well worth the the walk.

I hired a boat recently to take me all the way to Parramatta and it was worth every cent.
The views of the bridge, the harbour side Mansions, great way to spend three quarters of a day.

If you want a very very very good restaurant, try Wild Fire on the Quay.
Take an out side table.
The food is nothing short of superb.
You are so close to the Opera house you can almost hear the door man asking for tips.
Seriously, the views of the Opera house from Wild Fire are as good as any where in Sydney.

Some thing else you do not see here on this Forum, is Palm Beach. Take a bus, better still hire a car, take a full day out there. Do all of the beaches along the Northern Peninsular to Palm Beach. Avalon, Bilgola, Palm Beach, great beaches, restaurants, golf clubs. Definitely worth a day or two. Wonderful place to rent a house for a week. Lots of Australia?s take their annual leave in these places.

Just one question for any one who has the information.

Carrabella, said Parramatta was the second place settled in Australia.
Can any one tell me the first place a white settlement was constructed in this country. ???

jj727 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 01:25 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,430
Michi, those suggestions are all great, and I'd like to contribute an idea or two as well.... however, I have forgotten from your "other" post just WHEN you will be coming to Sydney, and I do think that this would be a big factor in the right kind of advice (for instance, the walk from Manly to Fairy Bower would lose a lot of its charm in mid-July, but an evening by a log fire in Blackheath may be just right for that time, but not so good in February). Please give us a few more details (with apologies for my bad memory) and also tell us more about your interests (for instance, you may enjoy hiring that car that jj727 mentioned and visiting a couple of country towns -- Wiseman's Ferry and St Albans spring to mind --for a view of Australia that the tourists NEVER see).
Alan is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 05:10 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 392
Sorry I forgot the time of travel; I know it's important. We will be in Australia in April.

Arriving Sydney 7:30 am April 2
April 2-6
Leave for Tasmania morning of 6th.
Leave for Cairns April 12
Return Sydney
April 19-22 (leaving for home on 23).

Thanks for the information so far, sounds good and will take suggestions with us.



michi is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 10:42 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 392
I am redoing the question since I neglected to give helpful information. Can anyone suggest places of interest to visit in and around the city that are not on the usual tourist path that might provide a nice experience. I like the suggestions already put forward and will print and pack with our luggage.

We are seniors 71 and 77, in good health and in quite good physical shape. However, heavy hiking, scuba diving, and other strenous activities are out, but light hiking, simple bicycle travel, trains, ferries, streetcars, buses, taxis, and walking and experiences are in. Golf and Wine tasting are out. People watching is in. Driving our 16-lane major highway through Toronto does not scare us; driving on the left does. We will not be renting a car.

Arrive Sydney 7:30am., April 2, depart April 6 for Tasmania.
Tasmania four day tour, followed by two free days
Cairns, Pt. Douglas for six or seven days seeing usual sights with days of rest
Arrive Sydney April 19 depart April 23

We will do the usual Sydney sights and visit the Blue Mountains (using Alan's suggestions). I will do the bridge climb. My husband is a history buff and I like experiences but we are open. A Catholic church (no cathedrals please) where we might attend mass would be nice. We are staying at the All Seasons Premier Menzies which I believe is quite central.

Thanks for answers so far and I hope this helps.

michi is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 12:25 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
"...can anyone tell me the first place a white settlement was constructed in this country" - jj727, is this a trick question? If you mean a permanent settlement as distinct from drop-ins by Dutch, English and Malay seafarers, I'd have to say Port Jackson (Sydney) with the arrival of the First Fleet commanded by Capt. Arthur Phillip on 26 Jan 1788. Now I'll bet you're going to trump me.

Depending on the answer, the third place settled (1792 I think) was my home town, Windsor, about 55 km NW of Sydney. That area (the Hawkesbury Valley and Kurrajong Hills) is a pleasant place to potter around. It's still largely rural and nicely scenic, especially if you drive up to Kurrajong Heights, part of the Blue Mountains but further north than the area in which Katoomba is situated. It's also the same Hawkesbury River that runs into Broken Bay north of Sydney, but further upstream. For that matter, it's also the same river as the Nepean, which is crossed on the way up to Katoomba but which wears a different name because early explorers took it to be a different river.

The Hawkesbury still contains remnants of our early colonial history including the impressive Georgian-styled St Matthew's Church, Windsor, which was designed by the colony's first architect, Francis Greenway, an emancipated convict and the adjacent rectory, said to be haunted by the ghost of its first rector, Samuel Marsden, a.k.a. "the flogging parson".
Greenway also designed St Phillip's Church at the top of King Street, Sydney.

Australia's oldest church, Ebenezer Presbyterian, is still there too. As a personal aside, visitors can give a nod to the tomb of my ancestor Captain John Grono, who helped to found the church and who named Milford Sound and other features in NZ during early sealing and trading voyages that pre-dated permanent British settlement in NZ.

This isn't really useful advice if like Michi you won't be driving, but as I haven't yet seen the Hawkesbury district mentioned on this board I thought I'd take this opportunity to give the ancestral stamping ground a plug.

Besides, I have to wait too long between posts asking for information about Canberra.

Now, can anyone can confirm Bill Bryson's story that escaped cows actually succeeded in crossing the rugged Blue Mountains before white explorers? (If they didn't, don't tell me - I have enough Irish blood not to want to let the facts get in the way of a good story.)
Neil_Oz is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 12:44 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,603
Michi, your hotel in Sydney is 20 ft from the escalator which goes down to the underground railway and links up with everything at Circular Quay. Also down on the 2nd level I think of the railway is a late night supermarket and other little food outlets so if you want something in your room for nibbles you have that readily available.
The Menzies is not 5 star but it is comfortable and I actually like staying there even though there is not much in the way of views.
Over the road and up a bit up on York St ( I think) there is a nice Japanese cafe which is where I go for a meal when I am at the Menzies.
If you have a Seniors Card then take that with you because I think you can still get very good concessions on transport around Sydney with that - used to be about $1 per day unlimited travel - which is why you would want to travel to the Blue Mountains on the train apart from that fact that its the best way anyway!!!
lizF is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 12:46 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,603
I would be very much in favour of Carrabella's idea of taking the train up to the Hawkesbury River and doing the postal run - that is absolutely lovely
lizF is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 05:18 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 16
Hi Michi , I have included a couple of supermarket addreses for you here.
I was recently staying in a very good hotel at the Quay.
The beers in the mini bar were around $11.00

The small super market across the road sold me Penadol for nine dollars.

At the pub down the road, beers were 11.00 for a six pack.

At coles I paid $4.50 for the same Penadol.

Before Neil from where ever he is from starts having a crack at me about the obvious Beers, Penadol, joke.

No the Penadol were not for me after drinking the hotel mini bar dry. lol


Woolworths Limited
Cnr Park & George Sts Sydney NSW 2000
ph: (02) 9264 1927 Supermarkets & Grocery Stores



Coles Express
580 George St Sydney NSW 2000
ph: (02) 9269 0910 Supermarkets & Grocery Stores


Coles Supermarkets
Shop 36 Retail Concourse Wynyard Station Sydney NSW 2000
ph: (02) 9299 4769

jj727 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 05:52 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
>>>>>>A Catholic church (no cathedrals please) where we might attend mass would be nice.<<<<<<

Michi, this is off topic for Sydney, but if you're into Catholic churches, be sure to look out for St. Mary's by the Sea in Port Douglas. It's a tiny little church on the western side of Port Douglas (between the "downtown" part of PD and the dock where the Quick Silver boats depart for the Great Barrier Reef). Be sure to go inside the church and look at the view through the window behind the altar.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 07:04 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,680
jj727 - You've revealed it - you're not from Oberon at all - PEnadol - you're a Kiwi!!
pat_woolford is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 07:58 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
Michi:

RC churches (other than St Mary's Cathedral) in the city are:
1. St Peter Julian's, 641 George St (Chinatown) - tel 9211 4976
2. Marist Chapel, 3a Young St, The Rocks - tel 9247 9292
3. St Francis de Sales, 10 Albion St - tel 9212 2145
4. St Patrick's Church Hill,
20 Grosvenor St - tel 9247 3516

If you go to www.whitepages.com.au, search on "catholic church" and scroll down to "Diocese of Sydney" then look under "city" you'll find the full listing including Mass times for (1).

If you're staying at the Menzies, the closest would be Grosvenor St, followed by The Rocks.

By way of general info - businesses throughout Australia are listed at www.yellowpages.com.au, which also provides a map function.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 08:43 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 774
Site for some info. on the Riverboat Postman ishttp://www.australianexplorer.com/tourist_attractions/brooklyn.htm

It leaves each day at 9.30. I can look up a suitable train for you, if you like.

There is a large commuter catamaran which goes up to Parramatta.

April weather should be delightful!

Neil, you are right - Sydney is of course the oldest. Tasmania was the next state settled, Port Arthur out of Hobart was the penal colony. Michi, you will certainly go there. I enjoyed reading your history Neil. How lovely to have illustrious ancestors.
Carrabella is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 10:06 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,430
Hi, michi!

You've picked a great month -- so mild and perfect that virtually every suggestion made to you will be applicable.

I understand what you say about driving on the wrong side, and I felt the same way when I was in the USA. The one really down side of that decision is that I don't know any other way to get to Mt Wilson, which is a jewel of a place, but in April is better than the Crown jewels! It's only a few minutes' drive from Mt Victoria Station in the Blue Mountains -- please consider, when you train it to Katoomba (the seniors pass beyond Emu Plains, which is at the foot of the mountains, will cost you$AUD2.20), using up part of yyour dayu to train it just a few stops further west, to Mt Victoria, and then splurging on a taxi to drive you to Mt Wilson. The village itself is tiny and old and traditional, but in April it's a riot of colour which is the closest thing you will ever see in Australia to Maine or Vermont. Take a picnic lunch and sit in the park amidst the carpet of gold-and-brown leaves, and take lots of photographs, which your friends won't believe you took in dry Australia.

Catholic Churches -- now you're talking. Don't go to ANY of the ones in the CBD. Go to St Bede's, in Pyrmont Rd, Pyrmont. You can walk there from the city by crossing the Pyrmont Bridge (which goes to the Maritime Museum and the Casino, then just walk around to the far side of the Casino. St Bede's is nearly as frar as you can go along that road, and it's so small and so old you might miss it if you don't look carefully (I bet the thousands of tourists who visit the Casino, almost opposite, have never even given it a glance. Built as a sailor's church, it is a hidden treasure which will make you think you've stepped back 150 years. I guess Father Peter Fitzgerald has left it by now (though, when you ring 9660 1083 to check the Mass times, it wouldn't hurt to ask -- I bet he's give you a special welcome if he knew that you'd come half-way round the world to attend his Mass), but when he was there the Church was a special place indeed, as he could say Mass in English and Auslan (Australian Sign Language) simultaneously!) This is a great place, and EXACTLY what you meant by "off the beaten track" and "where other tourists have never been".

More suggestions to follow -- I need to give this some more thought. But put St Bede's on the top of your list, and your history-loving husband will thank you forever!
Alan is offline  
Feb 15th, 2004, 12:35 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
Thanks, Carabella - but I didn't mention the less-than-illustrious forebears who arrived in chains - like the horse thief who married the aforesaid sailor's grand-daughter, and the servant girl who participated in the infamous riot at the Female Convict Depot in Cork in 1827. Nothing like family history research to start the skeletons rattling in the closets.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Feb 15th, 2004, 12:52 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,603
Would I be right in thinking that Neil is a rabbid, socialist left, anti-British/establishment Irishman? Now, talking of racism.................
lizF is offline  
Feb 15th, 2004, 07:21 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 392
Not sure if the above comment is just banter or a serious comment. If serious, I think the word "racism" is not the correct word in this instance.

CBD. Used so often I'd like to know what it actually stands for. I've looked to no avail other than finding a disease by those initials. I think it has to do with the city area and not the suburbs.

While in Ireland, a handful of us visited Cobh where millions of immigrants left with hope for a better life. Although little was left of the site, just being there was a touching experience.

Love places like supermarkets and other suggestions being raised. My highliter is running out!
michi is offline  
Feb 15th, 2004, 07:25 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
>>>>>>CBD. Used so often I'd like to know what it actually stands for.<<<<<<

Central Business District = downtown
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Feb 15th, 2004, 01:34 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
That was banter, Michi, or "stirring", something of an Australian pastime. Well, I think it was (see below).

Re your Cobh experience, Australia also had many Irish immigrants during and after the Potato Famine and like California stimulated by the Gold Rushes. Most of our earliest Irish (and English) arrivals, though, didn't come here of their own free will. An excellent novel dealing with the experience of the Irish "political" convicts, by the way, is "Out of Ireland" by Christopher J. Koch, a Tasmanian, and he provides a fascinating re-creation of early Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania). If you have time, could be good preparation for your visit - Koch (who also wrote "The Year of Living Dangerously") is a very classy writer indeed.

Liz, I wish that my form was as interesting as all that! Regrettably I can't help you with that application form for the Australian chapter of the Provisional IRA you've been looking for. Pretty boring, really. Ancestry mainly English - anti-British no, anti-anyone no. Lapsed Anglican, leftish and republican, but I only froth at the mouth when it's a full moon or when when I drink a beer too fast. Too old to be a SNAG and my family actually has dark suspicions that I'm becoming a Tory in my old age - very hurtful for a veteran of the Great Vietnam War Moratorium March of '70. How cruel the world is.
Neil_Oz is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:22 PM.