Subject: Sydney (long)
Hi everyone I have been sent the following article and think it could be useful for anyone considering visiting Sydney - it has certainly made me want to pack my bags and go!

Accommodation: For big budget travellers, the Park Hyatt is a five-star hotel in the Rocks district of the city, which directly faces the Sydney Opera House and lies next to the Harbour Bridge. Prices start at $345 (all figures in Canadian dollars) per night. Also rated at five stars, the Four Points by Sheraton is located at the ultra-touristy Darling Harbour and has rooms that begin at a more reasonable $148 per night. The Old Sydney Holiday Inn, located in the Rocks, is four-and-a-half stars and begins at $176 per night, while the four-star Hyde Park Plaza Suites in the heart of the city begins at $148 per night. The three-star Ibis Hotel at Darling Harbour is in a great location and starts at a cheaper $92 per night, while the three-and-a-half star Capitol Square Hotel in the heart of downtown starts at $90 per night. For the backpacking and budget-minded set, check out Wanderers on Kent, a hostel that has beds for around $25 per night (res@w...) or try Planetbackpack on George St. For Planetbackpack prices, contact the hostel at stay@p... To book a stay at any of the previously mentioned hotels, go to and click on 'accommodation.' This site includes a wealth of information on all aspects of Sydney.

Restaurants: When you're visiting Sydney, you have to try a local meat pie place. Who knows what's in them, but meat pies are a staple food Down Under and, as a general rule, the smaller the pie shop, the better the pies. Sydney also boasts some great Thai and other Asian foods that visitors should definitely try. A recommendation for a great restaurant in Sydney is Doyle's, a seafood place that offers the freshest fish around. Doyle's has five locations around Sydney, one right at Circular Quay directly across from the Opera House for your photographic enjoyment. The restaurant is fairly pricey, but worth a splurge if you like seafood. Try the fish and chips. For more on Doyle's, go to and for a list of restaurants in Sydney, go to

Beaches: Ask any 10 Sydneysiders which beach you should visit and you are likely to get 10 different answers. Beach preference in this city is extremely subjective. The most famous of the many beaches is Bondi, which, you will quickly learn, is overrun with backpackers, tourists and garbage. It is, however, worth a look for the history and for the interesting neighbourhood that has made the beach world famous. For the best beaches in Sydney, check out Coogee, south of Bondi, or go north. Manly Beach is probably second to Bondi in fame, but is better in every aspect, from cleanliness to the crowd that frequents it. Other northern beaches such as Collaroy and Narabeen are some of the city's finest.

Sights: Sydney offers up some of Australia's best museums and attractions. Some must-sees include the Powerhouse Museum, which features interactive science exhibits, the Sydney Aquarium - it has an outstanding observation tunnel where visitors are literally surrounded in a pedestrian tube by stingrays, nurse sharks and other aquatic creatures - and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which offers fine exhibits from Asian art to European renaissance masters to aboriginal art. Of course, no visit to Sydney is complete without a trip to the Opera House, at least to take the typical tourist photo from the outside.

The Royal Botanic Gardens are also worth a stroll and are located just a 10-minute walk from the Opera House. Oh, and those large birds with the odd wings flying between trees? Your eyes aren't deceiving you, they are bats. The trees in the gardens are full of them, but don't worry, they are harmless.

Lastly, a must-do experience in Sydney is the Harbour Bridge Climb. The four-hour walking trip takes visitors up and over the bridge and is the only bridge climb of its kind in the world. The climb is pricey at around $120, and spaces must be booked in advance - but when will you ever get the chance to see Sydney from this bridge-eye view? For more on the Bridge Climb, go to

Shopping: Oxford St. offers the latest in chic and alternative fashion, with an emphasis on young styling. The Pitt St. Mall is an outdoor boulevard closed to traffic where shoppers dart out of the hot Sydney sun and into local department stores such as Grace Bros. The Strand Arcade is a similar mall, but indoors, and the historic Queen Victoria Building is worth a look for its assortment of designer and specialty boutiques and for the building's beautiful architecture. Martin Place is where you'll find the high-end designers and the centuries-old alleyways of the Rocks hide great aboriginal art and craft shops.

Getting Around: The best way to see Sydney in the downtown core is on foot or by using the subway system. Travel 10 tickets can be purchased for the bus and, as the name suggests, allow the user 10 one-way trips. Sydney uses a zone transportation system, so expect to pay based on distance travelled rather than a flat rate as in Toronto. Sydney's excellent subway system is ideal for maximizing sightseeing time in and around the city. Forget the pricey Sydney Harbour cruise, simply take the ferry from Manly to Circular Quay (the stop by the Rocks) for a tenth of the price. The view on the downtown-bound ferry is postcard-worthy and allows the same photo opportunities as any harbour cruise. If you have a city guide handy, read up on the harbour's history between photos in place of the commentary that you would have heard on the tour. For more on Sydney bus transit go to, or for other means of transport, go to

Neighbourhoods: Sydney is replete with interesting areas to explore. While the Rocks offers a historic and tourist version of Sydney, King's Cross offers a glimpse of the city's seedier side. A backpacker haven due to cheap accommodation, King's Cross is jammed with bars and clubs, hookers and the terminally strange, as well as adventurous tourists out for a different version of the city. Darling Harbour is jammed with tourists, but its restaurants and cafes are highly recommended for their relaxed atmosphere and close proximity to Sydney's main downtown shopping district. Also worth a look is Manly. The northern suburb, as mentioned, boasts one of the city's best beaches, as well as a great outdoor shopping concourse.>>

Sounds great doesn't it!

Cheers Sally Somerset UK