Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Welcoming 2015

Planning to welcome 2015 began at least 2 months before the day itself. Wanting to get the best view of the fireworks show, multiple visits to 2014 Sydney New Year's Eve - Vantage Points were made. After evaluating all the vantage points - accessibility, ticketed or non-ticketed, food available for sale etc, 4 locations were shortlisted. Eventually we settled for Bradleys Head - The Mast Precinct as the perfect location to watch the fireworks. It was not too expensive ($60 per person), we could get there via public transport and most importantly, the crowd is limited to 2,500 people. This sure beats fighting for space among 30,000 people at the Opera House.

The morning was spent preparing picnic fare enough for our group members (7 of us in total) to last until midnight. Not forgetting our Malaysian roots, I made nasi impit & kuah kacang and my late grandmother's style of fried meehon. Besides that, I had packed along two packets of chips, 12 packets of drinks and a bar of chocolate that we did not eat because it melted. I was in no mood to clean up any potential chocolate mess.

If you can fold your chocolate, expect a mess.
Wanting to book secure a good spot, Mr H and I made an early start to Bradleys Head via train to Circular Quay > ferry to Taronga Zoo. The crowd was already building up even though it was only 1:30pm. There was a mad rush to board the first available ferry out from Circular Quay as if the fireworks were going to start in 10 minutes (we had another 10 hours to go). We patiently waited for the next available ferry that was due to come in 5 minutes. This ferry could also carry 400 people so there was ample room for everyone.
2:00pm at Circular Quay
We alighted at Taronga Zoo wharf and made our way to Bradleys Head - The Mast Precinct's entrance. Special signage were supposedly made available to direct us to the location. Perhaps we were too early as we did not see any signs and followed the crowd instead. Thankfully we were in the right direction. It would be a bummer to find out we were heading the wrong way after 20 minutes of walking up hill, lugging our picnic gear! 

Since we had chosen a family friendly area, our bags were checked to ensure no one brought in any prohibited items (e.g. alcoholic beverages, glass, sharp objects, tents etc) at the entrance. We then walked another 10 minutes before reaching the event location. 

It was only 2:30pm and yet the best spots were taken! And to think we were early. Finally we settled ourselves on the road as all the grassy spots were not available. We lost the final good grassy spot by a few seconds.

Our spot by the round-about.

If you duck and angle yourself at a position, you get a nice view of Harbour Bridge.
We laid our picnic mats and took a nap while waiting for the others to arrive. The place was getting crowded by the hour. Maryam and Cindy arrived about 5:00pm followed by Shana and Belle. It was only 6:00pm. 

We made the best of our wait time by entertaining ourselves with several rounds of Uno, listening to the live performances and walked around to scout for the best possible spots for us to run to when the fireworks are on. Looking at the other visitors, it was quite obvious they are experienced "party-goers". They came prepared with beach chairs, beach towels, umbrellas and even ice boxes to ensure they have cold drinks the whole time!
One of the identified nice spots to go to for the show. The boats are all parked for the perfect view as well. You could see the people partying inside.
Keeping ourselves occupied with several rounds of Uno.
"Movie director" waiting for the show to commence.
Possibly our last couple picture for 2014
Shana & Belle came all the way from Malaysia to catch the fireworks show.
By 9:30pm, the skies went bright with colourful sparkles. The family fireworks had gone off. We made a dash to the top of the steps for a better view. Unfortunately everyone else had the same idea. Lesson learnt, we choose another location for the 10:30pm fireworks. Alas, despite standing in a better location, the fireworks itself was disappointing. 

10:30pm Fireworks - a quite disappointing preview to the main show.
There was still 1.5 hours to go before the midnight show. During this time, we brainstormed on where we should stand for a better view. Ten minutes before midnight, we made our way to the chosen spot. Since everyone had planned to leave right after the fireworks, most of the people who had staked out the site had packed their stuff away. This gave us room to stand without blocking anyone. Yay! Results as below. 
The finale did not disappoint - we got a clear view too.

The last 30 seconds of the 10 minute show.

After 10 minutes of spectacular show, it was time to go home. We made our way back to base, packed our things and walked towards the bus stop. It was not until an hour later we managed to board a bus that would take us to Wynyard Station. Although it was full, we wanted to be on it as we did not know how long the next bus would be. From Wynyard Station, we took a train to Newtown. We finally reached home at 3:00am. Such a long day it was.

Our bus ride home - after an hour's wait.
Overall it was a wonderful experience spending new year 2015 in Sydney with family and friends. Would I do the same again in future? YES!

Happy New Year from Us in Sydney. May 2015 be a prosperous one for you.

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