I’ve seen in the New Year in two different capital cities in my life to date. Firstly, Kiev in Ukraine a few years ago, just as the Ukrainian Revolution was kicking off. It was my cousin’s first birthday, and my Mum and I went over to stay with family for that awesome little birthday bash and New Year’s too. Then, just last year, I was in Bangkok to ring in the New Year. I didn’t really appreciate that one all that much as I had spent the majority of the day on a long-haul flight, but did physically stay up to see the clock change into the best year of my life, and then passed out on my very comfortable hotel bed.
Last time I told you all about the awesome touristy things I had gotten done in Sydney in a week. Well, I hadn’t gotten to New Year’s yet, so I’ll let you know how that went down. When we climbed the Harbour Bridge, our Guide had given us an interesting description of where we should go to see the fireworks. From the highest point on the bridge, he pointed over to the North bank of the river “You need to take the direction of the wind into consideration. Fireworks make a lot of smoke. You see that cliff-face over there? Well, you can rock up there at 11.30pm and still find a good place to see them. None of this camping out all night kind of rubbish. I’ll be there with my wife. I go every year and the view is incredible.” I mean, this dude was going to take his wife there? It must decent then. “Okay, so you want to get the train to Waverton Station. Exit the station and turn left. Take the next left and take the road immediately on the right. Walk all the way to the end and then down to the bottom of the steel steps. It’s legit, I promise!” Well, with that fool-proof description, of course we were going to check this place out before we committed ourselves.
On 30th December, we decided to go out to Manly Beach. It’s a world-famous beach and one of the only ways you can get to Palm Beach which is where they film Home and Away (which will always hold a special place in my heart, since it’s the only soap that my dear mother watches religiously!). Whilst I really wanted to go visit the set and take pictures in the diner, Stand on the stage in Angelo’s where Ed Sheeran performed a couple years back, trek up to Stewart’s Point and catch the cast filming and maybe meet them, the tour was a hundred bucks, I’d have had to go by myself. Plus, what with it being so close to Christmas/New Years’, I didn’t think they’d even be working, so I let that one slide. Another time. I’ll take Mum one day.
Anyway. The point here is that Manly is on the north side of Sydney. We figured, we could take a bus to go see this lookout point. Judge where the best spot is, and whether we should leave it until 11.30 or if we should go earlier. We arrived mid-afternoon, and found a few benches and looked around the area. Scouted out where the toilets were and figured it was a good place to be for the following night’s festivities. Clear view of the bridge, you can see the Opera House in the background. What a dream.Helen had spoken to her Aunt who’d been out in Sydney to see the midnight show a few years previous. We found it on a map, looked up the route and found it wasn’t too far away. We hopped on another bus, and by the time we arrived at the other place, it was getting dark. It was right by the water. There was definitely a ferry wharf, but we weren’t sure if it was right where we were standing or a bit further down. Looking at a map, this Birchgrove Park area looked more accessible to a lot more people, so we decided to stick to Waverton.
New Year’s Eve rolled around and we grabbed some nice snacks and packed our Coles cool-bag with fizzy pop, water and a cheap bottle of cava. We took out beach towels and headed out around 2:30pm, arrived around 3ish and there were people everywhere! It was due to get a lot busier, but we weren’t to know that. In hindsight, if we were to arrive later, we would have absolutely have found somewhere to see the display. I mean, fireworks happen in the sky, so you can’t exactly miss them, but turns out we managed to snag a brilliant spot to see the main show in the end.
In fact, I don’t know about anywhere else in the world, but in Sydney, they have a kid’s show at 9pm. I mean, it’s still eight minutes’ worth of entertainment, and it makes the kids feel like they’ve seen an awesome show and then they can go home. We were standing behind this barrier, and our view was a little bit marred by a few trees. The thing is though, that the fireworks weren’t all by the bridge. There were other displays across the city skyline and we could see one of them right in front of us. Amazing. We were stood next to this older Australian couple whose son and English daughter-in-law had brought their two little boys to enjoy the kid’s show. The Dad was looking longingly over the barrier where there was a little perch past the trees, with a completely unobscured view mumbling a couple of times along the lines of “If I didn’t have kids… kinda dangerous… oh, but the kids… if we didn’t have the…” Well, the young Dad jumped that barrier with ease, still mumbling about the burden of his own flesh and blood. He turns back to his wife and says, “This view is spectacular. Pass me Billy.” Poor Billy got handed over the barrier. Wife hops over like it’s the easiest thing in the world, the other kid gets passed over from Grandad and they crouch down literally by the cliff edge. Granny and Grandad are all but tearing their hair out and helen and I start chatting with them. “Oh know, we’re absolutely fine behind this nice safe barrier” we say to each other.
The show finishes, the kids are passed back over the fence, faces glowing and chattering in rapid Australian accents and the couple tell us we NEED to be there. Such a good view. Come on. Helen and I look at each other and it’s decided. Dad sits at the spot whilst we grab our stuff, we pass it over and ungracefully fall over this fence. We settle in for the next three hours knowing we had a wicked view. It was not comfortable. I sat on a rock with my beach towel shoved into a ball in an effort to stop my bum going numb (it didn’t work). Actually, the noise was a little less too, as we were just that little bit away from the hustle.
Spoke too soon. A bunch of Chinese tourists hopped the fence and proceeded to sit DIRECTLY BEHIND US. Shrieking and giggling and just being ridiculous. At one point, Helen stuck her fingers in her ears and I actually told them they were too loud; I’m not kidding, they were joking in Chinese and sitting right next to each other. They didn’t need to be screeching at that tone or volume. I might not be an alcoholic party girl and I do prefer a night in with hot chocolate and slipper socks over shots and stilettos any day of the week, but this was just inconsiderate. They kept it down after than though. Win!
Sitting still for three hours is actually really quite a long time. Played a few games on my phone, managed to take some really beautiful pictures of the city skyline and then edit the bejesus out of them! Spent the time thinking about the year that I’ve had and the next one and feeling exceptionally lucky to be able to take this time out just for me. As the clock inched closer to midnight, we decided to crack the bubbles out. Plastic cups and $7 fizzy wine that tasted a little bit like vinegar. Classy! The fireworks were epic, but the only complaint we had was that there was no music! Apparently, there was a soundtrack broadcast of some radio channel, but this wasn’t advertised, so we didn’t know anything about it. We had a wonderful view though.