I stayed at the Marriott Hotel overlooking Hyde Park. I left in September and I stayed in Australia for 2 weeks moving from Sydney to Brisbane to Cairns and back to Sydney. Visiting Sydney, Australia is an experience everyone should have. The climate in Sydney is very similar to San Francisco and I find the terrain is similar as well.
There is a Hyde Park in Sydney which is very similar to Central Park in New York City. From the park, you could walk down to the famous Opera House in only 20 or 30 minutes. I watched a lot of joggers do that run daily, but they cut through the Royal Botanic Gardens on their way. Once you get to the Opera House, I suggest taking a walk over the Circular Quay and to The Rocks. The Quay is a ferry terminal and the Rocks is known for it’s great shopping.
If there’s one thing I had to recommend doing there, it’s seeing the Blue Mountains. It’s about an hour and a half by rail from Central Station. I would compare the terrain to a green lush grand canyon. Please make sure you set a whole day aside for this. If you don’t want to miss anything, I suggest you plan to arrive by 10am. When you’re done with all the tours and sightseeing, make sure you catch the IMAX experience on the Blue Mountains located 2 blocks from the local rail station. Please make a note to bring warm clothes with you depending on the season. The difference in temperature between Sydney and the Blue Mountains could be up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. If you happen to forget to bring something, there is a Kmart in town where you can find cheap clothing and appropriate shoes for the trek.
When it came to dining in Sydney, I really didn’t go crazy. The indigenous food there is not very unusual, but I feel it’s comparable to New York City in terms of diversity. The Australian beer was very impressive, the VB (Victoria Bitter) brand was very cheap at many bars and one of my favorites. If you plan to eat on a budget in the center of Sydney, I can only suggest the few places I found. For breakfast, I would suggest the YMCA located near the south east corner of Hyde Park. The breakfast there was very reasonable and internet was cheap. Great place to relax and use the internet, instead of paying the hotels $20 a day for the service. For lunch, I would grab something on the go, something like a meat pie or a roasted chicken. You can the food underneath Woolworth’s on George St. across from Town Hall. Do yourself a favour and splurge a little on dinner with all the money you saved from breakfast and lunch. I suggest heading over to Darling Harbour or Chinatown for a sample of Sydney’s fresh seafood and Asian cuisine.