Apr 07

Sydney Harbor Bridge Pylon

Last week I wrote about climbing Sydney Harbor Bridge, but I know it’s not for everyone. So this week I will write about a great alternative if you can’t do it due to time, money or fear. You can climb the bridge pylon for great views of the city and learn a lot about the bridge too.

Admission to the pylon is only $13.00, much cheaper then climbing the bridge. There are 200 steps inside the pylon and museum. There are a couple levels of museum, telling the story of building the bridge from the politics of it to the actual building of it.  You wont have to walk all 200 steps at once.

At the top there is a walkway where you can see 360 degree views of the harbor, it’s amazing and windy. It was really windy the day I was there.  The only disappointment was that it is not open at night for night views of the city, that would be amazing. If you’ve done the bridge climb and have the time, I would still recommend doing the pylon. You can learn a bit more about the bridge and take your own pictures of the harbor. It might be even better if you did it on a day with different weather so you can get a different perspective on the city.

Mar 28

YHA Sydney on The Rocks

When I mentioned to some friends that I was looking for a hotel in Sydney, several recommended the YHA on The Rocks. I was a bit hesitant when I saw it was a hostel, but after seeing how much a hotel room in Sydney goes for, I decided to give it a try.  I’m not the most experienced hostel stayer, but this was the nicest one I’ve every stayed in.

 

Here’s what I liked:

  • The hostel had character, it was built on a dig site and that made for the theme of the public areas.
  • Rooms were clean, spacious and well designed
  • Luggage lockers had power outlets so you charge devices while you were out.
  • Beds had individual lights with power outlets, which also served as a nice little shelf for one or two personal items
  • Great location, not to far from Circular Quay, Downtown or Darling Harbor.
  • Great view of Sydney Opera House
  • Food was cheap

There was one thing I didn’t like about the hostel, and it’s not insurmountable.  It’s noisy.  I swear you could hear every step people made on the staircases and with some large youth groups, there were a few loud mornings.  So bring earplugs.  Otherwise, I would absolutely stay here again.

Jan 29

Melbourne vs Sydney

Even before I went to Australia I had heard of the rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney, each trying to one up the other and be the biggest and best city in Australia.  Heck, the rivalry is so bad that they had to pretty much create a city to set the capital in.  But which did I like better?  The answer isn’t clear cut, and really depends on what I’m looking for in a city at a particular time.

Weather:

Ironically the weather was better in Melbourne for my trip. There was a touch of rain and some chilly temperatures.  But I got stuck with several days of terrible rain when I was in Sydney.  The Blue Mountains were actually just gray fog.  If I’m being objective, the weather should go to Sydney because it’s normally warmer and more consistent.  But I know what I saw so I’m a bit on the fence.  Fine, I’ll still give this to Sydney.

Transportation:

In Melbourne I felt like I didn’t need transportation as much, which is a big plus for the city.  When I did though, it was a positive experience and it wasn’t too expensive.  They also have a free trolly.  One down side is that the airport/hotel shuttle service did not have as extensive hours as you would find in other cities.  The transportation in Sydney though was expensive!  Depending on where you lived, it could be quite slow too.  I had heard some negative things about Sydney’s transportation system, and I suspect it was right.  I’ll give this category to Melbourne.

Sights Within The City:

I have to give this to Sydney, there is so much to do there from art galleries to history museums (Sydney had a richer history too.) Climbing bridges, towers, all sorts of cruises and ferries, the list goes on and on!

Sydney

Beaches:

Since there isn’t really much in the way of beaches in Melbourne and Sydney has heaps of them…

Sights Outside the City:

I’ll admit this isn’t fair to Sydney, but since the Blue Mountains were fogged out they lost.  But Melbourne does have the Great Ocean Road, which is FABULOUS! And the Phillip Island Penguins.  I’m not sure Sydney had a chance at this and I didn’t even get to the wineries.

Melbourne

Cost:

Neither, they’re both fecking expensive.

Food:

I’m giving this to Melbourne since I seemed to have a couple better meals there and it seemed like their was a wider variety.  But I was also sick and lacking an appetite for part of my time in Sydney.

Sports:

Hands down this goes to Melbourne, I think the only sport in Sydney was surfing.

City Feel:

They both felt like cities, but I felt a bigger impact in Sydney from the people who commuted into the city to work.  And I don’t mean that in a good way.  Melbourne had a more natural relationship with it’s workers coming into and out of the city.

Shopping:

It was too expensive in both cities!  But, Sydney felt a bit more like walking into any fancy mall in NY or Las Vegas.  Melbourne felt a little more local and a more middle class, instead of big expensive stores designed to make an impression.  I hope that makes sense.

So which is my favorite city? Honesty, if I had to choose a place to live, it would be Brisbane.  It was more reasonably priced, the size was more manageable and although it was a city, it had more of a small town feel to it.  If I was going back to visit, I could find stuff to do for a few days in each city. I think I liked the vibe in Melbourne a bit better, but wouldn’t mind a couple days at the beach in Sydney either.

Brisbane