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Please review itinerary

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Chicago
posts: 91
reviews: 21
Please review itinerary

Hello everyone,

We will be in Sydney December 30- January 5 with 5, 10 and 16 year old. We would have traveled through Tasmania and stayed at o'Reilly's by then so we are not interested in wild life offerings in Sydney. I have also purposely omitted beaches. There was just not enough time. Here is my preliminary itinerary. I might change it somewhat if we end up getting tickets to the Opera or if any of the museums post any great kids activities closer to the time, but want to have your general opinion.

December 30.

Our flight gets in at 1 pm. After we settle in the hotel, visit Hyde Park Barracks Museum

6pm- the Rocks free walking tour

December 31

10:30 free walking city tour

Australian museum in the afternoon

Lawn with the view for fireworks

January 1

Blue mountains

planning on taking train and HOHO bus

January 2

breakfast at Rocks foodies market

10 am rocks aboriginal tour

after lunch- girls do the bridge climb, boys and 5 year old- Aquarium

early afternoon- boys- climb, girls and 5 year old do whatever (probably shopping or high tea or perhaps even ferry to the beach afterall)

January 3

10:30 botanical garden walk

rocks market

6 pm family ghost tour at Quarantine Station

January 4

Justice and Police Museum

Art Gallery of NSW

Here are my questions:

-do you see any obvious red flags?

-are we doing too many Rocks tours? Should we just do the aboriginal one as we would see same places and probably here some of the similar stories?

-if we are going to be at the lawn for fireworks, we will have a chance to wonder through botanical gardens. Is there then still a need to go on their official walk?

- I picked Sunday for Art Gallery so we can join the 2 pm Australian works tour. Has anyone done any of their tours? Are they worth it?

Any feedback you have is greatly appreciated!

47 replies to this topic
41. Re: Please review itinerary

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Sydney
posts: 1,228
reviews: 7
42. Re: Please review itinerary

It seems like you've planned this trip imagining Sydney to be like Chicago, with man made attractions. Melbourne is Australia's equivalent, not Sydney. In fact Sydney is famous because it is a rare example of a modern metropolis perfectly integrating with stunning natural surrounds. You should spend as much time as possible on ferries, doing bushwalks around the harbour and visiting the beaches (Chicago beaches have no waves and no cliffs).

Sydney's museums and galleries are no match for The Art Institute of Chicago or the Field Museum. It might be worth popping into the Art Gallery of NSW to see their Indigenous/Asian art collections, however the kids will be bored! The Australian Museum, Justice and Police Museum, Hyde Park Barracks are all fine... but not really travelling across the world for.

Here are some suggestions:

-Bondi to Coogee clifftop walk (or just Bondi-Bronte section, 30 mins)

-Balmoral Beach to Taronga Zoo harbourside bushwalk

-Ferry to Watsons Bay, then walk to South Head Lighthouse via Camp Cove beach (you can see all the WWII gun emplacements defending Sydney)

As for your list, I would only keep:

-Rocks walking tour/Indigenous tour (pick one, The Rocks isn't that big). Also the Rocks market is a tourist rip-off attraction, so I wouldn't plan to be there for too long

-Lawn with a View (NYE is great!)

-Blue Mountains

-Ghost Tour (combine this with ferry to Manly - not sure how else you would get there anyway)

-Botanical Gardens (skip the tour unless you're really into plants)

And you will need to add:

-Opera House

-Walk across harbour bridge

-Walk around Darling Harbour and Chinatown (not meaning to be rude, Sydney's Chinatown is a lot better and more diverse than Chicago's; definitely get Yum Cha one day)

-Visit the beautiful old shopping centres (QVB, The Strand) and maybe some of the new ones (Westfield Sydney, The Galeries). Maybe go up Sydney Tower for the view.

Sydney Australia
posts: 6,564
reviews: 59
43. Re: Please review itinerary

Yeah, I'll chime in and say the beach is a must. A visit to Sydney with kids and no beach around New Year would be classified as a red flag in my book and I’m no beach lover. There's just something badly amiss with a summer visit to Sydney and no beach time at all, but as you say it doesn't necessarily need to be scheduled. I would tend to support a visit to Watson’s Bay- acquire a ball and kick it around on the grass with your 5 year old for a while, it’s a traditional beach day activity and if my experience of Watson’s Bay is anything to go by you won’t feel out of place. Alternatively, extend your visit to the Manly area or indeed Q station itself. Maybe go kayaking. Q station has its own harbour beach so perhaps that’s an option too.

Reading your itinerary it seemed to me that you’re doing a lot of back and forth from one end of the city to the other. Admittedly you have something of a challenge due to NYE and the preparations for it, but I would try to pick an area and concentrate on it for each of your days rather than picking a grab bag of best time to do X and traipsing all over the place with a 5 year old back and forth. Who knows what the weather will do at the time but you may well have warm humid weather and if so, walking around the city for days on end in heat and humidity isn’t the best way to appreciate this beautiful city.

So what is? As a basic principle a perfect summer day in Sydney should go something like this IMHO: Early morning to the beach. Head home or under a tree by 9 am or 9.30 (get out of the sun) Active stuff in the morning, maybe a walking tour. Leisurely lunch, preferably with harbour views and/or breeze (botanic gardens is good, or Hyde Park area. Down near Haymarket/Chinatown etc not good because it doesn’t get the sea breeze). Take a nap or rest in some fashion for a while after lunch. Perhaps an hour or so at a Museum or gallery in the afternoon then out and about at night, even if just catching a ferry to enjoy the city lights, or pop over to Luna Park.

By the way, there's a pattern to the daily weather - calm in the morning - this is best time for the beach. By late morning the north easterly blows up. Beach is typically less pleasant. Hence the above daily pattern of activities :-) If heading to Manly, the winds etc are not really an issue, Manly has beaches facing every which way so you choose which beach you go to depending on the conditions on the day. :-)

Now all that said, I’ll probably seem to be contradicting myself, but I would encourage you to consider the tour of the Museum of Contemporary Art. When we did it, it had a strong Australian flavour and was very interesting. They seem to have a good collection of modern art by Indigenous artists much of it with a clear political message which adds a bit of spice. Though I agree with GW that it’s all down to the guide you get on the day. The guide we had didn’t seem to want to notice the overt political statements of a number of pieces, but none-the-less what she did have to say was very interesting. MCA might also be more convenient than the Art Gallery of NSW in your itinerary.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
posts: 16,742
reviews: 142
44. Re: Please review itinerary

OK Guys, did I miss something at 41

most amazing mother's day weekend away :) in sunny Canberra

Darwin, Australia
posts: 1,907
reviews: 63
45. Re: Please review itinerary

gee all I did was suggest that beaches are great for kids and just a tad bit iconic for Sydney- but that was a post ages ago. what did happen at 41?!?

Chicago
posts: 91
reviews: 21
46. Re: Please review itinerary

I think the advise is terrific. I will need to look into all of this- thank you for taking the time to make these great suggestions! I do have to say that I have been to Sydney (12 years ago and only for three days), so it is not 100% me imagining what it would be like, I do have a general idea of things. I do have to say that I was blown away. Cant wait to go back and really see it and share it with my kids. 41 was taken away pretty fast. I did not catch it myself.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
posts: 16,742
reviews: 142
47. Re: Please review itinerary

Let's hope we are kind with the weather. Not too hot and not too stormy :)

With all the suggestions we've made you could stay for the next 12 years ;)

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