During our trip, we stayed in Meriton Serviced Apartment in Kent Street. There are many Meriton Apartments in Sydney (and in Australia). I booked through Meriton’s website because at that time it was cheaper than other website such as Agoda or booking.com. I also asked some questions first before I booked this hotel through the online customer service, and the response was very quick and clear.
The plus point was that I didn’t need to pay extra money for my son who stayed on the same bed with us. If you check thoroughly, some hotels / apartments in Sydney will charge extra money for the third person staying in the same room (without extra bed) even though the third person is only a child (above 3 years old). According to the customer service, if we stayed in (at least) 1 bedroom apartment in Meriton, than he could stay for free. If was a good deal since accommodation was very expensive in Sydney. It also helped a lot that the exchange rate was better (almost 1 to 1) this time compared to our Gold Coast trip.
Hotels or apartments rates in Sydney were not cheap at all, but after I did lots of online surveys, the rate in Meriton was considered the best comparing to others. For almost $1200 for 5 nights, we got a one bedroom apartment with living room, dining room, small kitchen, balcony (although we almost never opened the balcony door for safety reason since we had a child with us and secondly it was very cold, so we only used the balcony for photo session, hahaha…..), and laundry room. Even a hotel room which was much smaller and had no facilities like that was much more expensive (considering they all didn’t come with breakfast).
General facilities in the apartment were heated swimming pool (we’ve tried but still too cold for us, but we saw children and adults swam there, so maybe it was because we didn’t get used to swim in cold weather), a Jacuzzi (we loved it and we’ve used it once when nobody was there), and a gymnasium. The water in the Jacuzzi was hot and it was soooo refreshing but we felt so cold once we were out of the Jacuzzi, hahaha………
And best of all, there was free (limited) WiFi in the room (hooray for that…….). Then again, not all hotels in Sydney would give free WiFi in the room, so it was a super good deal for us especially to study the google map or do some browsing at night.
We didn’t bring Ipad on our trip, and the boy still got enough dose of entertainment from the TV (by the way, there were two TVs in the room – one was in the living room, and the other one was in the bedroom). In the morning, the boy would sit with pillows and blankets on the sofa and watched TV in the living room, and at night he would cuddle with us in the bedroom and watched TV until he was sleepy and tired. Well, he also drew and wrote in the bedroom (yes, he has become a little writer now – he has been writing children stories and he brought his book to Sydney so he could write everything whenever he had ideas come to his mind —– but more about this later).
I loved when there was laundry facility in the place where we stayed, so we didn’t have to bring too many clothes, just threw everything in the washing machine and dryer, and that was it. Fresh clothes in the morning! No need to iron! Although there were iron and ironing board provided in the room, but I was too lazy to iron the clothes (we would cover everything in winter jackets, so why need to iron them??? Simple as that………...good excuse for my laziness……….)
There were also three heaters inside the room, so all the clothes that couldn’t go to the dryer such as thermal clothes and swimsuits, I just put them under the heater and they were dried within 3 hours.
Kitchen facilities were included dishwasher, stoves, microwave, oven, electric kettles, spoons, forks, knives, bowls, glasses, mugs, plates, big pot, pan, and other equipment for cooking. Unlike our stay in Gold Coast, where the cleaning service never came during our stay and we must cleaned the kitchen before we left, we had different experience in Sydney. We got new towels everyday. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, tea, coffee, and sugar were replenished everyday. Laundry liquid detergent and dish washing detergent were added every two days. Garbage bins were cleaned everyday. Our room was tidied up everyday.
The check in and check out process were also quick and the front service staff was friendly. We had some difficulty with some equipment in the room, and the house keeping responses were very good, fast, and friendly. So overall we had a good stay in this apartment and I will recommend others to also try this apartment for some other reasons too which I will explain further below. So all the good reviews that I read in Agoda and tripadvisor about this place were true.
Besides the price, facility, and good service, the very plus point about staying in this place was the location:
- Very close to Town Hall Train Station and Museum Train Station
- Bus stop (if you even need to go by bus) was also not far
- Within walking distance to Darling Harbor and China Town
- Coles Supermarket was just around the corner
- Woolworth Supermarket when we topped up our Opal Card (for using of public transports) was just next to Town Hall Station
- Many Convenience Stores nearby (we topped up the Optus Card for our local phone and data during our stay in one of the store and we bought the Funday Sunday tickets in 7 eleven nearby)
- Malls and shops were also nearby
- Bakery, Subway, ice cream stall, pizza stall, and so many other food options from breakfast, snack, lunch, to dinner were around the area
So, we never had difficulty about finding food when we were very tired and just wanted to take away the food and ate in the room, but we always had difficulty of choosing what to eat before there were too many options and must find one that suited the three of us. The boy usually didn’t want to dine outside and just wanted to eat in the sofa’s apartment…………
Me: So, what are you going to eat?
R: Whatever you have lah……….(so Singlish, hahaha………)
Sydney was full of old buildings, and we really liked to see how the modern ones and the old ones mix together on the city streets. We loved to see unexpected things whenever we passed by a street.
Mostly during our stay, we were too tired to eat outside and preferred to just eat at our room. We were also too lazy to walk too far from our hotel. Fortunately, there were many food options at the mall just next to where we stayed, from Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, to Chinese food.
The highlight of this trip was absolutely the lil one who usually was a picky eater when we dined outside, but this time his appetite really surprised us. He was willing to try new food and he suddenly liked all kind of food that he usually refused. So basically, he could eat anything that we bought…………….and in big portion.
Next was udon……………..we were shocked when he finished 1 plus 1/4 of my portion of udon (for someone who didn’t like Japanese food and especially the noodle and specifically udon, this was amazing. Well, like I said before, the cold weather probably helped increasing his appetite. It was nice to have hot soup when it was cold outside. In addition to udon, he also ate the tempura and 3 pieces of chicken karaage. Well, he liked karaage but this time the karaage came with mayonnaise on top and he didn’t refuse to eat the mayonnaise. For someone who always hated mayonnaise, this was a record breaking.
He was okay when he didn’t eat rice for the first 3 days, but after that he kept asking for fried rice from the Chinese food restaurant below the apartment, hahaha………….he usually didn’t ask for fried rice when we dined out because it was something that he used to have and he might be quite bored with it, but this time he specifically wanted fried rice.
All that food came from the restaurants just next to our apartment, so it was very convenient. Sometimes, when dinner was not enough, he would have extra snack like this:
Well, mommy and daddy also had bread……………but we shared, hahaha…………I will explain about this sharing food later in this post.
Speaking of sharing food, when we were in the theme park, mommy and daddy would share the food and the boy would “prefer” to have his own portion. Don’t expect him to share his food unless he didn’t like it, hahaha………..We adults didn’t really like fish and chips or nuggets and chips at the theme park, so we were okay with sharing food. Besides, the portion was usually big enough for both of us. So we would go crazy at dinner time when we had more food options besides fish and chips. Even daddy and I agreed we had enough of chips and probably didn’t want to have chips for some time after the trip.
We were very convenient in using public transports during our trip, and it was the cheapest way to travel from one place to another than using taxi or renting a car. The schedule of the train, bus, and ferry could be seen on each stop and also on http://tp.transportnsw.info/
All the info could also be found in Google Map or enter the website to find out what transport to take, the fare, and how long the journey was going to be. The website also gave several options too of how to reach a place.
There were some differences when using public transport in Sydney than in Singapore and when I looked at some of the pictures that I took during the trip, I thought I captured most of the differences and I like to share it in here (there are no plus and minus points………..but they’re just different and we just enjoyed all the differences because if all were the same, then life would be so boring, rite?)
- We could eat on buses, on the train stations, on train platforms, and even on trains in Sydney. We didn’t realize this before until we saw many people just ate and drank on those places and we soon followed too, hahaha……..but still…………everything was cleaned and people did not litter.
- The trains were all double decker…………..and guess who was so happy to ride double decker trains. Well, they were three storey trains (the top was like mezzanines actually), and we’ve tried to sit in each storey, but still the boy’s favorite was the top one.
- The sitting layout on the top was different. The boy especially loved to sit backwards (against the train’s movement).
- There was no boundaries or gates between the platform and the train tracks. It was scary at first and we must warned lil boy not to go too close to the railway tracks.
- There was a gap between the platform and the train, and the train position was higher than the platform, so we must lifted up our luggage (heavy and big ones) whenever we were about to go in or out.
- There were soooooo…………many stairs, hahaha………………and sometimes we were too lazy to find elevators so we just took the stairs with our heavy things on hands.
- We saw some train stations with different decorations (I bet the best must be Central Station) and I loved the customized designs in some stations that was unique and described the name of the stations.
- Train schedules complete with the routes (the next stations in sequence) were displayed on the TV screen (in Sinagpore the screen will only display the next trains schedule, but the routes can be seen printed on a big board in the platform.
Whenever the trains were not underground, we enjoyed the city view from the windows and loved to see beautiful old buildings, the big ferris wheel, Luna Park, the harbor, the ships, the blue sky, or event just watching people doing their activities
If Singapore has EZlink Card, than Sydney has Opal Card. Opal Card could be bought at the departure area (above arrival area) in Newslink Store. We couldn’t buy the Opal Card in the airport train station (sigh…….). When I asked the Newslink Staff, he said he didn’t have anymore Opal Cards and must wait until the new ones came (another sigh……). So I waited for quite a long time until he finally arrived with new cards.
When he was ready with the cards and tried to add balance (money) to the cards, he said he couldn’t because he already reached his balance limit for the day (and it was just 11 am!!!). He didn’t help at all and said he only had AUD 40 left in his balance and couldn’t do anything (fainted). So finally I urged him (literally) to just add the smallest amount to the cards and I would just top up somewhere else. It took a long time before he finally agreed and he didn’t help at all when I asked him about the child rate, where I could top up the cards, etc………he just said “I don’t know……”
After he was finished, I just left and I didn’t know what happened to the other tourists who queued behind me and demanded explanation of why they couldn’t get the Opal Cards………….it was so frustrating. Even to find the Newslink Shop itself was difficult and different airport staff (in uniforms) would be giving different explanations. They also said we couldn’t top up the cards in the airport station and we must went to the nearest station outside the airport (WHAT!!!), but we were curious and we tried to go to the ticketing office at the airport and yes, we were able to top up the cards……………….I was so tired after walking here and there just for the Opal Cards (daddy was queuing for the Optus Phone Card, and it was super long queue too).
By the way, there was direct train from the airport to the city, but it was very expensive because we also had to buy airport gate pass to exit the airport for around AUD 13-15 per person (not sure for the exact amount), and that was not included the train fare. And double that money because we had to buy the Gate Pass again when we wanted to enter the airport again. So we chose not to the the airport train directly, but did this to save money:
We took bus number 400 (the bus stop was just outside Mc Donald) and stopped at the third bus stop (the driver didn’t stop at the second bus stop) which was Coward St at Laycock St, Mascot (Stop 2020113). Then we walked to the left and went to the back side of this building
then we crossed the street and arrived in Mascot Train Station. From Mascot Train Station, we took the train to the city, and it only cost less than AUD5 per adult.
When we went back to the airport, we took the same route but this time we crossed the street and waited for the bus from the other side.
I thought I was just going to finish with this post, but the boy asked:
R: “Where’s the post about Changi Airport? And our flights? The planes……….???”
Me: “So you want me to write about that too?”
R: “Yes, of course……….”
Me: (sigh heaviliy………...) “Hmmm, okay, I will do that after this one is finished…………”
With 3200 photos during our trip………….it was a very hard work for me to but it was also very fun to write about this trip. Ok, now I must get ready for the next post too…………