New Year's Eve in Sydney!
Trip Start Nov 09, 2008
66Trip End Apr 02, 2009
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We spent a day visiting the Blue Mountains on the outskirts of Sydney. They are blue mountains because of the blue haze over them although there is some dispute over why they this happens. One school of thought is that it is because of the eucaplyptus trees and the other is that it because of the rock, however there is a blue haze over them whatever the reason. We went to the landmark of the Three Sisters where there were many tourists taking photos but we enjoyed the drive back on the less touristy route and found the scenery equally impressive.
Two days before New Year's Eve we visited Sydney itself where we walked around the Circular Quay and saw the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. We had seen the Opera House when we flew in on the plane and we agreed it looked more spectacular from above, or maybe it just looked more like the photos we have seen as it is hard to appreciate the whole building when you are on the same level as it.
The quay was a hive of activity as fences and portaloos were being put in place for the New Year celebrations in a couple of days time. It was at this point we decided to change our plans and stay at home for New Year's Eve as the prospect of pushing a buggy through hoards of drunken revellers didn't inspire us.
As a consequence of our visit to the harbour we spent the night at our lodgings and anticipated fireworks at local parties that we might watch from the windows. At midnight we watched the fireworks at the harbour on the television and although we could not see the fireworks, we could feel the rumbling of the special effects which were like thunder and lightning. The fireworks at the harbour only lasted 10 minutes, and although no doubt spectacular, we were rather glad to be at home. As for the local fireworks, we have never heard such a deafening silence on New Year's Eve! Not a party as far as the eye could see and the ear could hear! So possibly one of the quietest New Year's Eves we've ever spent, or likely to in future!
We also visited the Botanical Gardens at Sydney and while the plants were interesting, the most fascinating part for us was looking at the flying foxes sleeping in the trees and the possom (or we think it was!) asleep in an ornamental pillar!
It is easy to get excited by the wildlife in Australia because it is very different from the wildlife in England. On first arrival in Australia, driving to the house, Yvonne got over-excited about a kookaburra sitting on a lamp post! Seeing ibis (or is it ibises) sitting on the roof of the house takes you aback to start with and we saw sulphur crested parakeets flying in the wild. We observed an excellent symbiotic relationship between some cows and large white birds where the cows were grazing and each cow had a bird by its side. We supposed that the cow disturbed insects as it pulled on the grass but we also thought there might be issues of shade as it was very hot.
When you drive around and see the yellow and black kangaroo warning signs you hope to see some by the roadside and, probably fortunately, this doesn't happen much, if at all. We saw two kangaroos in the wild but they were within a wire fence on defence range so weren't vulnerable to road accidents. Sadly we have seen
some kangaroo and koala roadkill, so they do venture on to the roads at times.
Of course our favourite creatures are the insects! Even in built up clean areas of towns and cities there are cockroaches and to find our little friends sitting on the doorstep or on the door frame when you step out into the garden at night is slightly unnerving!
We also spent many days going down to the beaches and visited Maroubra beach which was close to the house but was less calm and has small lifeguarded areas but had some big surfing waves coming in.
We finally made it to Bondi Beach on a blustery and cloudy day and decided that whilst it had wonderful sand and fantastic rollers, we were probably better off on Malabar beach.
It now feels a little bit more like a very hot English summer here as we have found it strange that in Thailand and Malaysia the sun goes down at about 6pm on a hot summer's day when it would normally set a lot later in England. Now we are further away from the equator it feels normal to have the sun setting at 8 to 9pm!
D's ongoing quest for McDonalds! - Due to the easy availablity of McDonalds in Australia it has no longer become a quest so D is now eating a more varied diet!
Singapore Flyer footnote! - The Singapore Flyer caught on fire a few days after we went on it and people were trapped in the pods for up to 12 hours. We would like to state that it was not the engines burning out due to the excess stress of having to bear the Yvonne and D's weight but it does add up to this trail of misfortune that seems to be following us around!