Sydney in 5 days.
November 11, 2009 3:43 PM   Subscribe

Where to stay and eat inexpensively and safely for a young female passing through Sydney, and what to see there in 5 days.
posted by semmi to Travel & Transportation around Sydney, Australia (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I am a Melbournian and haven't spent much time in Sydney, but here goes any ways...

The YHA hostels are an option to check out, for places to stay.

I found walking under the Sydney Harbour bridge a cool perspective of the landmark (a friend and I were going to Luna Park- only if you're into spinning sorts of rides)

The Aquarium might be worth a visit

I found the Powerhouse museum to be good fun, I was 12-14 at the time, though.

Ferry to Manly, maybe?
posted by titanium_geek at 4:17 PM on November 11, 2009

First of all, let all of us Sydneysiders on the site reassure you that Sydney's a remarkably safe city, even by Australian standards. It's really quite difficult to find trouble spots and unless you're actively seeking them out, you're quite unlikely to get stuck in any badlands. There's often alcohol-related stoush on Fridays and weekends in the CBD and in Kings Cross, but crime overall is very low.

Effigy2000's previous ask has a few recommendations for food and sights. If you're after cheap, easy to find, reliably good food, go to Chinatown in Haymarket. Walk up Dixon street from the bottom of the hill and you will find half a dozen places within a block where they'll feed you to bursting for $35 or less. King Street Newtown and Glebe Point Road in Glebe are full of restaurants which cater to students.

There's a massive backpacker hostel industry in the city, especially in the CBD, in the Eastern suburbs around a few beaches (Bondi, Coogee, and Bronte), and in the Inner West in Glebe, Ultimo, and Newtown. Both the cost and the quality vary, but transport on the bus or train is pretty quick from all of them into the city.

Head out to the suburbs on the train if you want to see the Sydney that most tourists don't: Parramatta, Bankstown and Cabramatta are all smaller centres that have fantastic and inexpensive food—if you go to Parramatta, you can catch the ferry. Hell, catch any of the ferries, they're great. Enjoy your five days.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:17 PM on November 11, 2009

I've always had good luck staying with Hostelling International. If I were going to Australia, one of the first things I'd do is see the spectacular collection of rare hybrids at Royale Orchids-- some of the finest and most exotic in the world!
posted by aquafortis at 4:44 PM on November 11, 2009

What to do:

Coogee to Bondi Walk

Take a ferry somewhere - Manly is probably the most popular destination. The zoo is good too - and you get a great view of the Sydney skyline from there.

I liked walking around Glebe (it was also where I stayed). There's a market on the weekends - can't remember if it's both days or not, and it might be every other week.

The Aquarium in Darling Harbour was nice.

Tons of places to stay. I stayed with friends, so no recommendations, but there are plenty of places to find recommendations online.
posted by backwards guitar at 6:12 PM on November 11, 2009

Have you considered couch surfing?
posted by Wolof at 9:49 PM on November 11, 2009

As Fiasco da Gama says, there are a million and one youth hostels around Central, William St, Kings Cross, Bondi, Coogee and Newtown. I live in Sydney and therefore haven't stayed at any so I can't make recommendations. Seconding that you'll have a lot of difficulty getting yourself into any serious trouble.

Food I can help you with. Spice I Am is the best Thai food you'll have anywhere (it's all good but definitely go for the crispy pork belly).

Not sure what it's actually called, but "Northern Chinese" has great dumplings and hand-made noodles (give your order to the girl at the door and your food will arrive as soon as you're seated; that's why everyone's milling around out the front). Try the lightly fried dumplings, spicy chicken salad and spicy eggplant. Sea Bay is similar and possibly easier to find.

These last three are all BYO alcohol and you'll get out of Spice I Am for around $15/head and the other two for under $10/head. Go with at least a party of four so you get to try some different things.

Around the corner from Northern Chinese is Xic Lo, which is a Vietnamese I like. Again agreeing with Fiasco da Gama, seek out all the little food halls in and around Dixon and Sussex streets in Chinatown. It won't even cost you $15 for dinner.

If you're up in Kings Cross there's plenty of fried-crap-in-a-bain-marie drunk's food places (try a Chicko Roll, but only once), but Guzman e Gomez is reasonable (Tex?) Mex.

Sushi is surprisingly cheap and good. My favourite's Sushi on Stanley but that's just because it's near where I live. Elsewhere around Darlinghurst/Surry Hills pub food is generally good (Forrester's for the "original $5 steak" but also the Lord Roberts, East Village Hotel, The White Horse and The Clock but those last two might be starting to get a bit expensive, $15-$25 mains probably).

That keep you going for a bit? As for things to do, go to Circular Quay, wander around and take a look at The Rocks, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House and then take the ferry to Manly for a day. You can spend an afternoon/evening walking the length and breadth of King St in Newtown (lots of good, cheap eats there too) and Bondi/Coogee is also worth a day.
posted by m1ndsurfer at 10:30 PM on November 11, 2009

I live in Kings Cross. It's very safe and is full of hostels. If you don't want to stay on the main drag (Darlinghurst Rd), there are some nice ones on quiet side streets like Orwell and Hughes, as well as Victoria (the suburb is really called Potts Point, if you go googling for addresses). They all seem to offer single rooms as well as dormitory/shared rooms.

Kings Cross is very central. It is a short walk to the CBD, Circular Quay (Museum of Contemporary Art and ferries to Manly, Balmain, the Zoo), Botanic Gardens, Art Gallery of New South Wales, not to mention Oxford Street (clubbie/grungie/gay end in Darlinghurst near the CBD, boutique shopping up the other end in Paddington), and Crown Street comes off Oxford and leads you into Surry Hills for more cafes and cute shops. And if you're at the CBD end of Oxford St you're only 3 blocks away from Chinatown (well, you're on the corner of Goulburn and George after cutting through World Square, one more block and you're on Sussex Street which runs through the middle of Chinatown).

Bondi Junction is a two stops away on the train from Kings Cross and from there you can get buses to the beaches discussed above, and BJ also has a big shopping mall.

If you want a chilled out, pretty night and the weather is good I would go down to the Opera House for sunset, have a drink either at the Opera Bar or one of the other many places that line the quay and once it is dark catch one of the smaller ferries that does a loop around Cremorne and other small bays on the north side of the harbour.

You could go to Watson's Bay/South Head and do the short walk around there and have fish & chips on the sand. That's a half-day excursion on public transport (necessary buses pass through Kings Cross - 324, 325 - which you could also hop off at Red Leaf, a free harbour pool just past Double Bay).

If you have any particular interests let us know and we can get more specific.
posted by hifimofo at 3:09 AM on November 12, 2009

Not sure how much of a "foodie" you are, but when I visit somewhere new I like to find some food blogs from the area and use them to plan some meals.

Two excellent Sydney-based food blogs are

Both authors regularly blog about visits to cheap and cheerful restaurants around Sydney.
posted by unlaced at 12:43 PM on November 12, 2009

Thank you, one and all.
posted by semmi at 9:42 PM on November 12, 2009

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