By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: I am planning a 3 week vacation in and around Sydney, Australia from Apr 8, 2001 until April 29, 2001 (I have bought the ticket and have my visa).How can I book a hotel room in Sydney for a few days and a bed & breakfast north of Sydney? Also, should I buy Australian dollars here or just take US dollars?

A: When travelling to Australia, it's not necessary to take US dollars. However, it is a good idea to have a few Australian dollars or traveller's cheques in Australian funds. Just because it's commonly known as "The-Place-Down-Under," doesn't mean you're out of luck on bank machines. There are plenty of ATM's in Australia, so depending on your schedule, you can obtain Australian currency immediately upon arrival.

The currency exchange rate is also in your favour with one Canadian dollar equal to about $1.24 Australian dollars. Since you'll be travelling to Sydney in April, you'll be arriving in autumn, one of the more pleasant times to visit weather-wise. So, don't worry about re-enacting the popular Survivor show which was set in Queensland where it's always tropical and hot.

You'll also be in time for the finale of The Royal Easter Show which Aussie's call the 'Show.' Billed as Australia's biggest agricultural exhibition, The Royal Easter Show is held at the Olympic Games complex at Homebush Bay until April 10.

As Sydney is located by Sydney harbour, but officially it's known as Port Jackson, you'll see the city stretches back nearly 100 km from top to bottom. However, the city centre area is about 8 km and if you're interested in a hotel here, the Australian Tourist Commission has designated Aussie specialists in place to assist your travel needs.

Dial toll-free 1-800-333-0139 and also ask for a free copy of the "Travel Planner," a guidebook which includes hotel and B&B listings. If you're on the Internet, visit


Dispatches| Q&A | Photos | Fork | Compass Calls | Links | Search | Store | About | Contact | Home

All text & photos 2004.