my girlfriend and I are travelling australia for a year and arrive in march 07. we've booked our first few nights in Sydney and are unsure if we should maybe book a few nights in bondi or manly after this or just leave it until we get out there and have the freedom to do what we want.
also how long does the blue mountains warrant a stay? a night, two nights more???
thanks in advance
Bondi is more accessible to the city because you don't need to catch a ferry or take a long bus journey to get back into the city. Buses run frequently from Bondi to the city. Manly is a great place with more of a local feel to it,much more easier to get around if you have a car.
It depends on you in terms of how much time to spend the Blue Mountains. A lot of people just go up for the day whether they catch the train, hire a car, drive themselves or take a day trip with a tour company. It's easy to stay over night. There's some very good hostels up there namely the YHA in Katoomba. If you're not much of a walker, then only stay a day or two, because the Blue Mountains is about nature and walking. Then again, you can do some awesome activties up there e.g Rock climbing, abseiling, canyoning, mountains bike riding, horse riding, caving in the Jenolan Caves etc.The Blue Mountains is one of the best places in Australia to experience these type of activities.
There are good and not so good day tour companies which go up to the Blue Mountains every day. Go with a reputable company that's insured, licensed to enter the national parks and accredited with the ministy of transport. This is important because your safety is important. Google - 'Blue Mountains Tours' and quite a few different companies will pop up, have a bit of a look at each site and see which one caters to you the most. Internet Specials are usually offered if you book direct.Many tours companies claim to be the best, the most recommended, the most preferred but quite often can't back the claim up. Not every company can be No.1. If a company has a cheap price, there's usually a good reason for it. Crappy buses, crappy Guides, not insured etc etc. Google a tour companies name and put the word 'reviews' next to it. This is a good way of getting an unbiased review of a Blue Mountains tour company.
The Blue Mountains is a beautiful place to visit, whether you're there for a few hours or for a few days, you'll love the experience.
Go to the Blue Mountains with Oz Experience. You can get off the bus and stay a couple of days - I recommend the Katoomba YHA - then get the bus back with them. You get to see everything that you'd otherwise have to pay extra for once you get there.
Here a few more Blue Mountains tour companies to choose from. Google them, check out their itineraries and see which one suits you the most, 'IF' you decide to go up with a tour company. Email me for more info.
Mountains to the Sea
Blue Mountains Guides
Australian Eco Adventures
Wendt On Tours
Australian walking holiday specialists
Misty Mountains 4wd Tours
Bikescape Motorcycle Rentals and Tours
Australian Wilderness Tours
Frontier Photographic Safaris
Blue Mountains Adventure Company
Wild Ride Harley Davidson Tour
Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Tours
Blue Mountains Cultural Tours
Blue Mountains Mystery Tours
Blue Mountains Trolley Tours
Great Australian Walks
Misty Mountains 4wd Tours
Oz Rock Adventures
Syndey beaches (inc Manly and Bondi) are all accessable from Sydney City - Bondi is only 10 minutes from central on the train and Manly is a definate ferry trip - this is also a cheap way to go out onto the Syndey Harbour (a must while you are in Sydney - if poss do it on a Saturday or Sunday while the yachts are racing. The harbour is really busy and colourfull - my favorite place on earth).
Wonderbus is the expert on the Blue Mountains so I suggest take his advice but if you like wine, try a trip to the Hunter Valley. It is just north of Sydney, look on the map and go inland from Newcastle.