4 January 2011

Fireworks & Fog

New Year fireworks from Sydney Harbour Bridge
Celebrating the start of 2011
Our New Year's Eve flight from Melbourne to Sydney with Tiger Airways (Australia's equivalent of Ryanair) thankfully left on time, meaning we wouldn't have to spend our last night of 2010 stuck at the airport! After a quick journey on the underground, we hopped on the ferry to Manly, dumped our luggage at our hostel and then made a U-turn to catch the ferry back to the city for the famous fireworks display.

Packed in like sardines in a tin!
We had been told by several people that in order to get a spot near the harbour for midnight, we would have to get there at midday to contend with the crowds. Well, they were right about one thing: the sheer number of people was overwhelming. However, after searching for about half an hour, we came across a great viewing area almost directly underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge with a view of the Opera House and decided to set up camp!

video

The family fireworks show at 9pm was brilliant in itself, but as the crowd grew in number it was clear the midnight show was going to be something special. As we all chanted the ten-second countdown to 2011, cameras were raised skywards - and with good reason. Right on midnight, fireworks from the bridge lit up the entire sky in bright colours. From where Pam and I stood, it felt like they were going to land on us, we were that close! The explosions were so loud, we had to shout to be heard. The show ended with sparks falling from the bridge and wild applause from everyone who had fought for their place in the crowd.

More people than grains of sand!
After the standard January 1st lie in, we did something we had never done before and went to the beach on the first day of the year! Unfortunately for us, it seemed that every other tourist in Sydney had the same idea! As we had done the night before, we claimed a space and relaxed in the sunshine: definitely not a typical New Year's Day!

With only a few days until our flight to New Zealand, we decided to travel inland to see the Blue Mountains; so called because of a rising blue haze from the many eucalyptus trees on the mountains. Annoyingly, when we arrived there, there was a fog so thick that visibility was less than 100 metres! We contented ourselves with wandering around Katoomba, the town where we were staying, and hoped for better weather the following day.

The puddles were no match for Pam
...It didn't. Not to be deterred, we set off on the Prince Henry Cliff Walk, dodging huge puddles in our flip-flops and enjoyed beautiful foggy views! Our choice of footwear left a lot to be desired, but we completed the trail, just in time for the fog to lift long enough to make out the Three Sisters rock formation from Echo's Point. It was pretty amazing watching the fog rolling up the mountain to reveal the spectacular sight.

Tomorrow, we leave Australia and fly 'over the ditch' (as they say here) to Christchurch in New Zealand. We'll be in the country for seven weeks - six of which will be spent touring the North and South Islands in a Jucy campervan! Here's hoping Pam and I don't get cabin fever and are still talking to each other by the end of it!

James

Fog, fog, go away...
At the cloudy Blue Mountains
Horror movie, anyone?

Patience rewarded! The Three Sisters!

2 comments:

  1. Just loving your blog - almost feel like I am experiencing it with you because of the great descriptions and pictures. Looking forward to going to New Zealand 'with you'.
    xxxxxx

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  2. It has been exciting following you in Australia - know exactly where you were when you watched the fireworks. But will follow you even more closely in New Zealand, which we know so much better. Exciting that your mum is coming out too!

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