Fifteen Days in Australia
A Trip to Sydney, Cairns, Melbourne, and Diving the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea
- United Global First Class Lounges – Washington-Dulles and Los Angeles
- United Global First Class Los Angeles to Sydney
- Sydney: Days One and Two (Arrival, Walking Tour, Manly Beach, and Darling Harbour)
- Sydney: Days Three and Four (Sydney Opera House, Taronga Zoo, The Rocks, Bondi Beach, Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens, Woolloomooloo, and the Sydney Fish Market)
- New Year’s Eve at Sydney Harbour
- Virgin Australia Economy Class Sydney to Brisbane to Cairns
- An Evening in Cairns and a Flight to Lizard Island, AU
- Spirit of Freedom Live-aboard Dive Trip (4-night Coral Sea and GBR)
- Qantas Economy and Business Class Cairns to Sydney to Melbourne
- Two Days in Melbourne and the Park Hyatt Melbourne
- United Global First Class Sydney to San Francisco
New Year’s Eve at Sydney Harbour
I timed this entire trip in order to be able to take in the New Year’s Eve celebration in Sydney Harbour. As the first major city in the world to usher in the new year, Sydney’s New Year’s celebration is followed by many people all around the world. This event is decidedly a big deal in Sydney, and as such, lots of people flood into the Central Business District and fight for a good viewing spot to see the massive midnight fireworks display. Queues to view the show started to form the afternoon of December 30th — a bad sign for us considering we really didn’t feel like camping out in one spot all day on our last day in Sydney.
An ideal solution would have been to arrange to be on a ferry or boat in the harbour during the show. Alas, this option was prohibitively expensive, and I didn’t really know anybody in Sydney who had a boat. So instead, we decided to splurge for a private event hosted at the Italian Village — a restaurant off Campbell’s Cove with a wonderful view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. This shindig featured endless appetizers and alcoholic beverages, and was pretty pricey. But at that point, we’d figured that we had flown halfway across the World, so what the heck, why not?
The restaurant itself featured a large patio outside right on Campbell’s Cove in the Rocks neighborhood — it is the same small cove that stretches from the cruise ship terminal to the Park Hyatt, Sydney.
This basically meant that we’d have unreal views of the celebration. The views did not disappoint!
After a smaller, “tease” of a show at 10pm, the main event started with a countdown to January 1st just seconds before midnight.
Once the clock hit zero, the Sydney Harbour Bridge erupted in a massive burst of fireworks. The celebration went on for 15-20 minutes. I’ll let the pictures to the talking.
The finale was absolutely breathtaking!
Once the finale was over, the venue cleared out pretty quickly. Overall, the decision to spend the extra money on a private venue was worth it — we really enjoyed our time at the Italian Village.
The walk back to the hotel was pretty impressive. The streets were a sea of humanity. As we walked by George Street, we stopped several times to take in the view of thousands of people wall-to-wall amongst the tall buildings in Sydney. I was struck by just how orderly everyone was. Despite hours of drinking, the revelers in Sydney were for the most part orderly and kind. I can’t imagine how misbehaved 2 million people would be leaving one event in the US… but it wouldn’t be pretty.
After navigating the crowded streets, we arrived back at our hotel at around 1:30am leaving us short night of sleep before our flight to next morning to Cairns.
I’m extremely glad I had the opportunity to ring in 2014 in Sydney. The New Year’s Eve experience in Sydney is second to none, and I highly recommend partaking if you ever have the chance!