Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Years Day

They weren't wrong!! The weather reports that is! A blistering hot 44 degrees today.....and boy was it a hot start to the new year.

We took a tactical decision to camp in the bedroom for most of the day where we have the air conditioning. Whenever we opened the door we had a quick reminder of actually how hot it was. Imagine turning the oven on to 250 and after an hour or so, open the door and that blast you get...well that's what it was like all day.

We spent most of the day organising the blog and sifting through photos of last night. At about 4pm I was getting a bit stir crazy and wanted to go somewhere and at least top the day off with a refreshing swim in the sea.

Lisa suggested we go to Waverly Cemetery, which has been a spot on the map we've wanted to go to for a while. We heard it was a beautiful cemetery on the cliffs overlooking the sea....and hoped it would distract us slightly from the heat.

We thought that being by the sea on the cliffs would give us a cool sea breeze, but we were wrong on that front! But our consolation was that it was indeed a beautiful place.

Looks like it's been around from early 1800s and some very old stones were dotted around. But the view topped it off as a spectacular place to visit.

We stayed for a short while until the heat got the better of us, but not before we took a few photos. We'll be back to this place though, maybe a little earlier or later in the day to get more of a contrasting light. Definitely lots of material here to take photos of.

We decided to head to the beach, and as it overlooked Coogee that was the perfect spot. Only, thousands of other people had the same idea and we found it difficult to park. So difficult in fact that we had to go somewhere else!

As beautiful as the city beaches are, they are generally extremely busy, and finding somewhere to park is always tricky. So we headed for our favourite spots and went north of the harbour to Chowder Bay. By the time we got there it was after 6pm, but it didn't take long before I was swimming in the sea and Lisa was lazing on the beach, still nursing her poorly knee from Flint and Steel Beach.

We stayed until the sun went down and the swim had certainly done the trick and worked up an appetite. So what else but a curry on New Year's Day! Yum Yum. Our favourite curry hole, the Darbar on Glebe Point Road! The end to a very hot day.

Happy New Year!!


What a fantastic evening!! Seemed very fitting to the end of what has been a truly brilliant year. Hopefully 2006 will prove to be just as good and dare I say it......even better!?
Well as promised, I'm updating the blog actually on time. We woke up this morning just in time to send text messages and do some phoning for friends and family in the UK to be experiencing the countdown to their new year. Of course most were out or drunk but the messages got through!!

Any way last night we gathered at the Botanic Gardens at around 6.30pm. It seemed there were different grades of tickets and looked like we were in the middle section. This offered a great view looking out onto the Opera House with the Bridge in the background and what amazing and memorable photo opportunities this would provide.

We took our space on the lawn which was very civilised and ultimately was base camp for the next few hours leading up to countdown. If it's one thing that we are learning about being here, is that every event focusses around a picnic!! Down the beach.....picnic, to the park.....picnic, to the concert......picnic. Tonight was no exception. Rugs of all different colour and sizes defined everyone's little patch of territory on the lawn.

The first set of fireworks was at 9pm. This is the family fireworks and a little teaser for what was in store. There were just over 2 hours to kill before the first show and it became obvious that this was the feeding frenzy. Taking a look all around us and every one was eating and drinking wine and tucking into their picnic.

It was a lovely warm night and t-shirts, shorts and flipflops (thongs for the Aussie interpretation) was the order of the night. The sun gradually went down to begin a new day back in England. On any day this is a great spot to be in the city; water in front, city and skyscrapers to the left, park to the right and Opera House and Bridge straight ahead. As the light fades the Opera House generally bathes in a beautiful golden light catching the last of the rays, providing just a few photo opportunities along the way.

It wasn't long before 9pm was on us and the ferries and boats moored in front were all giving their horns in excitement. Not sure how they knew it was coming, but they were the perfect countdown to the start of the first fireworks.

Fantastic!! These were set off somewhere in the middle of the harbour and provided a great back drop to all the different yachts and boats moored up to get the best view. The fireworks ended all too quickly and the smoke drifted overhead towards the city.

More time to eat and drink. At this point we also noticed that the heart on the bridge was getting bigger. It was constantly beating but had now grown in size. For the next 3 hours we chatted and drank and ate, chatted a bit more, took some photos, drank, get the picture! The time seemed to go so quickly and before we knew it, the boats and crowd were starting to get excited. Lots of horns and cheering and whistling and then the countdown to 12 o’clock had suddenly arrived.

Boom!! Off they went and they certainly weren't disappointing. Igniting from all over the frame of the Bridge, highlighting it's full shape and the Opera House in the foreground. Any way I'll shut up and hopefully these photos will do the display some justice.

However much we wanted them to carry on forever, sadly they had to end. The Opera House was engulfed in the smoke from all the fireworks, but it gradually cleared as it drifted towards the city. This was the cue for every one to pack up and leave; making their mass exodus from all the great vantage points they held, through the city and home.

The city was amazingly packed, full of people of all shapes, sizes and nationalities in various states of drunkeness. It was all good humoured as the only thing on people's minds was firstly, to wish every one a happy new year and secondly, to get home.

After weaving our way through the throng, feeling like a salmon swimming up stream, we managed to get on the tram. It was nice and air conditioned and made the last of the journey home a little easier!

So now it’s New Year’s Day and most of you lot have just finished celebrating the start of your New Year. It's a little sticky today. 43 degrees as a few people have said, and with all the doors and windows opened, the breeze that comes through feels like a hair dryer blowing hot!!

So we wish everyone a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!! May this year prove to be a good one and we hope to see a few more people out here with us. You're all so very welcome.

And if you want to know how fantastic it is.....ask Linda and Chris! :o)