Sydney Itinerary for Honeymoon

Jun 8th, 2004, 11:11 PM
  #1  
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Sydney Itinerary for Honeymoon

Hello again --

We'll be spending 5 nights of our honeymoon in Sydney (August 6-11) and I think I've finally put together an itinerary I'm pretty happy with. So now it's time to let all of you tear it apart...

Friday Aug 6 - Arrive and drop bags off at hotel in morning, zoo, wander around the Rocks area (or take a harbour tour), dinner and possibly Observatory if it's a nice night

Saturday Aug 7 - Rocks Market in the AM, Bridge Climb, Sydney Swans Footie game in evening (v. Kangaroos)

Sunday Aug 8 - Spit to Manly walk and opera house tour in no particular order

Monday Aug 9 - Fish Market, Aquarium, Pub Tour (can be swapped with below)

Tuesday Aug 10 - Blue Mountains (can be swapped with above) self tour by taking train

Wednesday Aug 11 - early flight to Cairns

Some questions:
- I'm not sure how the weather will be affecting us this time of year -- does it rain quite often or do we just have to worry about it being a little cooler?
- Is it necessary to book ahead for the bridge climb? I'd like to stay flexible for weather reasons if possible.
- Is the fish market active at all times of day, or only shortly after the fishes get there early in the morning?

We're also trying to decide between a room at the Bed and Breakfast Sydney Harbour (no view) for about US$160 or a US$145 rate at the Shangri-La next door with a Darling Harbour view. Any advice here would also be appreciated - I'm torn between the b&b style v. a view and large hotel style.

Thanks in advance -- I look forward to hearing all opinions and advice!
ozwild is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 12:04 AM
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US$160 at the sydneyharbour B&B!!! Are you sure you have got that right?
johhj_au is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 05:21 AM
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Hi,ozwild!

Both the hotel choices seem to be rather exorbitant prices.... a view of Darling Harbour (which means you are facing west, so there will be no sun in your room until mid-afternoon) is nothing to write home about. Before you commit yourself to either, have a look at a few other alternatives: Lord Nelson Brewery, the Russell, Old Sydney Holiday Inn. The first two of these have the charm of the B&B you were interested in; the Holiday Inn has the ambience of the Shangri-La but is in a better location (I don't think there are views from most of the rooms, however). If a view is really important to you, the Marriott Circular Quay or the Four Seasons should do at least as well as the Shangri-La.

The itinerary sounds great, and I can think of only one reservation that springs to mind: the Spit Bridge to Manly walk is, pretty much, an all-day affair. After it, you may feel too tired for the Opera House tour; do they have early-morning tours that you could join before you set out for the Spit?

August is traditionally one of the driest months of the year.... sometimes Sydney can go for the full month without so much as a shower. Towards the end of August, however, the winds spring up. If we do get some rain, the cool winter means that the Spit Bridge-Manly track can stay damp for a couple of days afterward, so it may pay you to plan around that.

The only thing you have to watch when doing a Mountains day in August is the fog. On a really foggy day you just can't see anything all day. It may pay you to ring the railway station at Katoomba before hopping on the train and checking the weather up there, as you won't always get much of a clue from what it is like in Sydney (I live in the lower part of the Mountains, and frequently it is perfectly clear at home, while Katoomba is enshrouded in fog).

The Bridge Climb always seems to be extremely popular, and it would be nice to get the time you want... going up mid-to-late afternoon when the sun is in the west and shining straight onto the Opera House, coming down as the lights of Sydney are going on. So, I would definitely book ahead.
Alan is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 05:57 AM
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Hi,again!

Just a postscript to what I have written above.... johnj_au is absolutely right when he expressed incredulity at the rate you are being charged for Sydney Harbour B&B. Is your agent ripping you off? I just checked their website (http://www.bedandbreakfastsydney.com/), and you can get a room with a queen bed for $AUD155, which is only about one hundred and five US dollars. I also checked the Russell on wotif.com.au, and nearly cried when I saw that a room tomorrow night there can be had for $AUD99. Clearly, they're not holding their own against the Mercures and the Marriotts and all those other peas-in-a-pod establishments which have sprung up in Ultimo and Chippendale and all those other terrible areas... the Russell is so close to the Circular Quay wharves that you can almost call out "hold that gangplank!" from your room while you grab your hat and coat. I guess they are just not marketing the place properly.... but ninety-nine Aussie dollars for a double! Struth!
Alan is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 08:34 AM
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Hi Alan -- Excellent comments as usual. Thanks for the weather in the Blue Mts comment.

All of the prices are from me looking at websites (no agents involved). I rejected the cheaper rooms at the B&B because they didn't have a full private bathroom in the room (important to my fiance). I like the Russell, but I'm a little hesitant to wait for wotif because I'll be a little busy planning wedding stuff two weeks before we head off to Sydney. They do have some winter specials listed on their website though. Lord Nelson's looks attractive on the website as well. Thanks for all of the help - now I just need to try to make a decision!
ozwild is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 09:12 AM
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By the way -- I remember why I had removed The Russell from consideration now. It gets pretty lousy reviews on a couple sites (tripadvisor and the fodors rants and raves). On the rants and raves (found at the bottom of the panel at left), it gets only 2 out 6 reviews above a 2/5. Have they done any renovation or improvements since 2002 that you know of? Or has anybody on this board stayed there recently? Thanks!
ozwild is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 07:25 PM
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Hi ozwild - I was shown a room at The Russell a couple of months ago (checking it out for visitors) and then the rack rate for deluxe room with bathroom was AUD$290 a double. There are less expensive rooms, but this one looked straight out at nearby Harbour and Circular Quay and view was dominated by Opera House. The Russell is heritage listed and apart from normal maintentance, doubt if renovation would be possible, or even desired, by the owners. It's ambience and charm cannot be compared with a modern hotels - similar to a small European hotel. No elevator, well, it's not needed and no porter to take luggage up small flight of stairs to reception area. It's been highly recommended in Frommer's Guide to Australia for years as one of Australia's top 14 B&B's and guesthouses.

Alan, I saw somewhere that Sydney Harbour B&B has been bought by a nearby hotel, the name of which escapes me.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 08:33 PM
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Hi, Pat!
Damn! There goes the neighbourhood!
Alan is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 09:27 PM
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Wow -- a room at the Russell with a view? I thought such a thing did not exist. Sounds like a good enough recommendation to me!

Things like elevator and such are not important to us -- I can't imagine we'll have all that much luggage anyway.
ozwild is offline  
Jun 10th, 2004, 02:02 PM
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Just an update -- Lord Nelson's is booked on our dates, so we're now deciding between The Russell, Old Sydney Holiday Inn (I found a rate of A$170 on their website), and B&B Sydney Harbour. I'm not entirely sure I can get that rate at the HI, as it mentioned something about "priority business" but it's worth a shot if we decide to go here.
ozwild is offline  
Jun 10th, 2004, 03:05 PM
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I know you don't want to miss anything but...hey...it's your honeymooon! I think you should schedule a day with no schedule. Sorry, had to add my 2 cents. If you're flying in from the U.S. you might want to write off the 1st day (you'll be exhausted) but other than that it sounds like a great itinerary. I wouldn't miss taking a harbour tour.

Good luck & Congratulations!
Canadian_Traveler is offline  
Jun 10th, 2004, 07:59 PM
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If you take advantage of modern chemistry and pop a sleeping pill ( ie Ambien), its such a long flight you can actually get 8 hours sleep and not write off that first day. After our in- flight snooze and a 6:15 am arrival, we were able to enjoy Sydney until about 9 pm and had sweet dreams after a fab thai dinner at Crow's Nest.

Congrats on your up coming nuptials.
AndrewDavid

We took another pill our first night in Sydney and slept like babes until 7 am ( granted we were on the more fashionable north shore).
AndrewDavid is offline  
Jun 11th, 2004, 12:05 AM
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Ha Canadien! My fiance very much appreciates your response -- he's the "relax on a beach" vacation type while I like to see as much as possible.

AD -- we'll definitely look into the Ambien. I generally don't like taking that kind of stuff, but it might be worth it to get on track right away.

Thanks!
ozwild is offline  
Jun 11th, 2004, 08:05 PM
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Hi Pat -- I'm a little confused about the view you saw from the room at the Russell. Here's an email I got from them today:
------------------------------------
we don't have any rooms that you can see the opera house from, we do have deluxe rooms facing circular quay, but due to our low rise situation and the high trees, the view is very limited
------------------------------------

Maybe they showed you an Australian-only room?
ozwild is offline  
Jun 13th, 2004, 02:21 AM
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Ozwild - Apologies!! I've obviously confused the view from somewhere else I saw that day. Too many reds, or else I've gone troppo from living in Nth Qld. Having lived in Sydney for about 40 years I should know better than that - at least I know I did see the room at the Russell - have a handful of their brochures to prove it!!
pat_woolford is offline  
Jun 13th, 2004, 07:15 AM
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The great thing about the Russell is that you are not looking at the view... you ARE the view. The rest of Sydney is looking at you! You would probably be surprised at how many postcards of the Rocks and Circular Quay have the Russell poking its tiny head out of one corner.

I was impressed at the honesty of the manager's comments in that email. He didn't try to pretend that the hotel was something it isn't. I wish some of the big chain hotels down around Darling Harbour (which ought to be renamed Darling Estuary, because, frankly, a harbour it ain't)would offer their intended guests the same courtesy. I am still smarting about the All Points Hotel offering one Fodor's reader a room "with a harbour view" without telling him that the view he was getting was not Sydney Harbour at all! Since Sydney is famous for its harbour -- the blue water, white sailboats, the Opera House and the Bridge -- I think that most overseas guests being offered a "harbour view" would, quite rightly, expect to get a piece of that. Their jaws must really drop when they see their "view" of ugly Darling Harbour. with its freeways and concrete... but, of course, by that time the All Points, or the "Southern Cross On Harbour" (the omission in their name of the word "the" is very significant), or whatever, have already got their hands on your money, so why should they care?
Alan is offline  
Jun 13th, 2004, 07:13 PM
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No worries Pat -- I figured that was probably the case. I've been convinced to stay at the Russell anyway. If we want a view, we can just step outside and look down the street! And you're quite right Alan -- it's very refreshing to get an email like that. Thanks again to everybody for all of the help...
ozwild is offline  
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