Thursday, April 07, 2011

Sydney Surprises!

We got a bonus hour when at 3am on April 3 daylight saving ended and the clock was set back an hour to 2am. So we can wake up an hour later to leave for Sydney.

In my mind I imagine Sydney to be warm and unappetizing being a commercialized city. I could not be more wrong. From the moment we landed at its International (aka Kingsford Smith Airport) we discovered it was vibrant and alive. To be fair to Melbourne, the afternoon weather on April 3 was bright and sunny, unlike the dull and dreary morning weather in Melbourne on March 31. This certainly brighten us up a bit. But what made our day better was the Lebanese taxi driver who took us to our apartment in the city centre. The drive was just 20 minutes and it cost us just AUD37 (toll not charged) compared to AUD67 (toll charged) in Melbourne. But what changed our mood spoilt by JetStar was the excellent 3 room apartment at the Meriton Serviced Apartment World Tower at Liverpool Street. It was truly a 5-star accommodation excellent for families. As soon as the porter opened the door to 7302 (second highest floor and facing east and north east) we were impressed. We know our Sydney holiday will be better than our Melbourne holiday and it was confirmed.

We paid the envious rate of AUD 327 per night which is really low considering we are in the middle of city life where food and transportation is at our doorstep. I understand other nearby dates may cost a lot more so we are really fortunate to pay such low rates. As the name said, we had service, daily the towers and toiletries were changed/replenished. My only complain is no wireless internet service. Even the 'free' internet service in the room next to the reception was charged if guests unwittingly exceed the 30 minutes allowance which I did and paid AUD 7.50 for using it twice during our stay. The apartment has free heated pool, sauna and spa and gymnasium on the 61st floor but we were just too busy or tired or late to use them (services close at 10pm). I don't even have the time to use the jacuzzi in my bath room! Like Grand Mercure, the rooms are not locked so privacy is not assured with kids around.

This is how the apartment looks like and what I see when I gazed out of my room windows at about 7pm on April 3.

The following morning Stanley bought a day pass from CityRail into the airport to collect the strollers. Our programme today is to take the kids to the Taronga Zoo across the bay from Circular Quay, then return to take another ferry to Manly Beach to look for 'cheap' tee shirts. Andrew posed for a picture in the living room window here.

We had breakfast at Caffe Molinari next to Meriton before taking the CityRail to Circular Quay from the Town Hall station at George Street. The day pass allows us unlimited rail and ferry rides for the day which is really worth the money. These were what we ate at Molinari and our day pass.

Getting the 2 strollers up the train (and tram in Melbourne) always require assistance to lift or push them up as most of the time the platform and the train/tram are not of the same level. Once inside we always get space and some fellow travelers are quite helpful to us.

It was great that the weather was on our side, most of the time that is. Just before we left the quay it drizzled!

We got into a ferry at wharf 2 and had some kind soul took this family picture for us. Ling is all prepared with her mother sunglasses.

It was good that the weather stayed sunny until about 6pm. We like the zoo for its well laid sections but we were disappointed we could not see koalas and kangaroos. Maybe they were out of our way. Pushing the strollers all over the zoo is tiring even though we took turns, as well as stopping to feed Andrew and Grace.

Next post will be on the ferry ride and the Taronga Zoo.

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