Saturday 23rd December
We arrived in Sydney at about 6.30am. We grabbed our stuff and headed for Central station to get over to Kings Cross. Luckily the hostel was pretty close by. It's a really nice hostel and predominatly full of German backpackers. It was too early for us to check in so we had to sit in the kitchen and just wait until 10.30am. In the meantime Em made some calls and I wrote up the diary as we were a bit behind. We also had some free breakfast while we waited which was much better than the day before. Em was happy straight away as soon as she spied the honey! We finally checked in and moved into our room which was really nice, it was a 6 share female dorm with ensuite. We settled in, showered etc and I went and got my hair cut while Em had a nap. In the evening we had tickets to go and see Babes In The Wood in the Playhouse at Sydney Opera House. We got there just after 7pm and picked up the tickets. As we had made the effort to get dressed up we went for a glass of wine in the Opera Bar first. Very classy! The show began at 8pm ans it was really funny. There were some really good scenes like Steve Irwin with stingrays singing "die doing the thing you love - knowing that thing can kill you!" You felt bad laughing but it really was funny and all done in good humour. Apparently this play had been on the news as people had complained about it being too controversial! There was also a really random "Baghdad" scene and the whole play ended with a song about everyone "making more Australians!" They took the piss out of George Bush quite a lot and included a terrorist scene with the soldiers taking a trophy photo of the victim! lol! It really was a great night out though and just so different to anything you'd see at home as it was an authentic Australian theme.
Sunday 24th December
The weather was really cold and crappy - very similar to an English Christmas! We felt quite depressed that the weather was going to be rubbish for xmas day and we didn't really do anything productive all day. We went and got in some food from the supermarket and cooked ourselves a nice steak for dinner. In the evening we got ready to go out and meet everyone at Side Bar. Em and I filled a water bottle with vodka like the classy ladies we are (I know Jem will appreciate the thought!) and took some coke with us too. We got into Side Bar and went straight to the loo. Vikki and Hayley joined us in our cubicle and we drank all our smuggled alcohol. lol! We finally left the loo and met up with the others. Frank was there with Kathy (who we met at 1770) and her friend Mika. Matt was there too with the other Matt and Michelle. Howie, Juliet and Lynsey were all in there too, we hadn't seen any of them for ages! I was randomly talking to some guy we met at Neighbours night back in Melbourne the week before and then wandered round the bar to find Matt. On my way I saw a boy I recognised at the bar and it turned out to be Joe Cobley from Hullbridge! Very weird! lol! Of all the bars in the whole of Sydney on Xmas Eve and I find a boy from home! Em spent most of the night with Frank while I was busy chatting. She must have taken about 100 photos throughout the night! Everyone had a great time and we ended up staying in there all night. When we left it was pretty late and the trains had stopped running, Em and I only discovered this when we found ourselves running through a deserted train station and jumping over the barriers wondering where all the trains were! lol! We eventually resorted to the more sensible option and got in a cab.
Monday 25th December
Christmas day! Yay!!
We woke up a bit blurry eyed following our Xmas Eve antics and we'd missed breakfast. Oops. We got up, showered and opened our Christmas parcels. Was really exciting, we were little two little kids again making loads of noise! We got lots and cards and christmasy bits, like badges, balloons and earrings, and also a set of fluffy towels each (thanks mums!) Em had mince pies and cake so we had them for breakfast. We read all our cards and decorated our room with all the stuff we'd got and generally got in the xmas spirit! My phone began to ring but it was the middle of the night in England so we were a bit surprised - it was Graham from Maroochydore calling to wish us a Merry Christmas! Was such a nice surprise and we also spoke to Leanne too. We love our adopted Aussie family! At this point it was fairly cloudy outside and we moaned to them that the weather was so disappointing in Sydney, apparently where they were up the coast it was really hot! We finally finished playing with our prezzies and got ready to hit the beach - we were determined to hit Bondi Beach anyway despite the weather just to say that's where we were on Xmas day. Luckily it had started to brighten up by then so we felt quite optomistic. Pete rang me when he had stumbled home from his Xmas Eve night out and we had a fairly long chat - most of which he has no memory of! Nice one bruv! lol! We had a quick bite to eat - no turkey I'm afraid, just a baked potato! lol! Then we headed off to catch the train to Bondi. We were due to meet up with Hayley & Vikki at the beach but we randomly managed to get on exactly the same carriage as them when we got on the train so that was easy! We then caught the bus over to Bondi and it was really sunny by then, all the backpackers were headed there and it was pretty busy. When we got to the beach we found a little area right slap bang in the middle of everyone else and set up our little xmas party! We were all wearing santa hats of course, plus we had xmas balloons, party poppers, xmas earrings and even xmas songs on Ems MP3 player! Frank, Kathy and Mika came and jined us too and we took loads of pics. Santa even turned up on a jet ski and some crazy English guy was running round on the beach in a red thong. There were also film crews around filming, prob for GMTV or something?! lol! We stayed on the beach all afternoon and it was boiling, we were so glad it was sunny! We could hear Gatecrasher ging on in the pavillion (some of our mates were in there) but we were happy to be out in the sun, apart from the fact I got pooped on by a bloody seagull! How lucky was I?! lol! Later on we got the munchies so grabbed a quick snack and queued up for the lovely portaloos. We finally left the beach about 6pm after a really fun day. We headed back to the hostel to get rid of all the sand and change for the evening. We were all going to meet up in the city for dinner but when we got there everything was shut, apart from all the Chinese and Thai places. Em and I walked down to Darling Harbour and eventually found a cafe/bar to order some food that wasn't noodles or rice! We got calls from our families while we were there as it was now Xmas morning back home and they had all just opened the parcels we had sent back. We pulled the cracker Ems mum had sent after we'd eaten our food and we gave the party hat to the cute chinese waiter and took a photo. He was sweet! Was a really good Christmas despite the fact we had no turkey, definately one to remember!
Tuesday 26th December
We got up fairly early and decided to go and watch the start of the annual Sydney to Hobart boat race. After a few phone calls and looking at several maps we eventually figured out where we needed to get to to see the boats leaving the harbour. We caught a bus from Kings X to Watson Bay and got there just in time to see the boats passing the headland and sail out to sea. Was pretty cool to see all the sails all over the water and all the different boats, plus loads of people had turned out like us to see it too. Frank was with us and we met up with Hayley & Vikki there and spent a while just chilling out enjoying the good weather and catching up. H & V stayed to meet their mates but Em, Frank and I caught the bus down to Bondi Beach. From there we did the Bondi to Coogee walk all along the coast. It took about an hour and a half and was worth every minute. We passed a few little beaches and the secenery of the coastline was beautiful. The weather was really hot so we picked a good day for it! When we reached Coogee we caught the bus back to Kings X to get ready for out night out. We had arranged to meet everyone in Empire at 9pm, this was our first night out in Kings X and it was really good! Matt and Frank came and met us at our hostel and we had a few drinks before we headed out. We didn;t end up getting there til after about 10ish. Oops! Adriann who had been in our group at Fraser Island was also in there, he was actually staying in the hostel right next door to us all over xmas. Frank ended up leaving quite early but the rest of us stayed out til pretty late/early.
Wednesday 27th December
We missed breakfast again - a frequent occurrance after a heavy night out! Once we had finally pulled some food together we headed into the city for the day. We wanted to go up the Sydney Tower but when we got there it was absolutely packed and the queue to go up was a couple of hours long. Instead of wasting the nice weather by queuing we decided to go back another time and went to the Botanical Gardens for the afternoon and walked over to Mrs Macquaries chair. Later on we walked back and had dinner before returning to the city to go to the cinama. We saw Night at the Museum with Ben Stiller, was a pretty funny film.
Thursday 28th December
We decided that as the weather was still so good that we'd catch the ferry over to Manly for a day at the beach. We caught the train down to Circular Quay and got on the ferry over which took about 30mins. We spent the whole day lying on the beach which was pretty crowded but it was Aussie holidays at the time so that's to be expected. Em unfortunately got pretty burnt in those little places you always miss with the cream, bit painful! In the evening we arranged to go to World Bar in Kings X with everyone as it was Indie night and was meant to be pretty good. Frank came over to ours again for a few pre-drinks and then we headed over to the bar. We met Matt, Matt and Michelle in there, as well as Eve and Jake (who we hadn't seen since Airlie Beach!) and some of Franks mates from Wake Up (who turned out to be Joe Cobley and the other Essex boys again! lol!) Adrian was there agin too! Was a pretty funny night and we had quite a lot of drinks bought for us, especially from a little group of Swedish lads in tight pink t-shirts. They were fun! World Bar was a really nice place, we hadn't been expecting it and the music was awesome! They even served spirits and cocktails in teapots which was pretty funky! Everyone had a really good time and it was Jakes 19th birthday at midnight! Bless the youngster! Whilst in there we also bumped into a guy called Owen who had been 1 of our roomies back in Surfers Paradise. It's crazy how everyone ends up in Sydney at the same time and you're constantly bumping into people you've met all the time!
Friday 29th December
We missed breakfast again and went down to the kitchen a bit later on to get some food before heading out. When we were in the kitchen, the woman from the hostel came and sat down with us and gave us a right telling off! Apparently we weren't allowed visitors in the hostel and she was pretty annoyed that we'd had Matt & Frank round for drinks in the evening. She was really scary and said that if we broke the rules again that she'd throw us out and that she didn't care if it was new years or not! Oops! We felt pretty bad so we apologised and agreed to be on our best behaviour from then on. Neither of us have been told off like that for quite a while and I think it was a bit of a shock, we felt so guilty! lol! We made a quick exit from the hostel before she decided to boot us out and caught the train into town and went to Sydney Aquarium at Darling Harbour. We had to queue for a bit and when we got in it was packed full of families and loads of kids. Was a really good aquarium though, we saw a platypus and a few seals and sharks. There was also a massive stingray, bigger than you can imagine, when it swum over the top of you it was like the spaceship in Independence Day! lol! That was pretty cool. Em touched a baby shark but I couldn't be bothered to get involved, the distortion of the glass tunnels combined with a hangover aren't a great mix! But I did touch a starfish! lol! What a daredevil! After the aquarium it was still pretty cloudy outside so we just headed back to the hostel for tea and biscuits, how civilised! In the evening we walked through Kings X to fing a restaurant called Govindas where we were going to go the following night and then we used the net and copied our photos to CD.
Saturday 30th December
Was a bit of an unproductive day. We did our chores like laundry and we were going to go to the museum but the weather was pretty crappy and we needed to get our plans sorted for new years eve. After speaking to H&V and making a plan, we went down to Woolies to buy lots of food for camping out in the park. We decided we wanted to watch the fireworks on New Years from Mrs Macquaries Point in the Botanical Gardens. It's a really popular place as it's dead opposite the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, right where all the action is. The only problem is that there's only room for about 25,000 people in the gardens which means you have to get down there early to get a good spot and then guard it all day until midnight. We arranged to meet at 10am the following morning so we needed plenty of snacks and drink for the whole day. After we'd bought all our food we got ready for our night out at Govindas. Govindas is a hare krishna run restaurant in Kings X which also has a ciname inside. We met up with Ems mate Kate from uni and her boyfriend Dave for dinner there. Dave is currently skateboarding from Perth to Brisbane for charity and it was really interesting hearing about all their stories, its such an amazing thing to be doing and he's become quite a celeb over here and back at home coz of it! We had a really nice meal, it was a huge vege buffet and the food was amazing. After you've eaten you go upstairs to the cinema which is really cool coz you lie down on big futon style sofas. We watched Little Miss Sunshine which was so funny we were literally all crying with laughter! If you haven't seen it then rent it out! Was a really nice evening and definately the comfyist cinema I've ever been to!
Sunday 31st December! New Years Eve!!!
We got up early, had breakfast and got our picnic ready to go, we even cooked some pasta for dinner as we ate our cereal! We caught the train to Martin Place to meet H&V at 10am at the gardens. When we arrived the queue was already massive, some people had begun queuing before 8am! We met H&V and the Welsh girls Rhianwen and Kathryn, and queued just over two hours before we finally reached the bag search. It was no BYO so everything had to be checked although admittedly they weren't that thorough! We then went through the ID check to get wristbands so we could buy alcohol in the grounds and then walked through to the main area. It was like being at a festival, it was packed with people and everyone was crowding in to try and get a good spot with the best view. We managed to grab a place just underneath a big tree that had a brilliant view as you'll see from our photos. We camped out all day long in between trips to the portaloos and visits to the beer tent. We amused ourselves all day by playing cards, reading and taking loads of stupid photos of each other. At 9pm was the first round of fireworks - the Family Fireworks, which were pretty cool then we waited for 12 o'clock. Towards 12 everyone in the crowd was standing and pushing to the front for the best view. There was a countdown from 10 and when the moment finally struck the whole Harbour Bridge literally exploded! Was amazing! There were fireworks all around us, from North Sydney, the bridge, the harbour and even from the tops of the buildings in the city skyline. It was so good, definately the best firework display I've ever seen and probably ever will see to that scale! The finale was on the bridge with a massive shower of fireworks all along the top, I hope you all saw it on the TV! We did have our new year 11 hours ahead of the UK! lol! After the display was over the gardens shut at 12.30am so we had to leave. We wished everyone a happy new year and headed off back to the hostel, it had been such a tiring day waiting over 14 hours for the main event! We were absolutely shattered! Was strange being in bed so early considering it was New Year but it seems most people don't really get drunk here like we do back home. To be fair New Year at home is usually a bit of an anticlimax and I think maybe we get so drunk just to get through it. lol! Was a really nice change to just have a few drinks and really enjoy the fireworks without it being a drunken blur!