Things to See and Do in Sydney During the ICANN meeting

With the ICANN Sydney Meeting fast approaching and attendees rolling into Sydney over the next few days to prepare, below is a guide for some things to see and do in Sydney while people are here. This guide will be updated on an ongoing basis up until the end of the ICANN meeting, so come back and check out any updates.To find your way around Sydney, check out the online mapping service Whereis at www.whereis.com where you can find the distance and time taken by foot and car to get places. There is also a public transport guide with timetables and a journey planner at 131500.com.au.A few tips on public transport. The best way to see Sydney Harbour is on Sydney Ferries that leave from Circular Quay. Get a ferry to Manly and check out the beach, up the Parramatta River or to Taronga Zoo for those who want to check out some Australian, and non-Australian, wildlife. Much cheaper than an organised trip and much more interesting.Getting about by buses is simple, but several routes have “pre-pay only” buses in addition to the standard buses. For any bus that says “pre-pay only”, including express buses in peak period, you will need a ticket purchased from many convenience stores or newsagents.There are single ticket, ten-trip tickets and weekly tickets for buses, trains and ferries and combination tickets for weekly tickets.There is also a seven-ay forecast available from the Bureau of Meteorology (government weather service) at www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/wrap_fwo.pl?IDN10064.txt.

Le Crunch – sport

Australia (Wallabies) play France (“Les Bleus”) in rugby union on Saturday 27 June at the main stadium from the Sydney Olympics for those who are hanging around long enough. All you people not familiar with rugby should start now, after all, since rugby is “the game they play in heaven”, you should be familiar with it before you get there!Another sporting activity to note is the State of Origin II where the states of NSW and Queensland do battle in rugby league.Tickets can be bought online, and sent by email if you want, at premier.ticketek.com.au.

Exercise

For those who want to go jogging, there are a few great places such as the Botanic Gardens and across the Harbour Bridge. Your hotel can tell you how to get there.For those with a swimming inclination, there are a couple of ocean baths about 6km from the city centre, such as Wylies Baths, my favourite, at Coogee and the Bondi Icebergs at Bondi Beach.There is also the Cook + Phillip Park Aquatic & Fitness Centre about a 10 minute walk from the Hilton and the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre, maybe a 15 minute walk away. See cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/Residents/SwimmingPools.On Sunday 21 June there is also a 1.2km ocean swim, the swimming equivalent of a fun run, at Mona Vale Beach, around 30 minutes drive from the city centre. More information is available from www.oceanswims.com/nsw89/nswcalendar89.html#june09.

Things to do – national parks and whale watching

Sydney has great national parks to the south (Royal National Park – the world’s oldest proclaimed national park), west (Blue Mountains) and north (Ku-ringai Chase National Park. But closer to the city is the Lane Cove National Park, about 15km from the city centre. And you can do some magnificent walks along the harbour such as the Spit Bridge to Manly (Manly Scenic Walkway) where you can finish with a beer or coffee overlooking the harbour and then get a ferry back to the city. You can also go to Solander Point in the Botany Bay National Park to do some bushwalking and whale watching.More information can be found on the National Parks and Wildlife Service website at www.environment.nsw.gov.au/parks/RegionSydney.htm.There is also a quite spectacular walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach, a distance of around 5 kilometres.At the moment is the peak period for whale watching as whales head from Antarctica to Queensland where the females give birth. There are a number of whale watching tours that can be found online by doing a simple search of “whale watching” and Sydney such as here.And if the weather is good, a Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb is a brilliant idea. See bridgeclimb.com.au.

Eating and Drinking

Sydney is bursting with high quality cafes and restaurants and it puts the vast majority of cities around the world to shame, especially Asian food. There are also enough bars to keep you busy for the stay.Industrie Bar, about a 10 minute walk from the Hilton at 107 Pitt Street offers great venue for drinks and food close to the conference venue, and specialises in modern Mediterranean fare. As a special for ICANN attendees they will be offering a 20 per cent discount on food and drinks purchased with food for the duration of the ICANN meeting except for Tuesday when it will be closed after lunch for the rest of the day. Check them out at industriebar.com.au. I expect to be able to announce a discount for ICANN attendees shortly, so check back here first before you go demanding your discount just in case.For a venue to eat and drink in the heart of the Kings Cross district where there are plenty of bars, cafes and nightclubs, as well as being the red light district in Sydney, check out Hugos, winner of best nightclub award in 2007 and 2008 and also with great food. See www.hugos.com.au.Tetsuya’s is Australia’s best restaurant and is rated as one of the world’s top restaurants. While it will be nigh on impossible to get a booking, if you were really keen to experience the French-Japanese fusion of food from Tetsuya Wakada, check out their website and get in touch. It can’t hurt because cancellations do occur. See www.tetsuyas.com.For those wanting to sample some great Asian food, I highly recommend Sailor’s Thai in The Rocks, both the Canteen and the restaurant are excellent, and Mamak on the edge of Chinatown for Malaysian food.Other places for drinks with a view of the harbour that I highly recommend are the Opera Bar, which is heaving (very busy) on a Friday night with views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Wildfire for glamour and sitting while admiring the Opera House and Cafe Sydney. The latter two also have great food as well.And there is plenty of great European food as well. Pizza Mario serves some of the world’s best pizza. Don’t believe me? Well try them for yourself. See pizzamario.com.au. But take note of the map as it’s hidden off the street!Sydney loves breakfast. And while my personal favourites aren’t overly close to the Hilton, for those wanting to get out and experience a wonderful breakfast one morning, check out the following:

  • Danks Street Depotdanksstreetdepot.com.au
  • Billsbills.com.au
  • Le Petit Creme– a French-style cafe at 118 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst
  • Barzura – in the suburb of Coogee, 6km from the city city centre with buses almost door-to-door, this is brilliant for sitting outside in the sunshine (assume it’s sunny) with your coffee and meal.

Australian Art

The Art Gallery of NSW has good displays of Australian art, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, although the best Australian art display is at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne in case anyone is going there. Check out artgallery.nsw.gov.au.For anyone wanting to take home some Aboriginal (and maybe Torres Strait Islander) art, one of the best places is Birrung Gallery, a gallery run by World Vision Australia, thus ensuring the artists get a fair reward. The gallery is open Tuesday to Friday from 10.00 to 17.30pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11.00 to 17.00. Its address is 134 William Street, East Sydney, or about a 20 minute walk from the Hilton. Check them out at trans.worldvision.com.au/birrung.

Entertainment

To check out what’s on in the way of entertainment in Sydney, one of the best websites is Citysearch at sydney.citysearch.com.au. There are also restaurant reviews and listings of anything and everything to do in Sydney.There are also a number of performances on at the Opera House, more information on which can be found at www.sydneyoperahouse.com. The Opera House also conducts backstage tours for a behind-the-scenes look at the iconic building. See www.sydneyoperahouse.com/whatson/backstagetour09.aspx for more information on this.For jazz aficionados, check out The Basement at Circular Quay, or for the more adventurous, the Sydney Improvised Music Association has gigs several times per week.

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