Paris, London, Brussels, Istanbul, Copenhagen, every year Reinier and I celebrated New Year’s Eve in another European city. A mini party, just for the two of us. Not with family, not with friends, not at a big anonymous party and certainly not at home on the couch.
Until Reinier left for Australia, and I followed “somewhat” later. To Port Augusta, of all places. Growing tomatoes. And no, it was not a farm with animals, but those tomato plants can’t be left alone either. No city trip for us that year.
On the 31st of December it’s hot in Port Augusta. Summer in the desert. Temperatures above 40 degrees are no exception. So, no thick sweaters, gusty cold winds, hot chocolate milk, “oliebollen” or mulled wine. But, watching a movie in the garden in your bikini, eating snacks and drinking bubbles. And then it was suddenly 12 o’clock. Full of anticipation we looked from our garden towards the town. Okay, it was “fire season”, every fire is strictly forbidden, but the municipality would organise something, right? Nope. No bang or bam, no zoom or boom. A deadly silence. We definitely would be somewhere else on the following New Year’s Eve. That was our first resolution of the year.
It had to be Sydney, no question! Who is not familiar with the images, the fireworks from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. We also had to experience just that. Despite our good intentions, we planned our trip pretty late. Not very smart because a million other people are planning the same. Fortunately, we found a very nice Airbnb in Neutral Bay.
Finding a good location to view the fireworks turned out to be the next challenge. Sydney has a website especially for the New Year’s Eve celebration: www.sydneynewyearseve.com. Here you will find a lot of relevant information. And still, it was a bit of a guess. It’s difficult to imagine how such an evening will be organised. How big is the crowd and how long does it take to travel with public transport? What is the best place to view the fireworks? Do you go for one of the countless free designated areas? Unfortunately, you can’t buy drinks at those areas and you can’t bring your own. What time do you have to be there to get a great spot? Are there any toilets?
We decided to play it safe. We bought tickets for a location including dinner and drinks. Clark Island, a tiny island in the middle of the Sydney bay. We would be picked up and dropped off by a private ferry. Price … ehhhh … but certainly worth every penny.
This city has organised New Year’s Eve more often. Quite an understatement, you notice that in everything. No chaotic situations, a lot of crew on the street for questions, clear markings where to go. Public transport runs smooth, it was busy, but not extremely busy. We found our ferry in no time. It seemed to us that only a handful of people were on this island. It was decorated with vintage lanterns, there were wicker armchairs, sun loungers and blankets everywhere. There was a buffet with excellent food. While enjoying a drink, the sunset and a good conversation, we were waiting for the big moment.
Yeah, and then it was 12 o’clock !!! BOOM! Holy moly what a gigantic fireworks. Really insane!! London has supurb fireworks, but I believe Sydney can’t be beaten. Perhaps the fireworks itself, but not the location. That whole bay is exploding. The enormous Harbour Bridge is the centre of this spectacle, but over a length of about 3km, there is a synchronous fireworks display from several pontoons in the bay…absolutely breath-taking.
And to top it all off, we had tickets to climb the Harbour Bridge the next day. If you are in Sydney, no matter when, this is an attraction you should not miss. It’s not difficult to accomplish, but you will need to plan half a day for the exercise. It takes about 3.5 hours. What an experience. What a view!!
Once at the top, you will feel a sense of invincibility. Though reaching the top is easy, it really is a very special moment to be on top of this bridge. Fortunately you get the time to enjoy the views, although you can’t stay too long. Unfortunately your group has to make room for the next climbers. The organisation will take professional photos. Of course you don’t have to buy them, but hey, how often are you going to do this in your life, haha.
Satisfied and recharged, we hopped on a plane back to Adelaide! Happy New Year!!
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