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6 days in Sydney - does this itinerary look OK?

(12 Posts)
bigbangfan1 Thu 22-Oct-15 03:39:36


DH and I are going to be in Sydney over NYE and I would be really grateful if any experts could tell me what you think of this itinerary!

Day 1 - Arrive early evening - dinner in Darling Harbour

Day 2 - Free day to explore the city and walk around - e.g. Botanical Gardens, have a drink in the Rocks. Is the Sydney Tower worth it?

Day 3 - Blue Mountains trip - full day - we are going to do this by ourselves, public transport etc, as the guided tours look quite expensive for what they are and we don't want to be tied to a timetable.

Day 4 - this will be a very early start as we will be doing a full day wine tour in the Hunter Valley. grin

Day 5 - Free morning then late lunch and getting ready for NYE - we already have tickets and somewhere to go - v excited! smile

Day 6 - New Year's day so - probably a lie in(!) then a half day trip to Manly Beach, then... free late afternoon and evening?

Day 7 - Free. We have to be at the airport by 5pm sad I am thinking about booking a 3 hour 'Sailing in the Harbour' experience in the morning?

We have ruled out going to the Zoo, that said DH want to have his photo taken with a koala (yes really!) so I am wondering how on earth we can do that! grin Some Blue Mountain tours include a stop-off at a wildlife park but we would really prefer not to do a tour...

I would love any feedback or ideas about things we haven't thought of?

Thanks! thanks

RitaConnors Thu 22-Oct-15 04:31:49

It sounds really good. You could just do a ferry trip or two on the last day instead of the sailing. Do you not fancy climbing the bridge? You could have a drink in the opera house bar too.

I don't think you can hold koalas but there is bound to be some sort of koala 'experience' at the zoo.

LizzieBK Thu 22-Oct-15 04:50:55

Hi OP. Sydneysider here. The number one thing I advise visitors to do is the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. It's absolutely stunning and takes about 2-2.5 hours. Have fish and chips at Coogee beach afterwards or try the new Coogee Pavilion bar/ pub/ restaurant.

Your DH can have his photo taken with a koala at the wildlife park at Darling Harbour . Probably the easiest option.

I've not been up the Sydney Tower but I imagine it's pretty expensive (like everything else for tourists here!). For the price of a drink you could try O Bar & Restaurant, which is on the 47th floor and revolves so the views are pretty good

I think you might find doing the Blue Mountains and The Hunter on consecutive days pretty tiring but up to you and your energy levels! You'll be spending a lot of time on buses/ trains as traffic to and from both places can be pretty bad.

Also be aware that public transport to and around The Blue Mountains can be a bit slow. If you're set on going I'd advise hiring a car if possible. Driving here is not too dissimilar to the UK but you'd want to be pretty confident.

Whatever you decide, I'm sure you'll have an amazing holiday!

OffMyAyersRocker Thu 22-Oct-15 06:44:35

Agree with Lizzie, Blue Mountains then Hunter Valley next day is pretty full on and I'd probably try to break it up.

Where are you flying in from? Will you be yet lagged?

Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge was amazing.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 22-Oct-15 07:24:27

Useful website re the Blue Mountains.

I would try and separate the Hunter Valley and Blue Mountains day trips.

Some companies offer speedboat tour around Sydney Harbour. I'd consider that if that is feasible for you to do.

laplumeofmyaunt Thu 22-Oct-15 07:30:15

We lived in Sydney for years - favourite things to do and places to go as follows:

Agree with Lizzie re hiring a car for the Blue Mountains - you will see so much more than public transport/tours will do - our favourite parts are Evans Lookout and Hargreaves Lookout - hardly anyone ever goes to Hargreaves and it was the best spot for a barbecue with a view. Norman Lindsay's house is also worth a look - they used to get your scone order when you arrived and freshly baked scones would be waiting for you when you'd finished your tour! If you do drive, go up on the main Gt Western Highway rout and come back by Bells Line of Road. Don't bother with Katoomba (however it is about 5 years ago since I was there so it may have been completely knocked down and rebuilt!) but do go to Leura.

I know it's a bit cheesy, but I love going to Doyle's at Watson's Bay for lunch - it's a requirement when we go back to see DH's family. You can get a water taxi from the city and there's nothing better on a sunny afternoon than sitting under the canopy eating lovely seafood or fish and chips with a glass of chilled wine or a cold beer and watching the sun sparkle off the water.

On your walking tour try to fit in a bit of Paddington and Woollahra - beautiful old houses with Sydney 'lace' balconies, and some really good independent shops/cafes etc. In the Rocks, stop for a beer at The Fortune of War /Lord Nelson/Hero of Waterloo, or coffee on the MCA Terrace with the best view of the Opera House.

Bondi to Coogee path is lovely - DH is from Bondi and even he thinks it's a hellhole, stuffed with backpackers but the walk is great and there are some nice places to eat in Coogee (fond memories of gigs at Coogee Bay Hotel).

The ferry trip to Manly is glorious on a sunny day.

Personally wouldn't bother with the tower or the zoo (unless you particularly like zoos - it's nice, the views are brilliant).

You could do one of the cruises that go upriver a bit as well as the harbour.

Go to the fish market and buy a kilo of prawns or some sushi and have a picnic.

there are quite a few good farmers markets around - the one at Pyrmont is excellent but only first Saturday of the month.

bigbangfan1 Mon 26-Oct-15 01:51:09

Thanks for all the great responses!

It's interesting that you advise to separate the Hunter tour and the Blue Mountains tour. For the Hunter tour, we have to take the train out of Sydney where we'll be met by a driver - from then on I had gathered it's about being driven to a number of wineries, getting slowly tipsy, a big lunch is put on for us, then the driver puts us on the train back! We could split the two days but I hadn't thought the Hunter day would be especially exerting?! grin wine

Thanks for the Blue Mountains tips and links - I don't think we'd be confident enough to rent a car tbh, we don't live in the UK right now and don't have.need a car so it's a couple of years since we've actually driven!

Lizzie thanks for that Koala experience link - didn't even know you could do that in Darling Harbour! DH very happy grin And the O bar looks great too, will put it on the list smile

The walking tour ideas sound good but my only concern is, won't it be very hot, humid and sunny at the end of December?

Rita the bridge doesn't really appeal, but the Opera House is where we will be on NYE!

Final question, is there a tipping expectation in Australia?

Thanks again for all your advice! thanks

GrinAndTonic Mon 26-Oct-15 03:52:32

The tower is ok but it is not the greatest thing to do. Ive done that harbour sailing trip and once you are past the harbour inlet then it's just water. They don't really tell you much of the history of the area etc. I enjoyed climbing the rigging the most.

Id do a walking tour myself. Most do them in the morning so you are not out and about in the midday sun. As it is December it will be hot. Very hot.

As for tipping, well it is not expected anywhere. I can't remember the last time I tipped.

LadyCassandra Mon 26-Oct-15 05:42:27

I agree that with PP that the BM/HV is a bit full on over two days, but you are on holiday so you can rest after! The Blue Mountains by train is about 3 hours, which as we have young kids we never do. Its doable, but it does make for a long day.

The tower is quite good, and there are also a lot of deals around for the Merlin Pass, which includes Wildlife World in Darling Harbour if your DH wants to see Koalas (but be aware you can't hold a Koala in New South Wales!), as well as the Aquarium and the (rubbish) Madam Tussards.

I live in Manly and it is amazing!

Aussies don't really tip, which is nice grin

FinallyHere Mon 26-Oct-15 23:17:20

Hope you have a lovely time.

We are just back from Sydney. Service was brilliant everywhere and tipping is certainly not expected. Nothing like in LA, or the US generally. In a couple of places, when I wanted to leave a tip to say thank you for extra extra helpful service, they would offer a charity collecting box, proudly explaining which charity they supported. Amazing.

blahblahblah2000 Mon 26-Oct-15 23:31:31

Australians do not tip! New Years at Opera House sounds great but it will be absolutely packed with people so allow a few hours eAch way to walk to venue and back.

birb Wed 09-Dec-15 00:14:35

Op I know you last posted in this a couple of months ago but just in case you're still reading...

The train to the mountains is great, especially if you're going to the Hunter the next day. It's two hours each way but you can relax and not worry about traffic. I would suggest Katoomba even though others have said not to, the look out at Echo Point is worth it and a lot of the great walks through the mountains start from there. That's if you want to try the walks, there are some cooler days throughout December so you might be lucky. I don't think it'll be too bad to pack the Mountains and the Hunter into two days. I've done similar and it was fine, not having to worry about driving made it easier really.

Another place to check out might be Palm Beach, though without a car that's slightly difficult, there is a bus but it's a much longer trip. The Bondi to Coogee coastal walk is definitely worth it! Balmain is a short ferry trip from the city and there are beautiful houses and streets to explore and lovely cafes.

With your free day, I agree with the recommendation for Doyle's in Watson's Bay. Actually all of laplumeofmyaunt's suggestions are great! The galleries are fabulous on a hot day especially, Museum of Contemporary Art, NSW Art gallery and some of the smaller ones like White rabbit and Brett Whiteley's studio. There might be something on at Carriage Works in Redfern so worth looking into and very close to the city. Paddington, Surry Hills have lovely restaurants and markets and boutique shops. Paddy's Market in Haymarket is a bit of a shemozzle but if you've nothing else to do you could try and brave it. Even on a hot day however, the Botanic Gardens will be beautiful and you'll get a breeze and lots of shade.

Also, Darling Harbour restaurants are over priced and not amazing. It's just a super touristy area and the Harbour there itself isn't as nice as Circular Quay.
Check out Blu Bar, it's on level 36 of the Shangri-La and has an amazing view. There is a restaurant there too called Altitude which you have to book, it's slightly pricey but worth it for a special trip I think. Much nicer than Darling Harbour imo. Otherwise there are some better, and cheaper, places around the CBD and around Oxford St, Surry Hills, Paddington, even Redfern. In between the Rocks and Darling Harbour is Barangaroo and during summer there are meant to be lots of events happening there many of which might be free.

Australians do tip, particular in places like Darling harbour but it's not expected. Have a beautiful time OP!

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