Sydney and Vicinity Help

Old Feb 28th, 2010, 05:38 PM
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Sydney and Vicinity Help

Hi. I know I have posted before, but with things narrowing down, it has also brought up more questions. This is a long list ( so you have been warned in advance! lol)

Here is what I have on my Sydney plans. Please let me know if it is doable, or if some things are very similar and I can drop some things. And advice on the order to do things in. I am a solo traveler, 44 yr old guy. Art Museums are not my thing. Being around people, seeing and experiencing local culture, nature, scenery, animals.

1. Arriving in Sydney from NYC on Sunday March 21 in the AM. Leaving Sydney for NYC on Saturday April 3. Still undecided if I will be flying to Melbourne on Thursday March 25 or Friday March 26 (AM either day), leaning towards Thursday as of now.
2. Things on my list (which is flexible) are: The Rocks; Darling Harbour; Bondi; Manly; Cliff Walks; Sydney Observatory; Opera House; Sydney Harbour National Park; Ku-ring-gai Park; Blue Mountains tour; Aquzrium; Featherdale or Taronga; Botanical Gardens; Powerhouse Museum; Walking across the Harbour Bridge; Mosman Bay Walk
3. I need to make sure I do activities that first Sunday that will keep me awake until evening to help with the time adjustment. Was thinking of doing the “Manly to Split Walk.” Though I am guessing since it is a Sunday that area might be packed, though that might make for more enjoyable people watching. Other ideas for that first Sunday? I guess I could walk around The Rocks and Circular Quay, or Darling Harbour
4. Was thinking a good way to explore would be to take a Bonza Bike Tour. I would try to do this Monday morning. There is a 4-hour ride that shows highlights of the city. Open to suggestions as to what to do after. Possibly catching a performance of VS Macbeth that night.
5. Tuesday---The Blue Mountains. Any thoughts on whether to take a tour that leaves Sydney, or taje a train to Katoomba and do a tour from there or the hop on/hop off trolley and self walk. I assume with travel there and back, this is an whole day and part of the evening.
6. Other activities on Wednesday.
7. I know I mentioned Featherdale and Taronga. While I do like animals, I live near a world class zoo, the Bronx Zoo, so may put these 2 choices lower on my list of things to do. When I am in Melbourne, I expect to see Koalas, Kangaroos, and Fairy Penguins. Of course, I know each zoo has their own unique qualities to them.
8. Now the “hard” part. I need to decide whether to fly to Melbourne Thursday morning, Thursday night, or Friday morning. I could do Thursday morning and that way I would know if there was more in Sydney I wanted to do, plan on returning to Sydney the following Wed, Th, or F, depending. Or, I could just leave on Friday to Melbourne.
9. I have some activities planned for Melbourne, and then need to decide if I want to drive back to Sydney or fly. I know driving back along the coast is 2 days minimum, preferably 3 to enjoy the drive and the towns/parks I will come across. Will towns I come across (Jervis Bay for example), give me a different appreciation of Australia and its culture (being they are not in a big city). Or is it more like “these are nice sea-side little villages, pretty and all, but you can drive to one of them outside of Melbourne and do it there.
10. And finally something I mentioned above----drive back from Melbourne to Sydney or fly? And come back on Th or Friday, depending on if I want to do more in Sydney.
11. Hope this all makes sense.

Thanks in advance for any opinions.
StuQ is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2010, 06:38 PM
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Stu, very selectively,

3. For a zoo experience I'd stick to Taronga Zoo, which is a short ferry ride from Circular Quay. Any ferry ride on the harbour is IMO a Good Thing. I haven't myself been to Featherdale but it's miles out in the western suburbs and not a good use of your time. I take your point re the Bronx Zoo of course, but Taronga really is a great location.

I can't remember if it was a weekend when we last walked Manly-Spit (well, some of the way) but I doubt that it will be thronged with thousands exactly. Locals perhaps could advise. Staying awake until at least 9 pm is a good idea.

5. As a former Blue Mountains resident I suggest you simply catch a train from Central Station to Katoomba, a 2-hr run, then do the hop-on/hop-off bus thing. If you feel like a good walk go to Echo Point and down the Giant Staircase to the valley floor, follow it around to the Scenic Railway and go back up the easy way. In the main street have lunch or whatever at the Paragon Cafe, which is a nice art deco hangover. That will take care of most of your day. Mid-week is a good time - the whole area gets uncomfortably busy on the weekends.

As for the return from Melbourne - there are several options other than the Hume H'way - I can be more specific if you decide to drive - that will give you an appreciation of several typical Australian landscapes and inland and coastal towns. Depends what you're after. Myself, I found driving in the US, epecially on off-the-beaten track roads, a fine way to get an idea of what the country is made of in a way that most tourists never do.
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Old Feb 28th, 2010, 06:40 PM
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"I found driving in the US, epecially on off-the-beaten track roads, a fine way to get an idea of what the country is made of..."

And I should have mentioned that I almost killed us only once...
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Old Feb 28th, 2010, 06:42 PM
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I don't know if I'd schedule a walk across the bridge; but I would certainly look into the bridge climb!! Well worth the time and money! You walk up to the area where the flags are flying, and then back down. Really neat! Well organized and safe. I did it in 2004.

I've never done the drive you are talking about (Mel'bn) so I will not comment on that.

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Old Mar 1st, 2010, 01:03 PM
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THanks Neil. Thanks Carol. I think the Bonza Bike Tour I am planning to take Monday rides across the bridge, so I would not need to walk it. I'll think about the bridge climb.
Still not sure if I will drive back from Melbourne or fly. Though I agree that it would give me a different flavor of Australia, it might be pushing things too much. I might want to be back i Sydney by Thursday night so I can spend a full last day and night in Sydney before flying out Saturday morning.

Keep the opinions coming everyone!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2010, 06:28 PM
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Hello fellow NY-er! Will look forward to your trip report on all these fantastic-sounding things.
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