Newest Review: ... that I've stayed in and is more like a hotel than a place where backpackers hang out. This is also the only hostel that I've stayed in th... more
A review about my future home!
Member Name: sweet_veritas
Advantages: Great city
Disadvantages: You'll miss it when you leave
Whether it be the sophistication of Darling Harbour, the class of the Rocks, the culture of Circular Quay or the Backpackers delight of Bondi Beach there's something to please everyone in Sydney.
This is part of the world that shows how great a city should be. Within 30 minutes of the centre of the city you can be at some of the most beautiful beaches you'll ever see, or you can chill out down by the harbour and watch the world go by on a Saturday afternoon.
I was lucky enough to visit this fantastic city in 2007 and fell in love, I am now hoping to be eligible for emigration within a few years so that I can make Sydney and Australia my future home and here's why.
Unlike a lot of cities in the UK, Sydney offers everything a Brit could want. You have a range of shops and activities to choose from in the CBD and when you want to kick back and relax you can take a short journey to the likes of Bondi beach or the Northern Beaches which are simply stunning. Sydney is more than just a city it's a way of life and one that epitomizes the Australian way of life.
So here's a quick guide to what I'd recommend in Sydney:
Where to Stay:
When I first arrived in Sydney I stayed at the Wake Up Hostel that's on the corner of George and Pitt Street (these street names always make me think of George Clooney and Brad Pitt!) The hostel is definitely one of the best that I've stayed in and is more like a hotel than a place where backpackers hang out. This is also the only hostel that I've stayed in that has an elevator in it! Very handy if you've got a suitcase!
Prices start from $30AUD for a 10 bed dorm.
From here I went to stay at the Maze Backpackers, I chose to have a single room and it came with a single bed and nightstand but that was about in and cost a total of $300AUD for a week, I probably wouldn't stay here again as it wasn't as clean or nice as Wake Up.
The third hostel I stayed at in Sydney was Funk House Backpackers in Kings Cross. I didn't realise at the time of booking that Kings Cross was the red light district of Sydney but I had no problem here at all and it's actually a nice neighbourhood. Just ignore the prostitute trying to sell herself as you walk home!
Where to go:
There's so many places to go it's going to be hard to narrow it down but I'll do my best.
You can't visit Sydney and not go to the Northern Beaches. This is perhaps most well known in the UK as it's where Home and Away is filmed (in Palm Beach more specifically). You can catch the bus from outside the Burger King on George Street and it'll take you direct to the beaches. You can see popular filming spots for H&A as well as relax on a white sandy beach.
The Opera House is also another place one definitely has to see. I didn't go inside the building as I think it was too expensive for me at the time but I always enjoyed sitting in the park at the weekend with my fiancee and he proposed with the Opera House in sight, so it's a special place for me. There's a nice walk round the lake where you can find the spot to get the perfect tourist photo. There's so much on offer though at Circular Quay, you can see street performers who entertain the tourists, you can listen to Aborigines playing didgeridoos and go to some stylish restaurants for lunch.
To get here you can take a train from Central Station or Town Hall Station and get off at Circular Quay and it's pretty much right in front of you.
There's also barges at Circular Quay that'll take you across the water to Manly which is another beachtown that's worth a day trip at least.
Also if you're in Sydney for Australia Day (mid-end of January) or New Years Eve they always have fantastic firework displays. I haven't seen the fireworks at NYE but it's one of those things that are on my bucket list!
It's probably best to fly to Sydney from London as it's already a really long flight (approx 30 hours). If you're under 35 you can get a working holiday visa - which is what I did - and stay and work in Oz for a year. These are available from BUNAC or STA Travel but you only get to use it once, so if you fall in love with Australia find permanent employment while you can and don't wait six years like I have to do!
The train system in Sydney is incredibly good as is the bus system. The main station in the CBD is Central Station but I preferred to use Town Hall Station as it was more handy. Unfortunately there's no trains to the Northern Beaches so you do have to rely on the buses to go there unless you decide to rent a car.
If you decide to go to Australia for a year and rent a room then there are some reasonable places outside of Sydney but I found all the rooms in the centre were way over priced and you'll end up sharing a room with someone else which wasn't for me as I was working, so I had to look outside the city for a reasonable price on rent. Rent is usually paid weekly here though rather than monthly as in the UK. Jobs are also easy to find for the backpacker however, I was there before the recession so I don't know if it's different now but I never had to wait long to find work.
All in all, Sydney is certainly a place to add as a place to visit to your Bucket List (if you have one that is!) Also if you want to visit other places in Australia there's reasonable prices on domestic flights as well as international.
Best time of year to go would be during the Australian spring time as the summer can get incredibly hot and this is usually in the January/February time, but if the heat gets too much you can always grab a surf board and hit the waves!
Summary: Don't die without visiting Australia!
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