A December 2004 trip
to Sydney by Slaney
Quote: Australia is a country we have always wanted to visit. It is such a vast country that we couldn't see everything, so we picked the places important for us to see in the short time we had.
Hotel | "Old Sydney Holiday Inn"
We arrived at 7:30am and, of course, our room was not ready. We had to wait until 1pm before it was ready, and by this time, we were drooping, so we went straight to bed. The room consisted of two twin beds, tea- and coffee-making facilities, minibar, and bathroom with wash basin, toilet, and shower over the bath. There was also an iron and board.
The swimming pool was on the roof, and the deck area was quite small and could have done with more sunbeds. The first day we went to the pool, there were no beds at all, and the floor was very hard. We realised afterward that, as it was New Years Eve, the sunbeds had been cleared in preparation for the celebrations.
There was an offer whilst we were there whereby we got two free breakfasts, which we took advantage of. Breakfast was a buffet where you could help yourself to hot and cold dishes, squeeze fruit or vegetables for juice, and make your own toast. There was an abundant supply of everything.
As it was New Years during our stay, we also received a bottle of champagne. The hotel allowed the fireworks to be viewed from the roof, and on our way up, we were presented with a glass of champagne.
The foyer was equipped with plenty of leather sofas, and there was a small bar in one corner. There is also free Internet access in this area. A room on the eighth floor was turned over to the laundry, with coin-operated machines. Everywhere was spotlessly clean, and all the staff were very polite and friendly.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 12, 2005
Holiday Inn Old Sydney
55 GEORGE STREET
Sydney, Australia 2000
121 George Street
+61 2 9247 9978
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 12, 2005
Attraction | "Monorail"
Sydney Monorail and Light Rail
Sydney, Australia 2000
+61 (0)2 8584 5288
The thing that puzzled me was that at midnight, there was no wishing everyone "Happy New Year"; we were all too occupied watching the fireworks and photographing them. The ships in Circular Quay were illuminated and all hooted after the fireworks. It seemed strange, but it was a wonderful experience to be in Sydney at New Years.
New Year's Eve
There was a commentary on board which pointed out all the highlights, including the apartment block in Darling Harbour where Russell Crowe is supposed to have an apartment.
Captain Cook Cruises
Number 6 Jetty, Circular Quay
Sydney, Australia 2000
+61 (0)2 9206 1100;
Featherdale is full of native animals, such as koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, flying foxes, and birds such as kookaburras, emus, etc. For me, the best part was being able to pet the koalas. They are so cute and soft to the touch. They just cling to the trees, fast asleep, and you expect them to fall off, but they don't. One was in a special area (still fast asleep, clinging to the tree) where you could pet it and take photographs at no extra charge. Later in the day, when we returned (about 3pm), they seemed to be waking up, and another was put by the side of the first one in the petting area. After three people had taken photographs, it climbed down--it had obviously had enough--and was taken back to its pen. They are not kept in cages, and the pens are open at the top, with a wall about halfway up.
The kangaroos and wallabies were also free, but areas with shade and huts, surrounded by a small wooden fence, were available for them to escape attention if they wanted to. For a small charge, food can be bought to feed the kangaroos and wallabies.
Some animals and the birds are caged, but there were plenty of wild birds visiting for a free feed. Wombats were chasing through tunnels in their pens, penquins were swimming, the giant lizards/iguanas were lazing in the sun, and the dingos were asleep. Unfortunately, the Tasmanian Devil, which is nocturnal, was nowhere to be seen.
It was a very enjoyable day for animal-loving adults and children alike. We were there approximately 4 hours and enjoyed every minute. There is a cafe on-site where sandwiches and drinks can be bought, as well as a souvenir shop. Instead of getting the bus, we decided to walk back to Blacktown for the train, which took about 30 minutes. It is quite easy--just turn left out of the car park and go straight on--but it was a long walk in the hot sun.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 13, 2005
Featherdale Wildlife Park
217 Kildare Road Doonside (near Blacktown)
Sydney, Australia 2767
+61 (0)2 9622 1644
Attraction | "Bondi Explorer - Blue Bus"
At the start of the journey, the driver starts an audio tape which gives information on areas being passed on the way to the beaches, like Woolloomooloo Bay, Kings Cross Rushcutters Bay, where the Yacht Club is, and Double Bay, an exclusive shopping area, to name a few.
We chose to alight at Gap Park, where there are views of the harbour, the Heads, sandstone cliffs, and the sea. We made our way back to the bus stop through the grounds of HMAS Watson Naval Base and continued our journey on the next bus to Bondi Beach. Alighting again at Bondi, we sat on the beach and watched the surfers and famous lifeguards, then continued our journey on foot via the cliff walk with panoramic views of Bondi to Tamarama Bay (or Bronte on certain days) to await the next bus back to Sydney.
As we were tired, we decided to do the complete journey again, and this time was so much better--the driver did his own commentary and was so funny. He also stopped at different places for photo opportunites, pointing out the pelicans waiting to be fed on the restaurant roof at Rose Bay and the babies on another roof waiting for their parents. He detoured from the route to show us his favourite house, the area where he was brought up, and also gave his views on the Kings Cross area and some of the unsavoury characters. This was a realy enjoyable trip.
Level 28, 100 Miller Street
Sydney, Australia 2060
+61 (0)2 9245 5644
Sydney is a wonderful city with plenty of varied things to occupy the tourist.
Just to sit in Circular Quay, with its entertainers, ferries, restaurants, cafes, etc., and people-watch is entertainment. The view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the climbers, like ants making their way up, across, and down again, and the Opera House are wondrous sights.
The Botanical Gardens have beautiful flowers, trees, and birds in the centre of the city with sea views. The ferries and buses take people further afield to the beaches or trips round the city.
Take a walk across Harbour Bridge and view Sydney from the other side. Yes, there is plenty to occupy the tourist.
One of the beaches seemed to be used by surf schools and activity groups, as there were children being taught to surf. This beach has a wide promenade with shelters and benches. At one point in the day, there seemed to be a shark alert. Everyone came out of the sea and stood, looking out to the horizon. We watched for a while but could not see anything.
The other beach--at the side of the harbour--is quieter and also has benches along the promenade. At the far end is a small waterpark, cafe and restrooms.
Sheffield, United Kingdom