I will be teaching a 5-day class in Sydney on a work trip. I'd like to stay a few days afterwards to explore since I've never been to Australia. Besides the Opera House, the zoo and harbor, are there places that you would recommend? Also, any neighborhoods with cute shops or special food that I should try? And, on the flip side, any neighborhoods I should be avoiding? I'll be using public transportation.
If the weather is nice, take the ferry from the Harbor over to Manly Beach - you'll have a nice view of the Opera House and skyline from the deck of the ferry. If you are adventurous and not freaked out with heights, you can do the Bridge Climb. Chinatown was interesting to walk around. Also, there are various markets scattered throughout Sydney that are interesting if you like shopping/eating. If you enjoy museums, the Australian Museum across the street from Hyde Park was pretty good. You may also want to look into joining up with a company that offers day tours to the Blue Mountains just to get outside of the city (although there is plenty to keep you occupied) - we found a tour operator that took no more than 6 people in a group, offered hotel pick-up and drop-off, and it included a stop at a koala sanctuary and a stop at some open park land where we got to see kangaroos in the wild . As a tourist, the only area you may potentially wander in or near that you may not feel entirely comfortable is around Kings Cross. Redfern is another - but again, as a tourist you are more likely to stick to standard touristy areas (like The Rocks, Harbour, Hyde Park) and wouldn't have much of a reason to end up in that part of town.
as an Australian, the previous reply is spot on correct. with only a few days you can't expect too much away from Sydney as you will spend too much time travelling.(unless you are willing to fly to another state?) The Blue Mountains, to the west of Sydney is a good option. ( think grand canyon, but different) Sydney is a large city in area, so depending upon where you are staying/working? if its in the CBD you may be able to do the opera house, the bridge climb ( even at night) trips on the harbour ferries etc after work? anywhere near the Rocks/opera house/botanic gardens/circular quay is touristy but can be nice to walk around. they do have street markets in the rocks area.
if you don't want to climb the bridge, you can just walk across ( free) for good views, over to north sydney/luna park area.
the train/bus system uses an opal card ( similar to the london oyster card) so getting around is not too difficult.
food wise Sydney is very multi-cultural so you can get pretty much any food type you desire. good seafood is certainly an option. with the Australian dollar low against the US the prices should be good as well.
Thank you both for your ideas! I really appreciate them and will look into the options you mentioned.
I smiled reading the bridge climb. I have a dizzy fear of open heights, so walking over even the horizontal level of the bridge would be scary for me.
Was in Sydney last October and loved the place!!!! I would go to Bondi Beach instead of Manly. There is an amazing trail from there which connects to the smaller beaches along the shore. Be sure to also visit the botanic gardens. It links up to a harbor side pathway with good views of the Opera House/Bridge, and the rest of the harbor. On Saturdays be sure to check out Paddington Market; wide range of art & crafts for sale. Another must see museum is the Maritime Museum at Darling Harbor (do some research to see if they will be doing any fireworks) Also check out the Ticketmaster and Opera House websites to see what shows are in town. I was able to catch the King & I on the main stage which has now moved to Broadway.
A big chunk of the city center has a strong Asian influence. There were times I thought I was in Hong Kong instead of Australia, but it just reflects the cosmopolitan make up of the city.
I would suggest Manley over Bondi as you ride a ferry across the harbor to get there---a fun trip with amazing views of Sydney,the bridge, and other features and communities around the harbor. At Manley my husband went body-surfing and then we enjoyed a nice lunch at a great little seafood place. There are lots of trails there if you want to walk. New took the one through a natural area out to the point above the harbor entrance, with an old fort, cemetery for immigrants who died on the ships, and visitor/interpretive center. The return was a loop past beaches on the harbor side, all netted from sharks and full of swimmers.
We did the walk through Hyde Park and the botanical gardens every day. Not here is a large saltwater swimming pool---the Andrew (Boy) Charlton pool, right on the waterfront. A small fee will get you in to swim laps. Very refreshing on a hot day.
Lots of cute shops and twisty streets in The Rocks. We found a Japanese restaurant we liked there and dined there twice.
Thanks for these great ideas! I'll be finished teaching on Friday, so I'm planning to stay through the weekend (can check out the market you mentioned) and fly out Monday. I love being on a boat (live in Seattle), so the ferry rides are very appealing, too.
I would suggest Manley over Bondi as you ride a ferry across the
harbor to get there---a fun trip with amazing views of Sydney,the
You'll get those same views when you take the ferry to the zoo
I was bought up in Sydney and have never understood tourists attraction to Bondi, but everyone's tastes are different. It has a lot of tourists but not as good a beach as anything North of the harbour. I agree with most of the first post. My favourite way to spend a day would be a ferry from circular quay to watsons bay for lunch or an early dinner depending on weather and time of the year. Nice views back across the harbour. Good food. I would avoid Redfern and Waterloo. Whatever you choose, have fun.
The locals seem to love Bondi as well, all the accents I heard were Aussie........
My vote goes for Watsons Bay as well - catch the ferry from Circular Quay to Watsons Bay, have lunch or dinner at either the Watsons Bay pub or Doyle’s Seafood restaurant then walk straight up from where you landed cross the main road to the edge of the cliffs that form the southern entrance to Sydney Harbour.
You should be near a bus stop, take the 324 or 325 back to Circular Quay or the 380 that goes via Bondi beach and back to Circular Quay. Or just jump on the ferry again.
You’ll need a pre paid bus card – called an Opal card, it’s easy to get, you’ll see signs for them everywhere. Remember to tap on and tap off when using it.
Thanks, everyone, SO much! I really appreciate each of your responses - just booked a hotel for the weekend after I teach the Executive Training. I found a good price for the Holiday Inn Old Sydney at The Rocks. I prefer local hotels vs. hotel chains, but this was a good deal and close to sites.
Just returned from Sydney and want to thank everyone again for your advice! My hotel over the weekend was located at The Rocks - loved the historic buildings, restaurants and outdoor craft market. And, it was an excellent location to walk around the quay & over to the Opera House.
I purchased a ticket on-line to see my first opera - Marriage of Figaro. The Opera House is beautiful inside & outside. I didn't realize it was a 3-portion set of buildings until I walked over to it.
Explored the downtown section of Sydney, walking over to Hyde Park & Botanical Gardens on Saturday. A lady next to me on the plane suggested going to see the renovated Queen Victoria Building to see the architecture & shops/restaurants - glad I walked through it & grabbed lunch to eat at the park.
On Sunday, I enjoyed the ferry ride over to Manly Beach and explored the town & walked over to Shelly Beach & Boat House restaurant along the "boardwalk". I planned to go to the zoo, also, but ran out of time that day.
The light rail train was easy to use with the Opal Card, as recommended. I used it to take to the airport from Circular Quay. Definitely needed 3 hours at the airport before the flight - customs line & security lines were extensive.
Enjoyed the noisy cockatoos & bright-colored lorikeets at North Ryde, where I was at for business trip.