Friday, September 5, 2008

Some Sydney Ideas

I'm doing research about more places to explore in Sydney.   I want to return to all the old stuff we loved, but also see stuff we haven't seen yet.

Here's my list so far.

1. Coogee- Or maybe not.  We're going to be doing the South Coast just before coming to Sydney.  Will we be tired of beaches?   Maybe?   Or maybe not.   I guess we'll see.  

2. Botany Bay-I feel I should see this place.  I'm not sure if it will be all that exciting--except to enjoy the historical significance of it all.  For those of you who are not Australian, this is the place that Captain Cook first landed.  It sort of marks the beginning of white Australian history.   Or actually British-Australian history--since it seems other European ships kind of dropped by before.  

According to Wikipedia, it has some interesting scuba diving.  Maybe Tim can take advantage of that.  I have a feeling Jack won't appreciate me dragging him here.  I'll try to get him excited about the history.  If that doesn't work, we'll bribe him with promises of sugar.

3. Mosman-Well of course we want to return to the zoo.  But I want to go beyond the zoo this time.   Maybe we'll just walk around a bit.   Oh, who am I kidding?   After the zoo, we'll be all hot and exhausted.   I'm sure we'll all decide to rush back to the hotel and rest.   But at least we can say we considered exploring Mosman.  

4. Balmain-This was one of the ferry stops.  I'm really curious about what's here.  Actually, I think this might be where we met my friend for dinner.  Maybe?   We didn't take the ferry there though.  I guess the restaurant was too far from the wharf.  So we took a bus instead.    Anyway, we can see a lot of old buildings here and stuff.   

5. Parramatta-The name means "The place where the eels lie down."   Okay.   I'm cool with that.   I guess even eels need to rest sometimes.    This place is known as the second CBD (central Business district).   I say it should be promoted to the first--since they're so good to the eels.  

Anyway, it's supposed to have a pretty good interactive historical museum.  The Elizabeth Farm.   That might be pleasant and interesting.

6. Bicentennial Park-We like parks and picnics.   Jack loves playgrounds.   I love sitting and reading my book while he plays on the playground.   We might as well go here.   Yeah and we'll probably be attacked by an Ibis.  

7. Glebe:  The first prime minister was born there.    It has lots of bookstores.  I love bookstores!   I need to buy more Aussie books--especially fiction.   I'd love to find more Patricia Shaw books.  I like easygoing women's historical fiction.   I'd also love to find more Monica McInerney books. I guess what I'm trying to say is I want to find some more light Australian Fiction. The Aussie stuff I find here in Texas is very literary and usually quite dark. And that stuff is fine--to a point.  I'd just like to have some light fiction as well. I'd also love to find some biographies. Maybe I can find one on Jimmy Barnes. I might be developing a little crush on him. I listened to Forever Now about ten times in a row last night.

8. Jewish Museum in Darlinghurst--all this recent talk of the Holocaust has brought up a little bit of my prior obsession with Judaism and the Holocaust.   My Jewish roots are calling out to me again. Okay, and it will make my mommy happy if I go.  

9. Australian National Maritime Museum.   I had no interest in going the last time we were there.  But usually the only Australian Nonfiction they have at our local used bookstore are ones that concern ships..   Captain Cook stuff and shipwrecks.   So, now I'm a little more interested.

10. Redfern.   I know it doesn't have the best reputation, but I wonder how bad it truly is.    Is it dangerous all the time?  Dangerous only at night?  Not dangerous at all?  From what I'm reading, it seems to be making improvements.   It reminds me of NYC.   Places that are safe and popular now we're once known as "bad" neighborhoods.    Harlem and the Lower East Side are good examples.   I think also"Hell's Kitchen" now has a positive reputation. 

11. Dulwich Hill-Great ethnic diversity.   It doesn't look all that exciting, but I do like walking around neighborhoods.    And from what the NY times says, it seems like a very charming place.   It says all the different ethnic groups get along well and no ethnic group dominates.   I like that.  Not because I like diversity--but because it's obvious that they're looking for a leader.   This could be my first step in world domination.    


Jayne said...

Got no idea but they sound nice lol :)
The first PM liked bending his elbow a fair bit...was a bit of a piss-pot...liked his grog a lot ;)

Dina said...

Jayne, I like the "Bending the elbow". Maybe I should start using that one.

Bettina said...

The Maritime museum has a full sized replica of Captain Cook's ship 'The Endevour' in the harbour out front - was quite interesting.

Dulwich Hill is a nice looking area. Lots of houses from different time periods.

You aren't going to check out King's Cross? lol

We had a look around Bondi last time we were there - was quite nice.

Dina said...


I hope the Endeavor replica is still there when we go. Is it there all the time? Can you go on it??

I can't remember if we went to King's Cross or not. I know we saw it from the bus--I think on the way to Bondi.

It's a lot like The East Village in NYC. Same kind of idea!!

How often do you go to Sydney???

Mim said...

I went along on Caitlin's school excursion to Elizabeth Farm a couple of months back. It was quite good, the kids had a great time, one group got to pretend to be house servants and make beds and set the dining table and the other group were kitchen staff and cooked scones - which everyone then got to eat.

You can catch the River Cat up the Parramatta River from Circular Quay which is a nice way to get to Parramatta.

I used to walk through part of Redfern every day on the way to and from Sydney Uni which was fine as there was always a fair few other students on the same route. There are parts of it that are undergoing urban renewal but there are still big problems.

The only thing I know about Dulwich Hill is that it has what is supposedly the only Egyptian restaurant in Sydney, Morris', complete with belly dancing on the weekends - they get the customers to join in too, last time we were there they persuaded Adam to have a go, funniest thing ever :)

Retarius said...

The thing about Australian cities is that they're not as clearly divided into good and bad areas. In NYC (I hear) a street can be like a national boundary: on one side you are safe - on the other you ain't.

Here it all tends to mix together. That's why some tourists are shocked to discover how risky some of the high-profile places are.

Dina said...

Mim: The Elizabeth Farm sounds fun. I wonder if it's still good if you come alone as a family. I'm sure it would be. I hope.

You know....I think MAYBE we were at the Parramatta River. Is that near where the Olympics were? when we went on the Blue Mountains bus tour, the bus tour ended near where the Olympics were and then we took a boat back to Circular Quay.

Belly dancing....Fun ; ) I wish I could belly dance. I think it would be awesome.

Retarius: I think NYC is the same. I think any city ,where a large proportion of people depend on public transportation, would be that way. NYC has different neighborhoods with different reputations, but they're not insulated. There's a lot of mixing.

I'm guessing a place like Los Angeles...where people are dependent on driving more. Well, in places like that, people might just stay in their car.

Catatonic Kid said...

Elizabeth Farm rocks! Absolutely cool and fun =)

And Redfern isn't that dangerous during the day. If you stay fairly close to the University of Sydney you should be right. But do be careful. People get mugged so try to look like you belong.

Dulwich Hill is a bit of a boring neighbourhood, honestly. In terms of having anything much to do, that is. It's pleasant enough to walk around, though.

I lived there for a couple of years. The local pub is OK, too. I suggest maybe stepping down the road a bit towards Marrickville where the fun/good shopping factors picks up markedly.

Dina said...

Catatonic Kid:

You know I didn't realize until reading comments from you and someone else that University of Sydney is in Redfern. We should go so we can push the idea of Jack going to uni in Australia. I think we already did that with NYC too.

How far is Marrickville from Dulwich Hill??? I think Dulwich Hill will depend on how easy it is to get to by public transportation. I don't think we're going to want to go on a really long complicated excursion just to see a neighborhood. But if Marrickville is better and nearby, we can do both. Kind of overlapping.

I'm excited about Elizabeth Farm!!

Catatonic Kid said...

Oh yes, by all means visit the Uni! It's great, and I'm not just saying that because it's my alma mater. Fantastic old sandstone buildings, really beautiful. There's even a small museum of antiquities in the Quad, which is worth a look.

There's a train to Dulwich Hill but it's can be a bit of a pain to get to. Depends where you're staying, I guess. Marrickville is just next to Dulwich Hill, slightly closer to the city. Head to Marrickville Road - lots of neat multicultural stores with odds and ends. Cheap clothing/record stores and such. It's a fun area and the food is superb and cheap, especially the Vietnamese/Thai around there.

Dina said...

Catatonic Kid,

Marickville sounds great. I'll add that to our list of places to go.

I like the idea of going to the University as well. I wonder if it's like NYU. NYU seems very scattered to me. It's like buildings scattered in the midst of a city. But there's no real distinctive college area. Vs. the college I went's like a whole area by itself.

I'm probably not explaining this well at all.

Bettina said...

I think the Endevour is there all the time and you can definitely go on it.

I don't go to Sydney often - maybe twice a year. Though with my eldest at boarding school in Sydney now I might get down there a little more often.

I'm about west and far far away over the mountians ;) I'm actually closer to Canberra (not that we go there much either)

Dina said...


I think I can relate. We rarely drive to places around here. We talk about doing it, but rarely actually do it.

Anyway...if you happen to be in Sydney when we're in Sydney, maybe we can get together : )

cristy said...

I like your list - although I am not sure about Dulwich Hill - and Botany Bay is a little industrial for my taste.

Glebe is OK. Glebe books is a great bookstore, but there are far far more secondhand bookstores on King St (Newtown).

Redfern is really quite fine during the day. I used to volunteer at Redfern Legal Centre and never felt unsafe. That said, I doubt that you'll want to spend heaps of time there - it isn't really that interesting without a bit of inside knowledge. You could walk from there to Cleveland St and then up Crown St (Surry Hills) though. That is a great walk and takes you past some great cafes and shops - along with providing you with the opportunity for plenty of people watching.

Balmain is gorgeous. You could easier spend a day wandering around and exploring this suburb. Maybe try to time your trip with the markets?

Coogee is fun and a great place to go for a swim and a typical Sydney beach day. I would walk from there to Bondi. It is a beautiful walk along the cliffs and you can check out Bronte and Clovelly beaches along the way. Bronte is great for a bite to eat and Clovelly is the perfect place to go snorkeling.

Mosman is a little boring - just rich people's houses - but the harbour area around Taronga is great. You can walk from Taronga to Balmoral Beach. It is a gorgeous harbour beach with great swimming, cute cafes and a lovely boardwalk (and a cute rotunda where I was married!). Or you could head in the opposite direction and walk around Cremorne Point. That is such a beautiful walk, with great views of the city, and you can pick up a ferry from the other side back to Circular Quay.

Another lovely walk on the northshore is the spit bridge to Manly walk. It is around 12 kms or so, but it is really stunning. You can get the ferry back to circular quay too, which is nice.

Finally have you considered getting the ferry to Watson's Bay? It is so beautiful!

OK, must stop. Sorry for rambling.

Dina said...


Your ramblings are awesome. Thank you!!!

Is Botany Bay really bad? We're flying to Tasmania two days after we get to Sydney so I figured we'd just stay at a hotel near the airport. I figured we could catch up on sleep (I rarely sleep on the plane) and then spend some time looking at Captain Cook historical stuff.

Do you think that's a mistake?

It seems people are saying not to go to Dulwich Hill. I'm thinking I should listen and skip it.

How long is the walk from Bondi to Coogee?

Balmoral beach sounds great. Someone else mentioned it being great.

Is the Watson Bay ferry the same one that goes to Double Bay?? If it is, we went on that one.

I could probably spend a day riding the ferries!!

Thank you for all your advice!! If you have any more, please share!!!!

Redness said...

Hi Dina, Ahhhh Dulwich Hill ... you can catch the ferry from Circular Quay to Balmain Wharf and hop on the 445 bus goes right to the centre of Dulwich Hill. Have lunch in one of the great coffee shops, wander down Marrickville Road to Marrickville, hop on a bus to Sydenham Station then catch the train to Bondi Junction ... Ooops no don't think you'll have time to do all that in one day ... but ... Dulwich Hill is the centre of Sydney ;)or you can do the trip in reverse for a great day out!

Dina said...


I need to remember to print out all these important comments and take them with me to Australia.

I definitely need help with directions to places. I got us lost one or two times......

Thanks for the info. It sounds pretty easy. I can remember the ferry to Balmain. Then all I need to do is remember bus 445.

I probably need to write it down though.

Last time, I wrote down detailed plans and directions to places. I carried it with me in the backpack. Unfortunately sometimes the directions were wrong.

But that's because I got it from a website. It's probably better to just ask a local who knows what they're doing!!!!

Ingrid said...

There is not much in Botany Bay but there is a snake man who comes and brings his snakes that you can touch. Not sure when he comes. Maybe he has a web site somewhere?

Dina said...


I'm not sure we''ll be going to Botany Bay anymore. We have a two day layover in Sydney before going to Tasmania. I thought we'd stay near the airport, but airport hotels cost more than I expected.

I'm not sure I want to trek all the way out to Botany Bay just so I can say "This is where Captain Cook first landed."

Wait. Do boats land? Maybe it's docked????

cristy said...

Sorry, I always forget to check back on my past comments...

The walk to Bondi takes about an hour and a half, I think... but there are heaps of great beaches to stop at along the way and so you could totally make a day of it.

If you have any other questions then just email me: cristy dot nopod @ gmail dot com