Festive Fish and NYE Fireworks in Sydney Harbour

Trip Start May 11, 2003
Trip End May 10, 2004

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Saturday, January 3, 2004

This year we swap jumpers and mittens for bikinis and "thongs" (Aussie speak for flip flops) as we spend Christmas and New Year in Sydney at the height of the Aussie summer. We swap the "comfort" of our Ford Falcon station wagon to sleep in bunk beds in an 8-bed dorm for the first time.

Wed 24th Dec - Wake up early and watch breakfast TV (it's a novelty!!) until around 9am. Go to Macca's for breakfast before driving the 60km's to Sydney. Park up at The Original Backpackers in Kings Cross, that will be our home for the next 10 days. Meet up with Claire and the girls don't stop nattering for the next 2hrs! Do our "big shop" for Christmas Day, buy our first slab of beer and then head out for Christmas Carols at Darling Harbour with Vicky, Stacey and Yvonne from our dorm. Meet up with Brian and Sharon who we haven't seen since Bangkok in September and have a great night at Bar 26 where we see in Christmas Day.

Thurs 25th Dec - Wake up feeling hungover and come round with a glass of port, which we share around our dorm and open our 7 Xmas cards while everyone watches. Have bacon and egg butties and start our festive tinselling. We cook our "Festive Fish" and roasted sprouts and Vicky keeps reminding us all "Its Christmas Day"!!! Stacey joins us then the 5 of us get packed up and L drives to Carolyn's flat in Coogee. We meet up with her gang and walk down to the beach. Straight in the sea and L nearly loses her glasses under a big wave! We then proceed to get very drunk and L phones home to Les, M&D and G&GA and M speaks to J&J. Have a turkey and cranberry foccacia sandwich then after sunset we all sit around the BBQ area and drink and be merry. M speaks to his Mum and Heth and we video Claire doing her "Xmas Cartwheel". Back at Carolyn's we sneak off and sleep in the car while the other 3 are kept up till 4am by fighting Irish blokes!!

Fri 26th Dec - For the 2nd time we wake up in the back of the car on the streets of Coogee, this time its 9am and the heat wakes us up. Get the others up and hear their stories about last night before heading back to the hostel. With Claire and Vicky in tow we drive to Vaucluse Beach to watch the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Chill on the beach for a couple of hours before getting back to the car to find we have a parking ticket (A$68 - 30 quid!!). Meet up with Brian & Sharon again at O' Malleys as it's St. Stephens Day. Roll in at 2am after a lot of beer and a McD's and B&S crash in our dorm.

Sat 27th Dec - We wake up to find that Stacey, who left at 6am, has left us all cards. Thanks Stacey! Relive last nights escapades with B&S before crashing for most of the day, doing a bit of washing in between. Stay in at the hostel, having tea of jackets spud with beans and cheese (and sausages - M).

Sun 28th Dec - Decide to do a bit of a City Tour today. From Victoria Street, we walk up through Woolloomooloo (!) and by Harrys Café de Wheels (a pie cart established in 1945) to the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Wander up to Hyde Park and the Archibald Fountain, then onto Circular Quay, where all the ferries leave from, and on to the Rocks, a market area. When we get back, M cooks a veggie chilli for the three of us and we have a few drinks before an early night.

Mon 29th Dec - After breakfast, L decides to try and get a free haircut at the Toni & Guy Academy, only to be told that it is closed until the 5th January. Get back to the hostel and drive to Sydney's Olympic Park, cooling down under a huge fountain as it's so hot. Visit the Telstra Stadium while we are there (where England won the World Cup and we take some photos of us a la Johnny Wilkinson) and then the Aquatic Centre, where there are numerous slides and wavepools to keep us amused! Claire cooks a veggie stir fry with noodles before L&C make a "Welcome to Oz" banner for Sarah.

Tue 30th Dec - Today, we start by strolling through the Royal Botanic Gardens and then on to Circular Quay. From there we tour the Museum of Contemporary Art and then watch a couple of street performers on the Quayside. Back at the hostel we decide to go to the cinema to watch "Love Actually" but after making our own huge pizzas, we run out of time. Decide instead to chill with our pizzas, washed down with some wine.

Wed 31st Dec - Up at 5.30am to go and pick Sarah up at the airport. The banner goes down well and the girls catch up on recent news while M cooks breakfast. Pack up our picnic of food and booze and head to Mrs Macquaries Point for the NYE celebrations. We get a prime spot opposite the Opera House and Harbour Bridge and spend the rest of the afternoon eating, chatting and drinking our vats of vodka & orange. Meet Brian & Sharon and their friend, Carmen, in the early evening and carry on enjoying the party and fireworks until midnight, when M&L fall out! Head back to the hostel at 1am, L calls her M&D and we plan our early start for the morning.....

Thu 1st Jan 2004 - We get up early and get a phone call from Chris & Lorraine, both drunk and waiting for NY Day. Walk down to a little park near the hostel that overlooks the Opera House and Harbour Bridge and have our own NY celebrations (UK style at 11am) in glorious sunshine. Get calls soon after from M's sister, Heather and L's sister, Les. Get back to the hostel to more phone calls from M's friend, Lindsay and M's Mum before driving to Bondi Beach, where we have a couple of hours in the sun, before moving on to Coogee and having a BBQ by the beach.

Fri 2nd Jan - Have breakfast and then put Sarah & Claire on the car insurance. Then walk up to Circular Quay, past Harry's Piecart, to catch the ferry to Manly in North Sydney. Have a choc experience at Max Brenners and then head to the beach and watch a beach volleyball competition. Catch the bus to and then walk over Sydney Harbour Bridge and then catch a train back to Kings Cross. Have buffet leftovers for tea before meeting B&S and Carmen in O' Malleys for a few (only kidding, this is Brian & Sharon we're talking about!!!)....
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