RIPE@2012 Travel and Tourism

Flight Pricing and Options

There are number of airlines who fly directly Sydney from many of the locations delegates will be travelling from. Please refer to the Flight price options, estimated for early September 2012.

Day Trips from Sydney

Basic transport info

  • MyMulti ticket – day pass for adults $21.00; weekly ticket $43.00. Unlimited travel on all buses, trains and ferries
  • Check Cityrail website for info on individual ticket prices and prices from the airport (arrival at Central). Trains are preferable for day trips and locations furthest from the city centre, and depart fairly regularly.
  • Buses are preferable for inner-city travel (e.g. to and from the conference, areas near the city centre). Most will require a pre-paid ticket, which can be purchased from convenience stores and news agencies. The MyBus TravelTen ticket can be used for 10 trips, $16.80 for adults
  • Taxis can be expensive for long trips, though are quite reasonable around the city centre. Transfer from airport into the city can cost between $25.00 – $40.00.  Take the airport train or an airport shuttle bus instead, both of which are around $16.

Blue Mountains

A designated World Heritage area, the Blue Mountains just west of Sydney offers spectacular views and walks through the unique Australian landscape. Katoomba, which is around two hours by train from Sydney, is perhaps the most famous town in the Mountains – but Leura and Blackheath also provide a great tourist experiences.

The Scenic World complex at Echo Point, Katoomba offers astounding views across the mountains and vast Jamison Valley. In its Skyway cable car you leave the escarpment and travel 270m above the valley floor. Katoomba also has the world’s steepest railway through the mountains’ rocky crevasses, which takes visitors down to the start of an extensive choice of walking trails. These range from an easy meander along the valley floor to the challenging Golden Staircase, leading walkers back up to the cliff tops.

For a range of charming cafes, small art galleries and antique and boutique shops, the town before Katoomba, Leura, or the one afterwards, Blackheath are ideal. During September, cherry blossoms divide the Leura main street, making for a pleasant pit-stop after sightseeing.

Accommodation: The Blue Mountains has bed and breakfast accommodation in abundance, frequently in heritage houses from the early 1900s. Hotels and motels cater to tighter budgets, while Lilianfells resort in Leura will suit those that want to indulge a little.

Transport: During the day, express trains to the Blue Mountains (Blue Mountains line) leave hourly. An adult ticket will cost around $20.00

MyMulti tickets cannot be used on local buses, but the Explorer Bus will stop at all the major locations around Katoomba and Leura, and costs $36.00 for an adult ticket (unlimited travel).

Sydney

Sydney and its surrounding suburbs offer a vast variety of activities, ideal for those with limited time in the city. All those mentioned below are easily accessible by public transport, and range from short outings to full-day trips.

Beaches

If you are planning to visit any beaches, please swim in the designated safe area, which is between the red and yellow flags. If in distress, raise your hand and wait for assistance from lifesavers.

Bondi

Bondi is one of Sydney’s most popular beaches and in sunny weather can become quite crowded (though in September, when the weather is cooler, less so). It can be reached via train or bus – around half and hour from the city centre – and like Manly, has an extensive beachfront with shops, cafes, restaurants and take-away outlets. The swimming club on the edge of the cliffs, Icebergs, has more upmarket dining options. A walkway over the southern headland links Bondi to Bronte, a smaller beach with a shady park.

Manly

Slightly less of a tourist hot-spot than its southern cousin, Bondi, Manly is a half hour ferry ride across the harbour. The trip itself is quite famous, as the sea swell can be quite big as the ferry crosses the Sydney Harbour heads. The beach is a great location for swimming, a picnic or take-away fish and chips.

Watson’s Bay

For a quieter waterside outing, Watson’s Bay is a lovely eastern suburbs inlet on the Harbour with views back to the city skyline. Its large park, with beautiful fig trees, fronts onto the small cove, making it very pleasant for picnics. One of Sydney’s most famous seafood restaurants, Doyle’s, sits on the waterfront (and offers cheaper takeaway options near the wharf). There is also a short walk onto the South Headland to an old lighthouse. The best way to reach Watson’s Bay is by ferry, which passes the waterfront mansions of Sydney’s wealthiest residents in Rose Bay and Vaucluse.

Please check the NSW transport website for timetables and ticket prices.

Other activities

The Harbour Bridge

Arguable Sydney’s most iconic feature, the Harbour Bridge is a great venue for taking in the city view. You can walk across it, inside its south pylon or climb its outer frame. See here for more information about the history of its construction and visits to the pylon – which offers stunning views across Sydney Harbour and Circular Quay.

For a more daring experience, the Bridge Climb offers 3 ½ hr climb throughout the day and evening, costing around $218-228 p/p adult. Its cheaper at night, or more expensive at twilight).

The Opera House

Opposite the Bridge and contesting it for Sydney’s most well-known architectural landmark, the Opera House juts out into Sydney Harbour and plays host to a range of internationally acclaimed and domestically produced dance, theatre and musical productions. During the time of the conference, Roger and Hammerstein’s South Pacific will be playing. Other shows can be viewed here.

Alternatively, tours around the Opera House and inside the main performance halls can also be booked for $35 adult, or $30 pre-booked online.

The forecourt of the Opera House boasts spectacular views of the Harbour. With a range of excellent restaurants and the lively Opera Bar the promenade from Circular Quay is well worth a visit in the evening to soak up some of Sydney’s nightlife.

Sydney Tower

In Sydney’s CBD shopping area the Sydney Tower sits atop the newly rebuilt Westfield plaza. For $25 per adult ($12.50 pre-booked online), you can ride to the top of the tower for panoramic views across Sydney: from the Harbour to the east, the sprawling city to the south and north, and on a clear day, the Blue Mountains in the west.

For the more adventurous, it is also possible to walk outside the tower on a specially constructed glass walkway that suspends you over the city streets below. The Skywalk costs $65 per adult ($58.50 online).

Taronga Zoo

If you are bringing your family on the conference trip, Taronga Zoo is always an entertaining visit. The zoo runs a range of conservation programs and runs an overnight camping experience called Roar and Snore. The zoo also has some of the most spectacular views across the Harbour to Circular Quay, particularly at sunset, from a number of viewpoints and its cable car. A ZooPass can be purchased from the Circular Ferry terminal which covers the ferry ride across the Harbour and the zoo’s cable car (adult ticket: $50.50).

Art galleries

Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA)

Newly redeveloped, the Museum of Contemporary Art is located at Circular Quay on the opposite side to The Opera House. It hosts a variety of Australian and international contemporary art, including the 18th Biennale of Sydney (till 16th September). The historic Rocks area of Sydney sprawls its cobblestone streets out behind, filled with cafes, restaurants and Sydney’s oldest pubs.

Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW)

With its impressive Grecian façade and location overlooking the Botanical Gardens and Sydney Harbour, the AGNSW is one of Sydney’s most iconic experiences. The RIPE 2012 welcome cocktail event will be held in its 19th and 20th Century Australian art section on Tuesday 4th September. However a separate trip to take in the extensive classical, modern and post-modern art collections is highly recommended. The gallery will also be hosting artworks from the Biennale of Sydney, as well as its extensive permanent collection.

Museum of Sydney

This smaller museum nonetheless provides a fascinating insight into past and present life in Sydney. A collection of photographs, paintings and memorabilia from wartime Sydney (1939-45) will be showing till the 9th September. You can see other exhibitions that will be showing at historical locations in Sydney.


Theatres

Sydney Theatre Company

Arguably Australia’s leading theatre company, Sydney Theatre Company has played host to countless award-winning productions with both international and Australian actors since its beginnings thirty years ago. Current artistic directors, actress Cate Blanchett and director Andrew Upton, have revitalised the theatre and its surrounding precinct, recently opening a wharfside bar and developing a striking program for the year. In September, Upton and Simon Stone’s stage adaptation of the Ingmar Bergman film, Face to Face alongside Hilary Bell’s The Splinter, a contemporary play about lost children inspired by James’ The Turn of the Screw and Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen.

Belvoir St Theatre

Located in the back lanes of Sydney’s arthouse suburb, Surry Hills, the Belvoir St Theatre has firmly placed contemporary theatre on the city’s creative map. It has fostered the careers of many international artists such as Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis. During September the theatre will stage a contemporary production of Arthur Millar’s lauded Death of a Salesman, with well-known Australian actor Colin Friels.

The Performance Space at Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street Redfern (not far from the University) is always worth a look for avant-garde and contemporary visual and performing arts.

Musicals, international touring productions and events are also held at the State Theatre and the Capitol Theatre.

Areas around Sydney: Paddington, Surry Hills, Newtown, Glebe

Newtown

Sitting on the border of the University’s campus you’ll find the eclectically fashionable Newtown, whose main street, King St, is lined with clothing boutiques, book stores, arthouse cinemas. Peruse old and new books at one of the Elizabeth’s Bookstore shops, see a movie at Dendy Cinema or shop for interesting jewelry, accessories and stationary at Art on King or Pentimento. Amongst these shops is vast range of restaurants boasting a variety of cuisines. While most famous for its infinite range of Thai options, Vietnamese, Mexican, Japanese, modern Australian, Italian and Middle Eastern also feature prominently.

Recommended eateries:

Thai: Atom Thai is an excellent choice, a cut above the cheaper restaurants catering to university students. Also specializes in gluten-free options. If you wish to immerse yourself in university life, however, Thai La Ong I and Thai La Ong II are student institutions.

Japanese: Iiza does delicious Japanese izakaya style (small traditional dishes), while Sushi Bar Kai on King is a popular sushi train and Asakusa provides more affordable and conventional Japanese bento box deals.

Vietnamese: A recent addition to Newtown, Rice Paper gives deliciously fresh and authentic Vietnamese food, from the usual rice paper rolls to the more adventurous pho (noodle soup) and bhan xi (rice flour pancake). The RIPE2012 Gala dinner will also take place on Thursday 6th September, at the restaurant Thanh Binh – another excellent eatery, serving their delicious and authentic food banquet style from some of Sydney’s most well known chefs in the Vietnamese migrant community.

Modern Australian (bars and cafes): Newtown has a fantastic variety of atmospheric and quality bars, among which The Wine Plate (for a more upmarket selection of wines and tapas, Corridor (for inventive cocktails and delicious snacks and main meals -http://www.yourrestaurants.com.au/guide/corridor/) and Berkleouw Books Café (for contemporary café lunches and sweet options, amidst the shop’s second-hand book shelves are highly recommended. Bloodwood is a bit of a walk from the University but is well known for its gourmet food and won the 2011 Best Bar with Food Award in the Sydney Good Food Guide.  Oscillate Wildly has won similar awards for its contemporary degustation courses and is Newtown’s best option for high-class dining.

Cafes and Bakeries: Campos coffee is famous for its specialty coffee and just 5 mins from the university. It has a range of house-made sweet options, as does its neighbor, Luxe Bakery, which also serves great coffee. For baked sweets a cut above the rest, head to Black Star Pastry which has won a number of awards. Gelatomassi is similarly famous for its authentic Italian gelato.

Glebe

On the opposite side of the campus to Newtown is Glebe, a slightly smaller but nonetheless interesting main street of shops and eateries. Clipper Café and La Banette are recommended for excellent coffee and gorgeous French pastries, while further up the road Flying Fajita Sistas is hard to beat for authentic Mexican meals. For a more literary experience, stop by Gleebooks – famous for its huge range of interesting titles – or Sappho’s second hand bookstore, which also has a great courtyard café offering wine and tapas. It’s also worth stopping by Glebe Primary School (located on the main street, Glebe Point Rd) on a Saturday for the local markets.

Paddington and Surry Hills

Just a short bus-ride east from the city are Paddington and Surry Hills, home to a more upmarket range of designer clothing stores and restaurants. A walk along Crown St in Surry Hills reveals excellent eating and drinking options – from the Japanese-inspired Tokonoma and the upmarket pub, the Clock Tower Hotel to Bill’s for his internationally-famous breakfasts and fabulous contemporary organic Chinese at Billy Kwong.

Further east is Paddington, where many Australian designers have shops along Oxford Street, amongst a variety of more affordable boutiques. If you have time, Chauvel Cinema is fantastic for classic and new films, while a stroll through the Reservoir Gardens opposite offers a relaxing alternative the pace of the city. The Four in Hand Hotel is an award-winning pub, known for its contemporary and well-executed dining options, or visit Sydney Italian institution, Buon Ricordo. Every Saturday markets are also held at the local Uniting Church and are well worth the visit.  If you have a chance, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery is one of Sydney’s best-known contemporary galleries and if you make it to the end of Oxford St, keep walking into the lush grounds of Centennial Park for a natural respite from the busy city.

Eating

Sydney’s city centre and nearby suburbs have a vast variety of excellent, authentic eating options, many established in areas where migrant communities have settled over the past few decades. Affordable, casual options and upmarket, award-winning restaurants are both easily accessible all over the city, and The Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide (2012) is the best and most reliable way to navigate your way through them. Unfortunately a website subscription is required to access all its information (AUD$10.00), but a list of this year’s award winners and links to their reviews can be found here, at the bottom of this page.

Affordable, casual

Nearby ABC Studios in Haymarket is Chinatown, home to the city’s best Chinese restaurants, as well as a great variety of authentic Malaysian, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese and Thai options. Most popular of these include the Chinese Marigold Yum Cha and B.B.Q King (particularly for its Peking duck); Mamak for Malaysian, Makoto for Japanese sashimi and sushi and Chat Thai for amazing contemporary and traditional Thai cooking in nearby ‘Thaitown’. Be prepared to queue a few minutes at the latter – it’s worth it.

Newtown, next to Sydney University, is also famous for its Thai restaurants and a great array of different cuisines.

On the Western side of the city, the historic precinct, The Rocks, has a number of traditional pubs and eateries. If you make it out of the city, Haberfield and Leichardt are the best places to find authentic Italian food (Il Locale restaurant and Pasticceria Papa in Haberfield are highly recommended). Both suburbs are easily reached by bus from the city.

Upmarket, formal

At the higher end of Sydney’s culinary spectrum are great variety of award-winning restaurants, many located centrally in the city. For top quality Japanese, Sake in The Rocks, Tetsuya’s and Azuma are excellent options. Tetsuya’s bookings must be made now for September!

For contemporary Australian dining, Quay on the wharf at Circular Quay, Aria, overlooking the Opera House and Harbour, and Sepia have consistently been named Sydney’s best restaurants.

Others very much worth looking at include Billy Kwong, mentioned earlier, and within the Opera House sails, Guillame at Bennelong.

**Please be sure to check booking policies in advance if you plan to visit any of these restaurants.**