Things to do in Sydney in April

It looks like I’ll be taking a breather in Sydney (Australia, not Nova Scotia) from April 19 to 26. Having perused the previous threads (I’ll be buying the Lonely Planet guide tomorrow), was wondering:

  • Am I crazy to go there in April? (cheap flight)
  • good hostels to stay at in Sydney
  • good day trips within a few hours of Sydney
  • any cool stuff off the beaten track
  • any good concerts/plays/culture for those dates

FWIW I’m a 31 year old Canadian doc - single, male, straight. :slight_smile:

No way! Best time of year. Lovely, ever so slightly cool nights and early mornings. Crisp, sunny days. T-shirt or thin jumper/jacket.

There are loads of hostels and backpackers places in the Kings Cross area of Sydney (inner East). It’s also a red light district, but it’s much less sleazy than it was, so that side of things is relatively easy to ignore (unless you don’t want to ignore it). Kings Cross is close to many of the city’s hottest nightclubs, along Oxford St Darlinghurst (formerly very gay, today a lot more mixed).

To get to Kings Cross, there is a frequent minibus service from the international terminal that goes to all the hotels there. conversely, you can get the train from the airport. Change at Central for the Eastern Suburbs Line, and Kings Cross Station is three stops later. Or hop in a cab for A$15 - 20.

If you don’t want to stay in the Cross, there are other backpacker places in such areas at Surry Hills, Glebe, and Bondi Beach. Surry Hills and Kings Cross are the two handiest for transport.

There is a plethora of cheap and not so cheap hotels if you don’t want too many drunken English 20 year-olds.

Head West. See the Blue Mountains (Katoomba and Echo Point), and Jenolan Caves. You’ll need to either drive or book a tour. This will fill a day. You can also go to some of the coastal beach resorts, but then again there are beautiful beaches in Sydney, and it might be getting a little cool to swim. The vineyards of the Hunter Valley are cool if you are into tasting world class wines. This is about two hours or so north of Sydney. The Capital city of Canberra is a boring four hour drive to the south west, but if you’re into monuments and stuff, it’s okay.

Not that we’d tell you! :wink:

Yes there is a bit of that, but I’m not sure what you like. Go to a ghost town, travel with Australia’s last riverboat postman, ride a steam train, go hot air ballooning, inspect a power station or dam or a disused prison, lots of adventure
sports, historical tours, unusual museums…

I’m lucky to get to a movie once a year, so I dunno. :slight_smile: However, your hostel will be a great source of information when you arrive.

Crap. I spent twenty minutes researching and typing a massive, hyperlinked response which crapped out on me.

So the short version. OK. Yes, it’s a bad time of year. Cold, wet, school holidays.

The best hostel is the Sydney Central Youth Hostel. Look at whitepages.com.au for “YHA” and call the Railway Square listing.

Do a harbour cruise (although the Manly ferry is as good and a lot cheaper). If you want to see some caged up wildlife, get to a wildlife park or the zoo. If you want to see it in the wild, take a day’s walk through the Royal, Ku-Ring-Gai or Blue Mountains national parks (in that order). Canberra has a museum that scores 8/10 and an art gallery that’s about a six. The rest of Canberra is definitely a negative, so don’t waste time with the six hours’ return train trip. If you like wine, get to the Hunter Valley, but the wineries there aren’t exactly world-class - especially compared to South Australia’s Barossa Valley.

Sydney is deservedly well-known for its seafood. If you can afford it, get to Doyles’ at the Watsons Bay Hotel for lunch.

You’ll need to book, but a bridge climb (bridgeclimb.com.au - I’m not doing the link thing again) is worthwhile.

Check out citysearch.com.au to see the plays and so forth that are on at the moment. One that’s on at the Opera House and one at the Belvoir are supposed to be pretty good. I think the Sydney Symphony’s playing some time in that week and if you like acrobatics the Flying Fruit Fly Circus is in town at the moment.

If you’re interested, get out to see some football. On Friday 23rd is an international between Australia and NZ (you’ll have to book) or on Sunday you can see the St George Dragons play the Easts Roosters at the SFS or the Balmain Tigers play the Manly Sea Eagles at Leichhardt Oval. The former will be the better game, the second is at the better ground - they’re both about 15 minutes from town. There’s also some rugby union on - the Waratahs against the Brumbies on the Saturday, but that’s probably a sellout by now. There could be some aussie rules on that weekend, but you said you’re heterosexual so that will be of no interest to you whatsoever. I went to check on the AFL website, but I kept falling asleep before I could find out.

Forget about seeing “the outback” as a day trip. It’s like going to Montreal and expecting to see polar bears wandering the streets. And it’s really getting too cold to swim at the moment, so you’ll probably want to skip the beaches.

After 10 years on the outer, Sydney’s starting to get a live music scene back again. Pick up the “Metro” section of the Friday Sydney Morning Herald to see who’s playing where.

There was some other stuff I mentioned, but I can’t remember what it was. Oh, yeah - and the 26th will be a Public Holiday, so don’t count on much stuff being open on that day. Prepare for your flight back by Saturday at the latest.

I repeat - that was the short version.

The best thing to do in Sydney in April, is fly to Melbourne :smiley:

Hang on…aren’t your schools back by the 19th? Ours in Vic certainly are. :confused:

Apart from that, what Caught@Work said. :smiley:

School holidays for NSW are 9th - 26th April. Victoria is 3rd - 18th April. All the states differ slightly from each other.

Agreed.

Though Febuary is the best time in Melbourne. Great warm weather, all the brats are back in school and everybody is happy due to the sun.

There’s only one thing wrong with Melbourne - it’s still above sea level.

If you do want to see Melbourne, save some cash and just let Dr Kevorkian know that you’ve lost your will to live. I’m not saying it’s exactly like hell - hell, for example, is warmer. And there are things to do there.

Bollocks. The weather is beautiful, now and September are the best times of year. It is neither cold nor wet. Maybe you you got the Canadian Sydney in your search?

As for those advocating Melbourne, snort. There’s a reason it’s universally known as Bleak City.

I stand by April’s being a lovely time of year here. It’s crisp, fresh, and not to… well, anything. Provided it doesn’t rain, that is.

Actually, Melbourne might be worth a look. The airfares are dirt cheap, and it has a totally different feel to Sydney. It’s more of an indoorsy place. Lots of galleries, restaurants, and such. You’d need at least two nights there though, and even then you’d be sticking to the city centre.

Thanks for your views.

I think the first thing I will do when I get to Australia is out-drink all the locals.

Even if the weather is wet and incky it’ll probably still be better than here.

I’ll look into a quick visit to Melbourne of there isn’t enough stuff to do around Sydney and airfares are reasonable.

Funny enough, not only did I use to date a girl named Sydney, I also used to date a girl named April.

Shall I tell you the things I did in each of them?

If you’re into such things, April 25th is ANZAC day, a public holiday where we all reflect upon Australia’s military history. You’ll find the central business district basically shuts down as the various military groups parade down the main street.

Enjoy your stay in Sydney :slight_smile:

Max.

wguides provides a great browsable list of things to do for cities all over the world. Swimming with sharks is less than $100A.

Route69 provide catered pub crawls to good pubs. I have heard they are a hoot.

Ticketek have a calendar - click on it for events any day you like.

If you are here on Anzac Day you need to know about two up as I would recommend clubs as a source of cheap food. Registered clubs are everywhere in NSW. They are non profit organisations and the money they make from slot machines subsidises alcohol and food prices (among other things). It is common to get a meal for $6 or $7 at small local clubs.

The bridge climb is very overpriced (over $150) but some people don’t care. It also takes many hours and most of that time is preparation and waiting. You can go up one of the pylons for about $5-10 and I find that fun enough.

As to the weather, according to www.weather.com (the best source I know of) :

Mon
Apr 19 Partly Cloudy 74°/53° 0 %
Tue
Apr 20 Partly Cloudy 72°/56° 10 %
Wed
Apr 21 Partly Cloudy 71°/57° 10 %
Thu
Apr 22 Mostly Cloudy 71°/57° 10 %

this is about average for April - 73°/57°.

If you want to discover why Rugby League is the second best team sport in the world (after cricket) you would be well advised to enlist the aid of a Doper. Games are on from Friday night to Sunday night each weekend. Many pubs and clubs have giant screen coverage which would be cheaper than attending a match. Only sellout games have an atmosphere that warrants the cost. Actually on April 23 Australia play New Zealand in the annual ANZAC Day Test. This should be a wonderful introduction to the pleasures of Rugby League - fast, athletic and brutal all at once.

See you soon.

If you like looking at pretty pictures, the Art Gallery of NSW is showing the Archibald Prize at the moment. They’re portraits. It’s rather a big thing (probably the best known art prize in the country), so if it’s your sort of thing you might like to have a look.

I’d be inclined to disagree with this. Of course, the test would be an excellent introduction to football, but there is plenty of atmosphere to be found at a Sunday NRL game. It won’t be the event of a test, but there’s a real local madness sort of thing going on at a Tigers game at Leichardt Oval (for instance).

I second the Blue Mountains, Katoomba specifically. My wife and I took the train out there from Sydney and it was a nice little excursion. We actually spent the night though instead of just doing a day trip. Funky cafes and shops, fun pubs, good bushwalking (that’s hiking to us 'Merrikans). We went in May and the weather was glorious. Cool nights (not by my standards but our Aussie friends were whinging about it ;)) crisp clear days.

As for Sydney itself the aquarium is good if you are into that kind of thing. The ferry across the harbor to the Taronga zoo is a nice ride and the zoo itself was wonderful…easily walkable with a selection of animals from Australia and elsewhere. At the time (1999) you could pay a nominal fee and get a private guided tour of the zoo.

If you are into brewpubs as I am you will want to visit the Lord Nelson in the Rocks area of Sydney. Our Australian hosts had never been there before and they enjoyed it too.

  1. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s an amazing experience, not too pricey and very well-organized. Be advised you cannot take your own camera up there but you can buy the photos they take of you while you’re up there. But only go up if the weather is good. Need to book in advance, and check how long it takes befoe you embark (it goes on a lot longer than most people think).

  2. Go round the Opera House outside and inside. They do great tours, and the building gets more impressive the more you know about it. Need to book in advance.

  3. Go to the aquarium. One of the best, and you can take all the photos you want. The underwater walkways, where you can watch the sharks really close and from underneath, are out of this world.

  4. Go to a koala park. A few to choose from. Stroke a koala, see a sheep being sheared and try it yourself, walk among the kangaroos… what more do you want?

  5. Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves. It will take some planning to get there and back, especially if you want to do it in one day (I did), but it can be done and is well worth it. The Blue Mountains (and they really do look blue!) are spectacular and the Jenolan Caves are awesome, with very well-organised tours. Take as many of the tours as you can while you’re there. All are good, all are different.

  6. Ayers’ Rock. I was based in Sydney but organised a 24 hour jaunt to Ayer’s Rock / Uluru which went something like this: flew Sydney > Ayer’s Rock, checked in to hotel, took helicopter flight around the Rock, then did the ‘Sounds of silence’ evening tour, got up at 5am the next day to get on a coach and do the dawn tour, then did a walking tour around the base, then got back to my hotel and then back to the airport to fly Ayer’s Rock > Sydney. Worth every darn cent, especially the ‘Sounds of silence’ tour. Any travel agent in Sydney can sort out this whole package for you.

Sorry, I can’t speak very highly in favour of Taronga Zoo. There are many better zoos around, and it might better be named the McDonald’s Zoo given the level and intensity of sponsorship.

Good luck with that one!

Sydney is a very groovy place. The people are very friendly and there is lots to see.

A day trip to the Blue Mountains is well worth it. Beautiful scenery. Even the train ride is nice.

The opera house is a brilliant place to see a show or play. But well worth just seeing anyway, it’s fairly bland inside but awesome outside. The walk from the Opera house to Macquaries seat is lovely.

Get out on the harbour even if it is just a ferry ride to Taronga (which is a cool zoo if you like zoos).

Kinda touristy but cool anyway… hit the Paddington market. Really cool atmosphere and a nice part of town.

Should the desire strike (and it will if you try to out drink Aussies) Kings cross and Oxford street are worth wandering about/drinking in. (actually hostel wise there was a very cool hostel in Hughes street Potts Point/Kings Cross…damn I can’t remember the name).

Again very touristy but a stroll round “the Rocks” is nice and can be paired with a wander over the bridge (shhhhhhhhh don’t tell the Aussies but Sydney harbour is awesome even when just veiwed from the bridge). If you do get over the North Shore, Manly is a nice spot.

Rumour has it if you want to meet the best people in Sydney the Kiwis are all at Bondi. That is just a rumour though. It is a nice beach all the same.

Rose Bay is a very couth, nice part of town. Well that is if you like to just wander and admire old houses (I did).

Darling harbour is tourist mecca but it is still worth a look-see. The aquaruim is groovy! Platypusses are too cute! (as are little blue penguins…stolen from across the Tassie :wink: )

A few people mentioned Canberra. Don’t do it! Cold as shit and horribly boring.

As far as the time of the year. I don’t think Sydney actually has a bad time of year. It never gets too cold though it may rain on you.

Oh and the NZ part of ANZAC is New Zealand so hopefully that is remembered on ANZAC day :slight_smile: .

Just remember Ava Gardner’s take on Melbourne, when she was filming On The Beach there in 1959. She described the city as the ideal place to make a movie about the end of the world. :slight_smile: