Sydney Journals

A Taste of Sydney, Australia

An August 2005 trip to Sydney by Tallulah_B

Sydney Aquarium Photo, Sydney, Australia More Photos
Quote: This was my first visit to Sydney. I hit the major sights and had a leisurely 5 days in an exciting city.

A Taste of Sydney, Australia

Overview

Opera House and Harbour Bridge Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
Sydney must-sees: Ride a ferry, go to the aquarium, visit the Taronga Zoo, and check out the botanical garden.Quick Tips: Grab the Sydney guides that are in the airport because they contain coupons. There is also a big tourist info center at Darling Harbour.Best Way To Get Around: You can take the subway from the airport into the city. You can buy a travelpass (green, red, or blue) based on how long you will be in town and what kinds of transportation you will use (combo between ferry, subway/train, and bus). The monorail only goes around the center of town and the big tourist sights but it is NOT part of the same tranpo system and your travelpass won't work on it. I recommend ta...Read More

The Grace Hotel

Hotel | "Grace Hotel"

Quote:
This is a luxurious, modern hotel located in a historic Art Deco building. Yet, the online rates were quite affordable ($US160/night). The Grace is centrally located, a 5-minute walk to the Darling Harbour complex and a 15-minute walk to the Circular Quay. The twin room was comfortable for two people with lots of luggage. The bedding was sumptuous, with down comforters. The shower was powerful and refreshing. The lobby is gorgeous, celebrating the Art Deco history of the building. The concierge was helpful with taxis, tours, and transit information. It was a great stay all around.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 13, 2005

The Grace Hotel
77 YORK STREET
Sydney, Australia 2000
61 2-92726888

Baia San Marco

Restaurant

Quote:
The menu gave a vegetarian and a carnivore a lot to pick from, from pizzas to pasta to hearty meat dishes. A diverse wine list. Sumptuous desserts. The restaurant opened onto Darling Harbour and was a pleasant, comfortable setting for a slow-paced meal.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 13, 2005

Baia San Marco
Cockle Bay Wharf
Sydney, Australia 2000
+61 (0)2 9283 3434

Chris Seafood Cafe

Restaurant

Quote:
This cafe has a modern, airy setting that attracts a busy evening dinner crowd. They served huge salads (could have been a whole meal itself) and American-size portions for entrees as well. Excellent wine list for Australian and New Zealand wines. I had the salad, a salmon dinner, and a panna cotta dessert for US$45.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 18, 2005

Chris Seafood Cafe
61 York Street
Sydney, Australia

Quote:
Open 10-5pm daily. Free admission. Free guided tours are offered to get a sense of the overall collection. More information is available at www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au. An art museum with an emphasis on Australian paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. If you are familiar with European artwork of this period you may find the collection a bit provincial and uninspiring. However there was an excellent collection of aboriginal artwork on display on the lower level of the museum. This collection was worth a visit. Though not a lot of curatorial information in the collection, the works reflect diverse trends in Aboriginal art. Though I was not traveling with children there are activities at the museu...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 13, 2005

Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road
Sydney, Australia 2000
+61 (0)2 9225 1744

Powerhouse Museum

Attraction

Quote:
Open daily from 10:30-5pm. The admission fee was AU$10. Free tours of the collection are offered. The museum can be reached via the monorail or it's a short walk from the Darling Harbour area. The paths to get there from Darling Harbour are well marked. It is a fascinating museum focused on design, science, sociology, and technology which is housed in a former power station. If you've visited the Tate Modern in London you can appreciate how a museum in a power station can be an awe-inspiring experience. The Powerhouse Museum is quite large and I barely could take it all in a few hours. But even a short visit focused on specific exhibits will be rewarding. I was there during the Sydney Design competiti...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 13, 2005

Powerhouse Museum
500 Harris Street
Sydney, Australia 2007
+61 (0)2 9217 0111

Royal Botanic Gardens

Attraction | "Tour of Royal Botanic Garden"

Royal Botanic Gardens Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
The garden offers a free walking tour through the FREE botanic garden. The tour covers a little bit of Sydney history (how the park came to be, how the people of Sydney used it through the years) with a lot of botany and some wildlife information. The garden is full of fruit bats, cockatoos, and owls. My tour guide was less eager to talk about the animals than about the plants, but she begrudgingly answered animal questions too. The Wollemi pine, one of the oldest plants on earth was the highlight of the tour. The story of how the garden came to have this ancient and historic tree was a wonderful part of the tour. The park is also just a great place to sit and eat lunch. You can buy a sandwich from a ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 13, 2005

Royal Botanic Gardens
Mrs. Macquaries Road
Sydney, New South Wales 2000
61 (0)2 9231 8111

Sydney Aquarium

Attraction

Sydney Aquarium Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
The Aquarium is open 9:30-10pm daily. The entrance fee is expensive (US$14 for student discount!!, full price is probably closer to US$20) but there are discount coupons in every tourist pamphlet I saw in the tourist office so grab a pamphlet from the tourist center in Darling Harbour before you go. I know the price is high for a family but I think its well worth it. There is a lot to see and the kids I saw walking around were MEZMERIZED by the place. So was I!! If you can't get to the Great Barrier Reef while in Australia, definitely go to the Sydney Aquarium. You will get an approximate experience that is uniquely cool unto itself. Beyond regular aquarium displays of small fish tanks ful...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 13, 2005

Sydney Aquarium
Aquarium Pier, Darling Harbour
Sydney, Australia 2000
+61 (2) 8251-7800

Quote:
I recommend a trip out to Balmain if you are looking to see how real people in Sydney live. It reminded me very much of Park Slope in Brooklyn. Much like the borough of Brooklyn in New York City, Balmain if part of the city but also a world apart. It is truly a village full of charm. The suburb of Balmain is easy to get to via ferry from Darling Harbour or Circular Quay. Catch the city bus, #442 when you arrive in Balmain. The bus drives up Darling Street and after about 10 minutes you will be in the center of town. Ask the driver for the stop closest to St. Andrews Church. It is opposite a cemetery and the London Hotel (look for these landmarks when you are on the bus so you know when to ring the bel...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 13, 2005

Balmain Saturday Market
217-223 Darling Street
Sydney, Australia 2041
+61 (0)2 9555 1791

Taronga Zoo

Attraction

Taronga Zoo Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
The Taronga Zoo can be reached via ferry. Your admission price allows you to ride the gondola up to the zoo entrance. Starting at the top of the zoo, you essentially walk down the hill and end back at the ferry terminal.

If you won't be getting out in the wild while visiting Australia, this zoo is a must. You can see all the native animals here: wombats, echidnas, kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas. They also had some animals I'd never seen at zoos before: tafirs, meercats, and tahrs.

They are building an Asian animal pavilion, which was unfinished when I was there.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 13, 2005

Taronga Zoo
Bradley's Head Road
Sydney, Australia 2088
+61 (2) 9969 2777

Quote:
They are an affordable and beautiful way to see the city. You can buy an unlimited travel pass that includes ferries, buses, and subways (but NOT the monorail). The ferry provides an easy ride from Darling Harbour (where the aquarium, restaurants, and bars are) to Circular Quay (near the opera house and historic Rocks district). You get to go under the famous Harbour Bridge, you get great photos of the Opera House, and it’s so refreshing to see the city from the water. You can take a ferry to the Taronga Zoo, outer-suburb beaches (Manly and Bondi), and cute, artsy suburb of Balmain.
Chinese Garden of Friendship Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
This is a small Chinese garden in the Darling Harbour area. It can be reached via the monorail (Entertainment Centre Station), ferry (Darling Harbour), bus or train (Town Hall Station) or light rail (Haymarket Station). Since the Guangdong area of China and Sydney share a similar climate the garden uses plants common in Guangdong. The garden is designed to reflect traditional Chinese principles of water, plants, stone and architecture and designed to reflect yin and yang, activity and calmness. So there are still ponds and active waterfalls. The entrance fee is low (AU$6 for adults, AU$3 for students), and the atmosphere is high. It offers a nice, quiet respite from the rest of the city. There is also...Read More

Chinese Garden of Friendship
Pier and Day Streets Darling Harbour
Sydney, Australia 2000
61 (0)2 9281 6863

Manly Beach

Story/Tip

Manly Beach Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
If you have extra time and want to see some of the suburbs of Sydney, a day trip to Manly is easy to do. Ferries to Manly leave from the Circular Quay (the main ferry terminal). A tourist office operates at the ferry terminal in Manly. Although I was visiting the Sydney area in winter, there were brave souls lying on the beach at Manly. The ferry ride there is relaxing. Many locals say this is one of the most scenic ferry rides. It takes about 30 minutes. Manly is a small seaside town with cafés, restaurants and souvenir shops. The main drag called the Corso isn't particularly attractive but we ate delicious lamingtons (a famous Australian dessert, coconut covered cake) at one of the bakeries on the C...Read More