(this is an older post from 2007 and migrated to the new platform)
When you think of Australia, you must first start with Sydney! We pulled in early in the morning. Disembarkation was smooth – no complaints. As long as you waited for your time to be called, it was painless and smooth. However, in Sydney we did have to wait 30-45 minutes for a taxi. The lines were very long, but the pier crew worked hard to get everyone out quickly.
We stayed at the Marriott Sydney Harbour – very nice hotel centrally located in the Circular Quay area. It was a great location within 5 minutes walking distance from Harbour Bridge, Opera House, The Rocks, Botanical gardens and a dozen other great sites to visit by walking. I guess these giant bats are no longer at the Botanical Gardens, what a scary memory!
There is a ton of great restaurants, pubs and other places to eat and drink in this area. We even took a short visit to Darling Harbour and Star City for dinner and the casino in Sydney. Star City was very large, but not nearly as nice as the Crown complex in Melbourne.
Of course, we had to do the bridge climb which is a fun and amazing experience. Overall, Sydney is an amazing city that can take a week easily to fully explore.
There are a ton of low cost tours and options for getting around Sydney. Shopping is quite good in Sydney as well – prices are competitive with the US.
Make sure to also check out the day in Melbourne.