P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, SYDNEY!

So, with a twelve hour bus journey under our belts, we negotiated the Sydney train system and successfully checked in to our hostel in King’s Cross – one of many London place names we found on our trip! It was a bit shabby but we had our own room for the whole Christmas/NYE period so we had planned to put various decorations up (purchased in Asia) to make it feel a bit cosier. We arrived late so just went straight to bed.

The next day was Christmas Eve and we spent the morning decorating our room. We even made a paper chain out of old tourist leaflets we’d collected – testing the capabilities of the scissors on my Swiss army knife quite severely… when we were satisfied with our efforts, we took the train to Circular Quay and wandered around The Rocks for a while, which has some lovely architecture, before heading to the Sydney Bridge Climb experience!

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Tickets? Check.

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Extremely flattering climb suits? Check.

We had to do a breath test to check we weren’t intoxicated and practice climbing up and down ladders before getting our headsets on so that we could hear our guide talking during the climb. We harnessed up and soon, we were off! It was great fun! As you can imagine, the views were incredible. There are over 1000 steps but it wasn’t nearly as tiring as we’d expected it to be, or as scary! The highest point is only 150m above ground level! It was such an amazing experience! We received a climb certificate, group photo and free hat – win! The only disappointing thing was the weather, it was almost like England, hence the rather windswept look I’m rocking in my photo…

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Once we’d descended, we took the train to Darling Harbour in search of somewhere to go for Christmas lunch as the weather didn’t look like it would be any good on Christmas day. Our original plan had been to go to Bondi beach for the day and to maybe have a BBQ/fish and chips but alas. At 9pm, there was a fireworks display in the harbour, it was great and there were dozens of inflatable Father Christmas’s everywhere! Ho ho ho!

On Christmas day, we made ourselves a cup of tea before heading back to our room to open the presents that we’d bought for each other while watching Elf. We had found out the previous day that the Hard Rock Café in Darling Harbour was offering a Christmas set menu, which included a turkey dinner, so we made our way there in the afternoon.

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Although it was very different from what we are used to, bar the weather…it was lovely to spend Christmas together! We spent the rest of the day watching films, eating chocolate and drinking!

Boxing day arrived and the weather was back to what we expected from an Australian summer – glorious! Sod’s law! We went back to Darling Harbour and went to see Anchorman: The legend continues at the cinema, which was hilarious!

As NYE was approaching rapidly, we were keen to seek out a good spot for watching the fireworks so we set out the following day and walked towards the Royal Botanic gardens.

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We thought this would be a good spot, surely no-one else would have the same idea… we then walked around the harbour to the Opera house, which is pretty magnificent!

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We decided to get the ferry to Manly the following day, which had incredible views of the opera house and coastline.

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There was a lovely beach there and a street market, which we had a wander around. It was so busy!

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In the late afternoon, we decided to try our luck getting cancellation tickets for the stage show of The Lion King at Capitol theatre, fortunately we were first in the queue and we got amazing seats!

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The following day we visited the Sydney aquarium, which was good except there were way too many people in there! It was packed and we were being barged by prams and kids were screaming in our ears…a bit of a stressful experience to be honest but we saw loads of cool fish and even a Dugong (sea cow).

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Now, we couldn’t visit Sydney without heading to Bondi and as the weather scuppered our Christmas day plans, we decided to go on New Year’s Eve-Eve. We had to queue for the bus for ages, in fact, a lot of our time in Sydney was spent in queues! But we soon arrived, the weather was beautiful and thousands of sun-seekers had made their way to this famous beach! It was packed!

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We had been pre-warned about the strong rip tide at Bondi and when we were there, there was only a small section of the whole beach that you could swim in because the water was so rough. We spent some time sunbathing and then had a wander around the market stalls before heading back in the late afternoon.

On NYE, we got up early and made our way to the Botanic gardens feeling naively confident that we’d be able to wander nonchalantly along to our spot, settle and sunbathe for the day while we waited for the fireworks…

This is what we found…

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This was the queue at 10.15 am. The park didn’t even open until 10am! We were miles away from the entrance, with thousands of people in front of us… The queue didn’t even move for an hour. We queued for about 5 hours and finally made it in, our spot was long gone but we found another pretty good one. It was so hot, we had been out in the sun all day and were stuck, shade-less for over 8 hours… we were melting! Fortunately, we started chatting to the couple next to us, Chris and Helena and ended up nattering away quite happily until 11.30pm when we decided to seek a better view.

This was our view for the Sydney fireworks – not too shabby methinks…

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The fireworks were absolutely incredible! Seeing the opera house and bridge in the picture was amazing! One of the best things we’ve experienced on our travels!

We spent the first day of 2014 chilling out indoors as we’d been out in the sun all day previously and needed some shade. Amazingly, neither of us got sunburnt at all! We are pro’s at that now…

Then, that was it! Our time in Sydney was over! We boarded a bus to Canberra in the morning where we stayed for two nights before the 9 hour bus to Melbourne.

L

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