At 7:30 am on New Year’s Eve Kieran and I arrived at the botanical gardens to a ridiculously large number of people already snaked around the park in a neat seated queue. We waited until around nine o’clock when somebody decided to get up, naturally resulting in a mass stampede towards the end of the field. We dived into the mob and got swept away up the hill eventually petering out into what vaguely resembled a line. The gates didn’t even open until 10 and there were thousands of people in front of us. By some stroke of luck we managed to pitch a spot right at the tip of ‘Lady Macquarie’s Chair’ with a fantastic view of the bridge and Opera house. This was quite an accomplishment as at the end of the hour, there wasn’t a patch of grass visible with 17,000 people crammed in like sardines. The day’s toil was definitely worth it; it has to be one of the finest firework displays that the world has to offer.
Since then we’ve spent our time getting familiar with the city. We popped on a ferry over to Manly yesterday. The ferry ride itself was gorgeous but Manly was almost as packed as the botanical gardens were the evening before. We later made a visit to the largest cinema screen in the world – the IMAX where we watched the hobbit (in my case, for the second time but the other’s were desperate to see it). The screen was so big that you had to look around you to get the whole picture!
Today unfortunately Anna and Hannah have had to head in a general homewards direction so four has become two. Kieran and I, though, have had a fantastic day exploring what the city has to offer in terms of galleries and museums. The ‘Art Gallery of New South Wales’ in my opinion in definitely preferable over the ‘Museum of Contemporary Art’. The Australia Museum is also worth a visit. One particularly fantastic exhibition was ‘surviving Australia’ which covered the natural history of the country. I genuinely had no idea that there had been giant marsupial lions and tigers in Australia. It seems completely weird! There was also a giant marsupial called a diprotodon which was unlike anything I was aware had ever existed! http://news.nationalgeographic.co.uk/news/2003/10/1016_031017_giantmarsupial.html