Just a quick update on Sydney – as this was my fourth visit I didn’t really do a lot of touristy stuff even though I was there for a week. This trip was mainly for shopping, seeing family and catching up with an old friend.
I split my stay between two hotels – the Swissotel and the QT. Both hotels are 5* and located on Market Street, in the heart of the shopping, but they are very different hotels. One thing common to both: free wifi! There is a lack of free wifi available in Australia in general (even in Starbucks you need to ask for a code which allows you 60 mins access) so this is essential. Also, both hotels had minibars with reasonably priced drinks! I actually bought a bottle of water in a shop (admittedly right on Circular Quay) which cost more than the water in my room at the Swissotel. I chose to split my stay as each hotel had a deal on but not for my full stay so to get the best price it made sense. I would sum up each hotel like this:
Swissotel = large, corporate, full health club with spa, gym, pool and has everything you need
QT = boutique, trendy, great service, FREE in-room movies, great bathrooms
I did book one tour – the Kings Cross – Crime and Passion tour booked through Intrepid Urban Adventures. I hadn’t spent any time in Kings Cross on my previous visits and this tour was a great way of not only learning more about Sydney history but hearing stories of more recent crimes and local notorious characters. I had a great guide and would highly recommend this tour.
At the weekend I went to Watsons Bay with my cousin and his family. We drove as were coming from north of the city but I have visited before via the ferry which is a scenic way of getting there from the CBD. Most of the tourist hopper boats stop here as well. Next to where the ferry comes in is Doyles which is a famous seafood restaurant. It’s a pretty spot, very popular with weddings and there were a lot of families down there as it was such a nice day.
My highlight of the week was finally getting to a performance at the Sydney Opera House. Although I’ve done the tour of the building – twice – I have never quite timed my visits right to go to the opera. Thankfully there was a performance of The Pearlfishers on the Tuesday evening which I managed to get good seats for at a reasonable price. Of course, the building is incredible (and can be a bit tricky to navigate as there are several venues within it, a little like the National Theatre) and there is more leg room in the seats than the average London theatre. We were in C reserve seats (top are A), so middle of the road, but had a perfect view and once the auditorium doors had closed the ushers came round and let everyone know they could move up to any empty seats in a better position. As far as the opera itself, it was enjoyable with a great set and strong performances. Even as far as opera storylines go the plot is thin, with only one instantly recognisable duet, but the dramatic conclusion makes it worthwhile.
Next stop: Melbourne