Where to stay in Sydney&Surfers Paradise?

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Mar 22nd, 2005, 07:28 AM
  #1
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Where to stay in Sydney&Surfers Paradise?

Hi there,
Looking for some guidance on where to stay while visiting Sydney and Surfers Paradise areas in December/January.
We are travelling with our 11 year old son.
While in Sydney we have no plans of using a car rental. Would Darling Harbour or Bondi Beach be a good choice?
While in the Surfers Paradise area - we will have a vehicle - any recommendations of a good area to stay in on this coastline?
We enjoy the beach and the ability to walk out the door of our hotel and having immediate access to shopping/dining etc.
Thanks for your help!
shadow122333 is offline  
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Mar 22nd, 2005, 12:44 PM
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Darling Harbour in Sydney is an area I've been pretty hard on in this forum over the last couple of years, so here is one opportunity to redress what, I am sure, may people see as an unfair bias on my part:

Since you are coming in January, and, what's more, with an eleven-year-old, I think Darling Harbour might be a very good choice indeed. January is festival month in Sydney, and Darling Harbour has special school holiday events -- dancing, concerts, fireworks -- at regular intervals throughout the month. There will hardly be a day when there isn't some kind of activity going on, many aimed directly at children. I certainly wouldn't stay out at Bondi, as this means a bus trip every time you want to get into the city, and while you're at Bondi, there really is a very limited range of things to do: surf at the beach, or walk from one beach to the other around the foreshores! You'd be spending, I think, a lot of time on that bus!

Anyway, the beach at Manly, while not as well-known internationally, is easily the equal of Bondi, and the area itself is more pleasant; plus, the trip by ferry to Manly beats the bus trip to Bondi hands down. So, when you want to go to a beach, hop on the ferry at Darling Harbour (near the Aquarium), go to Circular Quay, change ferries and board the BIG one which goes to Manly, and have a great day out.

Darling Harbour is close to the Aquarium (as stated), and also to the Maritime Museum and the Powerhouse Museum, both popular with children. It is connected to the main shopping area of Sydney by monorail. Chinatown, a colourful place to visit in its own right, is just up the road, with a bevy of cheap eateries. I think it will be a great location for you. Just remember that Darling Harbour isn't really a harbour -- it's merely an estuary, a rather ordinary strip of water surrounded by convention centres, freeway overpasses, and that most architecturally splendiforous wonder of the twentieth-century, the Imax theatre. You won't see any blue waters, yellow beaches, and white sailboats. That scene belongs to SYDNEY Harbour, a short ferry-ride away.
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Mar 22nd, 2005, 03:15 PM
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I would avoid Surfers Paradise itself. Can be noisy, crowded and overly commercial. The Gold Coast follows about 30km of beachside suburbs, so there is plenty of choice. Just south (2km)of Surfers is Broadbeach. It has plenty of beachside apartments, good shopping and plenty of restaurants. Also a short monrial ride to the Casino. Further south along the coast, the beach suburbs are less busy depending on your tastes.
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Mar 22nd, 2005, 03:23 PM
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Can you indicate what type of budget you have for hotel accom, what preference you have for style? Also contrary to the other poster if you have an 11 year old I would stay in the centre of Surfers rather than further along the beach.
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Mar 22nd, 2005, 06:49 PM
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I agree that Darling Harbour is the best place to stay in January with an 11 year old. Lots of things to do.

I also agree it's best to stay out of surfers - it's a crass commercial concrete jungle. Read Bill Bryson on how underwhelming he found it

If you want shops and things, then by all means stay at Surfers, but if you would rather have a nice beach, less crowded and a more 'Australian' feel (whatever that is), then I'd suggest Burleigh Heads, or my favourite Palm Beach. Currumbin is also good.
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Mar 23rd, 2005, 05:22 PM
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The Phoenician at Broadbeach is one of the nicest places to stay and without a doubt has some of the best eating places within a very short walk from the front door i.e. 20ft. Lots of things to see and do in the Oasis Centre at Broadbeach and the beach ( patrolled) is just at the end of the pedestrian mall - there are also bbques on the beach which is nice too.
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Mar 24th, 2005, 06:57 AM
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Wow!!! Thanks for the great tips. Darling Harbour it is and looks like Broadbeach.
To Michaeloz - a happy/medium budget - meaning nothing cheapy/cheapy and probably not a high end resort either. Preferably on the beach and just clean would be most important.
Quick question - someone indicated Broadbeach is 2 km from sufers - can this be done with a walk on the beach?
Thanks everyone
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Mar 24th, 2005, 11:31 AM
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You can walk from Broadbeach to Surfer's along the beach but there would not be any reason to do so as there is more going on in Broadbeach than Surfer's anyway - unless of course you just want a nice walk along the beach. You may even be lucky in that it might be the week the craft market is also at Broadbeach ( they do a rotation) but if not then a nice bus ride - or drive out to Carrara Markets is worth it on a Saturday or Sunday but do go early as it gets very, very busy. Its a big market and there is nothing you can't buy there. At Broadbeach you are also 5 minutes away from the Pacific Fair Shopping Centre which is very large as well with a lot of interesting shops.
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Mar 24th, 2005, 11:41 AM
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Here is the website for the Phoenician and it also has links for "things to see and do" which you may find helpful. What I like best about this place is that along the footpath at night outside are all these outdoor dining places with more choices than you can get through in the time you are there. http://www.phoenician.com.au/
Have a great time on your holiday
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