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Gay Travel Guide to Sydney, Australia

Sydney Harbour View

"Sydney - the gay mecca of the southern hemisphere."

(Review of Sydney Mardigras 2000)

With Sydney enjoying summer while we are shivering under cloudy skies, the city can seem the perfect mid-winter destination. Certainly the 2 week Mardi Gras festival which culminates in the World famous parade, 1st Saturday in March, draws in the crowds from all corners of the globe. In Sydney's favour are the stunningly beautiful harbour, well organised night-life and the welcome provided by the residents of Sydney themselves.

The downside, if there is one, is the unpredictable weather - yes it frequently rains - and the growing number of suburban straights & backpackers who descend for the parade. Mardi Gras is big business with backing from major brewers, media etc. which means book early if you want accommodation and those all important party tickets for after the parade.

The contrast between the week prior and after the parade could not be greater as you see the hoards of cosmopolitan muscleboys & girls evaporate into thin air come Monday morning.

There's more to Sydney though, with beaches gallour and vast sporting activity. Oxford St. is the centre for all the night-life, gay & straight, with drag bars rubbing shoulders with leather haunts, however the scene outside Mardi Gras parade weekend is smaller than that in London, Manchester or Amsterdam.

Tourist Attractions:
Everyone will have heard of Sydney's famous Opera House overlooking the magnificent harbour. Also worth visiting are the AMP Tower (entrance Pitt Street), the Aquarium in Darling Harbour. If you get a chance take in a harbour cruise, the scenery is amazing and finally check out the beaches.

Gay Bars and Clubs:
The great thing about Sydney is that the majority of gay bars and clubs are all centred along and around Oxford Street. This makes it easy to walk/stagger from bars to bar. It partcular we've recommend the following: Arc is a great gay club (watch those revolving doors though), The Albery Hotel for a mix of drag queens and steroid toned bar boys, The Stonewall for a great bar atmosphere and Midnight Shift for late night drinking/disco. The is also a very popular monthly club event ("Hey Homo" at Home in Darling Harbour.

Beaches:
As well as the magnificant harbour Sydney is also famous for its beaches including Bondi, Manley, Coogee Beach. If you get a sunny day head off to any of these beautiful beaches. Bondi and Cougee can be reached by bus or taxi, for Manley take the ferry from circular quay next to the Opera House. Remember the ozone layer over Australia is severly lacking so a couple of hours in the sun can lead to sunburn. For once listen to the advice about a high factor suncreme.

Gym.
For those of you wanting to keep up your fitness routine you should visit City Gym 107-113 Crown Street Tel: (02) 9361 0347 which is packed full of muscle marys "keeping themselves nice" etc. City Gym also offer a 10 visit package for around AUS$75/£35.

Summer in Sydney is a totally unique experience any fun-loving gay guy will love. If you can coincide your trip to include Mardi Gras you will see an already fantastic city at its best.

Sydney is also undergoing a make over prior to the Summer 2000 Olympics which take place in the city. As well as new buildings going up everywhere the city is getting spruced up generally.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardigras 2000
Inevitably Mardigras is the reason Sydney is swamped with queens at the end of Feb/beginning March and in fact was the reason for our visit. This years parade took place on Saturday 4th March 2000. There are about three weeks of events in the run up to the day itself so you may wish to time your holiday to coincide with this period. (Review of Sydney Mardigras 2000)

Useful Links
Official Sydney Mardigras 2000 website
Sydney Morning Herald coverage of Mardigras 2000
Citysearch Sydney MardiGras includes links to gay friendly accommodation
Timeout Guide to Sydney

Australian Travel Links
Over the Top Tours
specialise in tailoring tour programmes to meet the exact requirements of guest. We coordinate your interests and preferences with our suggestions and proposals, making your stay on the Sunshine Coast an outstanding experience.
Web site: www.otttours.aunz.com

Turtle Cove Resort, Cairns, Australia


Getting there:
The following travel agents and airlines can probably help you arrange your trip
Sta Travel
Quantas airlines

Summary: From personal experience Sydney is a beautiful city and certainly a gay friendly holiday destination. During Mardi Gras the atmosphere is electric and combined with a amenable climate you should be set for a great holiday. The Oxford Street gay scene is a lot of fun although a little on the tatty side and fans of London's club scene may be a bit disappointed in the lack of choice. And finally the weather isn't always what you expect. Although the climate is warm, out of a fortnight we only had five good days. A colleague who went the year before only have three good days so pack a brolly.

Turtle Cove Resort, Cairns, Australia
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