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Oct 24, 2004: Do You Know Sydney?

WARNING: narcissism ahead

If so, a question: if you were going to spend three summer months in Sydney (January through March), what part of the city would you choose? And which web sites would be useful to help find housing remotely?

MJ, Iris and I are fairly certain we'll be skipping out on the harsh Michigan winter, and based on a short visit a couple years ago, we think Sydney would be a wonderful place to warm up. But we don't know the city's neighborhoods, and would appreciate any advice on where to live and how to find short-term furnished housing.

We're a non-smoking couple with a one-year old. We don't plan on renting a car, preferring walking and mass transit. We often work in cafes. Parks close by would be a definite plus, as would places to shop for food. Oh, and we'll need a crib as well as other furnishings.

Where should we be looking? Might we still find a summer sublet at this point, or should we be looking for executive housing? Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated; please forward this on to any Ozzies who might have some ideas.

NOVEMBER 3 UPDATE: On second thought... For a number of reasons, we won't be going to Sydney after all. Too many details to arrange, too little time, concerns over traveling such a distance with a wee one... But at least if we decide to do this in 2006, I now know where to look for some great advice. So many of you gave me wonderful suggestions both here on Bloug and via personal email, and MJ and I really appreciate it. I'll be contacting you and thanking you individually if I haven't already, but right now, my iBook is on the fritz and I have no access to my email archive. Argh.

Thanks again!

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Comment: Mary Nolan (Oct 25, 2004)

Hi Louis,

I moved to Sydney from Ireland nearly 2 years ago and love it!

I have lived in a few different suburbs here but if you are going to be here during the summer I would recommend somewhere near the beach. The main beach suburbs are in the East (Bondi, Bronte, Tamarama, Coogee etc) and the North (Mosman, Balmoral, Manly etc). Eastern suburbs are younger and have lots of backpackers, Northern are mostly people aged from late 20s upwards and a bit quieter. Most of the beaches have grassy areas for picnics with BBQ's and there are a lot of reserves/national parks within easy reach of the city.

Another option is Paddington - not on the beach but near a big Park (Centennial Park) and close to the city.

Most rentals here are unfurnished but it is still possible to find furnished accomodation. The main website most people use is the online edition of the real esate section of the Sydney Morning Herald - http://www.domain.com.au - another newer website is http://www.realestate.com.au

Sydney Festival is on in January and is worth checking out - a lot of events sell out so it is worth booking in advance. The program launches on Nov 4th - see http://www.sydneyfestival.org.au

There is also open air cinema near the Opera House and in Centennial Park.

If you need any further information about Sydney, please let me know.



PS I am just starting out in my studies in multimedia and find your blog a great resource in my quest to learn more about IA.

Comment: Joe (Oct 25, 2004)

...and if it's just Australia and not necessarily Sydney, I'd recommend Adelaide as a great city--kid-friendly, amiable, and not over-touristed. Plus, you're mighty close to the Barossa Valley & McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Peninsula wine regions!

Comment: Fredy Ore (Oct 26, 2004)

Hi Louis,

If you are planning on visiting over summer, have a look at the N.S.W. Tourism site - http://www.visitnsw.com.au, which can possibly help in events, places to visit, accommodation, and other things around Sydney.

Incidentally the Domain and RealEstate sites that Mary suggested are pretty good. But check out, http://www.citysearch.com.au also for events and things happening locally in the Sydney area.

If you come and visit, it would be great to organise a meet with local IA's here in the Sydney & Canberra area. Iím sure everyone would love to meet up.

Take care


Comment: Lou (Oct 26, 2004)

Mary mentioned the northern suburbs (Mosman, Balmoral, Manly); any thoughts on how they compare?

Also, what about living in the city center? Too noisy/expensive?

Comment: Donna Wheeler (Oct 27, 2004)

Hi Louis,
Margaret Hanley - and old friend and colleague - forwarded your question to me. I have lived in Melbourne for over ten years, but I am a Sydney girl and still spend time there as often as I can.
The northern suburbs and beaches are pretty and, as Mary mentioned, family-friendly and less touristy. They are also more conservative (this may be because it's where I grew up), and if one of your must-haves is good cafes I'd steer clear of the North Shore.
As well as the beach suburbs Mary mentioned and Paddington, harbour suburbs such as Rose Bay and Watson's Bay are beautiful.
Sydney's CBD, unlike Melbourne, is noisy and not very atmospheric outside of business hours. If you want to be close to the city and don't mind apartments and an urban feel, you could look at Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay or Rushcutterís Bay. It's around a 20 minute walk to the city from these suburbs and they are serviced by bus and train, as well as buses to several beaches. Plus there are a couple of waterfront parks.
Another alternative would be Balmain, which has pubs and cafes and a weekend market, and itís a quick commute to the city on the ferry. It's in the inner west, so is far from beaches, but there are parks and water all around.
You should still be able to get short term furnished rentals via one of the sites mentioned above. There are several companies that hire all manner of baby equipment (I think one goes by the name Hire for Babe). If you need help finding them let me know.
Hope I havenít confused you further. Happy to answer any questions you may have.

Comment: A Thornton (Oct 28, 2004)

Hi Louis
I'd suggest stay away from the Northern beaches area as it doesn't have the cafe life you're after and it takes ages to get anywhere on public transport.

You didn't mention a beach, but it's so nice to be near one in summer. So I'd suggest Coogee Beach(less crowded than Bondi). Summer rentals are still probably available.

It has the cafes, parks, beach and summer living you're after, but it's not so great for public transport. There are buses, but no trains.

Sydney in general has pretty terrible public transport.

Manly is another good option. It has plenty of cafes, a great family oriented beach, shops, and a fast ferry that goes straight into the city. It also has plenty of short term accommodation. Its main drawback is that it's a little touristy.

There's Balmoral Beach, an upmarket, quiet family oriented area which has a few nice cafes and a lovely sheltered beach. Transport (as always) is the main drawback.

Balmain would be a great option if you're not fussed about being near the beach, for the reasons Donna mentioned above.

I work at The Hiser Group, Australia's leading user-centred design firm, and we'd love to chat with you further...perhaps you'd like to consider a lunch, a weekend at our CEO's beach house, and even a little mentoring work with us while you are here? :-)

Please email me and we can discuss!
Alinta Thornton
Senior Consultant, The Hiser Group

Comment: Deborah Ehrlich (Oct 30, 2004)

Hello Louis

The most important thing to remember about a Sydney summer is the humidity and the heat. The prevailing wind is from the north east (warm, moist). You want to be in an ocean-side suburb for the afternoon breeze.

Southerly busters are storms that **lower** the temperature; westerlies are hot, dry, bushfire weather. Therefore in choosing housing, 'harbour views' could mean a blistering western exposure. Specify a north easterly aspect, and bedrooms facing south or east are better.

Staying on the north shore means having to cross the Bridge all the time. It's good for a 'bush idyll'.

Why would you want to work in a cafe when you could be on a patio with a great view? Or surrounded by trees? And if you are bringing computers - the power here is 240volt.

The school holidays are mid Dec to Jan 31 - rates may drop once the kids are back. New year fireworks are at 9pm (for the littlies) and midnight for grownups.

For visitors with children, you may want to consider a serviced apartment. http://www.apartmentservice.com.au/ or

For example, the curiously named Medina Apartments http://www.medinaapartments.com.au/ (no-one in the company is from the middle east!!) -- the ones at Coogee (beach), Double Bay (harbour - an expensive area) and Paddington (yuppie) are OK - the rest in the downtown area. Serviced apartments also offer weekly or monthly rates.

another site:

this motoring service could help

Coogee Beach is about 10 mins on the bus from my place or a 30 min downhill walk. Note: Coogee has a few San Francisco type hills.

There is a mid-sized shopping centre at Randwick (12 min walk from my place) with a mid-sized Coles supermarket (part of the Coles-Myer group - largest retailer in Australia), a fabulous fruit and vegetable store (across the road in another small centre) and **lots** of buses which start/terminate at Coogee beach. These go to Central Railway (access to western suburbs), the downtown & quay (north), and Bondi Junction (east) which has a brand new mall with cinemas and many stores you would recognise.

This site gives lower rates http://www.globalstore.com.au/sydney.htm
Any apartment built by Meriton has paper-thin walls.

Try googling on 'self contained holiday sydney' with au domain for a different way of saying 'furnished'.

or 'holiday accommodation agent Sydney' where I found http://www.justlisted.com.au

Here is the website for the buses (map) http://www.131500.com.au/bus_map.asp
Click on the pink area and it will download a map.

Particularly check out this map (yellow = big). http://www.whereis.com.au/whereis/home.jsp
For example, there is a serviced apartment block on Alison Rd - a ***very noisy*** main road.

email for more help
Deborah Ehrlich

Comment: T Radichel (Jun 22, 2005)

Ozpitality offers furnished hotels, hostels and apartments for short term or long term housing at Sydney (Collaroy Beach) and Manly Beach. Some accomodations include free wireless internet access, laundry, airport shuttle, and other amenities. For cheap, budget or low cost accomodations at a clean, safe facility check these places out. They are family owned and operated and very nice places. Manly Beach House is a quiet place good for business travellers on a budget and people looking for a quiet, home-style atmosphere. The hostels offer more excitement for students and anyone on a budget in need of lodging with nice ammentities and atmosphere.

Comment: T Radichel (Jun 22, 2005)

Here is the URL for the sydney and manly beach hotels, hostels and apartments mentioned in the last post:


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