Sydney Journals

Sydney - Where Music and Fireworks Float

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A December 2005 trip to Sydney by Carmen

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Quote: Pinch me. I can't believe I got to not only see this great city, but spend New Years Eve 2005 here!

Sydney - Where Music and Fireworks Float

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Overview

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Quote:
Sydney is the jewel in Australia’s hat. It’s flashy, it’s a show-off city, and I ate up every bit and licked the plate, too!Certainly it features the most recognizable and most beautiful harbor in the world. With the sails of the Opera House reaching over to look at their reflection in the water and the Harbor Bridge spanning it, there’s no doubt that you are, indeed in Australia. My hands-down best night in Sydney was New Years Eve. It’s ruined me for all other NYE for the rest of my life. I was on a boat in the harbor, watching the magnificent Harbor Bridge not only put on a show for those in Sydney, but showing the rest of the world how it’s done. ...Read More

Rydges Jamison Sydney

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Hotel | "Rydges Jamison Sydney – Service Done Right"

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Quote:
Even though I’d booked my trip in February of 2005 for New Year’s Eve, my travel agent was having difficulty finding me a room for only one night on the night of all nights in Sydney. Most hotels wanted a two-night stay, and $300 a night on top of that. In an effort to find some hotel names to email directly and plead for an exception, I came across the Rydges Jamison Sydney on Expedia.com. They would allow a one-night stay and the cost was $279 a night. I couldn’t believe it! I even called Expedia to make sure I was reading things right. They said it was an honest deal, so I booked it on the spot!The hotel is on Jamison Street, right off of George Street &nda...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 19, 2006

Rydges Jamison Sydney
11 Jamison Street.
Sydney, Australia 2000
+61 (2) 9696 2500

Sofitel Wentworth

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Hotel | "Sofitel Wentworth Sydney – Comfort and Joy"

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Quote:
The five-star Softiel is located on Phillip Street in Sydney, just off of Pitt Street, one of the major veins of the city. It’s a five-minute walk to Circular Quay (“key”) where the Opera House sits. I wouldn’t say it’s one of the closest hotels to the harbor, but it’s certainly one of the nicest. The rooms, as in any major city with land availability issues, were small, but not uncomfortably so. My single room had a king bed, and everything was organized so as to be available, but not in the way (such as a TV on a fold-away-into-the-cabinets stand). The bathroom was circular, with an enclosed shower.The bed was soft, and for those allergic t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 19, 2006

Sofitel Wentworth
61-101 Phillip Street
Sydney, Australia 2000
+61 (2) 9230-0700

Pancakes on the Rocks

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Restaurant | "Pancakes on the Rocks – Yum and More Yum"

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Quote:
Australians have the most national holidays of any industrialized country, and they take their time off very seriously! That’s why there were few places open for breakfast on New Year’s Day. The concierge suggested I take a cab down to The Rocks, to have breakfast at Pancakes on the Rocks. He assured me they’d be open.It was a bit challenging to find the place – even the cab driver wasn’t sure. It’s in a converted brick warehouse (the Rocks is the oldest part of the city) and there was a small sign. Once I located the sign, however, I could smell the delightful breakfast smells and my stomach started to rumble. I was seated immediately in the loft-like restauarant, and noticed ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 19, 2006

Pancakes on the Rocks
4 Hickson Road
Sydney, Australia
+61 2 9247 6371

Wolfie's Grill

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Restaurant | "Wolfie's Grill – A Steak With a Side of View "

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Quote:
I wanted to eat at a nice sit-down spot that wouldn’t ruin my budget (ie: I didn’t want to pay $25 for a hamburger.) My travel agent had given me some coupons for a set of waterfront restaurants in the rocks, and it just so happens that the concierge at the Sofitel recommended one of them – Wolfies Grill. He called up and made me an 8:30 reservation with no troubles.With all the walking and shopping, I was getting hungry. I made my way over to the Rocks to see if I might be able to snag an early seat.When I arrived at this warehouse-turned-restaurant, they were setting up their outdoor seating tables – they opened at 5:30 so I waited on the steps outside and stared a little whi...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 19, 2006

Wolfie's Grill
17-21 Circular Quay West
Sydney, Australia
+61 (02) 9241 5577

Amo Roma (Pizza on the Rocks)

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Restaurant | "Amo Roma – Pizza on the Rocks"

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Quote:
The Rocks, at the end of George Street, was one of my favorite areas to souvenir shop, take a stroll – whatever. It’s the oldest part of the city, with the oldest buildings. It’s atmosphere lured me there several times. One of these times happened to be lunch, so I strolled along (stopping in shops along the way of course) reading menus and looking for nothing in particular, but something good.As I stopped in front of Amo Roma, the smell wafted past as the hostess popped out onto the steps. We exchanged pleasantries, and I excused myself to go next door to Sydney’s Oldest Pub to get some money out of their ATM, then back I went to ask her to seat me.I had the choice of outside ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 19, 2006

Amo Roma (Pizza on the Rocks)
135 George Street
Sydney, Australia
+61 02 9247 1920

Sydney Opera House

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Attraction | "Sydney Opera House – Sails & Spherical Solutions"

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Quote:
Probably one of the most distinctive city icons in the world, the Sydney Opera House beckons you to look at it from every angle. One of the most interesting of those angles is from the inside.Book a tour of the Opera House, and you’ll get a guided walk-through of this fascinating building. Get up close and personal with the tiles on the sails (which are not white, by the way, but several shades of off-white, otherwise, we’d all be blinded from the reflection.) Take a seat in the concert halls. Take a gander at the organ that took seven years to build and two years to tune.And, of course, hear about the building of the Opera House, and it’s famous designer, Utz...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 19, 2006

Sydney Opera House
Bennelong Point
Sydney, Australia 2000
+61 (2) 9250 7111

Captain Cook Cruises

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Attraction | "Captain Cook Cruises Lunch Cruise – Ahoy Mate!"

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Quote:
PHONE ENQUIRIES CALL 61 2 9206 1122Included in my AAT Kings tour was a lunch cruise through the harbor, and I learned when we arrived at Wharf 6 that it was to be aboard a Captain Cook ship. We were met at the ticket counter by Captain Cook himself – well, not really, since he was eaten by natives in Hawaii some 200 plus years ago – but a poor suffocating soul dressed as Cook to greet people and help them decide on tickets. The ship itself was the Sydney 2000, and we entered and climbed to the second floor where our lunch tables awaited us. It was a buffet style lunch – but let me warn those of you who, like me, can’t eat seafood – ther...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 19, 2006

Captain Cook Cruises
Number 6 Jetty, Circular Quay
Sydney, Australia 2000
+61 (0)2 9206 1100;

Sydney Harbour Bridge

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Attraction | "Sydney Bridge Climb – Standin’ On Top of the World"

Sydney Harbour Bridge Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
1439. That’s the number of steps to reach the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. 1439 reasons not to go. 1439 racing heartbeats. 1439 leg cramps.Are you kidding? You’ve GOT to climb the bridge. It was one of my best Sydney experiences. The climb is actually not that difficult (if you’re scared of heights, it might make it worse). I did get winded a few times, but that’s what a two-week vacation from the gym will do to you.Start by signing your life away and taking a breathalyzer test (don’t drink AT ALL that day). Then walk through the door and get assigned your highly fashionable climbing suit. You can wear one layer of clothing underneath, but bulk...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 19, 2006

Sydney Harbour Bridge
5 Cumberland Street, The Rocks
Sydney, Australia 2000
+61 (2) 8274 7777

Bondi Beach

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Attraction | "Bondi Beach – Surf’s Up!"

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Quote:
Bondi isn’t famous for it’s beautiful beaches, it’s fabulous swimming or it’s rip curl surfing waves – it’s famous because it’s the closest beach to Sydney! Hop in a car from the center of the city and you can be here in 15 minutes.According to my tour guide (a local Sydney-ite) you’ll find more English here than Australians, but there were plenty of tanned, muscled bodies there, so who cares what nationality they are. : )My first thought when I arrived on the sun-soaked sand is that you’d have to be a pretty strong swimmer to tackle these waters. There is a designated swimming area between two red and yellow flags, allowing...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 19, 2006

Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach
Sydney, Australia
+61 (0)2 9130 5311 (

Harborview Hotel

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Attraction

Quote:
At the base of the Harbor Bridge in the Rocks area of Sydney lies the Harborview Hotel. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but climb to the second floor (actually, the third floor, but the first floor is the “ground” floor), grab a table and a drink and get a look at the scenery.I had met a girl on the plane from LAX to Sydney who was an American working in Sydney, so we arranged to have drinks at the Harborview on my last night in town post-bridge climb. (It’s just around the corner from the Bridge Climb office). To celebrate my ascent to the top, I ordered a “Sex on the Bridge” and because I was thirsty, I downed it quickly and ordered the sec...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 19, 2006

Harborview Hotel
George Street
Sydney, Australia

New Year's Eve

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Attraction | "New Year’s Eve: The Heart Beats On"

New Year's Eve Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
I arrived in Sydney on December 31, 2005 at 9 a.m. after 20 hours on an airplane and one day having mysteriously disappeared in transit. What I really needed was a nap, but what I wanted was to pack some city sights into my first day – New Year’s Eve.Stop one was, of course, the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House. My first sight of these magnificent city icons stirred something inside me. Was I really here? Everywhere there were signs of the night to come. Flag banners lined the streets for NYE with the 2005 theme of “Heart” prevalent in all. Digital road signs flashed “Happy New Year” with instructions on road closures and instructions for sp...Read More

New Year's Eve
Sydney Harbour
Sydney, Australia

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Quote:
In my opinion, there is no other way to witness the amazing display of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve than on a boat in the harbor. I could see the number of people amassing in the other viewing spots, and was so glad not to have to fight the crowds. (Though, I’d wager that Mrs. Maquarie’s Point is the best vantage spot for the action on the ground.)I’d done some Internet research to find a boat for New Year’s Eve. The Harbor Queen was reasonably priced ($350 per person included dinner, dancing, and a great spot in the harbor for the fireworks.) One of the reasons I booked the Harbor Queen specifically is that, through email communication, the staff agreed to h...Read More

General Australia FAQs – Fair Dinkum?

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Story/Tip

Quote:
I’ve made many observations and been asked many questions about my trip, so I thought I’d share my knowledge.FAQs1. How was the flight? Long, but not too bad. It was a 5 hour flight from D.C. to L.A., and then a scheduled 15 hour flight from L.A. to Sydney (a tail-wind brought ours down to 14.) For some reason, it was only 12 and a half back to L.A., but whatever. Quantas flights are comfy, with decent food. There are movies and games on the console. On the way out, I say sleep if you can. Also, see if you can get a bulkhead seat. 2. Is it expensive? Yes, Australia is an expensive country. I’d say budget $50 a day at least for ...Read More