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Sydney Tour

Old Sep 14th, 2013, 02:28 PM
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Sydney Tour

DH & I will be traveling to Australia in December for 3 weeks. We will fly into Sydney on December 21st and stay for 5 nights. We already have a tour to the Blue Mountains booked for December 24th. We were going to take a Sydney Harbor cruise (6hrs) that would take us all around Sydney Harbor stopping at Manly Beach and a guided walk at "The Gap" and a few other places.

But the tour operator for the Sydney Harbor cruise is not sure he'll be running tours on December 23rd, the day we planned to take that tour.

So I'm looking for another tour we could take. Or should be do a self guided tour? We will do some of that on December 22nd, our first day in Sydney. We were thinking of doing a little tour that would kind of "do the legwork" for us. #FeelingLazy

What advice do you have, experienced Australia Fodorites?
halfapair is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2013, 02:36 PM
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In the multiple trips I've made to Sydney, I've never done an organized tour there. (Only done a Blue Mountains tour and a short 2-hour harbor boat ride). It's so easy to get around Sydney on your own that organized tours aren't really necessary. How about going to Taronga Zoo that day? We've always found enough to see and do to fill most of a day there.
longhorn55 is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2013, 03:01 PM
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We are going to do the Featherdale Wildlife Park on our Blue Mts. Tour and we are doing a night tour at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Hobart, Tasmania.

Do we need to take a guided tour of the Opera House, or is this something we could appreciate from the outside by walking around on our own?
halfapair is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2013, 03:20 PM
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I have heard good reports about the Opera House tour; they will take you to sections of the building that you wouldn't get into otherwise, like the very beautiful Utzon Room.

I think most of the museums are open on 23 December. Museum of Contemporary Art is only closed on 25 December. There's Art Gallery of NSW, Museum of Sydney.

The City of Sydney has a number of self-guided tours, there's either a map or an MP3 to download.
Susan7 is offline  
Old Sep 15th, 2013, 03:08 AM
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There are two free walking tours:

Fort Denison is worth a look

Instead of a cruise ride the ferries all - they go everywhere worth going.

The Rocks is worth doing around Susannah Place.

We are also booked in for the observatory

We will be spending a week in Sydney from the 23rd. If you want some serious research done, let me know.

We'll let you know what we think of the places when we come back. This will be our third trip.
peterSale is offline  
Old Sep 15th, 2013, 12:42 PM
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Just be aware that the "I'm free" tour guys do hope for/ expect/appreciate a tip of whatever you feel the tour was worth. Not compulsory though, and the key is "what you think it's worth".

You can easily do self guided tours, and I also think a walking tour in a specific area (Macquarie Street, lower CBD, The Rocks, for example) can offer insights & interesting anecdotes & details you'd probably miss otherwise.

The Tourist Information Centre in The Rocks is a great resource.

I haven't done the Opera House tour, but have heard very good reports about it.

Agree with the others about using the local ferries rather than a Harbour cruise. Food's usually pretty ordinary & it seems to me you're paying a high price to be told who lives where on a route you could do yourself - and get off here & there if you wanted, which you can't do with the Harbour Cruises.

Cockatoo Island is another interesting one. Take the ferry from the steps opposite the Museum of Contemporary Art (western Circular Quay).
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Old Sep 15th, 2013, 01:01 PM
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I think we have decided to do some sightseeing on our own. Here is what we came up with:

December 22nd:
Breakfast near our room; shop at nearby grocery store. (we are staying in a serviced apartment)
Ride the Ferry to
Manly Beach for lunch
Afternoon Rest (we'll be jetlagged that day)
Dinner at the Rocks

December 23rd:
pick up Rental Car
Breakfast at the Tea Cozy at the Rocks
The Rocks and Susannah Place
Thunderboat Jet Tour (1hr)

December 25th:
Botanical Gardens & Opera House
Ride the Ferries to Cockatoo Island, The Gap, etc.
halfapair is offline  
Old Sep 15th, 2013, 03:59 PM
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"December 23rd:
pick up Rental Car"

Why. Really no need for that in Sydney, more of a pain than anything.
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Old Sep 15th, 2013, 05:01 PM
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Wallaby, good question. Here's our thinking:

Because we are leaving Sydney on December 26th and driving south toward Melbourne. On December 24th we have a tour that will pick us up before 7am and we won't get back until the early evening. The next day is Christmas, so they'll be closed.

If we already have the car, then we can leave on December 26th and not fiddle around at the rental agency. We might change that. But that's the plan at the moment.
halfapair is offline  
Old Sep 16th, 2013, 05:34 AM
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Why not fly to Melbourne.
dutyfree is offline  
Old Sep 16th, 2013, 02:37 PM
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See if you can squeeze in Fort Denison at some point. It's only a 5 minute ferry ride from circular quay. We did a good guided tour for about $10 each then had lunch in their outdoor restaurant and enjoyed lovely harbour views.
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Old Sep 16th, 2013, 02:40 PM
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Forgot to say that you'll need to check if ferry services for Christmas Day, you may find lots of them aren't running.
cathies is online now  
Old Sep 16th, 2013, 06:28 PM
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dutyfreeOur trip is 3 weeks long. Here is our itinerary:

December 21-26 Sydney (we arrive at night on the 21st)
December 26 & 27 Narooma
December 28-30 Lakes Entrance
December 31 - Jan 5 Melbourne
January 5 - 10 Hobart, Tasmania
January 10 fly back to Sydney
January 11 fly home

All our tickets are purchase, rooms reserved, and some tours & dinner reservations booked.
halfapair is offline  
Old Sep 16th, 2013, 10:16 PM
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Halfapair, if you like fantastic food then this is a great restaurant in Hobart.

It's owned by a young friend of ours who is cooking fantastic food. if you go there, and if you like oysters then the Bruny Island steamed oysters aren't to be missed.

I don't think they take reservations, but you can put your name on the list and have a drink at Sidecar, the bar next door while you wait.
cathies is online now  
Old Sep 16th, 2013, 11:47 PM
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Another vote for Gargistes, really, really great food. It's no longer a la carte but the set menu is still fantastic.

The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart is also not to be missed. The ferry ride to the museum is a real joy, and while the love and death theme is a bit gimmicky, there's bound to be something on display that will interest.
Susan7 is offline  
Old Sep 17th, 2013, 01:58 AM
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I agree re Mona, although to be honest, the majority of thr art didn't do much for me, but I loved the building it is housed in. Simply amazing.
cathies is online now  
Old Sep 23rd, 2013, 02:56 AM
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you should try i havent used them specifically in australia but i have in europe and thailand and the tours have always been pretty great. they have several sydney river cruises and it tells you what days are available.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2013, 01:50 PM
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We live near Sydney and think that Cockatoo Island is a depressing bunch of rusted out sheds. (Runs away and hides behind rock...).
ThulaMama is offline  
Old Sep 23rd, 2013, 02:18 PM
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Come back out ThulaMama! Have you been there recently? There's a great bar with an amazing view, the Island Bar, during the Sydney Biennale there are pop up places to eat, but more than that the convict settlement at the top is fascinating and the turbine hall is amazing.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2013, 03:52 PM
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And the sandstone walls in the tunnel are like works of art.

I can see why you'd think it's just rusty old sheds & equipment, but spend a little longer there & explore. A picnic on the lawn overlooking the Harbour is a super way to enjoy a few hours.
Bokhara2 is offline  
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