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decoratordale May 18th, 2009 03:24 PM

Sydney/Brisbane trip advice
I would appreciate some suggestions re places to visit.

I have booked a flight to Sydney July 8 arriving. I found a Travelodge at $87.00 per night which I booked. It looks like it is near to Hyde Park. Nothing fancy but the Expedia reviews sounded fine.

I have 5 days in Sydney, following the long flight from LAX.

1. Is it easier to take an airport shuttle to my hotel, rather than deal with luggage on the train?

2. How easy is it to get from Hyde Park to the ferry terminal via buses?

3. Does anyone know about some free bus service (555?) I think?

4. Is it feasible to take the train to the Blue Mountains, and then do a tour of the various towns, and return to Sydney that same night?

5. Is it worthwhile to visit the Blue Mountains, given I have only got 5 days?

6. Which street market would be best (not for food)?

7. Are there lunch hour concert at the Opera House?

8. Is it too far to walk to the Rocks from the ferry terminal?

Thanks for any and all comments, suggestions..


sealstep May 18th, 2009 03:28 PM

Personally, I was underwhelmed by the Blue Mountains. We took the train out for a day. Now it could have just been that it was summer and really hot, but I think there are better places to concentrate on in the Sydney area.

I seem to remember that the Rocks are quite a quick walk from the ferry terminal. Maybe 10 minutes? We did the market there, it was fine.

Sydney is a fabulous city!

Neil_Oz May 18th, 2009 04:07 PM

Partial response:

1. The airport train is do-able - your closest station would be Museum, a short walk across Hyde Park - but personally I'd take the shuttle if it drops you at the door. The train incidentally costs about AU$14, which is a sting for such a short distance.

2. Easy - you should be able to get a bus to Circular Quay in Elizabeth Street, which border Hyde Park. Or, faster, take the train from Museum, it's only a couple of stops.

3. Sorry, maybe a Sydneysider can help with this.

4. You can take the 2-hour interurban electric train from Central Station to Katoomba, and once there use the hop-on/hop-off bus to see the main attractions. If I had just a day I wouldn't bother with the other towns. Assuming you'd like to commune with nature I'd go to Echo Point, descend the Giant Stairwar down to the valley floor (the view of the Jamieson Valley are spectacular), walk around to the Scenic Railway and return to the clifftops that way. That would certainly clear the cobwebs and set the scene for lunch at the Paragon Cafe, a nicely preserved Art Deco eatery in the main street. I would not, however, visit Katoomba on the weekend - it's become pretty crowded.

5. A toss-up IMO. As sealstep says, there are plenty of things to occupy 5 days in Sydney. The above outing is a nice way to spend a few hours, but you shouldn't feel you've missed out on a must-see if you pass on it.

6, 7 - sorry, can't help, but I'm sure the Sydney Opera House website will answer your question about lunchtime concerts. And I'm pretty sure that if you use the search facility on his forum (above) you'll find past threads about street markets.

8. Circular Quay actually adjoins The Rocks, it's only a few minutes' walk.

Saltuarius May 18th, 2009 04:09 PM

2. Walking distance.
4. Yes
5. Yes, yes YES if you have any romance in your soul, like nature or scenery.
8. Some people can spit that far!

decoratordale May 18th, 2009 05:29 PM

Thank you for your comments. The Blue Mountains hop on hop off bus sounds like a plan.

Susan7 May 18th, 2009 07:16 PM

6. Markets, Neil is right this topic did come up before but I can't find the thread. Anyway, here's some possibilities in the inner city area:

Rozelle Markets (Darling st)--sat and sun--trash and treasure market
Balmain Market (Darling st)--sat--handicrafts, some second hand, clothes
Paddington (Oxford st)--sat--clothes, jewellery.
Surry Hills (Crown st)--first saturday of the month--largely second hand

There's also a market at Bondi and I think there's one at North Sydney.

kiwi_rob May 18th, 2009 07:34 PM

Do be sure to allow enough time to enjoy Sydney's wonderful harbour. Take the ferry over to Manly and have a walk around the shoreline over there (I prefer the inner-harbour walk).

We found the Bondi Explorer bus to be a good way to sample the eastern suburbs of the city. It does a circuit on the south side of the harbour and the day ticket allows you to get off and on as you please. You could incorporate a leisurely lunch at one of the bays (Bondi Beach, for instance) and spend the best part of a day on the round trip.

lavandula May 18th, 2009 08:51 PM

3. Re free bus:

I have been on it once - mostly it's not there when you need it. I don't know where the Travelodge is but it's not impossible to walk to Circular Quay from Hyde Park, although you might be tired and grumpy when you arrive. (I would be. Bring walking shoes, I always seem to walk for miles unintentionally when I am in town). If you find yourself in a walking mood you could walk down Macquarie St to the Opera House, and you will see a number of historic buildings including the Hyde Park Barracks on the way. But there are lots of buses down Elizabeth St (from Park St onwards) which go to the Quay - there is a bus stop in between the corner of Elizabeth and Park and the Great Synagogue.

6. Another market, but to my mind sort of trashy, is Paddy's Markets, near Chinatown (Haymarket). It is Thursdays to Sundays, and is the oldest market in Australia. There is a shopping centre largely catering to the Asian community in a skyscraper above the markets' historic facade. It also sells fruit and vegetables. A good place to get cheap souvenirs. I quite like the combination of Haymarket and Chinatown. You can walk from Central or Town Hall (a bit longer) or you could take the light rail from Central if walking is a problem. Paddington Bazaar (mentioned by Susan7 above) is quite upmarket and fashionable (not necessarily $$$) - if you like clothes shopping, this one is a must because the whole of Paddington is abuzz with people.


emerald125 May 18th, 2009 09:57 PM


As a local Sydneysider I will add my two cents worth :-)

1. Take the shuttle... its approx $2 cheaper and although it can take ages to reach your hotel depending on the order they do the drop offs its better than a crowded train (depending on the time and a walk to the Travel lodge.

I have stayed at the Travelodge and found the room a little noisy with an uncomfortable bed. The location is OK but the price you got does not seem like a great deal to me.

2. As above... this is very easy... many buses or even the train from Museum to Circular Quay. It's about a 20 min walk..

3. The 555 free shuttle operates every 10 minutes in both directions between 9.30am and 3.30pm on weekdays (until 9pm on Thursday nights) and between 9.30am and 6pm on weekends.

The CBD shuttle connects with rail, bus, metrobus, ferries, light rail and the monorail.
you can download the map here

4/5. A daytrip to the Blue Mountains is easy... only do it if the weather is clear... It will be very brisk but can be beautiful if the skies are clear. There is a hop on hop off trolley bus that is probably worth joining. I can recommend day tours if you are interested... just let me know. I have been on a couple with visiting friends.

6. My favourite is probably Paddington... its a mix of art and clothing and jewellery - Oxford Street. There is also Glebe (at Glebe Public School on Glebe Point Road Saturdays) and Bondi Beach (Bondi Public School)

7. There are occasionally things on at lunchtime at the Opera House - the week you are here there the 20th Australian International Music Festival Showcase is on and there may well be daytime performances... try to go to the Concert Hall if you do attend something here as it is the most spectacular. The Sydney Symphony also have evening performances scheduled that week.
If you decide to do a tour try to do a morning tour if you can because sometimes by mid afternoon the close off the concert hall to the tour groups to get ready for performances

Hope this helps

decoratordale May 19th, 2009 03:58 PM

Thanks to everyone who added their 2 cents worth. Please keep them coming:))

decoratordale May 19th, 2009 04:02 PM

I also found an open garden called Eryldene in Gordon. Has anyone gone there, would it be easy to get t from Sydney? It sounds like the camillias will be out in full bloom, but I am not sure if it is worth it, after doing the RBG.


Bokhara2 May 19th, 2009 06:33 PM

Eryldene is a lovely property, but only open 2nd weekend of each month, so may not fit your schedule.
Another lovely private residence open to the public occasionally is Bronte House
Elizabeth Bay House is, I think, open most days and might be what you're looking for in a combination of historic house and gardens

Bronte and Elizabeth Bay houses are both quite close to the city; Eryldene is over the Harbour Bridge and about 15kms north west.

Apropos the shuttle/train conversation - I'd take a taxi. At the end of a long haul, I frankly can't be bothered with a 'milk run' on a shuttle to save $20 and wouldn't haul my bags on & off a train & then have to find a taxi to get to the hotel either.

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