Sunday, January 12, 2014

Pre and Post Cruise Accomodation

I posted this information for those who were joining the 3rd Unlock the Past Genealogy Cruise in Sydney last year and, as it is useful for those joining the 4th cruise, I am reposting it with a few amendments (in italics).
I received a message from a genealogy contact " XXXXX has asked me for suggestions re accommodation in Sydney before and after the above cruise. His preference is downtown prior, and maybe near the beach after. As I am more QLD'er than NSW re this thing, if you could offer him some suggestions, I would appreciate it."

Rather than just sharing my ideas with one person I said I would put some thoughts in a blog post that may benefit others.

For someone with an unlimited budget who has never been to Sydney there is one standout option. It is the Park Hyatt on the Harbour Foreshore in Sydney Cove in the shadow of the Harbour Bridge. I stayed there once for a birthday treat and it was awesome, I was able to repose on the bed, sip my Moet, and look across the bay to the Opera House while watching the Sydney ferries coming and going. An added bonus is that this is just a short walk from the pier where the ship berths.

The view I had from my room at The Sydney Park Hyatt
The Sydney CBD is dotted with hotels with most of the major international chains being represented. I have stayed in a dozen or more city hotels and serviced apartments ranging from 3 star to 5 star and they 
have been fine except for a couple. A free city shuttle bus, Route 555,  is available during the day, 7 days a week so wherever one is in the inner city one can avail oneself of free transport. The main areas for hotels are the CBD, Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and Railway Square. There is more chance of getting a view in Darling Harbour or around the Quay but also note that the City Centre is a few blocks uphill from Darling Harbour. I would give the area around Railway Square and Kings Cross a miss. B&Bs can found in inner city suburbs a few kilometres out of the CBD. 

Sydney City (Darling Harbour is bay at bottom left)
From Google Maps

For the budget conscious traveller theTravelodge Sydney Hotel is a 3 star property that I have stayed in. It is down a side street just a couple of hundred metres from Hyde Park. The Travelodges at Wynyard and Phillip Street are also conveniently located. 

The cruise departs before the Sydney Mardi Gras Festival commences on the 12th February and schools resume at the beginning of February so there is no need to book a hotel way in advance. There are many hotel rooms in Sydney.

Tripadvisor has reviews of Sydney Hotels but check where the hotels are on a map before proceeding with a booking so as to avoid the more dodgy areas of the city.,, and similar sites offer great last minute offers. Audrey Collins, on her recent trip to Sydney, snagged a room at the Radisson with a partial view of the Harbour Bridge at a really great rate. 

When the cruise returns to Sydney the Mardi Gras will be in full swing so hotel rooms may be in shorter supply. The problem with Sydney beaches is that many of them, especially the Northern Beaches, don't have good hotels nearby. B&Bs can be found in beachside suburbs but I don't know about these. It depends on how far from the city the visitor wants to be. Coogee is a nice safe little beach (not good for the serious surfer) not too far from the city (8 km) that has a Crowne Plaza and Medina Serviced Apartments. There are plenty of restaurants and the Coogee Bay Hotel Beer Garden is a local institution. Nearby world famous Bondi isn't too well served with accommodation. Manly on the northside has both a surfing beach and a harbourfront beach. Cronulla in Sydney's south (29 km from city) has a beautiful beach and some good accommodation options. 

I haven't really given any clear advice in this post just a few pointers. I would be happy to field questions about Sydney from any other genealogists who are joining the cruise.

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