Sydney, Australia – June 1999
In winter, it seems as though Sydney goes into hibernation as compared to summer months when the streets and beaches are thriving.
The weather is definitely getting colder in the early morning and late at night. The sun manages to poke its head out occasionally during the day and when you’re in it, you may as well be in your cossie (aka bathing suit). When it disappears though, make sure you’re well bundled up in your jumper (aka sweater) because the wind can cut through your skin at times.
We all know the Olympics are coming to Sydney in 2000. Even though it seems far away, everyday occurrences remind us that it’s just around the corner. Aussies are getting inundated with scandalous news of bribery, loads of mascot paraphernalia, and ticket sales that have already started this month.
Weekdays are reserved for work and most people count the minutes to Friday night and the weekend. The city is thriving with people in suits and everyone is in a hurry trying to avoid all the construction sites (the city is in full force, preparing for the Olympics).
After work, everyone (and I really mean everyone) goes to the gym and it’s not uncommon to see people with their own fitness trainers. There is a huge emphasis on sports and fitness in Australia, which is something I found amazing. If you can do anything with a ball, you’ll fit in well here.
Weekends are filled with relaxing walks in parks, café hopping, and general catching up with friends or recovering from the night before.
I have to say that this was an eye opener for me. I’ve since emerged myself into the extreme party lifestyle and have had an unforgettable time. Sydney is very well known for their night clubs and party scene. If you’re into house music, there are a number of places to go. And if you don’t even know what house music is (like me when I arrived from a small city in Canada), then you’ll soon figure it out and learn to love it.
There is a new club called “Home” that opened up not too long ago.
It’s a giant place where I’ve had to resort to using a mobile phone in order to find friends.
Easily Sydney’s largest club venue, Home consists of three levels of bars, lounge areas and balconies as well as a mezzanine level. Footbridges link the bar and lounge areas to the open-air balcony supplying amazing views of the harbour. It has a capacity of 2,000 people, with the main dance area holding about 800, with a 10-metre-high ceiling.
This area undergoes a nightly transformation from waterfront anti-pasto bar to nightclub at about 10:30pm. There’s usually a large line-up on Fridays and Saturdays. The charge is $20 unless there’s an event going on. Sunday is “Gay” night and to be honest, it is a lot of fun if they let you in. Gays and Lesbians know how to have a good time here and they have the most energy I’ve ever seen.
Not all of Sydney’s nightlife focuses on the obvious. There are, of course, more subtle areas. Each one of the city’s nightlife districts has its own character.
If you’re young (or young at heart), head for Sydney’s many pubs which host rock and roll and blues music. Sydney’s rock scene is among the most vibrant in the world. The inner city districts of Newtown , Leichhardt, Annandale, Glebe, Chippendale, and the southern end of the Central Business District, are full of pubs with funky music. These districts also have fantastic restaurants and cafes…take you’re pick, you really can’t go wrong.
To find out what’s happening, pick up the free 3D magazine located in news agents and record stores all over the city.
Or you can check out where I work…
Known as one of Sydney’s most exciting hotel venues (although I may have to disagree at times), Slip Inn has earned both national and international recognition and has been the chosen venue for celebrities including Jack Nicholson, Kevin Costner, Samuel L Jackson, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and U2. (And it’s true, I saw Tom Cruise in there about 2 months ago!)
If you want more information about this area you can email the author or check out our Pacific Insiders page.
Sydney began its life as a penal colony and the famous district came to be known as “The Rocks”. It is the foundation place of Sydney and colonial Australia’s most significant historical site.
No doubt you’re familiar with the Opera House, but a page about Sydney wouldn’t be complete without a picture. So, here it is:
Most useless Australian Fact: the longest place name in Australia is Lake Cadibarrawirricanna, a salt lake in South Australia. Don’t try to pronounce this when you’ve had a few—trust me, it’s not impressive! I had enough trouble with Wooloomooloo! (weh-leh-meh-lu)
You should be ashamed of yourself if you don’t know where Australia is. However, you may be forgiven if you don’t know exactly where Sydney is. Sydney is the little yellow dot in the sea of red (also known as New South Wales):
The popular hostel areas are Kings Cross, Manly, Bondi and Coogee.
Kings Cross, Sydney’s all-night entertainment strip, is famous around the world and is in the same league as London’s Soho and Tokyo’s Ginza. It has bright lights and non-stop entertainment (if you’re into live sex shows, prostitutes and drugged out people). For this reason, make sure you’re not by yourself at night in the Cross. It can be a little overwhelming and dodgy at times.
Bondi and Manly seem to be the hotspots for travellers and definitely a must see.
But if you’re staying for a while, it’s nice to “do as the Aussies do”. I found Coogee Beach to be quite nice because it’s a little smaller and not as filled with tourists.
An added bonus is the Coogee Bay Hotel where everyone goes for cheap drinks and you get to BBQ your own meat.
The Airport Express Bus has buses running every 10 minutes to and from the airport. It’s an excellent service – very friendly and helpful. A two-way ticket costs $10. They generally tend to drop you off, or at least right near, your hostel.
Trains – There are eight main transport routes, covering most suburbs.
Ferries – Most ferries operate from Circular Quay.
Buses – not the most reliable system, but it does the job and there are sufficient routes.
Australia uses decimal currency – 100 cents = $1.00 (No pennies!).
Notes presently in use are $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 dollar bills.
Coins are 5¢, 10¢, 20¢, 50¢, $1.00 and $2.00. (They get quite heavy when they accumulate in your wallet – 50 cent pieces are the worst and 5 cent pieces, as far as I’m concerned, are like pennies – you never spend them).
I’m a 24 year-old female travelling from Canada. I’ve been in Sydney for almost 9 months and plan to stay as long as I can.
In the nine months, I’ve gone to Melbourne for the Grand Prix, experienced the “hippy”, laid-back side of Byron Bay, partied one night in Canberra (and that was enough), gone back to Canada for a visit and checked out New York on the way back to Sydney and spent a weekend in the oyster-mecca of Port Stephens (a must if you love oysters!).
I’m going to Bali for two weeks at the end of June and planning a skiing trip to New Zealand when I get back. So, although I’m not a traditional backpacker, I still manage to get the travelling in and see and do as much as I can.