Opportunity of a lifetime...Moving to Sydney!!

Old Nov 19th, 2007, 04:21 AM
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dkw
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Opportunity of a lifetime...Moving to Sydney!!

Hi all,

My Husband has been sponsored by an Australian Company to work on Sydney's North Shore, so we're moving this December from Metro Detroit. We will be living there for at least a year, probably longer.

We have been to Australia for 3 weeks previously in 2004 (loved every minute), visiting Sydney, Adeliade, taking the Ghan to Alice Springs, Uluru, and Palm Cove (including the awesome Daintree Air trip to Lizard).

We will be trying to make the most of our time there, so I need suggestions for weekend trips and some longer trips as well (since he will get generous vacation time).

We're in our mid-forties, good health, love adventure type stuff, and will have a car at our disposal. We are also bringing our Mountain Bikes.

I would also love suggestions for great experiences in and near Sydney as well.

On our to-do list already is the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne in March, learning to surf at Manly, cooking classes at the Sydney Fish Market, hiking in Kings Canyon.

Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions!!

DKW
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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 08:27 AM
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Oh, we are jealous! A year in Australia, and paid while you are there! If you loved the one day Daintree Air trip, you'll love the 3 day ribbon reefs trip on the liveaboard Spirit of Freedom. Coral like you won't believe. Also I'd take a trip to Kakadu (also Katherine and Litchfield, although we haven't been there, others rave about them). Nearer to Sydney, we drove south to the nearby Royal National Park and enjoyed the drive and noted that there were hiking trails there. Also Jervis Bay area with the lovely Boderee National Park and Narooma with the whale watching boat to Montague Island to see the fairy penguins. Don't forget all the cool things IN Sydney like the art museum, natural history museum, the aquarium, etc. Then there's Canberra and if you are lucky, you can see the elusive Neil_Oz! I hope your year+ is just wonderful for you.
Sally in Seattle
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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 08:51 AM
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If you've got a whole year and generous vacation time, there's a lot of places I'd suggest you visit. First--a trip to the Top End (Darwin, Litchfield, Kakadu and Katherine)in the winter months (June, July, August). We've been there twice and it's one of my favorite parts of Australia.
Another trip I would suggest is to Western Australia. We spent a week visiting Perth, Rottnest Island, Margaret River and the area around Albany and Denmark. The spring months there are supposed to be especially nice due to the wildflowers.
Next, how about Tasmania? We only got to spend 5 days there, so I'd love to go back and see more of that fascinating island. The hiking in Cradle Mountain is supposed to be excellent.
If you like to ski, head to the slopes in the Snowy Mountains of NSW or the mountains in Victoria. We enjoy the area around Thredbo for both winter and summer activities. This would be a good spot for some hiking and/or mountain biking.
Finally, for a weekend trip, I'd suggest Canberra. I loved both the museums and the outdoor activities there. The hiking in Namadgi National Park is great and you can see lots of wildlife. I also understand that there's mountain biking at Mt. Stromlo.
Enjoy your year--it won't be long enough!
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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 12:52 PM
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Charter a boat on Pittwater/Hawlesbury.

Don't ride your bikes dowm McCarrs creek road on a sunday morning.
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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 02:12 PM
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I hope they are providing you with a house. Sydney house prices are astronomical as are Melbournes' although a bit cheaper. Anything near decent in a good area is a million bucks! North Shore is a great area of Sydney and indeed the trip of a lifetime. Glad you are coming to Melbourne for the Grand Prix. March is the best time and try and fit in The Great Ocean road.
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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 02:13 PM
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dkw
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Thanks everyone for your responses! These are exactly the types of activities and trips I am looking for.

BTW, Sally, I have really enjoyed reading your trip report.



>>>>Don't ride your bikes dowm McCarrs creek road on a sunday morning.<<<<

OK, I'll bite.....where is that and why?????

Longhorn55, The Top End was most assuredly on my list....it looks to be fascinating. Since you've been there, do you have any specific recommendations for accommodations or guided day trips?

Thanks for the great suggestions so far, and keep 'em coming


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Old Nov 19th, 2007, 03:43 PM
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McCarrs Creek on the Northern Beaches, the road is very narrow, lots of bends and Sunday mornings is when all the cyclists get out on it. Can be a bit of tension between the cyclists & motorists.
Great if everyone keeps their heads & goes gently, but sometimes the cobination of 4wd idiots & cyclists determined to ride in a squad across the road, or either of these 2, makes for less than perfect travelling.

It's an absolutely gorgeous part of Sydney, BTW and leads onto one of our loveliest waterways, Pittwater.

Do you know where you'll be living yet?

Great opportunity & I'm sure you'll both have a wonderful time.
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Old Nov 20th, 2007, 06:00 AM
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DKW--Since we are a family of four, we always stay in serviced apartments. On our first trip to Darwin, we stayed in the Parap Village Apartments and on our second visit, we stayed at the Cullen Bay Serviced Apartments. Both were good choices, but the Cullen Bay apartments were a bit nicer and closer to the town center than the Parap Village apartments. They were also more expensive. However, if you'd like to stay right on the Esplanade, you might look at the Saville Park Suites or the Novotel, both of which get good reviews.
We've always traveled on our own, so I can't recommend any guided trips in the Top End. It's very easy to drive there and do the attractions on your own, so that's what I'd recommend.
If you go to Katherine, there are some further things to do that I'd recommend. First, we rented canoes and did a half-day canoe trip down the river at Katherine Gorge. These should be booked in advance (as they are generally not available on a walk-up basis) through Travel North. Also, I highly recommend the Crocodile Night Adventure in Katherine which can also be booked from Travel North. We really enjoyed going to Edith Falls NP and hiking up to the upper pools for a swim as well as doing a swim in the lower pool. We went on a weekday, but I understand it gets crowded on the weekends. If you enjoy caves, visit the Cutti Cutti caves outside Katherine. We got there for the first tour of the day and had a private tour with a nice local boy as we were the only ones there that early.
Finally, we really enjoyed dinner at Tim's Surf and Turf in Darwin. It's tucked in off a side street near the GPO, but you can ask your hotel for directions. It's a good idea to make a booking, but if you can't, you should be able to get a table if you go early.
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Old Nov 20th, 2007, 04:07 PM
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Longhorn55,

Thanks for the additional info. Everything you mentioned sounds right up our alley!! A trip to the Top End will definitely happen while we are there!
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Old Nov 20th, 2007, 05:18 PM
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>>>>Don't ride your bikes dowm McCarrs creek road on a sunday morning.<<<<

OK, I'll bite.....where is that and why?????

As stated, the road is narrow, etc .

Most important - Johnj will be driving down there on his way to the island, and.....

This advice given for your own safety!
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Old Nov 20th, 2007, 06:25 PM
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If you want to go scuba diving in the Barrier Reef, perhaps lessons in Sydney first would prepare you. Last week, I watched a busload of tourists learning in the aqua waters of Fairy Bower, at the end of the walk around from Manly Beach. Don't miss this walk, even if you don't go in the water. Along the way, there is an ocean pool, and whimsical small sculptures. If you cross the beaxh at the end, the walk continues to the open ocean lookouts. Relatively easy, mild hills and steps.

To get there, catch the Manly Ferry, cross the road and walk down the Corso to the ocean, then turn righ and keep going. Allow half a day. Take picnic lunch, and buy coffee at the end of the path, near the beach.
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Old Nov 21st, 2007, 01:16 PM
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Hi dkw,

For an amazing Sydney experience on your 'new' back doorstep, second johnj_au's recommendation of renting a houseboat and chuffing up the Hawkesbury River.

We still talk about our wonderful houseboating weekend (starting from Brighton) and is definitely on our 'must do again!' list! Details here http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...3&tid=34739467

Good luck with all the packing and planning for arrival in just a few weeks ...

Jackie
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Old Nov 21st, 2007, 01:28 PM
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jackie probably meant Brooklyn.

you can charter cruisers and yachts from the numerous pittwater marinas.

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Old Nov 21st, 2007, 05:37 PM
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I certainly did John - dunno how brighton snuck in there!

And look, I even know that Brooklyn on the Hawkesbury took its name from the contractors who built the original bridge - a company from, you guessed it, Brooklyn in New York. At the time I found this bit of history fascinating, and now here I corrupt the whole deal by brightoning it.

Must be the election frenzy,
Jackie
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Old Nov 21st, 2007, 05:39 PM
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Jackie, your subconscious obviously knew that Brookyn NY has a Brighton Beach.
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Old Nov 21st, 2007, 07:37 PM
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Three favourite trips:

Tasmania. Spend a week, and do a spectacular day hike every day. Visit Coles Bay-- a short hike to a gorgeous half-moon beach; Cradle Mountain-- great hike around Dove Lake; Port Arthur and other stops on the Tasman Peninsula; Hobart's old quarter by the wharf; Russell Falls, via a beautiful forest hike near Hobart.

Victoria. Head down through the gold country, stopping at some of the prospecting towns, and drive along the Great Ocean Road to see the amazing 12 Apostles in the Bight. Come back through the Murray River wine country with some stopoffs for tastings.

NSW/Qld. Take a camper van or tent and hop between national park camping sites along the NSW coast up to Queensland. Hat Head, Rainbow Sands, plenty of other choices. End at Hinchinbrook Island, where you can either stay at the resort or camp-- it is mostly national park. You can hike through the mountainous center, swim in perfectly round rockpools carved out by waterfalls, camp on an empty beach, swim out to snack on rock oysters.

Things I really want to do: Katherine Gorge and cruising or sea kayaking in the Whitsundays!
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Old Nov 22nd, 2007, 03:31 AM
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Thanks everyone for the great ideas.

I assure you that I will avoid McCarrs Creek Road on a Sunday.....sounds dangerous!!

The houseboat idea sounds FAB!! I loved your pictures!



Curiouser, All three of your suggestions have now made the must-do list as well. I can see that we are going to be busy!!!

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Old Nov 24th, 2007, 08:21 AM
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DKW: What a fantastic opportunity. I spent three years in Australia working at the Australian Nat'l U. in Canberra, ACT (about 200 miles SE of Sydney) and for me it was most definitely the adventure of a lifetime. I did quite a lot of outdoorsy stuff while living there. I also have visited Sydney (my wife's hometown) many times and have explored the city's environs quite a bit.

So regarding cool places to explore nearer, Sydney, I'll add a few to the list (Jervis Bay and the Royal Nat'l Park being excellent suggestions). If you ever fly into Sydney from over land you'll see just how vast the area of rugged wilderness is around the city. Much of this is National Park land: Blue Mts NP, Morton NP, Wollemi NP, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase NP, Budawang NP etc. There are lots of hikes and mountain bike routes to choose from. The following website is a good resource regarding the national parks:

http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/...Pages+Homepage

I am quite familiar with the area south and east of Sydney (the Southern Highlands) because of its relative proximity to the ACT. This beautiful area includes Morton and Budawang NPs. I climbed both Pigeon House Mt (named by Capt Cook) and Mt Budawang, both great hikes. Fitzroy Falls is spectacular, as are the various lookouts in the area, e.g. Bungonia Gorge (also listed in the NP website). Remote Wombeyan Caves is also worth the scenic drive, much less touristy (though not as spectacular) as Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mts.

I could go on and on about other places to see, especially when you think about trips from Sydney requiring an overnight or two. I really liked the Warrumbungle NP near Coonabarabran...great walks and wildlife. The north coast hinterland, including the New England region, the Granite Granite Belt and Queensland's Gold Coast Hinterland, is a beautiful area but a long drive away.

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Old Nov 27th, 2007, 03:33 AM
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My fiance is from melbourne so we travel there about once a year to visit his family still there. I LOVE it - and had a lot of fun in particular when we went to an Aussie Rules Football match - which I understand to be a bigger thing in the Melbourne area than elsewhere. Lots of fun, good crowd, beautiful city.

Also, should try the Great Ocean Road drive as previously recommended. Drove the whole thing with fiance and stayed at Oscars in Port Fairy - just beautiful bed and breakfast, very upscale with great service.

Lastly, we are not gamblers but really liked the few nights we spent at the Crown casino in Melbourne. Standard rooms are easily some of the nicest/largest I have stayed in (look more like four seasons rooms) and its the biggest casino complex in southern hemisphere. We played just a few table games, but more for the people watching, and many restaurants there - a bunch of which line the beautiful riverfront with a great view. Just cool if you want a night out.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2007, 12:44 AM
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If you want to check out good day trips in Sydney, go to this website I have just discovered. It's called www.cityhobo.com

It really is an amazing website with the best information we have found on Sydney.
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