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Tell me about Sydney, Australia

Everyone I know who has visited there simply RAVES about it. They just love it. It has everything: Culture, restaurants, bars, gay mecca, nice people, fabulous weather, beaches, blah, blah, blah.

And judging by the pictures I've seen it does seem quite beautiful, clean, and civilized.

But then last week I had dinner with an old friend who has lived there for 20 years or so. He just kind of shrugs his shoulders and says, "It's OK."

So tell me, Australians. What's so great about Sydney compared to other large Australian cities?

by Anonymousreply 12311/14/2013

Sydney is more superficially appealing, but most people find Melbourne classier.

by Anonymousreply 107/12/2012

Every metropolitan city in Australia is a gem. Sydney is simply the largest possessing more than its fair share of natural beauty, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide and Perth are cities few ever forget. I'm a Hobart lover myself, but there's no place in Australia that is less than fascinatingly beautiful. Even the smaller towns like Cairns and little Port Douglas, Alice Springs, Broome and Darwin are wowsers in my book.

Australian cities are clean, modern and I describe them as being like American cities we Americans wish our cities really were.

by Anonymousreply 207/12/2012

As with all countries with large populations of ethnic immigrants, there seems to have been a backlash against Asians with the huge influx in recent years.

Although reared in the US (and having been an English Lit major in college), I would suppose that I speak relatively good, unaccented English. However, among other humiliations, I was asked on several occasions whether I spoke English by the (what is the Aussie term for it...) hillbilly behind the convenience store counter and called a chink by the driver of a passing car - while I was standing at the corner waiting for the light to change.

Aussies are NOT all the laid back and easygoing folk that crocodile dundee would have you believe they are...

by Anonymousreply 307/12/2012

How true about asian influx. Australia had a white Australia policy for years. It was one of the few places in the southern hemisphere where whites predominate. Pressure from other countries hell bent on homogenization got politicos in Australia to change their policy, but they couldn't change the population of Australia to accept it. Too bad is all I can say.

by Anonymousreply 407/12/2012

r4 - just to clarify...

"Too bad" that they changed the policy away from whites only, or

"Too bad" that the Australian population wouldn't or couldn't accept it [the non-whites]?

by Anonymousreply 507/12/2012

It's a country of drunkard, foul-mouthed bigots. Then you factor in the abundance of poisonous plants and animals, and you have a toxic cocktail mix of harsh land and vile people.

Australia is like hell on Earth.

by Anonymousreply 607/12/2012

I went to prep school there (Cranbrook).

As a teen, I thought it was a wonder city. It is so beautiful.

I've been back and haven't changed my mind.

by Anonymousreply 707/12/2012

We have the biggest wankers.

by Anonymousreply 807/12/2012

15m Australians vs a BILLION Chinese. Frightening.

by Anonymousreply 907/13/2012

Actually it's 1.5 billion Chinese. And 1.3 billion Indians.

by Anonymousreply 1007/13/2012

I'm going to Australia on vacation at the end of the year for a month. I'll be visiting a friend in Melbourne for a week, then we're going to Sydnet for about a week, up to the Gold Coast + Brisbane, and Whitsunday islands.

Is there any one thing about any of these places I shouldn't miss?

by Anonymousreply 1107/13/2012

I lived there forva year and couln't wait to get out. It was living in the San Fernando Valley in the 70's....racist, misogynist, facist government...homophobic except for tiny pocket of Urban Dwellers. Don't go.

by Anonymousreply 1307/13/2012

Sorry to hear about your experience, r3. While there certainly are more than a few ignorant racist Australians (encouraged by conservative media pundits), I hope you don't think we all feel that way. Sydney's a great city - beautiful, bold & brassy - but it can be a bit flashy & superficial, not to mention overpriced. Melbourne fancies itself as much more cultured and is all the more pretentious for it. It's still nice though. Sydney's gay scene has diminished somewhat since it's peak in 1990s but there's still plenty for the gay visitor to see and do. A city's a city, however, and if you want to see stuff that's more uniquely 'Australian' you need to leave the cities and experience some of the natural beauty on offer, whether it be the reef, the tropics, the alpine regions, or the red centre.

by Anonymousreply 1407/13/2012

I lived in Sydney for more than 10 years. It's gone downhill ever since the 2000 Olympics.

The main street(George St) has gotten filthier and a lot more violent. Muggings and drunken brawls are no longer confined to the red light district(Kings Cross - and even this area has become 10x worse). The gay areas(Darlinghurst/Surry Hills) have been completely taken over by obnoxious straight thugs and bridesmaid parties out to make fun of "fags" every Friday and Saturday night.

People used to be able to brag about the year-round sunshine but they've had miserable rainy summers the last few years. Once you take away the good weather that Sydneysiders have become very dependent on, the city really is stripped of around 90% of its charm.

If you're only visiting for a few days, then like most tourists, you'll be lucky because you'll only see the good parts(the harbours, the Opera House, the bridge, the beaches, some nice restaurants, day trip out to Blue Mountains, etc.) and have fond memories. It is definitely one of those "nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to live there" kind of places.

I've heard some people describe Sydney as like a pathetic Los Angeles wanna-be, and Melbourne as a desperate London wanna-be. Sadly, I think there's a lot of truth in those sweeping generalisations.

by Anonymousreply 1607/13/2012

If you have a baby don't take it whit you to Australia there seems to be a dingo infestation that like to steel babys

by Anonymousreply 1707/13/2012

I lived in Sydney for 8 years and also couldn't wait to leave. It's a strange place. The city has an incredibly rich mix of Lebanese, Thai, Korean and Chinese culture but all it seems to add up to is some interesting food. Once you get past the beaches and some good restaurants it is, as others have said, solidly mainstream and dull.

On the other hand, it's the most aggressive city I have ever visited. I went back for a holiday in 2007 and over a 2 week period saw 4 fights, was abused by addicts almost every day and witnessed endless squabbles. I also got told off a lot; don't walk here, don't smoke there, don't do this, don't do that. No wonder everyone seemed entitled and wound up.

by Anonymousreply 1807/13/2012

r11, don't miss the Great Ocean Road, as a day excursion from Melbourne. Rent a car and spend a day driving along the southern coast. It is well worth it and one of the most memorable experiences of my trip.

by Anonymousreply 1907/13/2012

[quote]I also got told off a lot; don't walk here, don't smoke there, don't do this, don't do that. No wonder everyone seemed entitled and wound up.

Or you know, maybe you just read signs well?

by Anonymousreply 2007/13/2012

Don't know about Sydney, but Melbourne seems a bit less welcoming to some communities than the San Francisco it aspires to be.

by Anonymousreply 2107/13/2012

To say Melbourne is a San Fransisco wannabe is absurd. They are NOTHING alike. Sydney. Born and bred here. Advice-don't travel more than a kilometre inland. Beyond that is just a sea of lowbrow suburbia that you'd find anywhere. Stick to the coast and it's very pretty. Culturally, it's a wasteland so don't expect much in that department.

by Anonymousreply 2207/13/2012

Everything closes far too early. Forget about going out unless it's a Friday or Saturday night.

by Anonymousreply 2307/13/2012

Australia is certainly not a gay friendly country.

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has single handedly waged a war against full equality for Gays ever since the day she took office. As she is considered the left wing in Australian politics.

Racist white Brits love Australia. If you ever want to know which British public figures are racist, look for the ones who gloat over Australia, it is like the secret racist handshake.

by Anonymousreply 2407/13/2012

OK, here's the download. SYDNEY: Stunningly beautiful in parts (mostly near the harbour and beaches), and breathtakingly ugly in others. Began as a convict town and retains an aggressive fuck-you utterly hedonistic live-for-today sense of impermanence, and the culture of a beach town. In olde Australianese it's a "larrikin" town. It's a city where money screams its bloody tits off. Sydney has no shame, and doesn't give a fuck about anything or anybody. There's a much quoted line from the play Emerald City which was about it: "No one ever discusses the meaning of life in Sydney: they're too busy working their way towards a waterfront." The only conversations are real estate and sex, in that order. You can reinvent yourself in Sydney, which is why crims love it. As for the gay scene: in the 70s and early 80s it had a vibrant gay ghetto. AIDS mortality wounded it and rocketing real estate values and integration killed it stone dead. For a while there wasn't even a leather bar in this city of 3 million! Apart from the period of Mardi Gras the gay venues are halfway to terminal and the attitudes of gay Sydney unspeakable. If you don't have a face or body you will be resolutely ignored. There's no more body fascist city anywhere on the planet. The phrase "no pecs, no sex" used with reference to Sydney's gay scene isn't a joke: it's the law. Weather: lovely spring and autumn and winter, but Sydney's summers are pretty awful due to oppressive humidity and the literally blistering sun. On a beach you can severely burnt within 10 minutes. Consequently, most everyone looks like shit after 30. The positive aspects is the thrilling sense of hedonism, the sensuality of the city (in summer with the frangipani blooming and everyone stripped, it's a hot sexy place) ,the pulse of the city, the ravishing beauty of the harbour and surrounds , like the inner city suburbs of Paddington and Mosman and Watsons Bay, a former fishing village with zillion dollar cottages. It's kinda like Key West and it's a 15 minute cab ride from the heart of the city. Don't miss. Another wonderful walk is the one at the link. Sydney can be dazzling, but after 5 years I was very very very happy to leave. Great place to briefly visit though.

by Anonymousreply 2507/13/2012

"dingo infestation that like to steel babys"

Oh, dear, Oh, dear.

by Anonymousreply 2607/13/2012

Bed bug capital of Australia

by Anonymousreply 2707/13/2012

A cross between Tampa and Dallas.

by Anonymousreply 2807/13/2012

I've been to Australia three times and spent time in Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide, and Perth. All were cleaner than cities in the U.S. I found the people to be friendly, even to strangers. Public transportation was easy for getting around.

I once flew from Perth to Sydney and was amazed at so much wilderness area - with no signs of roads or human habitation.

by Anonymousreply 2907/13/2012

All I know is that I LOATHE and HATE those Outback Steakhouse commercials. The guy with the severe Australian accent makes my ears bleed!!

"Troy aaahwuhhh jeeeewseeey suhloyyyyn stuyhk weeeeth jumbay shreeeemp!"

Omg, it's horrendous! I want to shoot my television when that commercial comes on.

by Anonymousreply 3007/13/2012

As an Aussie - who was born and raised in Sydney but now resides in Brisbane - I find some of the responses here a little over-the-top...

Maybe they grate tho', because there's a little kernel of accuracy in even the most damning of opinions expressed - however much I'd hate to admit it!

But here's the thing: it's impossible to genralise about the Oz experience - obvioulsy so much depends on where and when you go, what you see - what your own personal interests are! - and who you meet and interact with...

Sydney's a big, international city now. It has the best and worst of everything - and if you've got money - then you can have access to the best. Same with any big city anywhere in the world.

As a tourist, you'll probably stay in the city or inner city - and there's plenty of stuff to do. Plenty of great food - and enough 'cultural' pursuits to keep a tourist happy for a bit. Lotsa pretty places around the harbour, and a big-city gay scene. No one on a time limit is gonna have much interest in exploring the suburban sprawl that surrounds the centre. I've been to Manhattan several times - yet don't think I've travelled to the boroughs expect for a coupla brief visits to Park Slope and Williamsburg. Maybe that's my loss - but didn't have enough time to do all the things I wanted to do as it was...

Do remember: Our dollar is at record highs against the greenback atm - so don't expect bargains. I remember Yank freinds visiting just a few years ago were getting almost two Aussie dollars for a USD - and they revelled in staying at five star hotels and going to the best restaurants and kept telling anyone who'd listen how fantastically cheap it all was - whereas now it's pretty much parity.

So it'll seem very expensive!

So yeah - I love traveling and would love to spend some more time living away in North America or Europe for a bit - but always love coming home. There's good and bad everywhere - but in the long term, I really think I'm very lucky living here.

Oh - and R7: >>I went to prep school there (Cranbrook).

So how true is the old Sydney maxim: "If you can't get a woman - get a Cranbrook boy" ? You used to hear that a lot back in the day - but I always assumed it originated from other snarky state & private school kids who were just a bit jealous of you all - LOL!

by Anonymousreply 3107/13/2012

Thanks R19! I have 2 days planned right now to do that drive, stopping along the way at different spots (national parks, wineries, etc.). I'm looking forward to driving on the other side of the road.

Re: everyone else... it's funny hearing people say that some areas are great and other areas are terrible. Isn't that pretty much how any major city in the US is? I live in LA and sometimes it's only a matter of blocks that separate 'nice' from 'shit hole'. Maybe I've lived out here too long and am just used to that.

by Anonymousreply 3207/13/2012

R25 has it right, including the gay fascism.

by Anonymousreply 3307/13/2012

If Florida were a country, it would be Australia

by Anonymousreply 3407/13/2012

I've been there numerous times over the years, as well as every other major city in Australia except for Perth. I'll agree with R29: almost everyone I've encountered there has been exceedingly friendly, and I say that as someone who grew up in the U.S. South and is used to hospitality. The analogies between Sydney and L.A. aren't entirely unfounded, though Sydney is MUCH less superficial IMO, and while I wouldn't necessarily compare Melbourne with London, it's unquestionably the most "European" city in Australia, both in terms of culture and architecture.

That said, Australians can be extremely insular and most definitely racist, probably in large part due to that insularity. By no means is this a generalization that should be applied to all, but you'll likely see more blatant racism there than you would in, say, New York or L.A. (which is not to say those cities aren't also horribly racist in ways, particularly given how ghettoized both places are, but you rarely hear racial epithets being used in public). Again, it depends who you hang out with; much as with in the U.S., better educated people who've traveled a bit are generally liberal, but the "rednecks" in both countries are pretty behind the times.

I *completely* disagree that Sydney is any more body-fascist than any large U.S. city. Muscle queens want to fuck other muscle queens: that's how it works pretty much everywhere, and Australia is no exception. There are still plenty of people to meet, in both countries, who *don't* subscribe to that fascism bullshit and are entirely pleasant and unpretentious to hang out with.

The only big downside these days is the extremely weak US dollar, which as noted used to be worth nearly two Australian dollars but is now a fraction of that amount. Nearly everything is pricey there, as a result, though not as expensive as London or certain cities in Europe.

by Anonymousreply 3507/13/2012

Is there really a town called Porpoise Spit?

by Anonymousreply 3607/13/2012

No, but there are towns south of Sydney which are spitting image. Like Kiama: famous for it's....

by Anonymousreply 3707/13/2012

Sydneysiders, like New Yorkers, are totally self absorbed. They have an expression: "If you're not living in Sydney, you're camping out" and they genuinely believe it.

Sydney is highly stratified by money, but unlike many other cities like NY where real estate wealth can be somewhat hidden, what it buys is always in your face. If you are blond/blue you can live in the Sydney suburb of Mosman. And if you Romney rich, you can wake up to paradisial views like the one at the link. Which is why Sydney doesn't give a fuck what anyone else thinks.

by Anonymousreply 3807/13/2012

The difference between the body fascism of Sydney and the body fascism of LA etc is because Sydney is so small (the gay scene is basically one street), there's little to no diversity.

EVERY gay bar or store here is skewed to generic tanned muscle bunnies and the gym junkie standard, at least overseas there are more subcultures and places to escape them. Not a great place to be for an awkward teen coming out or for anyone gay with half a brain.

If you're a 40 year old going through the gay mid-life crisis of non-stop gym, drugs and sex and pretending you're in your 20s, you're in heaven.

by Anonymousreply 3907/13/2012

[quote]The difference between the body fascism of Sydney and the body fascism of LA etc is because Sydney is so small (the gay scene is basically one street), there's little to no diversity.

Almost true. There's a less mainstreamed gay culture in the suburb of Newtown. However, if you like beards and bull rings, skinny pale guys, or long hair, Sydney is not a place to be. It's mostly tanned/muscled/ mass-culture/homogenised gays. There's startlingly few hipster, leather, or alternative gay people than you would reasonably expect in a city of its size. Berlin it definitely ain't! Is it because it's so expensive a city that only professional types can afford to live in the inner city these days? I don't know. I do know that an absolute shitload of the gay ghetto moved to north to Brisbane and regional Queensland (and a smaller proportion south to Melbourne) seeking a slower pace and better quality of life when it all began to fall apart. And they still do if their jobs don't hold them there.

There's an excellent book 'Whatever Happened To Gay Life' which interviewed English gays who'd moved to Sydney in search of the sun sea drugs sex lifestyle, and how it had it had delivered for them. It's not a cosy city, and as it only has a beach culture, it can seem very hollow despite the startling scenic beauty which delivers every day.

Like any great city, Sydney can work for you if you're well on your way to your first million and/or have a strong circle of friendships. Without one or the other, it can be quite alienating.

by Anonymousreply 4007/15/2012

Typo: "how it had it had delivered for them" = HADN'T delivered for them.

by Anonymousreply 4107/15/2012

those Aussie lifeguards really know how to fuck

by Anonymousreply 4207/15/2012

The FIRST thing I think of when I think of Sydney!!!!

by Anonymousreply 4307/15/2012

Sydney's beaches are a lot like England's beaches, except for the hot weather and sunshine.

by Anonymousreply 4407/15/2012

What is worthwhile for a tourist to do in Sydney? There seems to be hardly anything in things-to-do lists that aren't just staring at the harbor or various beaches. Other big cities in the world have lengthy lists of sites, attractions, museums, etc. If one were to spend a few days in Sydney is there anything to do to fill the hours other than wander the streets or look out your hotel window?

by Anonymousreply 4507/16/2012

Museums...yada yada...theatres....etc.etc....landmarks and monuments....blah blah.

They're all there.

We hope you have fun, Mary @ R45, but really, who can be bothered planning your holiday for you?

Alright -to shut you up - go to White Rabbit Gallery, one of my favourites (and it's free!). It is a private collection of contemporary chinese art (see link).

I'm feeling generous so here's another idea: go for a walk around South Head (the southern opening of Sydney Harbour). You can get there by bus or catch a ferry from Circular Quay to Watson's Bay. Watson's Bay is also the home of a well-known seafood restaurant (Doyle's) and a pub (Watson's Bay Hotel) which has a beer garden with Harbour views back towards the city.

Now stop bothering me!

by Anonymousreply 4607/16/2012

Is NZ a better place to visit?

by Anonymousreply 4707/16/2012

[quote]Is NZ a better place to visit?

Only if you've never been to Switzerland, Bavaria, or Norway.

It like those with less people, no culture, and no nightlife: a place you need to see to realise you didn't need to see it.

Enjoy.

by Anonymousreply 4807/16/2012

Is there a specific area of Sydney I should try to stay besides just " by the coast"? I'd like to be in a good area, walkable to sights (opera house) and preferably near some gay nightlife.

by Anonymousreply 4907/17/2012

Surry Hills is very handy to good restaurants and gay nightlife. Also Elizabeth Bay or Potts Point are good for that. Sadly, Sydney's gay-specific nightlife has declined quite a bit since its heyday due to the huge shift to online hookups - people don't need gay-only bars anymore so there are a lot less of them. Good mixed bars proliferate instead.

The "centre" of the gayest area of Sydney is Taylor Square, Oxford Street, so use Google maps to see if your preferred accommodation is walking distance to that. Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay are a mile or so from there but are closer to the Harbour and not too far from downtown Sydney as is nearby Rushcutter's Bay - the Vibe Hotel in Rushcutter's Bay is pretty good (Surry Hills is close to the city "proper" as well). Darlinghurst and Woolloomooloo are also good choices though I'm not sure how many temporary accommodation options they have (though I haven't looked lately).

Newtown has its own (smaller) gay nightlife but its a little further from downtown (and further from the Harbour)

by Anonymousreply 5007/17/2012

Thanks mate!

by Anonymousreply 5107/17/2012

Hi Helen Reddy @ R51!!

by Anonymousreply 5207/17/2012

licking a fury bubble arse lifeguard yum

by Anonymousreply 5307/17/2012

When you get beneath that cheery, cheesy "g'day, mate" bullshit, Aussies can be a nasty bunch. Xenophobic, two-faced, petty, racist, thieving, homophobic.

And most of the ones I've met were not terribly well hung. And they weren't exactly wrestling me to be on top.

Kiwis, on the other hand, are really rather kind for the most part. And I find them hotter as a result. Plus one guy - a farmer no less - had a huge cock and was perfectly happy to top or to bottom.

Worked for me.

by Anonymousreply 5407/17/2012

I really loved New Zealand but made the mistake of spending a couple of days in Auckland. Except for a handful of really good restaurants and the harbour (if you're into sailing), the city is an absolute dump. Fortunately, a 30-minute ferry ride away from it is a beautiful Waiheke Island. The South island was breathtaking.

Also spent a good amount of time in both Sydney and Melbourne. Sydney is one of those cities like Rio which simply takes your breath away even before your plane lands there. However, I found Melbourne to be more livable and with more to offer once you scratch the surface.

by Anonymousreply 5507/17/2012

So I'm thinking of spending a month there from late February to march. I will be there for the gay mardi GRAS. Anyone have any experience with this or have any tips to make it awesome?

by Anonymousreply 5608/01/2012

Lots to do in Sydney. The Botanic Gardens, climb the bridge, jet boat to Manly Beach, walk to Bond Beach, Darlington and Kings Cross, Sydney Tower, The Rocks has numerous galleries, take a day trip to Canberra and the War Memorial Museum, take a day trip to the Blue Mountains, the Australian Museum (natural history), Australian History Museum at Macquarie U., the Opera House, Australian National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbor, Hyde Park Barracks Museum, Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Museum of Sydney (local history museum).

by Anonymousreply 5708/02/2012

Queen Victoria Building (mall, transit center)

by Anonymousreply 5808/02/2012

I love the DL. We can find hate anywhere.

by Anonymousreply 5908/02/2012

Sydney is a little rough edged because it has a history of social conflict which the rich are trying to suppress, but so far with less success than in Melbourne. Conservatives control all the media and can give a very skewed view of society. The life of the city is in its innumerable unions, clubs, mutual aid organizations, street level stuff. That's the core of the resistance to the Global Cynicism, and Sydney has a large heap of it. Don't be put off by the fact that they will view you, the globetrotting tourist, as part of the problem. Go to the right areas, meet the right people, and Sydney will charm like few places on earth.

by Anonymousreply 6008/05/2012

Typical commute

by Anonymousreply 6108/06/2012

Are the Whitsunday islands a worthwhile trip from Sydney? (or is a trip to the Great Barrier Reef while in Cairns enough?)

by Anonymousreply 6210/15/2012

If you can wait until January, I can tell you. I'm doing a month-long trip to Australia and the Whitsundays are the last part of the vacation. The plan is to take a flight over the Great Barrier Reef, play around on Whitsunday island, stay on Hamilton Island and do lots of snorkeling & scuba.

by Anonymousreply 6310/15/2012

I've been to Sydney several times as well as Adelaide, Perth, and Hobart. The hospitality of the people in Sydney was almost overwhelming. We could barely keep up with all the invites to events, cocktails, dinners, etc. Every time we departed Sydney, we needed a few days to recover. It seems to be this planet's friendliest city.

by Anonymousreply 6410/15/2012

Did you find this on a website, R57?

[quote] Lots to do in Sydney.

[quote] The Botanic Gardens

A quick hour walk.

[quote] climb the bridge

Need to be fit and costs several hundred dollars.

[quote] walk to Bond Beach

Bondi? From where?

[quote] The Rocks has numerous galleries

But are any of them decent or just for tourists?

[quote] take a day trip to Canberra

3-4 hours each way, by car

[quote] War Memorial Museum

Australian War Memorial?

[quote] Australian History Museum at Macquarie U.

A highlight of Sydney?

by Anonymousreply 6510/16/2012

[quote]Is there a specific area of Sydney I should try to stay besides just "by the coast"?

I stayed in the Woolloomooloo area. It was an easy walk to the Opera House, downtown stores, museums, theatres, bars, etc. Easy public transportation in and around the city and over to the beaches, including boats across the harbor. Sign up for a 1-day bus tour to the Blue Mountains - including a stop at Featherdale Wildlife Park where you can walk among the kangaroos and hold a baby koala.

by Anonymousreply 6610/16/2012

I can recommend the Whitesunday Islands. I spent a week there back in June 1998 after finishing my Uni finals in Melbourne. June is low season there going into winter in Australia so the place was practically deserted which was kind of nice and it wasn't too hot either. Hamilton Island is nice but there isn't much to do after the first day of hitting the mini golf,zip lines go carts. However the island had the best soft serve icecream shop in Australia so it had that going for it. The restaurants on the island are good but pricey and all are affiliated with the resort. Shopping is also pricy. If you want to stay busy, plan day trips off the island as there is only so much to do on Hamilton unless you like chilling at the beach. Boats leave every morning for the Great Barrier Reef. I found the Reef a bit disappointing myself as the famed coral had been mostly beached white due to warming ocean temps and this was back in 1998 so I can imagine that it has degraded further by now. I also found the snorkling a little unnerving as they were doing these shark attack rescue similations right where I was swimming. Yes there are sharks in the water with you and these huge grupers. For someone who had only swam in pools before, seeing all this stuff around you is surreal. The view from the boat on the return trip from the reef was very preaty and straight out of a movie. If money is no object stay on Hayman Island, it is a 5 star resort and with customized menus. So if you have a favorite dish they will make what ever you want for every meal during your stay on the island. The ultimate in living large.

by Anonymousreply 6710/16/2012

US Navy boys love it. Apparently, many an Aussie girl likes them and is angling for an escape because the men there are misogynistic and chauvinists. This info is from some Naval personnel.

Too many poisonous snakes, spiders and sea critters for it to be appealing to me.

by Anonymousreply 6810/16/2012

Australia is hard right wing. Even their closeted Lesbian female PM Julia, actively campaigns against Gay equality.

by Anonymousreply 6910/18/2012

[quote] Even their closeted Lesbian female PM Julia

She's not a lesbian (thank goodness!).

by Anonymousreply 7010/18/2012

Got fucked my two hunk jock lifeguards one night in Sydney both had huge cocks and pounded me for hours

by Anonymousreply 7110/19/2012

I lived there for 6 years and it's probably one of the worst managed cities in the civilized world, full of corruption and nepotism. Things that need to get fixed take decades before the responsible politicians tackle the problem. It's a city full of natural beauty and the people responsible for urban planning completely messed it up.

by Anonymousreply 7210/19/2012

Things to go and see - The Rocks, Darling Harbour (esp in the evening) Balmain, Kirribilli, Cockatoo Island. Queen Victoria Building, Customs House and the museums are great and often free of charge, with usually great and interesting exhibitions. All the Parks are worth visiting, Botanical Garden, Centennial Park, Blackwattle Bay Park with a restaurant visit in Glebe, The Fish market in Ultimo. Coastal walks from Marouba to Bondi are great for walkers and hikers (during the week as it is too busy on WE) Beaches - Palm Beach, Marouba, Marley Beach and Garie Beach in the great Royal National Park.

by Anonymousreply 7310/19/2012

Can Americans move there and become citizens?

by Anonymousreply 7410/19/2012

You can go to school there and get a degree in Australia as an out of country student. That is probably the best way to go about the immigration process. First you have to be accepted into an Australian college or university, then you need to apply for a student visa through the AU consulate which is a pain in the ass. They mail you a little sticker to stick in your passport once they approve your application. The Australian government requires you get a TB X-ray and have a doctor forward a letter verifying that he looked at the X-ray and confirm that you don't have TB and you need to have a AIDS test done as well. The results of those tests will determine whether or not they admit you. Then you need to arrange for student housing connected with the school. Many people end up staying beyond their student visas when they expire. Also required is purchasing the Medibank Private Health Insurance (The National Health Insurance Plan) offered by the AU government.

If you graduate with a degree from a good school (i.e. Uni Melbourne, RMIT) you should be able to find employment in AU as a smaller percentage of the population has a college degree in Australia compared to the US. With a degree and a documented job your chances for obtaining citizenship would be pretty good. Keep in mind the whole immigration issue has been a contentious one in Australia. There were political parties at least when I was there such as the One Nation Party headed by Pauline Hansen who are pretty much white supremacists that were against all immigration. She has since been kicked out of power. There have also been many rows over for profit high education schemes that take immigrant's money and leave them with no degree or a worthless paper degree. The AU government has been cracking down on that to preserve the gold mine that is foreign student tution revenue.

by Anonymousreply 7510/19/2012

You don't get citizenship when you have studied in Australia. You always have to apply for a visa first, which means you are a permanent resident. After 2 (4) years you can apply for citizenship. 75 is talking BS. Standards in education, technical knowledge are lower than most European or even American countries, so I would not recommend studying in Australia, because the knowledge you gain is 20 even 30 years behind most other civilized nations. Also Universities often rip of international students with high study fees, but low educational standards. I would NEVER let my child get educated in Australia, esp not in the standard educational school system. Once they are old enough to go to college I would send them oversees!

by Anonymousreply 7610/20/2012

R76 is full of shit.

by Anonymousreply 7710/20/2012

What R77 said! R76 other countries may provide better education but their economies are not better off because of it.

by Anonymousreply 7810/20/2012

What's stopping China from just taking over Australia and populating it with Asians? How could Australia defend itself? It doesn't have a big military does it?

by Anonymousreply 7910/20/2012

r79, Keeping Australia white was a big part of McArthur's South Pacific strategy. That meant sending mega-divisions to be based there, and from there to begin island hopping towards Japan to rob the Emperor off a supply line that would allow an Australian invasion.

Obama just sent a division of Marines to Australia.

by Anonymousreply 8010/20/2012

Australia has five universities listed in the top 100 in the world by the Times Higher Education Rankings (with two of them ranked higher than NYU). Many well-known US institutions are ranked far lower.

Australia is a small country but bats way above its weight in education.

Again, I call bullshit on R76.

by Anonymousreply 8110/20/2012

Australian here. Born and raised in Syndey - now live in Melbourne since 2005 for work.

Wow! There is the most [bold]EXTRAORDINARY[/bold] amount of bullshit being posted in this thread. Full of incorrect information, misinformation and other stuff not even worth mentioning. Most of it's garbage so ignore it.

Whenever I get overseas visitors to Sydney I always do "my list". Everybody loves it. Do one of these things each day between rest days at the beaches;

- Sydney harbour day with the Rocks, Opera House and a ferry to Cremorne. Lunch and dinner in Sydney city.

- Day trip on the ferry to Manly and dinner.

- Day trip to Palm Beach and walk up to the light house then dinner at Avalon.

- Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte day trip walk with lunch, swimming then dinner. Take the 380 from the city. Start from Bondi then walk to Bronte and then back.

- Day trip on the ferry to Taronga Zoo the city backdrop is gorgeous.

- Day trip to the Blue Mountains.

My visitors always leave happy.

You're not coming here for culture. We don't have much of it. This is a young country but we do have art, museums etc. but they are not up to much in comparison to the Louvre or MOMA. However we have natural beauty, great food and wine, weather, nice people and hot guys...

Have a nice trip OP and let us know what you think after you've been. Your dollar is worth less than ours so it might be a bit expensive.

by Anonymousreply 8210/21/2012

For a Sydneysider you have the most ordinary recommendations for visitors. You can find all those in ANY tourist guide book. For great food I would send them to Adelaide, and honestly for hot guys I would send them to Paris. Australia has the most concentration of males which are badly dressed and have the worst manners I have ever encountered in a guy. Australia got over the financial crises easier than most countries because it is rich on resources and therefore very wealthy.

by Anonymousreply 8310/21/2012

If Australia has such great Universities why is the country so much behind most areas.

by Anonymousreply 8410/21/2012

I previously mentioned that there doesn't seem to be much to do in Sydney. When you look at lists of things to do there, they are all like the one at r82. Five out of 6 things listed are "day trips" outside the city. Usually you see day trips from big cities listed only after the top 10 or top 20 things to do within the city are listed.

Can you imagine a top 10 list of things to do in NYC that included Hoboken, Paramus, and Yonkers? I'm glad I split my upcoming time in Australia to spend more time in Melbourne and less in Sydney.

by Anonymousreply 8510/21/2012

R85 - What type of things are you interested in? What type of experiences are you seeking?

by Anonymousreply 8610/21/2012

[r84] The same reasons that apply to the USA. Some people are ignorant. No one can't help that. The Australian Greens party currently hold the balance of power in the Senate and the current government also has an alliance with them in the Lower House to be able to govern. I suspect hell would freeze over before that occurred in the US. On the upside we have access to free, high quality, health care, education and good social security and pensions. We also have a high minimum wage - it would be illegal to employ and pay someone $8/hr in Australia. That's why so many people can party like it's 1999 well into their 50's without a care in the world. It's also why Australians travel prolifically overseas. If you live in the cities (which on the whole are diverse, multicultural and dynamic) you can live great quality of life surrounded by interesting people with out too much drama - and you don't need to earn a fortune or live off a trust fund to do it - though that would be nice.

by Anonymousreply 8710/21/2012

r86, it's easier to state what I'm not interested in. I've traveled enough that I don't need to see anymore beaches, take anymore boat rides, or go out of my way to see any natural wonders. I want to see and experience what makes each city unique or special.

by Anonymousreply 8810/21/2012

Then you're very much coming to the wrong country/city R88. Australia is beaches, boat rides, and natural wonders! I'd change my plans if I were you.

R83 - yes they are ordinary but they work every single time. The question was about Sydney - not Adelaide or Melbourne. The thread is named "Tell me about Sydney, Australia" yes?

It sounds as if you all expect Australia to be Europe with thousands of years of architecture and art on show. It's not.

You guys asked what to do in Sydney and that's a great basic list. It's full of significant wow factors where you will experience Australian culture, food, scenery, beaches and famous lamdmarks.

We don't have anything much else to offer. Melbourne has the art and fashion you might enjoy.

I'd change your travel plans. You sound really prissy. Somewhere in Europe would be much better for you.

by Anonymousreply 8910/21/2012

I cannot figure out why anyone would want to make the 22 hour or 24 hour horrendous plane trip to Australia.

There is nothing in Australia that I would like to see.

Nothing whatsoever.

by Anonymousreply 9010/21/2012

And bogan R82/89's cuntiness comes out and proves why one will not have a good time in Australia beyond taking his quite ordinary guided tour.

Should be renamed from the lucky to the sucky country.

by Anonymousreply 9110/21/2012

[quote]We also have a high minimum wage - it would be illegal to employ and pay someone $8/hr in Australia. That's why so many people can party like it's 1999 well into their 50's without a care in the world.

If wages are higher across the board, doesn't the cost of living simply inflate accordingly?

by Anonymousreply 9210/21/2012

Whatever you say R91.

I'm from Church Point in Sydney and own a house in Williamstown, Melbourne where I now live...

But sure. I'm a bogan of couse...

There are some real bottom of the barrel idiots posting in this thread. I'll leave you all to it.

by Anonymousreply 9310/21/2012

Of course Australia is not Europe, how can it be. All the history that was present when the Brits came was destroyed and was not taken worth learning about or even conserving. Culture was not the first thing on the mind of the first explorers, and unfortunately is also not on a high agenda of the people responsible for shaping Sydney now. But not everything is bad and yes it is has a beautiful countryside, has great beaches (Marley Beach) and breathtaking natural features (Royal National Park)not better, but different than in other countries. Some of the museums in Sydney have great exhibitions and some of the art festivals like Vivid and Sculptures by the Sea are interesting, BUT sorry good food is not what Sydney is about. And the majority of guys are not hot AT ALL.

by Anonymousreply 9410/21/2012

R94 are you Australian? Sculpture by the Sea is on at Bondi at the moment. Bells Beach and Jarvis Bay are also amazing places to visit as are a thousand other places in Australia.

The question was about Sydney. Someone else posted accurately about Sydney's gay nightlife and I have included some day trips which visitors always rave about. Aparently they are too bogan for everyone. Sydney doesn't have suburbs like Hoboken, Paramus, and Yonkers. It just doesn't and that's because it's not New York and doesn't have the rich history of Europe.

I must admit I don't understand this thread. It seems you wanted to shit all over Australia - which is fine, but why not just say so and have fun with it?

Sounds like you all hate everything about Australia. Why plan a trip here or ask us about it if you hate it so much?

Seems a bit silly to me but there you go.

by Anonymousreply 9510/21/2012

Why visit Australia at all? There is no reason to go there.

People seem to visit Australia just because it exists, and for no other reason.

They also seem to visit because they have the very misguided idea that it will be exotic or different in some way.

by Anonymousreply 9610/21/2012

No [r92]. June quarter inflation rate for 2012 in AU was 1.2 percent. 3.4 for 2011 and 2.8 for 2010. It means low skilled/pay workers are able to afford the necessities of life and have a real opportunity at moving up the socio economic ladder into home ownership, business ownership etc. whilst having access to world class healthcare and education on their way up. Obama's on the money when he keeps pushing for healthcare and education reform and also a good social security program. Getting back on topic - Sydney's sister city is San Francisco and Boston is Melbourne's. It's a good comparison - esp. the Melbourne/Boston pairing. Sydney has lost a good part of its gay community 'hey day' over the last few years. The city feels more LA now (to me) but if you go during Gay Mardi Gras you get a glimpse of what was.

by Anonymousreply 9710/21/2012

I lived in Sydney for more than 7 years, some things are great some are terrible. It's by far not the greatest city in the world. It could be - which is the saddest thing about the whole situation. Some time ago an article in the SMH pointed out what it does have that other cities/countries don't have. Seafood was one of the great things pointed out. Yeah, it's the narrow-mindedness of a lot of Aussies that they are so insulated and do not/don't want to know what's going on in the rest of the world. Somebody said to me once "people here say - never heard of it, don't know it, so I don't need it. Pure complacency it's what drives a lot of people who come to life here AND Aussies (the more sophisticated ones)up the wall.

by Anonymousreply 9810/21/2012

[quote]Why visit Australia at all? There is no reason to go there. People seem to visit Australia just because it exists, and for no other reason.

Oprah told me to go...Oprah told me to go...Oprah told me to go...Oprah told me to go...Oprah told me to go...Oprah told me to go...Oprah told me to go...Oprah told me to go...Oprah told me to go...Oprah told me to go...Oprah told me to go...Oprah told me to go...Oprah told me to go...Oprah told me to go...Oprah told me to go...Oprah told me to go...Oprah told me to go...

by Anonymousreply 9910/21/2012

Australia is exhausting. Running away from crocodiles and fighting against boxing kangaroos leaves you no time for anything else.

by Anonymousreply 10010/21/2012

For all Sydneysiders present on this thread: does your city still have a great live music scene? How about the casino---is it as good as the one in Melbourne or different clientele? Also, are they still going to *finally* start on that massive metro/subway project that's been talked about for ages?

by Anonymousreply 10110/21/2012

Excellent list R82. I've enjoyed many of those places during visits to Sydney. I disagree about your culture comments. I've heard excellent performances at the Opera House and Sydney has some wonderful art galleries. I've also experienced outstanding concerts by students of the Conservatorium of Music.

by Anonymousreply 10210/21/2012

Well I am certainly looking forward to my trip (I'm R63). I'm visiting my friend in Melbourne, continuing on to Sydney, then to Uluru, Gold Coast, Airlie, Whitsundays and back to Melbourne. I leave in 2 months and will be out there for almost a month. I can't wait to see all of the natural wonders out there.

I've read Sydney is nice but Melbourne is nicer. We're really not in Sydney all that much though, other than to see the Opera House/New Years fireworks and some of the beaches. I *am* looking forward to the seafood and have stared scoping out some restaurants. The rest of the "Sydney time" will be spent in the Blue Mountains, Grand Pacific Drive, etc.

by Anonymousreply 10310/21/2012

If you're going to be there for Christmas, r103, go to one of the Carols by Candlelight outdoor concerts -- always a huge musical party and lots of fun.

by Anonymousreply 10410/21/2012

R104 I'll be in Melbourne for Christmas, probably strung out on jetlag because I'm arriving the day before. I do want to hit up a couple of wineries while I'm in Melbourne but haven't really narrowed it down yet. Are there any that are particularly enjoyable? I've done Napa and found I enjoy the smaller places who will take the time to talk to you rather than giant productions.

Also, are there any great seafood/sushi restaurants in Sydney or Melbourne you'd recommend? I live in LA, so we have ok seafood but I want to experience what Aus has to offer. I'm imagining it's phenomenal because, well, it's an island.

by Anonymousreply 10510/21/2012

adult book stores with "suckatorium" area were a lot of fun, as I recall. Some very cleverly created multi-tiered booths full of glory holes.

by Anonymousreply 10610/21/2012

R103, R105, I think your high expectations on everything regarding Australia is vastly out of proportion.

And already you are discounting the horrid, terrible aspects of the 22 or 24 hour plane ride.

I think you should cancel your ticket, take the accompanying penalty, and use the ticket for another destination.

by Anonymousreply 10710/21/2012

For R105: when it comes to Japanese restaurants in Melbourne, try to visit Yu-U. It's unmarked and on a tiny alley, right off Flinders Lane (the address is actually 137 Flinders Lane.) It is fairly small and reservations are essential unless you're eager to have your dinner at 6pm with the pre-theatre crowd.

by Anonymousreply 10810/21/2012

R103 has very suddenly changed his tune. He has no idea what he is talking about and no idea what he is getting into.

Upthread he stated:

"it's easier to state what I'm not interested in. I've traveled enough that I don't need to see anymore beaches, take anymore boat rides, or go out of my way to see any natural wonders. I want to see and experience what makes each city unique or special."

No at R103, he states that he can't wait to see all the natural wonders when upthread he said he wouldn't go out of his way to see natural wonders.

He obviously thought that Australia is like Europe. Really missing the boat.

And R103, not every city has 'special' and 'unique' things like Europe does.

by Anonymousreply 10910/21/2012

R109, you've mixed up two different people. I'm r88, and not r103.

by Anonymousreply 11010/22/2012

Does anyone know anything about the Y Hotel Hyde Park on Wentworth ave? Budget I know but is it in an ok area? I'm planning on spending 8 nights there in march.

by Anonymousreply 11111/15/2012

I'm going to be staying there in January, R111. I will post a follow up after my return to let you know.

by Anonymousreply 11211/21/2012

Great [R112], thanks! I'm booked there for 8 nights bc it was affordable and still seemed decent. Also since it seemed to have a "hostel" vibe I thought it might be good for meeting people since I will be traveling alone. Booked a private room though.

by Anonymousreply 11311/25/2012

R112 here giving my update for R111, I just returned from Australia today. I spent 2 nights at the Y in Sydney and it wasn't bad. The location is really good and close to lots of things, plenty within walking distance. The hostel itself is very big and open, clean. The staff there is very friendly and helpful as well.

I was in a shared room but didn't meet anyone while I was there. It wasn't so much of a social place except for at breakfast time. I stayed at another hostel on the Gold Coast and it was very social, filled with lots of gorgeous eye candy. If you have an American accent though, you will meet people.

by Anonymousreply 11401/16/2013

Thanks for the update on the Y. I'm scared to stay there 8 nights if it isn't social. Is there a bar on the property? What other hostels did ou stay at? Also what are some nearby sites or activities?

How was he gay scene in Sydney overall?

by Anonymousreply 11501/16/2013

R111 it could have just been the times I was coming and going too. I don't think there was a bar there but there are a few just a short walk away. The park itself is pretty nice and the opera house, harbour bridge, and botanical gardens are within walking distance as well. From the harbour, you can take a ferry to other beaches, do a tour, etc. The streets were full of people, shops and restaurants. The city itself is very clean and I always felt safe. Everyone there was very friendly and helpful. If you don't have anything in particular planned in the city, there are a ton of tour leaflets, etc in the lobby of the hostel. The staff can give you a map and tips too.

Take the bus to Bondi beach, it's gorgeous. There's a walk you can do down to Coogee beach from Bondi if you want too.

Gay scene was ok but tough to say because I was there during NYE, so LOTS of tourists. I love Aussie accents so every man there seemed hot.

After Sydney I went to the Gold Coast and stayed at Surfer's Paradise Backpackers Resort. That place was very social. They had a pool, basketball court, volleyball, big bar, bar hopping shuttles on Wednesday & Saturdays. During my stay, about 75% of the residents were male. Very cool vibe there.

by Anonymousreply 11601/16/2013

Wow. Some interesting and dumb comments here. My perennial fave is about flying for 22-24 hours to get here. I travel a lot to Europe and the U.S.A and do you know, it takes the same flying time, but I have never heard Aussies complain (or even comment) about that. Hope OP enjoys the visit. Lots of good things to discover, but, like anywhere, be careful.

by Anonymousreply 11701/16/2013

Where you go, OP, and what you do, is obviously your own business, but why are you only going to Sydney? There is so much in Australia besides Sydney (not to knock Sydney). If you are interested in history and architecture I would recommend doing the smaller towns in more states than just NSW (if you have the time and money). Australis's history is not always pretty obviously, but there are many remnants of the time around settlement and federation that are incredibly interesting and steeped in history, character and spirit, that might interest you. Whatever you do, and wherever you do go while you are here, I hope you have a ball!

by Anonymousreply 11801/17/2013

Ok, now that I've been to Sydney, I know that there is definitely stuff to see there. I'm not sure why the people of Sydney downplay what they have to offer, by encouraging visitors to leave the city and go look at stuff in the environs. I did make one trip out, to a beach, but that was just to take a boat ride and to see shirtless men, and not because there was anything there that was better than what is in Sydney.

by Anonymousreply 11905/04/2013

Sydney is a great city, but people want to see the country too.

I think part of the problem is expectations. Sydney has what 4.5 milion people in the metro area. It's not New York, but it compares very favorably to Boston or Detroit or Atlanta, American cities of comparable size. Most visitors approach it as a giant sized French Quarter, which it is not. The British diaspora are incapable of such a thing.

Melbourne is leafier and more planned...because it was the capital from 1901-1927 and most of the national bureaucracy didn't leave for Canberra until they were forced to in the 1970s. So it has that "bureaucrat" vibe designed in. You can even imagine yourself in "Mary Poppins" circal 1910. Sydney is older, more cosmopolitan, and certainly wealthier.

What you need to accept with good humour are assertions of working class pride and prejudice (Australia would be lost without it) accompanied by a very American glorification of body culture, novelty, corporate shilling, and shallowness. And lots of drink. Corruption and gangsters. In a way, it's like America in the early 1960s before the conservative rot set in but after people stopped thinking they could control the rich.

It can be blissfully delightful.

by Anonymousreply 12005/04/2013

Arriving in Sydney from the Tasman Sea provided our first view of one of the world's most beautiful harbors. There is much to see and do in Sydney for all tastes and ages. I left for just a daytrip bus tour to the Blue Mountains and a wildlife park. It was fun to hold a koala baby and feed kangaroos.

The people of Sydney can knock you over with their hospitality. When they hear an American accent, they make sure you'll feel welcome. Even if there's no performance that holds your interest at the Opera House, you can take a backstage tour that is fascinating.

On various trips I've been to many other places around Australia, big and small, but Sydney will always be one of my favorite cities on this planet (along with Salzburg and Istanbul).

by Anonymousreply 12105/04/2013

I really liked Sydney. It's a beautiful city. It reminded me of San Francisco in that it's much hillier than I expected. Very expensive though. Cigarettes were $20 AUD a pack!

by Anonymousreply 12205/04/2013

Suffering from cheap commercialism and a lack of cultural values. Every corner reflects political mismanagement.

by Anonymousreply 12311/14/2013
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