Today was the last day of 2011 and we were planning on seeing it out with a big celebration at Circular Quay and watching the famous fireworks at midnight…along with over a million other people all wanting to do the same thing!
We had a lie-in, then headed for the shops to pick up some food and goon (a kind of cheap wine in a box - not the best quality but brilliant value! $12 for 5 litres!), then back to the hostel to cook. Our party at the Paragon Hotel started at 6pm, so after a few drinks in our room, we headed out for the night.
When we arrived at Circular Quay, it was already crowded with people, some of whom had been camping out since dawn to get a good spot, and the atmosphere was buzzing as people waited for the big show. We called in at a pub called the Ship Inn on the quay and watched the crowds streaming past. At about 5pm, the quay was closed off as it had reached its 6000 capacity and it definitely felt like it was time to escape to the Paragon…
We got in just after 6pm and had a pretty good deal - all food and drink included until 1am! We started with champagne, then moved onto beer…maybe it should have been the other way around! Upstairs, we met up with a guy called Alasdair who we'd been chatting to online - he'd arrived in Sydney the previous day and didn't know anyone, so we offered to meet up with him for the big night! He told us about his job as an underwater engineer - we think he must earn a small fortune but never got around to asking him! At about 8:30, we headed out for the 9pm family fireworks and got far enough along the street to just make out the bridge. We also managed to see some fireworks being set off from the tops of some of the buildings in the city - pretty impressive!
Then it was back to the bar for more free drinks and a live band. We left again at about 11:15 top try and get a good spot for the midnight fireworks, but this time, we could barely move outside the bar because of the size of the crowd, and when we got to the street where we watched the 9pm fireworks from, we found it closed off. So no view of the bridge for us! We ended up hearing more than we saw of the fireworks, although we did see some from the buildings again. Never mind, we'll have to come back and pay for one of the $500 tables at the restaurants overlooking the bridge and the Opera House next time! At about 2am, it was time to call it a night, seeing as we started so early!
We've had an incredible, life-changing and unforgettable experience on our travels in 2011, and we're so glad we decided to go for it when we did! Now we're looking forward to more adventures in 2012 - bring it on!