Maybe you’re one of those people who never use maps or guidebooks. Not to prepare for a citytrip nor during a citytrip.
Good for you! Feel free to skip this post right now.
For everyone else, allow me to share my tips and secrets with you. Here are the best maps and information to explore Sydney:
The best maps for the first-time visitor
If you are a first-time visitor with just a few days in Sydney, wanting to see the highlights, then this free map, given out by your hotel, will do just fine.
This organization -I’m Free- also organizes free tours in Sydney. Find out more at their website.
Add-on this little booklet, – What’s On in Sydney– also distributed for free and to be found in hotel lobbies and the likes. Yes, very touristy. But useful and informative at the same time.
And it has discount coupons; who would want to miss out on those?!
The best maps and guides for those who want more and further
Maybe you are like me:
- it’s not your first visit to Sydney and you already saw a lot, and/or
- you are staying a week or even longer, and/or
- you have a curious mind and are eager to discover new areas, cafes and art.
If you are any or all of the above, then here are my tips for you:
1. buy a good map, like this one; the Periplus Sydney map. It shows a bigger part of town than the free maps and it is more detailed.
2. if you are REALLY looking for a lot of detail, like me when I am trying to find street art in small alleys, xerox a page from a street directory book, like I did with Newtown and around.
3. to find out all about the hip, the happening, the cool and the interesting in about a dozen different neighborhoods, get yourself the free mini-maps/guidebooks from urbanwalkabout.com
They are free and available at hotel lobbies, restaurants and shops. Their design is super pretty and the content is presented in an appealing way, with maps, pictures, descriptions and addresses.
4. The walks of Urbanwalkabout.com can also be found on their website.
5. And last but not least Urbanwalkabout brings out a quarterly, as small and appealing as their mini-guides and also for free: Style Seekers Sydney.
How awesome is that?!
I had edition#9, which also had info about Newcastle, three hours by train from Sydney, and apparently a very hip town. Next time I would love to spend a weekend there!
Preparation and improvisation – a winning combo in my book
During my three weeks in Sydney, I walked around with a selection of the above in my bag, depending on my day ‘itinerary’. The way I use maps, guidebooks and information is more along the lines of orientation and preparation in advance (giving me lots of fun), ‘options’ during my walks, a very flexible guideline, instead of rigidly aiming to follow them from point to point.
In my mind I will have some things as a must-see, others as probably, again other things as maybe…or not… And then there are the accidental things you discover; great!
This way works just fine for me. I leave room for changes, surprises, shortcuts and add-ons, which gives me freedom while still feeling I made the most out of my explorations. Cool!
How do you explore a city? Do you prepare yourself? Any preferred guidebooks and/or maps?