G'day! Welcome Down Under!

Coogee Beach, Sydney, Australia

Coogee is one of the iconic Sydney beaches, set in a vibrant village atmosphere. This scenic beach distillates the essence of Australia, with surfers, swimmers, sun-bathers and of course its surf lifesaving club members making swimming a safe and enjoyable experience. A rock pool is also available, as well as showers, amenities and the traditional Aussie [idiom: Australian] BBQs.

The Coogee area offers many dining options, with cuisines from around the planet being well represented. Check the Zomato web site for restaurant recommendations (you may need to click through to individual restaurant's websites for complete menus). The popular coastal walk will take you the famous Bondi beach further North, or the surfing beach of Maroubra further South. There are shopping opportunities in the boutique stores at Coogee, although serious shoppers may head to the Sydney central business district.

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Sydney CBD (Central Business District)

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Set in the heart of magnificent Port Jackson, Sydney is one of Australia’s jewels. Its typical skyline hides a mixture of high tech and older style buildings, home to a busy business centre, and crowned by the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge at the North. Sydney’s many museum and tourist attractions will keep visitors in awe, from a close encounters with sharks and an immersive tropical experience at the Sydney Aquarium, to a night of fun at the Luna Park amusement park, featuring some genuine 1930’s rides.

Avid shoppers will be rewarded by a visit to the Queen Victoria Building (QVB), a stroll on Pitt St mall, or in Darling Harbour, where local and international brands combine to cater for all tastes. China town offers typical Asian food and shopping, and hosts some tranquillity haven at the Chinese Garden.

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Exploring further

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Sydney ferries are the best way to discover the bay of Sydney, and will take you to the leafy Taronga Zoo, the famous Manly beach, or perhaps to a fine sea food dinner at South Head.

Exploring further, by train or bus, one will explore the beautiful Blue Mountains and get the chance of a glimpse of wild wallabies, cockatoos, and many more Australian fauna. Sunset on the Three Sisters in Katoomba is an unforgettable experience that one will complete by a mountain style dinner in the local fine restaurants.


While weather can change from year to year in Sydney, December is in the middle of summer and offers a mean temperature of 17-25 °C (62-77 °F) and 78mm of rain. While a rain jacket might always become handy, December is BBQ and swimmers [idiom: swimwear] season Down Under!

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Further Local Information

Space and time Sydney is about 151° E and 34° S. So 11 hours ahead of Universal Time in December. The sun is North at its zenith, which can be disorientating for Laurasians.
Money The Australian dollar is US$0.72 and Euro 0.64 at the time of writing.
Traffic Trains, road traffic and pedestrians keep left. Boats keep right.
240 V @ 50 Hz but the plugs are unlike US, Europe or UK. Adaptors sold at the airport, hardware and tourist shops. Responsive image
Transport in and around Sydney There is a public transport trip planner at https://transportnsw.info
Most buses require cards from the Opal system: https://www.opal.com.au
Airport to conference:train to central (ticket at the station) and 372 bus from there to the Coogee terminus. (A cab is much faster.) 373 buses go to Circular Quay (the downtown ferry terminal, close to the Opera House).
Trips in and around Sydney (suggestions for free days) The government tourist site has suggestions at www.visitnsw.com including suggestions for rainy days.

Half-day trips in Sydney
  • Coogee to Bondi cliffwalk* – allow about 3-4 hours at a leisurely pace. Catch bus 333 or 380 from circular quay and along Elizabeth Street towards Bondi Beach. Head south – there is a well marked walking/jogging path hugging the cliff. Return to the city/Circular Quay from Coogee Beach by taking bus 373 or 374, or to Central on 372. For a meal with stunning sea views, drop by the Bistro at Bondi Icebergs, a local life-swimming club. Sit on the balcony and enjoy the best views over Bondi Beach. Entry to the club is open for tourists (but not locals living within a 5 km radius) but you will need to sign in as a visitor at the reception.
  • * Take your swimmers, goggles and a swimming cap. The beaches and rock pools have subtropical corals, angel fish, gropers, leafy sea dragons etc.
  • The Rocks, a short stroll from the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, is Sydney’s historical quarter from the time of the earliest convict settlement. Here, one can explore Cadman's Cottage, eat in restaurants located in some of the oldest surviving buildings in Sydney, have a pint in a pub, learn from a guided walking tour, or browse boutique shops and art galleries in the place where Australia's European history began.
  • Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens + Mrs Macquarie’s Chair (and Point). Hugging the harbour foreshore east of Circular Quay, the garden is just beyond the Opera House. Bring your own lunch, find a patch of grass to sit and watch boats go by. At dusk, watch resident flying foxes begin their day. Further along the water is Mrs Macquarie’s Point, with classic views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House (but mind the tourist throngs!).

  • Harbour trips
    It’s a harbour city and the harbour has ~ 100 bays. So
  • Ferry from Circular Quay to Manly* Beach. Goes NW past opera through main harbour. Walk across corso to beach that’s pretty good for a city beach.
  • Ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga Park Zoo, which has spectacular views of harbour, opera, bridge… and some animals. Hold koalas if you must. Platypus and echidna in the dark house operate on Europe time for your convenience.
  • Ferry (‘Rivercat’) from Circular Quay to Parramatta. Goes West up the Parramatta River, past the Olympic site, parks, ex-industrial sites and lots of mangroves.
  • Ferry to Watson’s Bay and walk to South Head. Watch the sun set over the harbour.
  • Spit Bridge to Manly* walk Along the West of the main harbour, views out to sea, lots of national park

  • Day trip slightly out of Sydney
  • Hawkesbury River and Brooklyn. The Hawkesbury River is an impressive and attractive stretch of water north of greater Sydney, while Brooklyn is a quiet suburb along the river. Catch a train to Brooklyn by alighting at Hawkesbury River Station along the Newcastle & Central Coast Line (starting at Central Station). Cafes near the train station supply Sydney rock oysters farmed right at the river, while McKell Park nearby is great for picnics and offers superb river views. The Riverboat Postman leaves Brooklyn Wharf adjacent to the railway station on its daily run (Mon-Fri) delivering mail and supplies to the river community, departing at 9:30am and takes 3 – 4 hours to complete a trip.

  • Blue Mountains
  • About 2 hours by train, and lots of mountain & valley walks. Worth a side trip if you have a couple of days. www.visitbluemountains.com.au