NYE in Sydney

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This was our first New Year’s Eve in Sydney, and as we were blessed to have visits from back home, we wanted it to be special and memorable.

When I started making plans (5 months in advance) a lot of venues had already been sold out, hotels tend to have a 2/3 nights minimum length of stay during this period, and cruises were ridiculously expensive. I then came across the closed events that the Royal Botanic Gardens offer and signed up to be notified of their pre-sales.

And so, when the email reached my inbox I had already made up my mind of what to do. We booked the Lawn with a view event where we would have a gourmet picnic at the park with a privileged view of the fireworks. Nothing could feel more Australian than a picnic! (well perhaps a barbecue, lol)

The doors opened at 6:40 PM and closed at 8:30 PM. We were there for the opening, so that we could get a good spot, but didn’t have to queue for long. As soon as we got our tickets and bags checked, we were immediately pointed to the right area of the park where we were given our picnic hamper and a bottle of water. We picked a location, there were clearly marked areas allowing for people to move around without any disruption, got our blankets out and got comfy.

After a trip to the bar, we spent the time playing Uno cards, talking, eating (food was yummy!), joking around and before we knew it the New Year was upon us! The fireworks were beautiful and the spot was awesome😀 It was indeed a special and memorable experience!!!

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The following day we read very bad reviews from one of the other events at the gardens and felt so lucky that we had chosen right!

Brekkie @ The Grounds

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Meeting friends for brekkie is one of my favourite things to do on the weekend. It is a very Aussie habit that we’ve happily taken on, as we love eating breakfast.

There are many cafes in the city that serve amazing food and it is always a great experience to discover new places, with innovative menus, that use fresh and locally sourced ingredients, that serve great coffee and that offer a good atmosphere.

With this is mind, we really wanted to try The Grounds as their reputation is quite good. The wait for a table is always long so we designed a “clever technique” where one of our friends, who lives close by, went there early to get a token and then called us to advise how long the wait was. We then left home just in time to arrive when they were calling out our table😉

The atmosphere is good, the decor is amazing and the space itself is very nice with different sitting areas. They even have pigs, chooks and goats that you can pet. The service, however, was very poor! We had several issues with our order and the several waiters that served us were confused and were not really well-informed about menu. My food was actually quite yummy (above pic) but that was not the case for everyone which was quite disappointing.

With so many great places in the city, I don’t think that I will be going back anytime soon.

It is so sad when nice places just let their standards drop, either because they can’t cope with the influx of customers, or they simply rely on their notoriety and slack off when it comes to service… Either way, I know that what keeps me loyal to a business is not only the quality of their products but mainly the quality of their service. As such, I can truly say that The Grounds have not succeeded in deserving my custom…

Sculptures by the sea – Bondi Beach

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We were looking forward to the event as we love this coastal walk. Unfortunately, we could not avoid the crowds as our only available days were the weekend. We decided to go late in the day, hoping that most people would have left by then.

The weather was beautiful and it was quite warm. When we got to Bondi, the beach was packed. However, we had a look at the sky and realised that the weather was due to change quickly.

We tried to ignore it but soon realised that we would better turn back or would we get caught in the storm. So we didn’t get a chance to see many of the sculptures.

Also, the walk was quite congested by so many people that we could not move swiftly through it.

About 4 kms from home it started pouring heavily. Given that we were on our motorbike, we had to stop rather quickly and managed to find a spot where we safely waited for the rain to subside.

We had been to the Sculptures by the Sea exhibition in Perth, back in March, and some of the artists were the same so we felt better about not missing so much.

Here are some snapshots:

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Here is a before and after picture. The first one was taken when we arrived and the other when we left (40 minutes later).

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Seven Bridges Walk

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Every year the Cancer Council organises the 7 Bridges Walk around Sydney. This is a great way not only to support a great cause, raise awareness, and fundraise, but also to discover some beautiful areas of the city.

You can start from any point and if you complete the whole course you will cross all 7 bridges, a total of 27 kms. Should you feel tired, or only want to do some sections, there are special buses, clock and anti-clockwise, stopping at all village points, that can drop you at your starting point.

We felt brave and departed from Rozelle bright and early with the goal to complete the whole circuit. And mission accomplished🙂

The day was beautiful, the sky was blue, it was warm but there was a light breeze which made it just perfect!

We walked through lots of areas that we would generally not do and that was pretty amazing. The views were lovely and it was awesome to cross some of the bridges, that we generally just drive through, on foot, such as the Harbour Bridge.

There were lots of participants but I felt that most people faced the whole experience as a race as opposed to a relaxing walk of discovery, which was a bit disappointing. We did not get the opportunity to speak much to other participants, which I felt was a shame as we were all sharing a pretty amazing experience.

The last 5 kms were hard and the following day walking took some effort… but it was definitely worth it🙂

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Iron Cove Bridge

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Grove Creek Reserve

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Grove Creek Reserve

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Millsons Point – View of the Harbour Bridge

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View of the Opera House from the Harbour Bridge

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Pyrmont Bridge

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View of the Anzac Bridge from Johnstons Bay

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Anzac Bridge

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Anzac Bridge

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Opera House – Open Day

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Every now and again the Opera House has an open day. On the last occasion, and given that the day was bit grey and wet, we did not miss the opportunity!

The queue was quite long but it moved along swiftly. We were expecting a bit of a wait and did not mind it,  after all we were saving $37 a head.

The Opera House is definitely one of the most recognisable buildings in the world due to its peculiar design, and I was therefore pretty curious to see, and feel, it from the inside.

The same flow of the outside design carries on inside. You move along the various show rooms, as if in a maze. There are many steps and you do have a strange feeling of being inside a ship, with piano keys all over the walls. There are amazing views of the bay, the Harbour Bridge, and Circular Quay from the many windows.

We were able to go backstage and even got to see a small exhibition of costumes used in the most popular shows.

The highlight for me was to be able to stand on the stage of the Concert Hall!

I loved it and highly recommend it to anyone visiting Sydney🙂

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Northern Foyer

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Concert Hall

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Concert Hall

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Drama Theatre

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Costumes from La Boheme

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Studio

Chocolate Festival

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Two weeks ago, Sydney welcomed the chocolate festival at The Rocks, and as big chocolate lover I made my way there after a very light breakfast.

The weather was fabulous and we had fun taking selfies with the Opera House as our background, as if we were a couple of tourists😉

At 11:00 AM there were already lots of people but the queues were not too long. The difficult part was deciding what to try since there were so many yummy looking options and only so much one can eat.

Our choices were perhaps a bit predictable but, as soon as we heard that both Adriano Zumbo and Anna Polyviou were going to be featured in the event, we knew exactly what we wanted to try.

And we were not disappointed!

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I quite enjoyed it and thought that it was a successful event all around😀