A New Year Set in Sydney

Sydney’s New Year fireworks have many vantage points. We choose Milsons Point on the opposite side of the water from the Opera House and near Harbour Bridge. Plans made, I walk the city on the eve of the New Year. I circle the harbour. Early afternoon, it was quieter than I thought it would be. People are eating and drinking but many are still working. I pass through two bag checks, checking for alcohol and glass bottles. No BYO is a major theme in many parts of the city. I walk through the rocks, an area near Harbour Bridge. The viewing point is already closed at 5pm having reached capacity. It is important to me to walk Harbour Bridge on this day. I cross, treading a new path and look back on the Opera House. The city starting to fill, multi coloured dots surround the shoreline. I reach Milsons Point. No alcohol is allowed. I’m sure it could be smuggled but I genuinely can’t be bothered going to the effort! Fanta and snacks suffice instead :). I meet a friend made picking zucchini’s in Katherine. We share stories and tales of our journeys from the last months of 2013.

The entertainment begins at 6pm. Planes colour the sky. A twisting plane climbs then falls, spiralling through the sky. At 7pm we are treated to mini fireworks. It then begins to rain… At 8.20pm someone starts a chorus of happy birthday. The crowd joins in and starts clapping :). The pillar of the bridge nearest us then lights up. Messages and pictures adorn it. 2014 wishes aplenty, the crowd erupts when one says ‘will you marry me?’, again when one says ‘I’m pregnant!’ There are many languages and many pictures :). We then head for the edge of the water. At 9pm, twelve minutes of mirrored family fireworks begin to our left and right. The sky darkening, boats aglow sail the water; plotting their course for the big moment. I go in search of food and on returning find a couple have taken their seats arguing beside us. Their negativity emanating, I move away. This helps me find a friendly couple behind us :). We have a nice chat. At 10.30pm, more fireworks go off! A helicopter illuminates us at 11.17pm. We relax, we talk, we wait.

More messages appear on the pillar. A countdown begins! Everyone joins in. At midnight, Sydney’s fireworks explode! On the bridge; over the water and from the Opera House, they surround us in the sky. Many recordings take place. Taking a moment for me, wanting to enjoy the moment for real and not through the lens of a camera I don’t have pictures of all of this for you… I do have some videos though :). The fireworks make me smile. They end with a fountain of light falling from the bridge. It would be different, I’m sure, to watch this from afar, with fireworks bursting over the bridge but being close to them when they lit up the sky was pretty cool :).

With New Year wishes passed on, a friend’s feet and my own wandered the city. We couldn’t find a bar open but had ice cream instead! Nobody was drunk. We watched a very civilised movement of people to bus and train connections! It is definitely the soberest New Year I have had in over ten years! I don’t think the same would quite happen in Scotland do you?!

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