January has been an amazingly busy month for the both of us, we kicked 2014 off in style with the arrival of my best friend Lauren and her boyfriend Dan as they came from New Zealand to bring in the new year with us!
We were originally going to brave the crowds of New Years Eve in Sydney and get up ridiculously early to grab a spot down at Macquaries Point in the centre of Sydney….something that thousands and thousands of other people also strive to do of course!! Apparently over 2 million people battle for the best spots to watch the fireworks on the harbour and the number grows every year! We eventually decided that we neither had the patience nor the drive to actually sit for over 12 hours just to watch some fireworks. We knew it would without a doubt ruin the anticipation and excitement of it. So instead we just decided to wing it and go down later in the evening and just hope that one of the smaller venues a little out of the city was still open.
As a result we had to fill our New Years Eve day with something while we were waiting for the breadwinner (Liam) to come and join us for the night! So we went and visited the Olympic Park and had a dip in the pool at the Aquatics centre! It was a fantastic place to visit and now the 3rd Olympic park I have seen after London and Beijing! We managed to get a picture on the winners podium and had to sneak up to the diving boards to get a cheeky shot as well!
Despite the last minute decision on the venue, it turned out we had actually made an epic choice. Balmain East wasn’t an area that me or Liam had visited before so we were just really hopeful that it actually had the harbour bridge view we were so desperately looking for! I mean who wants to spend New Year’s in Sydney without that famous view! We stopped at a random pub on the way down as we didn’t want to get down to the viewing area and peak too soon! Of course we weren’t in central but we certainly weren’t the only people still hoping for a good view so late in the day so there were plenty of folk walking the streets as well. When we actually walked right down to the end of the road towards the Balmain ferry pier we realised our absolute luck! We had a perfect view of the bridge despite arriving at 10pm, we even managed to watch the pre-show 10:30pm fireworks. Though I don’t think it will anything will ever compare to how blown away we were by the real thing at midnight!
We had a pretty fun-packed week and weekend while Lauren and Dan were with us, we went to Bondi beach and had a BBQ and a few drinks while soaking up a bit of sunshine. We also had a lovely Tapas meal down in Darling Harbour watching the fireworks while we ate followed by a little trip to The Star Casino. Going to the Casino was never something that interested me or Liam and we wouldn’t usually have chosen to go unless Dan hadn’t been so keen! Yet we actually really enjoyed it and would definitely go again just for the ambiance and surroundings rather than the actual gambling!
Of course the other main event while Lauren and Dan were here was Liam’s birthday present…..going to watch England vs Australia at The Ashes. I bought the tickets way back when we were in Vietnam and gave them to Liam when we were in Laos on his Birthday so it’s something we had looked forward to for ages! Liam and Dan being avid cricket fans were excited to actually watch the game whereas me and Lauren were just happy to be there for the atmosphere! Before the game started there was plenty to do and see outside the stadium and me and Lauren even managed to get some patriotic face paint to get in the spirit! Of course as seems to be the ‘norm’ this year England got absolutely trashed by Australia but in true British form we saved face and still managed to enjoy the day!
The last few days of Lauren and Dan’s trip they spent without us as Liam was already back into reality and it was my turn to join him as I started my new job in the city as a Sales Advisor! I’m enjoying the work so far although that’s definitely due to the social aspect of it all, meeting new people and having a few well-needed nights out to let my hair down! Of course not forgetting the fact that we are now both earning a full time salary so finally kicking into the saving and we are more than able to treat ourselves!
As a result we have been getting back in to seeing the touristy stuff in Sydney and making sure we see a lot more of it! On the Australia Day bank holiday weekend we spent the sunny Monday visiting Taronga Zoo! We got the ferry over which was brilliant in itself, you never get tired of looking out on the Harbour Bridge and Opera House! The Zoo overlooked the city which was a really gorgeous setting and we finally got to see Kanga’s and Koala’s after being in Oz for over 3 months!
We made a trip down to Bondi Beach as well to the temporary Openair Cinema and watched The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. Sitting on a deck chair under the stars with the ocean near by watching a movie was a very strange experience!
We also booked to go watch another England vs Australia cricket game in the hope of actually seeing our home team play a good game! This time we saw a 20/20 game and the atmosphere was entirely different! Instead of telling you to sit down and taking away the beach balls that people bat around in the crowd they actually promote doing it! Everyone is up dancing and attempting to get the attention of the camera’s constantly filming for up on the screen and there were break-dancers, trampolinists and fireworks at every run/wicket (definitely biased towards the Australian runs though)! Unfortunately England spectacularly lost yet again but we had a good night anyway!
Other than that we have spent our time either working, visiting the beach, doing a little bit of shopping (or maybe a lot) and just generally chilling out! I mean we are still technically on holiday!