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A city named after a bloke. Thats Australia for ya!
Sights & Attractions in Sydney (Australia)
Member Name: thedevilinme
Sights & Attractions in Sydney (Australia)
Advantages: Fun city
Disadvantages: Young peoples place
There is no doubt Sydney is one of the worlds most spectacular cities and a pleasure to live and work there, which I briefly did. But it is very English on the streets and in the workplace and in its cosmopolitan feel as visitors and tourist only ever end up there, the stunning harbor a magnet for cruise ships. Sydney, Ayres Rock and a boat trip to the Barrier Reef is most peoples OZ Experience. There are many places and things to do in Australia other than Sydney and if I was to live and work in Australia again it would still be Melbourne for me. My experience of Sydney was constantly running into British backpackers looking for work and it ended up like being in London, exactly the reasons why I had come to Australia. There are only so many students on a year out in Australia you can have the same conversation with in the hostels and bars. The brag when you have a backpack on your back is how long have you been travelling and how many countries have you been to, the two questions you get asked a hundred times a week. For me I just wanted to make friends with a beer or two and work in a big warm city that had access to premiership football on satellite TV and a beach. Sydney didn't even have that back in the 1990s. In fact I had to travel all the way to Brisbane from Cairns just to watch Euro 96. I suspect that's not the case now and Premier League football everywhere.
The harbor is the city, the portcullis of the proud Sydney Harbor Bridge welcoming you in with a fanfare, and the post modern Opera House the modern crown of Australia. Because there is lot of shark infested water that laps the cities many coves and bays in the natural inlet you had the option to go to work everyday by taking the armada of ferries, my run being the bustling Circle Quay in the centre of the city to Manley Beach, which beats the number five bus to Brackmills industrial estate in Northampton anyday! The city is connected equally trains, buses and those ferries and the metro system quite cheap to get around. I think the travel card is still a color based affair and the top end Purple Pass is now $a63 per week (about 28 quid) and so you don't really need a car if you work or holiday there. They still operate a one year work visa if you are under 30 and if you want to escape our never ending recession then now is the time to go guys.
From September to May the weather is good and the outdoor lifestyle rampant, Sydneysiders not ones to stay indoors all-day watching TV, plenty of sports events and things to do in temperatures in the 80s. The most spectacular daily Sydney event when I was there was the evening migration of the Fruit Bat colony from the city zoo, literally hundreds of them hanging from the park trees, ready to swoop over the city as the sun sets, a nice place to be on the warm humid nights on the many public walk ways.
Sydney in the winter is not so Australian and can be quite cool and wet. The TV is dreadful and so you need to be the type of person to go out to bars and restaurants to get through the winter. There are always things going on through the year but you just don't feel like you are where you should be when it's June in Sydney. I wanted to be back in England for our summer of sport.
Backpacking accommodation is good although the central IYH in the notorious Kings Cross district is big and noisy and full of cockroaches and weirdoes. In my ten bed dorm room we had an old American chap who slept using a portable ventilator and this nut job who would get up in the middle of the night and make cold tea in a sauce pan and then wobble his hand around all night. I would recommend elsewhere, the Glebe YHA much nicer up near Sydney University.
The beachside backpackers are very rowdy affairs and so prepared to get drunk every night if you hit those places. They are cheaper than the YHA ones so worth a look. I stayed mostly in Bondi Beach in an apartment with friends I had met on the road so not the best judge of Sydney hostels. The city has all the major hotel chains and you can also stay just outside of the city in the various nearby beach resorts to enjoy the Aussie surfing culture.
Heathrow do excellent direct flights from London for about £900 return (if you are very flexible) or you can do the round the world ticket and take in places like South East Asia and America, New Zealand easy to tie in if you go anti clockwise. I would personally recommend Air New Zeeland's Sydney flight from London as you can stop off at no extra charge in Los Angeles. Wellington or Auckland and the beautiful Cook Islands. That way cost slightly more but it's a one off trip so why not.
I personally would say Sydney is a must to visit but you can do it in five or six days as the oldest thing of note there is less than sixty years old. It is a sturdy anchor to base yourself for work or a rest up and sort you're ironing out when you are travelling around the world and you will never get tired of the beauty of the place or the beach and surf lifestyle. As with most places in Aus the museums and attractions feel forced in search of some sort of Australian history and the most notable place when it comes to that past is a little plaque under the Sydney Harbor Bridge that claims to be where Cook came upon Australia and so discovered it, even though the Aboriginals had been there for a fair few millennium previous. The truth is that Cook crunched a reef out to sea up the coast and that was his first contact of this extraordinary paradise. But if the whites had not claimed it then it would be Africa all over again.
Summary: Nice weather but a long way away
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