Sydney Journals

The watery city of Sydney - Gleaming, Glittering and Gigantic

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A September 2005 trip to Sydney by actonsteve

Sydney Opera House Photo, Sydney, Australia More Photos
Quote: This watery city has gleaming skyscrapers, glittering seas, and gigantic Australian icons—Sydney is Australia's showpiece city. A city devoted to hedonism on a massive scale.

The watery city of Sydney - Gleaming, Glittering and Gigantic

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Overview

Gaps Head - Sydney Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
If cities could be categorised as human beings? What would Sydney be?Paris, Florence and Vienna would be beautiful women—venerable but still maintaining their looks. London, Milan and Madrid would definitely be male—aesthetics sacrificed on the altar of making money. New York would be male as well, but younger, in the middle aged bracket—as would Rio and San Francisco. But Sydney would be a teenager. She would be a stunner, a gorgeous blonde at her most beautiful. Her sun tan would be perfect, her figure exemplary and she would be an all around popular girl with everyone wanting to be her friend. Of course, she would keep herself in perfect condition—no room for flaws here. Her ambition wo...Read More

Y Hotel Hyde Park

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Hotel | "Y on the park - location, location, location"

Y Hotel Hyde Park Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
Looking for a reasonably priced, clean, and centrally located hotel in Sydney? Well, look no further, the YWCA fits the bill.The location is smack bang in the centre of Sydney on Wentworth Avenue and literally a few steps from Hyde Park. The CBD and Liverpool Street are a little to the west, Circular Quay and the harbour are a brisk walk down MacQuarie Avenue and the decadent nightlife of Oxford Street is literally across the road.It's a clean safe environment (and despite being a YWCA, admits us fellas). The reception is just off street, and centrally manned, and very professional. It can change up money, book tours and store luggage. The restaurant area is self service so you...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 30, 2006

Y Hotel Hyde Park
5-11 Wentworth Avenue at Whitlam Square
Sydney, Australia 2000
+61 (2) 9264 2451

Australian Sunrise Lodge

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Hotel | "The Australian Sunrise Lodge - Hotel Run By Ghosts"

Australian Sunrise Lodge Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
The trouble with booking anything on the Internet is that you are taking a gamble. Without the recommendation of a travel agent or guidebook, sometimes you are taking a lucky dip. Sometimes you get a bargain and a welcome surprise, sometimes you get a challenge. The last description fits the Australian Sunrise Lodge.The picture on the website stressed a tropical garden, nearness to facilities and a general relaxed atmosphere. I was taken by the fact it was in an "exciting" part of town and the price and rooms looked good online. So as I made my 11 hour train trip from Melbourne, I arrived in Sydney in a high state of expectation.For a start it is in Newtown. This is a very tren...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on April 30, 2006

Australian Sunrise Lodge
485 King St.
Sydney, Australia
+61 (2) 9550 4999

The Adventures of Priscilla - lively Oxford Street

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Attraction | "The Adventures of Priscilla - lively Oxford Street"

Colonial architecture on Martin Place Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
Sydney has one of the most famous gay scenes in the world.Every February it holds Mardi Gras - a world famous party which culminates in a parade down Oxford Street. The parade is so much of a Sydney fixture, rounding off the summer season, that it is televised live on TV. The cavalcade of OTT floats, bouncy atmosphere and Aussie camp was roundly captured in The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. The Sydney gay scene is firmly on the map - as secure as Sitges, San Francisco or Mykonos.The main area is Oxford Street - a massive thoroughfare stretching down from Hyde Park to the eastern suburbs. This is Sydney's alternative area - in stark contrast to spiffy Darl...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 30, 2006

Bondi Icebergs Club

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Attraction | "Bondi Icebergs Club - Cold waves hit the rocks"

Bondi Icebergs Club Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
I like to consider myself brave but, ye gods - that water was cold....It was straight off the South Pacific. When I was there in early September the sea hadn't warmed up yet and I swear it had a tang of Antarctica to it. One of the best places to swim in Sydney is the Bondi Icebergs club on the cliff top overlooking the famous beach. The swimming is in freezing cold water replenished each minute by waves from the ocean. To adapt to the cold I cheated by using the children's pool. My limbs were tensing and the only words coming out of my mouth were "oooohhh" and "aaaaahhhh" . But the children's pool was shallower and I could ease myself into the water more gently. I ducked to my knees, ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 1, 2006

Bondi Icebergs Club
1 Notts Ave., Bondi Beach
Sydney, Australia 2026
(02) 9130 3120

Circular Quay

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Attraction | "Circular Quay - watery termini to Sydney Harbour"

Circular Quay Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
There is a sense of people coming together on Circular Quay.As with all termini essential to the circulation of a city it bursts with life. Numerous methods of transport meet in this small concrete cove under the shadow of the CBDs skyscrapers. The glittering water allows chugging ferries to converge from around Sydney harbour. People pour off the ferries, trains and buses and snake towards the workplaces of the business area. And all is looked over by the titanic coat hanger of the Harbour bridge on its western arm, and the glittering segmentation of the Opera House on its eastern.You will find yourself passing through Circular Quay at least on your visit to Sydney. As an area...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 1, 2006

Circular Quay
Sydney Cove
Sydney, New South Wales 2000
61 2 9251 4164

Sydney Opera House

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Attraction | "Sydney Opera House - everything you expected and more"

Sydney Opera House Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
I can guarantee this will be the first place you will visit in Sydney.After arrival and throwing your bags on the bed, your legs will gravitate you towards Circular Quay and the promontory serving the famous building. This promontory forms the easternmost arm of Sydney Cove and backs onto an escarpment leading back into the Botanical Gardens. The "sharks fins" of the building loom above the foliage. This concrete promontory is called Bennelong Point. Named after the aboriginal tribesman who was kept by the first governor of Sydney, Arthur Phillip - his hut stood where the Opera House now stands.Like all the worlds great buildings there is a story associated with it. This time i...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 1, 2006

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

Bondi Beach

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Attraction | "Bondi Beach - The Epitome of Australia"

Bondi Beach Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
Bondi Beach is world famous and I am pleased to report is just as good as its reputation suggests. If anything is worth a journey of 24 hours on an airplane then this has to be it.The view from the pathway across its 2 kilometres of snowy white sand is jaw-dropping. Contrasting with a sky that is the colour of sapphire and you have one of the most impressive urban recreational areas in the world. Its home to the Australian surfing culture and and on any given day after September these can be seen on the beach in red speedos, red caps and sun-bleached hair. For just like in Rio, the beach is a way of life in Sydney. The residents live for the summer where they can spend as much as time as p...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 1, 2006

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

Hyde Park Barracks Museum

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Attraction | "Hyde Park Barracks - Convict Sydney comes alive"

The Royal Botanic Gardens Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
"Come on you lubbers! Put some bloody effort into it!"An colonial overseer stood stood over a group of children making ropes. He bawled them out to work faster.Of course this wasn't an Australian penal colony in the 1830s but Sydney's best historical museum - the Hyde Park Barracks. The overseer wasn't a cruel colonial guard but a volanteer showing schoolchildren in 2005 what life was life back then complete with authentic period costume and dialogue. A fantasy? Well, I had to suppress a chuckle—those kids certainly worked faster.The Hyde Park Barracks are a terrific attraction on the edge of the CBD on Hyde Park. This is where Australia began and was where c...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 1, 2006

Hyde Park Barracks Museum
Macquarie Street
Sydney, Australia 2000
+61 (2) 9223 8922

Sydney Harbour Bridge

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Attraction | "Sydney Harbour Bridge - Australias pride and joy"

Circular Quay Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
After the Opera House, this is generally the second of Sydney's icons that visitors make for.It stands at the tip of the city as it extends into the harbour. The area around it is one of the most historically important in Australia - the much vaunted 'The Rocks'. An age old rookery of thieves and ne'er do wells. Nowadays it has been gentrified almost to the point where it looks like a theme park with its glitzy boutiques, hotels and restaurants. But its a nice place to sit in the sunshine, order a barramundi and take a sip of a good Australian shiraz.Most people approach the bridge from the half-moon of Circular Quay. But the main thoroughfare of George Street extends all the w...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 1, 2006

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

Watsons Bay

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Attraction | "South Head - daring beaches and fish 'n chips"

Watsons Bay Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
Sydney wasn't built as other cities. It wasn't built around crossing points on rivers like the medieval cities of Europe and Africa, it wasn't built on trading posts like North and South America—it was built almost from new. The advantage of this is that vast swathes of the harbour and the Sydney metropolitan area are still in a pristine state. Forests roll down to the sea, waves batter cliffs, and beaches and coves are a stone-throw from the city centre. The city has taken advantage of this by building its suburbs in some pretty impressive areas. Yacht basins, seafront restaurants, and golf courses are the norm, and property prices are pretty high. Sydney has jumped from nowhere to the 20th most expe...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 1, 2006

Watsons Bay
South Head Peninsula
Sydney, New South Wales

Manly Beach

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Attraction | "Manly Beach - a thousand miles from care..."

Manly Beach Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
Even the hardest of hearts will soften on a ferry ride across Sydney Harbour to Manly Beach.From the deck of a ship you get a sense of the scale of the harbour. Every minute brought views of condos, inlets, sailboats, coves and surf crashed shores. Imagine doing this every day in good weather, and lets face it - thats pretty often in Sydney.Manly Beach is a beachside suburb on the northern shore that is one of the best excursions you can make in Sydney. It has been a Sydney favourite for generations - a ferry ride, day at the beach and fish 'n chips have been a staple since the thirties and with its art-deco architecture it is redolent of those times. Its position is half the a...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 1, 2006

Manly Beach
The Corso
Sydney, Australia 2095
+61 (0)2 9977 1088

Sydney Aquarium

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Attraction | "Sydney Aquarium - if you can't get to the Barrier Reef"

Sydney Aquarium Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
IF THE FALL DOESN'T KILL YOU, HE WILLThat sign is above the "Saltwater Crocodile" enclosure and shows a lovely Aussie sense of humour.The fall itself is 20ft straight down into the jaws of a true monster. Australia has the biggest crocodiles in the world and the biggest of these live in the river strips/coastal territories of Queensland and the Northern Territory. The Aquarium had one such brute - a lethargic reptile over six foot long. He looked fearsome enough from ground level, but you could climb a set of steps and see him and his pool from above. Hence the warning to be careful. He looked quiet enough but no doubt he'd be as quick as a flash if someone fell in. And I notic...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 1, 2006

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

Darling Harbour

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Attraction | "Darling Harbour - back to the nineteen eighties!"

Darling Harbour Photo, Sydney, Australia
Quote:
The eighties seemed to be year zero for Sydney.It resulted in a capitalist building frenzy that resulted in a skyline resembling Seattle or Los Angeles. Everything in this city seems to be so sparkling new. Everything is on show. Everything has be re-gentrified—a 19th-century building is given a glass roof, an office building a chrome atrium, a restaurant with outside seating on silver chairs. This is not meant as a criticism (I'm a big fan of the city). Sydney has a worldwide impressive reputation, a reputation it must keep up and it is constantly refurbishing itself. This results in sections that are as clean as a whistle and occasionally verge on sterile. Once in a while, not often I ad...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 1, 2006

Darling Harbour
King Street Wharf
Sydney, Australia 2000
+61 (2) 9240 8500