Sydney, we meet again! This time, my visit was to celebrate the end of an incredible year and welcome the beginning of what I know will be another fantastic year for me. I couldn’t think of a more iconic and spectacular place to ring in the new year!
I arrived into Sydney December 30th, greeted at the airport by my Canadian friends Zahra and Gresa. Gresa, my roommate and fellow nurse in Ottawa moved to Brisbane this past November to work as a nurse at an oncology clinic. The two of us had talked about nursing in Australia together years ago, so it is very exciting to have such a great friend close by. She was easily convinced to join me in Sydney over New Years and arrived on a flight earlier in the day. Gresa and I were so fortunate to be able to stay with another close friend from Ottawa, Zahra. Zahra moved to Sydney the same time I moved to Brisbane last year. She has remained in Sydney, studying, and most recently, working as a nurse at the Sydney Children’s Hospital. Zahra lives a mere 30 minute walk to the city, making her house a perfect place for us to stay. It was so much fun having Zahra, Gresa and I back together in the same city. We determined it was back in 2014 when we all lived and worked in Ottawa that we were last together. We had plenty of laughs throughout my stay.
We were extremely spoiled with Zahra having a car. She was an excellent driver, navigating through the busy streets of Sydney, especially on the opposite side of the road!
We spent our first evening together catching up and going to a popular multilevel bar fit with a pool.
New Year’s Eve had arrived and we were eager to go to the harbour front to get a good view of the famous firework display. Knowing how popular and busy it would be, we made our way into the city at 12 noon (a mere 12 hours before the big event!!) We were immediately greeted by excited tourists like us from all over the world, visiting for Sydney’s biggest annual event. After 2 security checks and a lucky spotting of a hidden gate entrance the 3 of us along with 6,000 others were in a gated section of the harbour front located directly in front of the iconic Opera House. Excited, we found a small empty ground section amongst the crowd, giving fantastic views of the Harbour Bridge and less than 100 meters from the entrance of the Opera House.
We spent the day playing cards, talking amongst ourselves and to our “neighbours”, walking around the opera house and napping. Surprisingly, the time was very enjoyable and went by fast.
While walking around, we noted sections on either side of the harbour front packed with spectators willing to wait the 12 + hours to see the fireworks. More than an estimated one million people had squeezed along Sydney’s waterfront. Two firework displays, a family firework show at 9pm and the much anticipated midnight fireworks were televised around the world. My dad was eagerly watching the fireworks on the computer in Douro, equally as excited as me watching the fireworks live.
The fireworks exploded off the arches, catwalk and roadway of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and also some city buildings along the waterfront. A collective “ooh and aahh” could be heard with each new burst of colour and light along with cheers of excitement from the crowd. Novelty fireworks shaped as hearts, quarter moons, and candy got extra applause from the crowds. The loudest applause came at the end when a golden waterfall cascaded from the bridge to the water below. This was my favourite part of the display. The closing sequence of the show featured the bridge before all firing points rapidly exploding with lights, causing an “all-white” sky like never seen before. The two displays involved an estimated seven tonnes of fireworks, including 12,000 shells, 25,000 shooting comets and 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects.
New Year’s Day was spent sleeping in, walking around the suburb Zahra lives in and a trip to Watson’s Bay Beach. This beach, located a short drive from the city, provides beautiful views across the harbour to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The following day we got up MUCH earlier, making our way to Bondi Beach for breakfast at a cafe overlooking the famous beach. I had my favourite- yogurt and granola!! (Fun fact- if you were to ask me what my favourite meal is I would say yogurt…and a yummy Carlow roast). After breakfast, we walked along Bondi beach, looking at the graffiti that covered the boardwalk. The beach was much busier this visit than previous times I had visited Sydney due to the warm summer weather this time around.
The afternoon was spent taking a train to Luna Park, an amusement park located at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. After enjoying some entertainment from clowns and men on stilts and walking by the various rides, we were headed back into the city to have dinner and walking around.
For my final day, Gresa had flown back to Brisbane to start work and Zahra was working a day shift here in Sydney, leaving me the day to explore on my own. I started my day walking the famous Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. This cliff top coastal walk, extends for six km from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach, taking just over an hour to complete. With the sun shining, the coastal walk featured stunning views of beaches, parks, cliffs, bays and rock pools.
After my walk, I made my way by bus to the Opera House where I met up with my friends Emma & Chris. I met Emma and Chris while in Fiji this past August. They are from England, living and working in Melbourne. Like me, they were visiting Sydney for the famous New Year’s fireworks and festivities. I had such a great time catching up with them and sharing travel stories with each other. I hope to see them again when they travel through Brisbane later in the year.
After catching up with my Fiji friends I was off to catch up with Liz, a friend I made on my New Zealand trip. Liz is also from England and moved to Sydney to work after our New Zealand trip finished in November. It was so nice catching up with Liz and hearing about her adventures after leaving New Zealand. We went out to dinner on Darling Harbour.
It was an early morning the follow day as I caught my flight to Brisbane in order to work a night shift that night. I had such an amazing time in Sydney and would definitely recommend planning a trip there over New Year’s Eve. What a fantastic way to start the new year!
You can also watch a video I made with highlights from my trip by clicking on the link or video below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tnkRImiyKE