Fly Scoot – a new budget of Singapore Airlines – paid S$272 return (Fly only). It has 3 fee versions, Fly, Fly + baggage, Fly with bagage and meals. I choose Fly only and have the option to buy meals on board at S$10 per pack. The leg room is wider than other budget airlines. Guess that is essential for flying 7 hours and 45 minutes. By the way Singaporeans need a visa to go to Australia, you can buy online or at the SATS counter at Terminal 2 for S$50.
Arrival at Kingsford Smith International Airport
There are 2 options to get to the city, rail or shuttle bus. I choose bus for A$28 return. Rail takes about 20 minutes by Cityrail to Platform 23 (Airport and East Hills) at Central Station. But Central Station is a maze and confusing for a 1st timer.
Monorail (monorail.com.au) goes around Darling Harbour, Chinatown, and George St to Sydney Tower Eye. Limited access.
Light Rail (www.sydneylightrail.com.au) goes from Central Station to Habourside Shopping Centre from here change train to Lilyfield.
Single bus trip in city is A$2.10 while single train trip is A$3.40. Sydney CBD is Prepay between 7 am to 7 pm Monday to Friday. Prepaid ticket must be purchased from a Transit booth or ticket agent – look for purple Prepay flag. This is very inconvenient for Visitors.
Choosing a place to stay
Two conditions I set, private bathroom and located within walking distance to most sighting places. If you want an apartment or rent a room, the site is www.airbnb.com. I check out the hostels or 3 stars hotel. Bed and breakfeast are located away from Sydney. Manage to find Central Private Hotel at 358 Elizabeth St (Surry Hills) behind Central Station. It is owned and managed by Koreans. Basic setup with refrigerator and bare kitchen utensils. No aircon or heater a fan is provided. Costs A$83 per night. Use Devonshire St Tunnel to get to Central Station, George St, City Market, Chinatown and Darling Harbour. Wifi is free. GST is 10% and most include it in their pricing.
At the airport I buy bus ticket (A$28 return) from Travel Concierge and book a Blue Mountains Tour (including one free ride at Scenic World) for A$130 for the next day.
The bus tour takes us through Katoomba to Leura for a stopover, from there to Echo Point to see Three Sisters rock formation and Jamison Valley. Next is Koomuri Aboriginal Centre – see aboriginal art and performance at A$10 – followed by Scenic World where you can experience rides on the steepest incline railway in the world and/or steepest cable car in Australia. There is also a Skyway crossing the valley.
Take a ferry from Wharf 3 for A$7 one way to Manly from Circular Quay. You can either walk to Cirular Quay from George St or take a public bus. Caution buy a prepaid ticket from 7 Eleven store or a ticket booth, bus driver does not accept cash. On the ferry you can see skyline of Sydney below.
Walk across the Corso from the bay to Pacific Ocean. Manly has 2.4 kilometers of beach facing the ocean and is good for walks or surf.
At Manly you can join a whale watching trip, take stroll along the beaches or have other holiday activities.
City Market or Paddy’s Market
It has 4 storey with traditional wet market selling fruits and vegetables at the George St sector and a dry bazaar at Ultimo Rd sector.
The Jazz and Blues Festival on a weekend draws many visitors at the Palm Grove and Tumbalong Park. Largely there are many eateries, See a show at Imax (8 storey high) will set you back A$83. A chinese Garden nearby charges A$6 per person. Darling Harbour is 10 minutes from City Market, Central Station or Chinatown.
Rocks is a historical place and 90 minutes walking tours are available at 23 Playfair St in the Rocks Tel: 92476678 www.rockswalkingtours.com.au. Places are retail or food and beverage.
BridgeClimb (www.bridgeclimb.com) at 3 Cumberland St is where you climb Sydney Harbour Bridge via catwalks and ladders.
Chinatown is at Dixon St about 50 meters long and its surrounding areas. Around it are other Asian eateries particularly at Campbell St which has turned into Thailand town. There are many Thai restaurants selling reasonably priced food, supermarket items and dessert or takeways. Japanese restaurants are scattered. The best Vietnamese pho is at Pasteur at George St by Great Southern Hotel.