So, Uh, Does Anyone Know Anything About Australia?

It seems somehow to have escaped my notice, what with all the wedding kerfuffle and how it’s taken over 99.9% of the space in my brain recently---the other 0.1% being reserved for Pete Campbell, of course, DON’T EVEN TRY AND UNDERSTAND IT, I SIMPLY CAN’T EXPLAIN---but two weeks from this Sunday, Sean and I are going to be on a plane to Australia.

Oh, right! The honeymoon! I’d totally forgotten about it, hadn’t you? Funny that, how a trip to an entirely new continent has become an afterthought. We booked the honeymoon back in March, you see, mostly because it was one of the few fun and easy wedding errands at the time, and also pretty much the only one I had any clue how to handle. Figuring out what makes a good caterer a good caterer? Yeah, I’m going to have to pass on that one. But I can research the heck out of a flight deal, just watch.

So we booked tickets to Sydney from LAX, and then tickets from Sydney to Melbourne, made reservations at various hotels, and then pretty much left it at that. In fact, the extent of our planning over the last six months vis a vis what to actually do in Sydney and Melbourne can be summarized a bit like this

1. Bought guidebook for Australia.

2. Bought another guidebook for Australia.

Actually, you know what, I’m giving us too much credit. Truthfully, it was more like this:

1. Got given guidebook for Australia as a present.

2. Got given another guidebook for Australia as another present.

As yet, those guidebooks are still sitting in our living room unopened, their spines new and uncracked. I guess maybe it’s a good thing we have a fourteen hour flight to get through on our way from one hemisphere to another?

But before that, Internet, I thought I’d check in and see if you know anything about Australia, specifically about Sydney and Melbourne, and what two jetlagged newlyweds ought to do there. My list, you see, is just a little bit sparse:

Sydney

1. See the famous bridge.

2. See the famous opera house.

3. Eat a lot of Tim-Tams.

Melbourne

1. Take the famous Neighbours tour.

2. Eat a lot of Tim-Tams.

Huh, looks like I’m going to be eating a lot of Tim-Tams.

So has anyone been to Australia? Anyone lived there? Anyone live there now? We’d really love some recommendations, if you’ve any to give. We're also going to be spending five days in Vanuatu, but we've pretty much got that one covered, I think: swim, sunbathe, dive, snorkel, repeat, repeat, repeat.

1
caleal
Aug 21, 2009

I have no idea what you should do. I am, however, now obsessed with Tim-Tams.

2
Kimba
Aug 21, 2009

Spent 4 months studying abroad just outside of Sydney - LOVED IT. Have been wanting to go back ever since, and am slightly jealous. Okay, a lot jealous.

Botanical Gardens in Sydney are gorgeous. Also, you can hike the bridge, did you know that? Amazing. Great shopping near the Dymock's building where I worked (also some great shops at the QVB). Hyde Park is beautiful. In Melbourne you can take a day tour of the Great Ocean Road. Touristy, I know, but really fun.

Also, you're checking out the Great Barrier Reef, right? It's amazing.

Oh, Tim Tams! I think I just drooled a bit. And the kebabs...sigh. I've got to book a trip!

3
Speedy Canizales
Aug 21, 2009

I lived in Melbourne for a few months back in 2004, when I was on a work-exchange program with my company. I love this city, and really enjoyed my time there.

If you're in Melbourne for a couple of days I'd suggest you visit the Queen Victoria market, a combo of farmer's and flea market. You must see a footy game at Telstra Dome, and drink the local beer (Victoria Bitter, Carlton) while there. You should also walk by Federation Square to see if anything cool is happening - when we were there, a band was living in a bubble.

If you want to venture outside the city, there's a cool place called Healesville Animal Sanctuary where you'll see kangaroos and dingoes, and you might also want to try visit The Twelve Apostles.

There's too much to cram into a comment box, so email me and let me know if you want more suggestions.

4
Laurie
Aug 21, 2009

You can climb the Harbour Bridge. I definitely recommend making your reservations before you leave. I waited until I got there, and the only available slot was at 5:30am...I didn't do it because I really have no business being on top of a bridge before 6:00am. In any case, I regret not doing it, you should look into it.

Also, in Sydney, the Japanese Gardens are AMAZING. Definitely try to go there.

In Melbourne, I went to a Cricket test...I am sure you have done that a time or two before. We went to an outdoor movie (at the Botanical Gardens, maybe?), but I am not sure that they will still be doing that, because it is winter.

More as I think of stuff...

5
cj4
Aug 21, 2009

I have lived in Melbourne for 2 years and my family has lived there for the past 20. It's a wonderful place - lots of fantastic restaurants (one of the best eating cities of the world, in my opinion), theater, etc. I can give specific restaurant recommendations, as needed, or just go to a bookstore once you arrive and look for The Age Good Food Guide (kind of like Zagat's, but covering all prices and categories).

As far as things to do, Melbourne is largely a city of just walking around and seeing the city. The arts district just across the Yarra from the city, St. Kilda, the aquarium, the Botanical Gardens, the Queen Vic market, o watch a footy match at the MCG, and some of the old neighborhoods are all fantastic. All are easily accessed from the city center and the entire area is accessible by tram. The weather probably will not be all that great yet (at best, it will be highly inconsistent), so plan accordingly.

If you can rent a car, I strongly suggest two out of town excursions: the Great Ocean Road and a trip to the fairy penguins. Both a fantastic drives. The penguin place may be the coldest place on earth even on the hottest day of the year, so beware. To see the little buggers stream out of the water is worth a few fingers and toes, though. Both are each full day trips.

Have a great time and let me know if you need any additional recommendations. I have several Aussie friends living there who can tell me the best restaurants and places to go out at the moment.

cj4

6
beyond
Aug 21, 2009

had to look up tim-tam, and YUM, i love all things malted.
looks like you are getting loads of recommendations, which is good, because i don't have any. i would just suggest not planning toooo much, just so you can be spontaneous whenever you feel like it.
(can you believe that you'll be on your HONEYMOON?)
(if you plan on renting a car, you may need an international driver's license. which you can get in five minutes at your local AAA)
oh! and sometimes, when you mention you're on your honeymoon, you get a complementary cocktail while waiting for your table...

7
Ashlea
Aug 21, 2009

ME! pick me! Wow I can actually be usefull in this one!

I live in Brisbane, wich I find is one of the prettiest citys to live in. Sydney is a bit, blah.. BUT the 4 time I have been there was in winter... so yeah.

You are coming at a good time. Its supposed to be 30 degrees celcius this weeken in BNE, and I love the sun!

SYD and MEL is usually a lot colder, so bring some warmish clothes.

Reccommendations:
SYD Aquirium at Darling Harbour. I loved this aquarium and It is nothitn like anything I have ever seen before. (coming from a small NZ city here) It was amazing. you can also get combination tickets with:

The SYD tower. The view is great, and not to mention that the tower is on top of a shopping mall! There is the skywalk for the daring, and also the Oz-trek which is like a ride simulation thing. Pretty good.

Do a night cruise of Darling Harbour. You get some stunning views of the Bridge, Opera House and also luna park lit up.

Actually Darling Harbour is pretty good just to visit. There are lots of cafes, and museums and stuff there.

Manly Beach is another must. Along with Chatswood Mall is another good one. They have an ice skating rink in the middle of the mall! Good way to spend summer. (well it was when I was there)

There was a really good hot chocolate place that I want to tell you about but I can't remember the name. I will get back to you on that. It was GOOD!

I don't Know much about MEL, but aparently there are heaps of Markets to go to. And pretty little trams to go on.

St Kilda has had lots of reccommendations, and Just generally walking around the city.

Things not to do:

Don't bother about Luna Park in SYD. It is a terrible little theme park, whihc has HUGE costs for every ride you want to go on. We were in and out in under an hour having spent close to $100 on nothing.

A rental car would be good in SYD, but not to sure how you guys would like driving on the other side of the road.

If you want more ideas flick me an email. I love giving out tips! :)

8
Ashlea
Aug 21, 2009

Oh and Tim Tams... BEST THING EVER! Especially the caramel flavoured ones that have been sitting on the back seat of the car in the sun for an hour or so.

Mmm and a tim tam slam is awesome, but maybe not to much in summer!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MQZX1nLOJ4

9
Katie
Aug 21, 2009

I went to Australia in May after graduation--and I'm pretty sure I left my heart there. I second and third and whatever the suggestions to the aquarium in Sydney and Darling Harbour in general. I also suggest Bondi Beach (I think it's better than Manly, plus it has natural pools in the cliffs overlooking the ocean) and Featherdale Wildlife Park--you can feed wallabies and kangaroos there, which is fun! The Opera House is also amazing; you might want to try seeing a show there if you have time. So jealous--have fun!

10
dcfullest
Aug 21, 2009

Never been, but I would highly recommend the "Let's Go" series of travel guides. They have been invaluable to me for other places I have visited.

"In a Sunburned COuntry" is Bill Bryson's take on Australia and it is hillarious.

11
Alie
Aug 21, 2009

Take the jetcat/ferry to Manly and explore the quaint shops on the other side of the harbour from Sydney. Also, Bondi beach, tons of fun.

12
Allie
Aug 21, 2009

I worked in Queensland for a summer as an undergrad, then backpacked in the south for a couple of weeks. From from what I recall, my favorites were:

Sydney:
- Manly Beach
- Botanical Gardens
- Day trip (by train) to the Blue Mountains

Melbourne:
- Great Ocean Road day tour!! You guys MUST do one. Renting a car would probably be more fun, but a full day by mini-coach was amazing. To this day I have framed photos of the Twelve Apostles on my wall; the scenery is amazing!

...I know there's more, but those are the things that stood the test of time for me. :)

13
QoB
Aug 21, 2009

I lived in Australia for a year (4 months Sydney, 4 months Melbourne, travelling in between) and it is the awesome. Haven't read through all of the recommendations so may be duplicating, but here goes:

Sydney:
The best place to sit and picnic: the Observatory. you get a great view of the bridge, and all the harbour, and it's *quiet*. The observatory itself is also worth a look if you're a museum nerd, and they do stargazing evenings, I think. A close second is the Botanic Gardens, where they invite you to "please sit on the grass" :)
I also loved the Coogee-Bondi walk: you can stop off at any of the little beaches, and the coastline is spectacular.
My 2c on the bridgeclimb is that it's *really* expensive; if it's too much, try walking across the bridge & time it for sunset.

Melbourne: is seriously the best city in Australia. Such a good buzz and there's always something to do. There is probably a comedy/film/fringe/theatre festival on somewhere. Have an Italian meal and icecream in Carlton, have your fortune told in St. Kilda, take the creepy night tour of Old Melbourne Gaol, see some footie or cricket in the MCG or the Telstra Dome. Good weekend trips are Phillip Island (where the penguins are), winetasting in the Yarra Valley, and the Great Ocean Road of course.

Bill Bryson's book on Oz is hilarious, because it's true.

I will say though, that it's the more remote areas that are the most spectacular. If you can - and internal flights are generally pretty cheap - please please try to get to the NT, the Red Centre, the Daintree (north of Cairns) etc. They are *stunning*.

Enjoy! :)

14
Jacqui
Aug 21, 2009

Second all the recommendations for Sydney up above, plus the wildlife place at Darling Harbour (aquarium is fabulous, must do that!). Aside from just walking around the central city (Pitt St. is main shopping drag) and The Rocks (massive tourist trap but oldest part of Sydney so worth a look), try some of the other suburbs like Paddington (posh but has a _fabulous_ market on Saturdays), Balmain, and Newtown. The latter is more bohemian, University-orientated, Balmain is more upper-crust but also has a nice market. Oxford St. is also fun to wander up, especially if you end up at the Paddington Markets at the end of it! Nice time of year to be there too, spring is beginning to spring down these parts :)

15
Jacqui
Aug 21, 2009

Oh, and out of Sydney the Blue Mountains are a must - especially Leura/Katoomba and my favourite place to go for walks was Govett's Leap. The Australian bush is wonderful and amazing. You can do the Blue Mountains as an easy daytrip by train if you want to, or rent a car to get around more easily.

16
Amy --- Just A Titch
Aug 21, 2009

Oh Holly, I adore you, seriously, but your Pete Campbell adoration confounds me. Especially because Sean seems so un-Campbell and lovely, and Pete, well...Pete seems like a huge douche bag.

Anyways, I wish I had any Australia advice to give you, but all I can offer is STARE AT A PICTURE OF DON DRAPER. And then tell me how/why you like Pete.

17
Claire
Aug 21, 2009

yay something I can help with! I live just out of Melbourne and just a quick note, the weather at this time of year can be seriously spazzy so make sure you bring warm clothes. Also your going to be here right smack-dab in the middle of AFL footy finals stupidness so and I highly recommend getting some tickets and going to a game at the MCG. It's the best fun ... screaming and drinking beer all afternoon is good stuff! And make sure you go out to eat ALOT in Melbourne. Huge restraunt culture. Seriously the best food in the country is found in Melbourne. I'd give the Healsville Sanctuary a miss. That's the area where the black saturday fires were earlier in the year and I think a lot of the animals got relocated and haven't been bought back. The Melbourne Zoo is pretty cool though. And the Great Ocean Road is awesome. Be sure to stop at Bell's and perve on the surfers and go to Cape Otway .. it's beautiful. If you wanted the Yarra Vally is amazing but alot of it is really damaged from the fires. We went over there not long ago thinking we should do our bit and get money pumping back into the community and it was really upsetting. I don't really know that it's going to recover any time soon.
Hrm Sydeny .. haven't been there for a few years but it has the best old pubs. Especially down in the Rocks area. And for jebus sake please don't go and get dragged out of the surf at Bondi by Australia's finest. They seriously pull out about 50,000 tourists a year or something ridiculous like that. Otherwise you might wind up on Bondi Rescue haha!!
Other than that .. just make sure you drink lot's of local beer and wine because it's the BEST!

18
Amanda
Aug 21, 2009

Funny how this is my first post, although I have been reading for several months, it took food, specifically Tim Tams to get me writing. :)
I agree with Ashlea about doing a Tim Tam Slam (so glad they sell them in Canada now!), and since it's winter down there it's perfect timing to learn. Personally, I do mine with a cup of tea. Unlike the video, I bite opposite corners when I do it, as it keeps the cookie together longer so you can actually get it into your mouth! True heaven.

19
jac
Aug 21, 2009

Tip: it's "Melbin", not "Melborn". You're welcome. Are you staying in the city? My current bar recs: Seamstress, and Cookie. We're in drought so it hardly rains, but the wind would freeze the balls off a brass monkey. Great Ocean Rd - totally recommended, in any weather. There is an upmarket craft market at Southbank in the city on Sunday mornings - opposite Federation Square. I could go on, honestly, but there's a scroll bar on this comment box now and I'm taking it as a sign.

20
Kelli
Aug 21, 2009

I have to 2nd Amy-Just a titch's comments on Pete Campbell. You seem like such a lovely, awesome girl, Holly and Pete Campbell is such a little bee-yatch! Surely you watched the start of season 3 last week. You didn't just want to punch him as he sat across from Ken Cosgrove? Ugh. He drives me nuts!

21
Elizabeth
Aug 21, 2009

We're going to Sydney in November! You're ahead of us though, we don;t even have hotel reservations. I did check a guide out from the library, but I didn't, um, read it. And then I had to return it.
That's why my entire plan for what to do there can be summed as: See what Holly does, copy that. (Kristen from Camels and Chocolate told me you were going).
So I hope you find some fun stuff to do! :)

22
josie
Aug 21, 2009

I have lived in Melbourne all my life. You should definately do the Great Ocean Road- spectacular scenery and really stunning coastline. If it's warm enough to swim the water is so crisp and clear and the surf is amazing. Its not in Melbourne city obviously but its nearby.
The city itself is known for its great bar culture. Two of my favourites are Cookie- which has an amazing collection of beers, and great cocktails. And definitely look up Sister Bellas, its quintessentially melbourne in that it is hidden down a laneway. You walk past these bins and you feel like you've hit a dead end and then theres this awesome quirky little bar. You'll feel like a real local just for knowing its there!

23
Saucepan Man
Aug 21, 2009

Second most of the comments about Sydney. Particularly like the area around the Rocks even though it's touristy; Australia handles touristy stuff very well. Also the day trip to the Blue Mountains and reading Bill Bryson's book.

I'd add dinner at one of the restaurants on Finger Wharf in Woolloomooloo Bay - followed by a walk around. I went to Otto which was brilliant but I was on a business trip so it was probably expensive. Also to say you've been anywhere that has eight (count 'em) "o"s in its name has to be worthwhile...

Also expensive but memorable is an early breakfast at one of the hotels overlooking Darling Harbour. I think the one I went to was The Four Points by Sheraton. The view was simply stunning.

24
angela
Aug 21, 2009

Have I been to Oz? No. My recommendation: wine tours! Mainly because I <3 Australian wines and how can you go wrong with wine?! :)

Oh - and I also LOVE wedding shoe A :)

25
karen
Aug 21, 2009

I feel like it's my duty to inform you that you can get tim-tams RIGHT HERE in California. I live in L.A. and we get them from Cost Plus/World Market.

I was born and raised in California but my fiance was born and raised in Melbourne and has traveled around Australia. We're actually going there on our honeymoon this year too. I've left all the planning up to him though since he's from there. He's currently on his bucks trip to Vegas but I will ask him when he comes back!

26
Megan
Aug 22, 2009

So, Tim Tams. You know about the Tim Tam SLAMS, right? Because that is all you really need to be doing - in Australia or otherwise.

27
kat
Aug 22, 2009
28
Rebecca
Aug 22, 2009

My husband and I honeymooned in the Greek Isles last May. We were in your same boat . . . we had NO idea what we were going to do. I just did not have time to worry about it. Guess what? It turned out to be the best, most relaxing vacation ever.

29
Nicki
Aug 22, 2009

Wow,there are a lot of really knowledgeable people on here. I was simply going to suggest you practice saying 'g'day, mate' with enthusiasm and you'd blend.

As for Vanuatu...didn't they film Survivor there? Are you bringing a luxury item?

Have a wonderful time. Can't wait to read all about it.

30
jasmine
Aug 22, 2009

The zoo in Sydney is one of my fav zoos in the world! Its gorgeous and overlooks the bay. The giraffe enclosure is awesome. FACE TO FACE with the giraffes! It will make you fall in love with Australia and you'll never want to leave!

31
Nicole
Aug 22, 2009

I lived in Brisbane for 4 months in undergrad and visited Sydney on a break - I would HIGHLY recommend:

the bridge climb (do make reservations before you get there!).

Tim Tams - you can buy them in the US at World Market if you get hooked while there (and you will, trust me).

Darling Aquarium (the only way you are going to see a platypus)

Visit a 'roo or koala sanctuary (they are neat to see up close, even though it is touristy)

Take a day trip to the Blue Mountains and see the Three Sisters - I also fit in a horse back ride and it was a great way to see parts of the area you can't see on foot.

GO to a show in the Sydney opera house - you can do tours and they are free, but you get a great idea of the acoustics and the size of the building from the inside this way. Plus how cool is it to be able to say you saw a show there? Or better yet go to an opera performance in Melbourne (the performance space is better).

Manly Beach - take the ferry to get there and see the harbor on the way.

Wine tour (just make sure you allow for transportation that YOU do not have to operate).

32
Naomi
Aug 22, 2009

I just got married in July and we went to Fiji and Australia for our honeymoon. We were very fortunate that a friend of a friends travels there every other month so he gave us recommendations. This is what did and LOVED:
- DEFINITELY climb the bridge- worth every penny and you'll never have an experience like it again
- go to the Taronga Zoo- and pay for the close-up encounter with the koalas- incredible
-The aquarium is the best place to see a platapus
-Hang out in The Rocks neighborhood- there's an incredible outdoor market Thursdays-Sundays
-Best restaurants (but expensive and worth every penny): Quay (across harbor from Opera House), Aria (next to the Opera House), Rockpool (highly recommended but impossible to get into)
-go see an opera (or any show) at The Opera House- and take the tour- the behind the scenes stuff is incredible!
- hang out around the harbor for an afternoon and people watch :)

Have a blast- but be prepared, Sydney is incredibly expensive (we were shocked the first day when a soda in a vending machine was $4), and everywhere you go they take your picture and try to sell it to you
Enjoy your trip!

33
Caroline
Aug 22, 2009

You forgot the sex. The small, isolated, romantic island sex. The MARRIED sex. Or was snorkeling just a euphemism?

34
Kitty
Aug 23, 2009

Amazing how useful blogs are for this sort of thing. I have no clue about Australia, but it seems like a lot of other readers do. Have fun!

35
Teej in BC
Aug 23, 2009

Never been there but I know what you should not do. Don't eat vegemite! My brother in law brought it back from australia as a gift, I tried it and had to fight dry heaving.

36
Jenna Jean
Aug 23, 2009

TIM TAMS YES

37
Mymsie
Aug 23, 2009

I have a major crush on Pete too and look how adorbs he is IRL:

*melt*

In other news, "Hi! I'm in 7rd grade, what with my crush terminology and IM acronyms."

38
Marcheline
Aug 23, 2009

Dear Holly,

I know you're planning your honeymoon. I know you requested stuff about Australia.

However, as I rarely do what anyone says, I am submitting this YouTube video for your enjoyment. Just think of it as a break from all the "shrimp on the barbie" and "mate" crap you're going to have to put up with.

His name is Jesse. And if this video doesn't make you fall in love with him, I don't know what will.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdkCpqUI7Zk

As a matter of fact, if you don't fall in love with him, that's okay. He's MINE.

39
Toni M
Aug 23, 2009

In Sydney? Come over and look at the view off our balcony, while I cook you a home-style Aussie meal. Seriously. We live in Maroubra, on the beach to the south of the CBD but officially classified as the city's Eastern Suburbs. We have a kitty so you can sublimate your "missing-the-cats" vibe you always get on holidays (We're about to head north to Cairns for some tropic time-out but will miss her heaps). But if you don't get time or if you want to combine some fun, I'll volunteer myself to take you on the Coogee-to-Bondi beach walk, takes a couple of hours and past the cemetery with the best view in the world http://www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/cemetery/

Happy to be a local guide for at least some of your time, I've been reading you for ages!

Toni

40
jonesie
Aug 23, 2009

glad you are coming to visit us for your honeymoon. :)
I just wanted to add that in Melbourne from the top of the war memorial you get a fantastic view of the city / St Kilda. And it is free! it is also on the edge of the botanic gardens - lovely romantic place.

And you def should go to the footy at the MCG while you are there.

Bring clothes for all weather and remember your sun glasses.

41
Saucepan Man
Aug 23, 2009

Marcheline, that was some top quality playing from Jesse.

I suspect the only 'piping' that might interest Holly at the moment is the kind you do to put icing on a (wedding) cake....but I really enjoyed it!

42
sp
Aug 23, 2009

Melbourne is the best, I'm a Melbourne girl originally! Check out Brunswick Street in Fitzroy and Smith Street in Collingwood (and the hoods around them both) for some cool shops, cafes and some great bars. Wander round the laneways in downtown for awesomely cool shopping and figure out which laneways are hiding the best bars in melbourne (a local will tell you where the hip ones are at the time). if you like wine, you must must must go to the supper club, at the top end of downtown, opposite parliament house which is open all night and has spectacular wine and amazing service.

things other people have suggested that I am totally on board with.... healesville sanctuary really is a good way to see the animals up close and it's pretty close to the city and AFL matches are super cheap and SUPER fun to watch. please cheer for St Kilda - my team.

melbourne has the best bars, best (not Prada) shopping, best coffee by a million miles to most places in the world and best arts scene.

I'm jealous. have a ball. (and congratulations!)

43
Powered by Tofu
Aug 23, 2009

I loved Sydney! You're going to have an amazing time... let's see... the Opera House bar is under-rated: great views, people watching, drinks... stellar. Try to see if there are any cool concerts while you're there. I splurged and saw Air @ the Opera House, so memorable. A few of my favs: http://www.poweredbytofu.com/2008/04/01/sydney-highlights/ Manly beach was fun. Oh and the Torongo (sp?) zoo is a great last minute visit to see all the "Australian" animals that you missed in the wild. :)

44
Anna
Aug 23, 2009

I agree with the majority of everyone-- try and do the bridge climb because it's an awesome view. And Prince William and the Olsen twins did it! (Not at the same time)

http://www.bridgeclimb.com/

We also made a trip up to Cairns and snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef. If you have two days, I would absolutely recommend going up there to check it out. My parents rented a place on the beach near Daintree (http://www.daintreerainforest.com/) and then with the car, it was easy to explore the rainforest and go on a half-day snorkel tour.

45
Anna
Aug 23, 2009

Oh and ahem--

-The Blue Mountains didn't float my boat, but that's just me and my hatred of hiking.

-The Taronga Zoo has an incredible view of the whole harbor. (Plus you need to do a ferry ride)

-The Rocks neighborhood was great for getting drinks and hanging out near the bridge and the harbor without being an annoying tourist.

-We stayed a night in Manly Beach and got to watch the surfers and experience a slightly calmer side of Syndey.

-Bondi Beach is the ultimate incredible surfer watching/beach experience.

46
shan
Aug 24, 2009

I'm heading out in a few weeks for a round the world trip and Australia is definitely on my list of destinations! Granted, I won't be there for quite a few months yet, but many thanks to all of Holly's commenters as I'll be using your suggestions, too. :-) Holly's readers are the best!

47
Sheila
Aug 24, 2009

You can't beat the people watching at Bondi Beach. Great Italian restaurants in the neighborhood around it, too. I also highly endorse the Coogee to Bondi Beach walk and a tour of the Blue Mountains.

48
Shannon
Aug 24, 2009

If you have a free night in Sydney definitely take the Rock Pub Tour. It's sort of touristy but so much fun. We had an amazing tour guide, and learned all about the founding of Sydney and the history of the area - AND it includes beer!

49
felinity
Aug 24, 2009

Drive between the two! We went to Melbourne and Sydney last year (from the UK) for three weeks -- we spent a week in Melbourne with friends and a week in Sydney with friends, and both were lovely, but my favourite bit was the drive from Melbourne TO Sydney along the coast. All romantic and stopping wherever we wanted along the way, seeing wildlife and meeting friendly people. You could do it in two days but we took six so we could drive for a few hours then stop somewhere picturesque and relax. It was gorgeous.

50
Mon
Aug 24, 2009
51
Lorna
Aug 24, 2009

I've spent most of my life in Sydney and while I love living in Seattle now, I still get pangs of homesickness!

A few things I'd recommend:

* Dinner at Longrain in Surry Hills - no view or anything like that, but fabulous aisan fusion food and cocktails and so very "sydney". You can't make a booking so try and get there early and be prepared to wait a while in the bar and drink cocktails before you get seated.
* Dinner at Bodega in Surry Hills - this is amazing new style tapas - nothing oil drenched and not a garlic prawn to be seen - just amnazing food prepared in small plates with super fresh ingredients. This place is hugely popular and is tiny - so get there at 6 when they open to get a table - otherwise be prepared to wait down the street in the dodgy pub for an hour or more.
* See the ballet in the Opera House - make sure you get tickets to something showing in the main hall, because there are a few smaller theatres to the sides of the building.
* I second the Opera Bar - they play cool live music on a Sunday and you can sit in the sun and gaze at the harbour.
* definately the zoo - you can catch a ferry there from the main quays in town and then you can catch the skyway up to the main entrance (for amazing views) and make your way through the zoo back to the ferry
* Lunch at Ripples at Chowder Bay - make sure you book as its very popular. It's a lovely restuarant overlooking Chowder bay on the north side of the bridge.
* If you feel like a swim and the ocean is too cold for you you can go to the North Sydney Olympic pool. The outdoor pool is heated and sits on the edge of the harbour right under the harbour bridge and is amazaing to swim in. It's open until 9pm so you can go at night if you like and see all the beautiful harbour lights. There's also a fancy restaurant there called Aqua that is very nice.
* Fish and Chips at Doyles at Watson's Bay - hugely touristy and expensive for just fish and chips, but a wonderful view of the whole of the harbour - you can catch a ferry there too.
* The Ghost Tour at the Quarantine Station. This is where the kept the sick people coming into Sydney hundreds of years ago, often for months at a time, many people died there and it has amazing history. They do the best ever Ghost Tour with wonderful guides that have great stories to tell. But warning, I did the kids version with my stepsons and was totally freaked out, sop can't imagine how scarey the adult version is!!
* Walk across the bridge to Kirribilli, get noodles from Stir Crazy, a bottle of wine from the LIquorland and sit under the harbour bridge and have a picnic.
* Do a overnight trip to the Hunter Valley wine region - abut 3 hours north of Sydney. Some of the best wine in Australia, especially if you like shiraz. You can stay at one of the wineries and do a tour of all the little boutique wineries and chat to the owners and sample their wine. It's a bit like Sonoma before it got popular.

That's about it off the top of my head - email me if you want any other suggestions :-)

52
Kristabella
Aug 24, 2009

Eat Vegemite sandwiches? And listen to Men at Work? And drink Foster's?

I have no idea. But I bet you're going to have a blast! And I would definitely be taking a visit to the old Real World house in Sydney.

53
Rachael W
Aug 24, 2009

Not sure if anyone has recommended this (apologies if someone has and I'm repeating), but my parents did a Sydney pub crawl. Actually, most of my friends who've studied abroad in Australia have ended up doing a pub crawl. It's not a very honeymoon-ish suggestion, but it might be fun if you want to imbibe.

54
Marcheline
Aug 24, 2009

Hey Saucepan - glad you checked it out! I'm hoping Sean will withhold edamame for a week unless Holly checks it out too. I just know she loves that stuff.

55
Operation Pink Herring
Aug 24, 2009

Never been to Australia, but I DO have a recommendation( based on experience, even)! DON'T FORGET TO PACK THE GUIDEBOOKS.

56
Sylvia
Aug 24, 2009

I live in Melbourne and have lived in the general area for much of my life. Honestly, don't bother with the Vic Market - except for the deli hall (which Holly I think you would love. All those cheeses and breads and salamis etc...) the rest of it is just tat or fruit and veg. There are markets at both Southbank in the city and the Esplanade in St Kilda on Sundays which are fabulous and much, much better than the Vic Market.
Melbourne's charms are mostly hidden, if you stick to the tourist recommendations you'll be doing lame things like Captain Cooks cottage, which is pathetic. The city is 'famous' fot its arcades and laneways, which apparently give it a 'European feel. Try and find the Block arcade if you can and Royal Arcade as well as Degraves Street.
What's also fabulous about Melbourne is it's shopping strips.
Lygon Street, Carlton is the heart of the italian quarter and full of restaurants etc. Chapel Street, Prahan is high end shopping. Brunswick Street, Fitzroy is full of gorgeous quirky little shops and fabulous cafes (I can highly recommend the breakfast burrito at the vege bar!) as is Smith Street, Collingwood, atlhough Smith Street is slightly grungier. Bridge Road, Richmond has tonnes of factory outlets and bargains.
I second the recommendation for the Healesville Sanctuary, I went for the first time in June as was pleasantly surprised - the fires didn't get that far down and from what I could tell all the animals were there. It's all native Australian animals, so very good if you want a close up look at all the cuddly and not so cuddly ones. The platypus display is awesome as is the birds of prey show.
The great ocean road is a must and I recommend driving yourself, so you can stop whenever you feel like it. Apollo Bay is a great little spot, good cafes and very safe swimming beach (not that you'll want to do that in the Southern Ocean in September!) and the view from the pub at Wye River is unsurpassed.
Have fun!

57
Hannah
Aug 24, 2009

I'm a Pom who's been living in Sydney for nearly three years (and will never go back!). I live in Kirribilli, someone mentioned it above, and am also happy to do guided walks if required - I notice no one's mentioned the Manly-Spit walk, maybe because it takes three hours and is quite a hike through the bush, but it's got superb views of the harbour and you'd never believe you're so near the city. Lots of gorgeous little beaches to stop off at along the way. You can also walk from Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach, a lovely harbour beach - this walk goes past Chowder Bay, which someone else mentioned, and takes in Georges Head, another fabulous harbour view.
My boyfriend's a Bondi boy and the beach there is spectacular but I think I prefer Manly, or Freshwater for surfing. Hire a car and drive up to Palm Beach (or you can even get the bus from Wynyard), only takes an hour and a half - it's where they film Home & Away! I saw Alf there once and nearly expired with joy. Gorgeous walk up to Barrenjoey Head up there, and on the drive back you can stop off at all the Northern Beaches and check out the surfers. If you stay the night up there you can go to the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park for more walking (can you tell what I mainly do in my leisure time?!). Food and drink-wise, Establishment is a nice bar, we hang out at the Opera Bar ALL the time, the Argyle in the Rocks is great, head to the Kings Cross area for clubbing (Tonic is ace), Mille Vini in Surry Hills is a lovely little wine bar, so is Bambini on Elizabeth Street. The Oaks is a North Shore classic pub (great pizza, try the barramundi), and Firefly is nearby, a nice wine and tapas bar. We usually follow that with Minskys, a cheesy piano bar (want to hear Advance Australia Fair followed by Piano Man followed by Country Roads? No? Why not?!). The Gum Nut Cafe in the Rocks does a cracking scone, and the Thai in this city is the best I've ever had - I second the Stir Crazy recommendation, also Bangkok Sidewalk in Kirribilli. Fab sushi here too - try the Sushi Train chain.
Shopping - Oxford Street's great, also try the markets, Surry Hills is awesome, and Bondi, Glebe, Kirribilli and Paddington markets are good too.
Museum-wise, I like the Hyde Park Barracks Museum and the Susannah Place Museum. The Museum of Sydney's pretty cool too.
Anyway I've got recommendations galore, email if you want more. Oooh and the chocolate cafe mentioned above is probably Max Brenner - seriously awesome. There's also the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place for more chocolate heaven. I could go on... but I won't! Enjoy! Sydney is just fabulous.

58
Hannah
Aug 24, 2009

god I'm so sorry, that was ridiculously long - also kayaking in Middle Harbour is amazing - there are mangrove swamps! I'll shut up now, but really, Sydney fun is my Specialist Subject.

59
Gina Baynham
Aug 25, 2009

I give the thumbs up for the Lindt Chocolate shop in Darling Harbour. A jug of pure melted chocolate to mix with hot milk at your own leisure, and then you get to lick the last drips from the bottom of the jug, heaven!

I am Irish, now living 2 hrs North of Sydney, very close to the Hunter Valley bursting with loads of fabulous vineyards. Tempus Two is a stunning location for some decadent wine tasting and then a leisurely lunch. Harrigans Irish pub with it's real fireplaces is a fabulous place to stay and sing away the evening. You have to try their Beef and Guinness Pie....

60
Elise
Aug 25, 2009

Hey Holly,
Have been reading you for ages and LOOOOOVE your blog. Have never commented before but I'm an Aussie girl, couldn't let this one pass!

I haven't been to Melbourne (yet) but I love Sydney, and second many of the suggestions, especially Taronga Zoo and one of the beach walks. Also, catch a train to Circular Quay station - a lot of it is underground and when you come back up above, the Bridge and Opera House are just THERE and the sight never ceases to amaze and make me smile.

Anyway, there are heaps of great suggestions for Sydney, but AMEN to Lorna for mentioning the Hunter Valley! I've lived here all my life and would definitely recommend it for a day trip or two - we have wineries galore and some fantastic restaurants and its only 2 hours north of Sydney (a fairly easy drive too). Feel free to email for any recommendations; my sister is a chef at one pretty-highly-regarded restaurant, and my best friend's parents' own another (both are in superb settings), so I can make sure you guys get looked after :-)
Also, Hunter Valley Gardens are lovely. If the flowers etc don't interest you, there's also a few really cute specialty shops (clothes, art, candles, lollies!!!!) aqua- and mini-golf, a restaurant, and a lovely grassy area that's awesome for sprawling out with a picnic and a good book. It's divine on a good day!
Oh, we have hot air ballooning too!

Some links to get you started if you're interested:
- Things to do in wine country: http://www.winecountry.com.au/InformationSheets/WC_InfoSheets.asp?c=282
- Restaurants: http://www.winecountry.com.au/InformationSheets/WC_InfoSheets.asp?c=1
- Wine Tasting: http://www.winecountry.com.au/InformationSheets/WC_InfoSheets.asp?c=302&...

Good luck! Whatever you decide on, I hope it's fabulous for you both.

61
Elise
Aug 25, 2009

Oh, props to Gina too ^ ^
Her comment wasn't there when I first read through!

62
soul-fusion
Aug 25, 2009

I haven't read through all of the comments so I apologize if I'm repeating anything. I spent a summer working in Sydney about 10 years ago (can't believe it has been that long, must go back !!) and these are the highlights I remember off the top of my head:

Toronga Zoo - absolutely one of my favorite zoo experiences anywhere. The zoo has its own island!

Koala Park - while (to my extreme disappointment) you can't necessarily get a photo holding one of these sleepy critters, you can pet them - although their eyes kind of freaked me out. There are also loads of kangaroos hopping around justing begging to be petted!

Botanical Gardens - gorgeous!

Shopping at the Queen Victoria Building

"Strong & Bitey" cheese - deliciously sharp with a witty name, loved it!

Blue Mountains - I lucked out here on my first weekend because the family I was staying with hooked me up with a free (!) tour with their nephew who conducted tours to the Blue Mountains. The only drawback? The tour was in Japanese :) I still had a great time with the 5 Japanese tourists who didn't speak English. It was an easy day trip from Sydney and I loved that we saw wild kangaroos everywhere the same as I might see deer in the mountains in the states. We went on some sort of sky tour somewhere that was fun but I don't know the name of it, did a brief hike and had a barbeque on a picnic blanket with kangaroos hopping around the perimeter of the field.

I also just loved wandering around Darling Harbour looking at the obvious sites - the bridge, the Opera House and The Rocks! And if you can manage to time it so there are fireworks over the harbour, GO! I lucked out with a spectacular show choreographed to Sydney's outdoor symphony concert. It was quite memorable.

The Aquarium!! Loved the room where the sharks swim over your head!

My only real disappointment was the science museum and I don't know if I was disappointed because it was my last day in Sydney or because most of the exhibits happened to be broken that day.

I should stop there because I'm sure if I keep thinking about this I could go on for ages - I loved Sydney and would go back in a heart beat. If you manage to squeeze in some time in North Queensland, I have some tips for that too.

63
Chloe
Aug 31, 2009

Sydney's very walkable. I loved that about it. While walking around one morning, we happened to pass by the Paddy's Market in the Haymarket (Chinatown) neighborhood. It's an indoor community market that's worth checking out, though tends toward the junky/cheesy stuff a bit. More memorable was the food court. I can't remember for sure now if it was upstairs in the same building as Paddy's Market or only nearby, but there was this insane food court full of every possible kind of Asian food. Go with your gut, but the ones with the longest lines were the Indonesian vendors.

For a fantastic breakfast, brunch, or lunch, I highly recommend you eat at Bird Cow Fish in the Surry Hills neighborhood. Make time to explore the abundance of design-focused and vintage shops in and around that area. The lunch my husband and I had at Bird Cow Fish was one of the tastiest meals of my life. The food was the opposite of elaborate, but the flavors were crisp and clear and so rich. They're about sourcing seasonal and sustainable ingredients and it shows. The place is really popular with locals, apparently. For a dining experience that's amazing but in a completely different kind of way or if you want to treat yourself to some of the most elaborate and delicate concoctions, go to Quay. It's near the Opera House in the Central Business District. The place has fabulous views. I should warn you it's a bit stuffy the way some really fancy restaurants are and the decor is straight-up 80s. The meal was pricey, but we thought it was worth it because of how impressively unusual the combinations and preparations were on every plate that came out of the kitchen. The wine pairings were the best I've ever had, too. Of course, if you are in Sydney on the days they are open and you have only one fancy meal in you AND you have money burning a hole in your pocket, do try to get a reservation at Tetsuya's. It regularly makes it onto lists of the best restaurants in the world. I'm still kind of traumatized by the fact I didn't get to eat there while in Sydney, but they simply weren't open on the few days we were in town.

I wish I'd spent more time in Sydney to give you other recommendations, but it seems you have plenty already! Have a wonderful honeymoon!

64
christina
Sep 01, 2009

Oh you should go to the moroccan soup bar in Melbourne. So incredibly delicious! There isn't any soup. Just amazing vegetarian food, including the 'best dish EVER'
Just make sure you get there early and be prepared for a wait(there are some nice bars nearby). It is worth the wait. I promise :)

65
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