Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sydney: Holidaying at Home

And now, the Global Economy Crisis Strategy for Vacationing ... "homecationing". A week in one of the world's greatest cities, and without the expense (and drama) of overseas travel. Yes, we "did" Sydney.

For non-Oz readers and others who might be interested ... what did a family of 4 do, and at what cost? Stayed at the Meriton Kent, close to the heart of the CBD, in a 2 BR self-contained unit for AUS$160 per night. (Found via Wotif.com)

Amusements included the Star Wars exhibition (AUD$60 for family ticket) and Luna Park (free entry, pay for rides ... but with the McDonald's vouchers cost was $24 per kid for an Unlimited Ride Ticket). Travel around Sydney was AUD$10 for "Family Fun Day" ticket - all trains, buses and ferries.

Shopping? Paddy's Markets (open Saturday and Sunday) was 2 blocks away. A few good buys, but often cheaper in downtown stores - especially clothes. Don't miss dropping into Elizabeth's Bookshop. Well worth a detour (and no, I don't get a commission).

Eating out? Hotel was 10 metres from "the Spanish Quarter", two blocks from Chinatown, a leisurely stroll to Darling Harbour.
  • Best Value meal was at "Mamma's Kitchen" (Italian) in Liverpool Street; total bill came to under AUD$80.
  • Worst meal? "Capitan Torres" (Spanish); total bill was over $140 - which included a plate of bone and gristle that was supposed to be the house specialty, Suckling Pig. [After registering two complaints - once with the waiter, then again with the owner - they reduced the total bill by AUD$9.00.]
  • Worst value? 4 x Burgers,4 x cola and 3 x chips at The Rocks; total cost AUD$78.00. Really.
  • "Cold Rock" Ice cream x 2 was AUD$12.00, but well worth every cent - so I was told by the kids.
And being Sydney, lots of free stuff, sightseeing-wise at least - particularly around the harbour and Circular Key. Brilliant saxophonist near Customs' House; didgeridoo playing near the Museum of Modern Art (yes, Sydney has one of those too). Unfortunately the bagpipe player outside City Extra meant we changed our lunch plans for that day. Don't get me wrong, I really like bagpipes, particularly when the piper has a repertoire of more than three tunes.

Come, see, enjoy. And what's even better, for cheap!

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