New Year's Eve in Sydney is a big deal. The city puts on a world-famous, multi-million dollar fireworks display in the harbour, and thousands of people flock to all the vantage points to see them. Lucy, Peter, Stu and I arrived to pick a grassy spot with a view at 11am (yes, a full 13 hours before the midnight show), and we were only just in time to get a good spot! We then spent the day defending this territory as the crowds poured in to commandeer every available inch of grass and the drinkers nearby got progressively drunker. But we had a fun day - it was boiling hot and we had no shade (the shady spots having been bagged much earlier in the morning), but we had lots of suncream and a well-stocked esky full of picnic food and drinks. We spent the day hanging out, snacking, playing trivial pursuit and every now and again going to dip our feet in the harbour water to cool off. At one point a plane wrote a 'Marry me' message in the cloudless sky for someone, and everyone was shouting out name guesses as each letter was added.
Messing about in the sun:
The view in from our spot!: At 9pm the first round of fireworks went off, so the kids could watch them before being carted home to bed, and these were already very impressive. But at midnight everyone counted down and then the real show began. The harbour bridge had been closed off and loaded up with firewords, and further fireworks exploded from boats positioned in the harbour, all in unison. It was spectacular, and we were all glad we braved the crowds to see it (even if we'll never do it again)!
A taste of the fireworks:
On New Year's Day the four of us drove to Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains to spend a relaxing few days out of the city. We rented a country bungalow as an extra treat, which was beautiful, very comfy and cosy indeed. We spent our first afternoon and evening there enjoying a BBQ and meadering about the golf course which backed onto the bungalow. (We also spent a lot of that weekend working on a short film project! I won't give away too much about it now, but it is very silly and I'll stick up a link to it as soon as I can.)
The next day we went on a very energetic walk. Starting at the Wentworth Falls themselves, we took a route called the National Pass that went steeply down the cliffs and across the falls, before winding its way along the cliffside, ducking under overhangs and behind waterfalls. The views were amazing and it was a beautiful sunny day, interruptedly weirdly by a brief hailstorm! The walk back up the cliff was exhausting, leaving us with aching calves and a sense of triumph.
The top section of Wentworth Falls:
Lucy looking out at the view:
On our last day in the blue mountains the mist and rain rolled in, and we went to explore the Jenolan Caves. These are a series of huge underground caves full of stalactites, stalagmites and underground rivers. We toured the Imperial Cave, which included huge sheets of stalactites that looked like fan corals, a white column formation called 'Lots's Wife', and a deeper section with an eerie underground river. At one point our guide turned off all the lights, so that it was completely pitch black - you could imagine how it must have felt for the guy who original discovered the cave in candlelight (apparently he dropped his hat down a hole and went in to retrieve it).
Underground rock formations:
On our way home to Sydney we stopped at the famous 'Three Sisters' lookout point, which which you get a view of the valley and the three columns of rock know as the 'three sisters'. However, by this point it was extremely foggy indeed, and the view we saw was more like looking into a spooky abyss of emptiness! So although we went there, we didn't actually see the famous view (but I actually think this will stick with me more)!
View of the 'Three Sisters":
View of the 'Three Sisters":
Yesterday Stu and I bid farewell to Lucy and Peter and flew to Melbourne, where we will be for the next ten days. But I will let Stu tell you more about that in his next post...