Backdated. Posted 17/11/2014.
Day 4 — Sunday
Not much to report. Breakfast at Darlinghurst’s Jekyll & Hyde — which was a bit meh. M’s order came with unwanted eggs, which I adopted. Afterwards I realised it was one of the breakfast places I’d ruled out because some of its Urbanspoon reviews didn’t sound that great (though it had a respectable score of 89). I’d happily go back to The Bunker or The Royal, but not this one.
After that, packed up, got a taxi to the airport (M had a Cabcharge). The traffic was okay, though going the other way it was jammed up due to a crash.
Got to the airport in plenty of time. Checked-in the night before online, and used a boarding pass on my phone for the first time. Flight and Skybus/train back was uneventful (though I must remember to walk to the Qantas Skybus stop in future to save time) — back home by mid-afternoon Sunday.
Long-term blog readers would know I’ve taken a few short 4-5 day breaks over the years. I quite like that style of holiday.
You’re not going to see everything, but you’ll get a good taste of a place without having to organise things like laundry.
I like having a few things planned each day, but nothing absolutely essential, and the flexibility to change things around — add stuff if you find there’s extra time, skip things if it feels rushed.
I’m also a fan of the centrally located hotel. It’s good to have a base that’s close to the action, making it easy to stop back past there during the day if desired. Walking distance to a supermarket and cafes/restaurants is also a great thing for breakfast and dinner. Hotel breakfasts are often an option, but generally quite expensive compared to a local cafe.
In our case, this time the hotel wasn’t right in the CBD ($$$), but a very short walk from a nearby railway station that has frequent services — every 10-15 minutes every day until midnight — and as often as every 3 minutes in peak hour.
The transport system
Which brings me to some random thoughts on Sydney’s public transport system, which we used fairly extensively while visiting. (See here for the blog post all about the Opal card.)
The trains have impressive capacity. They never seemed too crowded, though our use was mostly outside peak hour, and I did see other trains passing that looked pretty packed. (It’s unclear if double-deck trains overall can carry more people, due to generally slower dwell times — see this ABC Fact Check article).
The rail network as a whole seems very staff-heavy compared to Melbourne. Guards on trains, and on one platform at Central in peak hour I counted about a dozen staff… to assist with boarding?
It’s a shame the City Circle direction isn’t shown on train maps. That would have saved me some time.
The buses are extensive, and at least in the inner-city, are impressively frequent. But as noted, they often duplicate train routes, and at key locations such as Bondi Beach, are clearly inadequate for the task they’re given.
The ferries were a lot of fun, and quite practical given the geography (the same reason they don’t really suit Melbourne) though I suspect some routes are much more economically viable than others.
The new(ish) numbering of all modes and routes is interesting, and makes it much clearer when trying to remember which route you have to take, rather than memorising a lengthy line name (eg line T4, rather than the Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line). At present there’s still a fair bit of confusion with inconsistent signage though. And it does result in some slightly confusing overlaps with F being used for ferries and freeways, and T being used for trains and airport terminals. It’s all about context I suppose, though a sign mentioning T1 and T3 at the airport that appeared to be pointing down to the trains threw me momentarily.
Airport rail is terrifically convenient, thanks to it being fast and frequent. It’s expensive given the surcharge, but even at that near-exhorbitant price, I’d rather have it than not. Being able to get to a major destination such as the airport without being at the mercy of traffic is a godsend.
The monorail is gone. I used to ride it as a visitor, but honestly, can’t say I miss it, and nor do I suspect does most of Sydney.
I really enjoyed Sydney… again. Can’t wait to go back!