sydney with family

Old Mar 25th, 2005, 05:11 PM
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sydney with family

We are going to Sydney in July. Wife and 17 year old daughter. I'm looking for suggestions on what to see while we are there. We have 11 days in the city and then on to Cairns. I'm also wondering what kind of weather to expect in Cairns as we love to snorkel.
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Old Mar 25th, 2005, 09:09 PM
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Eleven days is a long time to see a city as small as Sydney -- 3 days would be a minimum, but you could certainly see the most important parts in that time. How do you feel about motoring in a country where everyone drives on the "wrong" side? With three adults, this would be a very economical way of seeing the country, and it would give you a chance to get away from the coast (which, in July, is not at its best, anyhow) and see some of our country towns.

Certainly, one of your trips should be into the Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves, which is a two-day, one-night excursion. I would also suggest Canberra, another two-day, one-night trip, but if you decided to go on to a few other towns, could easily fill up a week.

How about this for a round-trip driving itinerary (Neil will be able to refine it, as he knows this area very well): Sydney-Bateman's Bay - Narooma (overnight); on to Bega - Cooma (overnight); to Canberra (2 nights); to Cowra, Grenfell (overnight); to Forbes, Parkes, Orange (overnight); to Bathurst, Oberon, Jenolan Caves (overnight); Katoomba (overnight); back to Sydney.

You will have just a nice amount of time left to see Sydney, and you'll enjoy it more because you'll be able to compare it with the more "traditional" Australia of the country towns.

New South Wales can cold during July, but the days are often clear and bright, and the nights crisp and clear. In the inland there is little pollution, and the southern stars shine bright in the night sky. July is a good month to go, because there are no flies, mosquitoes, or grasshoppers, all of which can make a journey into the interior a bit of a trial. There are plenty of motels in all of the towns mentioned, and they will seldom be full at this time of year, so you wouldn't have to book ahead, or even keep to the planned route. And, if you're up for an interesting experience, you could say at some of the old Australian pubs which still exist, just as they have since the gold mining days, in some of these country towns -- big rooms with high ceilings and long balconies, and a separate communal lounge for TV watching (where you can chat to some Aussies who live in these places permanently). You could eat at the local cafe -- often called "The White Rose" -- and order a "mixed grill", which is likely to contain a steak, chops, an egg or two, and various vegetables, piled high.

I think that would be a great, and out-of-the-ordinary, way to spend 8 or 9 days. Many of these towns seldom see an overseas tourist (that's not true of Canberra, of course!), so they haven't learnt to charge tourist prices.
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Old Mar 26th, 2005, 10:14 PM
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Cairns should be about 25 degrees C in July, sunny and dry.
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Old Mar 27th, 2005, 09:22 PM
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I agree eleven days is probably too long for sydney alone. But don't forget there some lovely walks around the Sydney headlands, and often the days are just beautiful - yes can be quite cold too - for us at least. There are lots of ferry rides from Circular Quay in Sydney city to places like Manly - good beaches and walks (long walk from Manly to Clontarf - see maps of Sydney - spectacular scenery on good day.) and restaurants. Walks around the headland from Bondi to Bronte and beyond. The zoo is a really good zoo (I normally hate zoos), again a ferry ride from Cirular Quay, also you can get the ferry to the Eastern Suburbs - get off at Watson's BAy and have fish and chips at the famous Doyles restaurant and then walk to the Gap and around. YOu will need a map to find these places while you are researching. Don't forget the Hunter Valley for further afield places - our local wine region. You could easily spend a night here. Driving quite as much as the previous person suggested could be quite tiring especially if you are not used to driving on the "wrong side". Remember distances in Australia are far - if that makes sense, we are not England, Oz is huge. I definately agree with Blue Mountains and Canberra and I like Bathurst. Yes there is a lot to see like any country, well done for allowing a decent time. Is your 17year old keen on driving around to country towns? Too much driving could become a bit of a yawn at that age. Enjoy!
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Old Mar 30th, 2005, 04:10 PM
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I've known people to happily tour Sydney for 4 weeks and others who were bored after 3 days. It depends on what you like. If you want to post some info on your interests, I'd be happy to make suggestions.

The itinerary above looks fine, except Cooma is, literally, freezing in July and packed with skiers. So unless you want to see snow for some reason, I'd miss it at that time of year. Parkes etc will be cold too, esp at night, but perfectly manageable. Unless you are fascinated by capital cities, I don't really see the appeal of Canberra for adults. (Interestingly, it's quite good for pre-teens due to some excellent child-oriented places such as Questacon.) Bathurst is interesting historically (gold rush, 19th C buildings etc).

An alternative to the inland drive would be up the coast for a few days at Coffs Harbour or that vicinity.

I wouldn't worry about the "wrong side of the road" thing. I've done it (the other way round, of course!) in the US and Europe with no problems at all. Just don't plan to drive in central Sydney and you probably won't even see much traffic. Most places are reasonably well sign posted and Aussie drivers are fairly calm in the scheme of things.

Cairns will be lovely - not hot, but warm and probably sunny. No stingers in winter so it's really the only time to go if you want to snorkel off the beach (as oppose to on the actual reef). Personally I prefer Port Douglas to stay in but Cairns is convenient. Be sure to go up into the hinterland one day!


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Old Mar 30th, 2005, 07:05 PM
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Yes, I think I'd skip Cooma - leaving aside the skiier problem the town really doesn't have much going for it IMO, and in any event it's only a little over an hour from Canberra. I would strongly disagree though that Canberra has little to interest adults, as it's a great place to acquaint yourself with Australia's social and political history and culture - the Australian War Memorial seldom fails to impress visitors, and there's the National Museum, Parliament House, Old Parliament House (take a free guided tour and also check out the National Portrait Gallery), not to mention the National Gallery, and the Sidney Nolan Gallery, which is on the grounds of an old homestead south of the city overlooked by the Brindabella Ranges - the farmhouse and outbuildings are an excellent insight into the lives of Australia's early settlers. You can also avoid Alan's threatened mixed grill at the White Rose Cafe (sorry, Alan), as there are plenty of good eateries of many ethnic persuasions at Manuka (mainly European) and Dickson (mainly Asian). It's chilly in July, of course, but with a little luck you'll have brisk, pleasantly sunny days.
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Old Mar 30th, 2005, 10:46 PM
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That's true, I'd forgotten about the war memorial and it is impressive. I'm certainly not saying Canberra's boring or don't go - just that I wouldn't consider it a "must see" on a short trip, particularly if it's out of your way. I generally find that when visitors are interested in government as a concept, they enjoy Canberra and otherwise they find it interesting enough but not one of their highlights. Also, it depends on where you are from and where else you have been. The National Gallery is a good collection and a fun visit, but it's not New York or London in the art stakes

I guess it all boils down to what you want out of your holiday and I agree that if you want to learn about Australian politics and (particularly post-federation) history, then Canberra is one of the best places to do it.

It will be chilly there in July but for someone called "frigidnorth" I'm guessing that's not a problem!!

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