Sydney Part 1 - a new city for a New Year

Trip Start Nov 09, 2012
Trip End Mar 04, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Friday, December 28, 2012

The coach ride from Byron Bay was 13 hours – but considering the bus
was late, and didn't turn up until 12.45am instead of 11.55, and it
was an overnight trip, the ride was actually okay. We took the
driver's advice and got some sleep and time flew by quite quickly.

People across Oz have described Sydney is 'busy' and when we arrived we saw
why. The city is too small for the amount of people in it, there are
lots of people, cars, trams, trains, monorails, ferries and planes
everywhere – the noise is worse than London.

city itself is nice, with high rises and lots of open spaces,
including Hyde Park and the waterfront on Circular Quay. The weather
is the coolest we've experienced yet – with temperatures in the mid
20's and it's pretty chilly – so much so I've had to wear a jumper
out. When we arrived at the coach terminal we walked the 15 minutes
to the apartment with our backpacks – in true backpacker style, I
had my big backpack on my back and my day bag on my front – and I
looked very cool :-)

checked into our apartment in Haymarket and went off exploring the
area. We ended up finding a mall and went in search of some new
trainers for Debs – finding a pair in the Nike shop in Westfield
shopping centre. We also found a Max Brenner chocolate restaurant –
but decided to save it for 2013... We did some food shopping and
headed back to the apartment to catch up on some banking and admin.

We were very tired from our overnight bus journey and that's our excuse
for staying in bed til mid-day. We did the touristy thing and
caught an open top bus around Sydney CBD and Bondi beach. Bondi's
very similar to a sunny, bigger Paignton – lots of shops arranged
in a similar way, but obviously the views are better and the
weather's warm and the beach was rammed.. We found a nice Italian
restaurant on Circular Quay and had some dinner whilst looking out
over the Opera House and watching people climb over the top of the
Harbour bridge (something we'll be doing soon) before exploring the
Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, getting our bearings, ready
for New Years Eve. The views by the Opera House are stunning, with
the bridge, high rises, flats and water way lit up at night. Very
nice indeed.

Our excuse for getting up at 3pm is still the overnight journey... We
were supposed to go on a coastal walk between Byron Bay and another
beach – but were asleep... So we decided to explore The Rocks and
The Bridge. We walked to the Rocks – a good 40 minute walk, and
bought our Xmas gifts to each other, a 3.5 hour Sydney Harbour Bridge
climb for Saturday evening – very excited! Then walked up a
massive amount of steps to the observation deck on the Bridge called
Pylon lookout and saw 360 degree panoramic views over Sydney CBD. We
then walked over the Circular Quay and sat down by the Opera House
and watched the world go by with a coke and a cookie. It was very
lovely! Sydney is massively busy – with Asians everywhere and
unfortunately, they tend not to share the same walkway etiquette that
Westerners do...

Then it was New Years Eve. After another lay in :-) we decided we needed
to go souvenir shopping at went to Paddy's Market. Unfortunately
Paddy's market was shut but the discount stores on the upper floors
were open so bought myself some new hats, shorts and a necklace :-)
We then went back to the apartment to get our glad rags on for the
evening, headed out for a chicken schnitzel & chips before
queuing for the opera bar. The quay was jammed with everyone trying
to get a good view for the fireworks that evening – and there were
about 1.5 million people there. Luckily we had reservations to the
Opera House bar so didn't have to sit out the night before to get a
good spot.

The bar had a beach theme and we were given some sunglasses as we went
in, there were models in bikinis walking around, lifeguards and
people on stilts. We got in quite early so managed to get a seat on
the wall that runs along the harbour looking directly in to the water
and got the beers in. There was food served all night, mini burgers,
pies and pizza – and each time the waiter came out with the trays
he was mugged by hungry people. We managed to sneak us some fish,
burger and chips. Rounds were quite expensive, with a bottle of
Peroni costing $9.50 so I decided for a jug of cocktail – can't
remember it's name but it was lurvely – and we necked that before
moving on to champagne for midnight. One set of fireworks went off a
9pm which seems to be a tradition, and then the main event at
midnight – and it was fantastic. Fireworks were set off by the
Opera House, on the Bridge and on The Rocks and it was an incredible
sight – and we had front row seats. After the fireworks were
decided more vodka was needed and danced the night away – it was a
very very fantastic night – the best New Years yet.

New Years day was mostly spent tending to our hangovers and planning the
rest of our time in Sydney, including visiting the Blue Mountains,
Bondi Beach and Manly – and booked a night tour of Sydney
Planetarium to hopefully do some Southern Hemisphere star gazing –
and hopefully get a good look at the Southern Cross. A lot of
chocolate was consumed but it was purely medicinal – and a very
long walk planned for the next day to try and burn off the calories!

Our stay in Sydney so far has been great, it's not a massive city, but
has a ridiculous amount of people in it. It's shopping district has
lots of shops and malls, but Sydney also has a fantastic beach at
Bondi, has the Circular Quay where restaurants look over the Opera
House, bridge and harbour, and other little gems that we're yet to

NB - check out the videos of the New Years Eve fireworks in amongst the pics xx

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