Sydney, A New Year and Fireworks

So we are now in Sydney for the New Years period. We opted to stay at an Airbnb place to save money. As you can imagine the price of hotels over the New Years period is a bit extreme. Almost as extreme as the cost of parking, if you can find any overnight parking in Sydney!

Once we arrived and dumped our things we had time for a very quick walk up to the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Sydney was surprisingly quiet, I guess owing to all the locals having escaped for the holidays. We headed back and then took the car to the Airport, for the cheapest overnight parking in Sydney, before enjoying a nice train ride back into the city.

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Coastal walk from Bondi Beach

We had something a little special planned for the afternoon of our second day so we decided to have a gentle stroll around Sydney’s Royal Botanical Gardens in the morning, which led us back around to the Opera House where Nicola insisted we go inside for a look around. Apparently she was oblivious to the fact that ticket offices aren’t very interesting in their nature but I humored her anyway. Afterwards we found a park to eat our lunch in before heading over to The Rocks, historically a rocky part of town, to embark on our second of the worlds three bridge climbs; The Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Dreading the additional 67m of height between the Story Bridge and Harbour Bridge Climbs was apparently in vein as we discovered that the Harbour bridge was a distinctly less steep than its Queenland Cousin. Aside from a couple of ladders at the beginning and end the walk up the bridge was very pleasant with lots of time to admire the views and plenty of time at the top with cruise liners heading out of the harbour below us.

Seeing as the waters heading south became progressively cooler, we decided to make the most of being in the city and decided to visit Cook and Phillip Park Aquatic and Fitness Centre for a quick swim. Not as exciting as being out on the reef but they have a wave machine which made our inner children happy. Luckily we had squeezed in the swim in the pool as the following day when we went to Bondi Beach the water was pretty cold. Just like being back in Bournemouth. We spent the day walking along the coast before heading back for another walk around the city at night. The highlight for Nicola though, was spotting the actor who play VJ in Home and Away near Bondi Beach.

Alf's Bait Shop in Palm Beach
Alf’s Bait Shop in Palm Beach

Being in Sydney, we didn’t really have any other option then to watch the fireworks which meant joining a queue for our spot at 8am. After 4 hours of queuing we finally made it inside the gardens and picked a spot where we could make out the Harbour Bridge and Opera House through the foliage and dug ourselves in for the day with a book each to wait for the fireworks to begin. After several hours of reading, playing Uno and drinking a couple of ciders the evening’s entertainment kicked in and it was great seeing in the New Year with aerial, naval and fireworks displays with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge as a background.

We also took the ferry out to Manly Beach to explore a little further afield in our last couple of days in Sydney and once we had taken a walk along the beach and had an ice cream we decided it was worth jumping on the bus to travel up to Palm Beach, the real “Summer Bay” for an explore of the home and away filming locations, before busing all the way back to the city.

We now have two weeks to make our way to Melbourne, likely with a detour across to Adelaide. First though, we are heading to Canberra as we need to pick up a parcel that didn’t arrive in time for our Christmas stay!

A Ginger Down Under
3rd January 2016