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Australia – Celebrate New Year in Style
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Celebrate New Year in Style by Sue Alexander

We’ve all seen the Fireworks in Sydney on the TV and maybe even dreamed of being there one day, watched by millions around the globe it is one of the first New Years Eve celebrations to be televised and vies for position as the greatest firework display on earth.

If you have promised yourself the trip of a lifetime then it’s never too soon to start planning. Book early enough and the fares to Australia can be cheaper if you fly Boxing Day or a day or two later.

So a few years ago we bagged a bargain, packed away the Christmas Tree on Boxing Day, said goodbye to the gloomy cold nights and flew off to the sunshine the other side of the world.

The stunning city of Sydney on the beautiful Harbour houses the majestic Opera House and the iconic Harbour Bridge which sit comfortably alongside historic buildings on The Rocks, the modern city centre and Darling Harbour with all its entertainment options. Surrounded by glorious world famous beaches, Blue Mountains and world class wineries this is one of the most recognised and exciting cities on earth.

Even more so on the build up to New Years Eve.

Ordinarily the city’s numerous green parks and botanical gardens attract Tourists and locals alike who want to enjoy peace & quiet, some welcome shade from the sunshine and take in the spectacular views. But as the countdown to New Years Eve approaches, Sydneysiders start gathering early in the day for the best viewing positions.  Around breakfast time we noticed the city starting to fill with good natured revellers. Some were laden with picnic hampers, tables, chairs & umbrellas others carrying just a smile. Across the harbour as far as the eye could see viewing areas were slowly filling with people until, by early afternoon, there was hardly a green space in sight. If you are planning to enjoy the free spectacle get there early, take food and drink, sunscreen and a hat as temperatures in December can be well over 30c. The best places to view the celebrations for free can be found on www.sydneynewyearseve.com and offers advice on where to go and what to take with you.

If you don’t fancy sitting in the sunshine all day waiting for the big event or you really want  a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience, my advice is to book a New Years Eve dinner in one of the Hotels with harbour views, or even a dinner cruise on the Harbour. We chose The Sebel Pier One Hotel for our venue with the promise of a sumptuous seafood buffet and plenty of wine & beer on tap with champagne at midnight.

Sydney’s New Years Eve program isn’t just the midnight Fireworks, it comprises a number of events throughout the evening leading up to the spectacular display. As dusk fell we watched aerial flying acrobatics entertain the crowds & laser illuminations festoon the bridge. The Family Fireworks at 9pm enabled Families with young children to enjoy a big display and travel home before the late night revellers. The ‘Harbour Lights Parade’ is a Flotilla of boats and barges plying the waters of the Harbour and bathing it in light and reflections.  At the stroke of midnight the night sky was illuminated with spectacular fireworks not only launched from the bridge itself  from several barges on the harbour and seven city skyscrapers, so it can be seen for miles..

The Sebel is alongside the Bridge and as the Fireworks started we were looking directly up at them, absolutely incredible!! I recall that when we first booked the NYE Dinner back in the Spring we thought it was expensive, but after such a fabulous night we have forgotten the cost and remember just the magnificent Lobster, Prawns and Oysters on the Buffet, a wonderful evening and the excitement of being there in amongst it all.  It was worth every penny…

The theme of the NYE Fireworks & Bridge illuminations is always a well kept secret until midnight on 31st December and those produced for the City of Sydney weigh 7 tonnes, contribute $156million to the local economy and draw a crowd of 1.5 million people on the ground and millions more worldwide.

Don’t just watch it on TV this New Year.. go on, be part of it!!!

Of course if you are going to be in the Southern Hemisphere where it is warm & sunny at that time of year take advantage and plan a longer stay. We travelled from Sydney into the Blue Mountains then across to the wine region of the Hunter Valley and Port Stephens. On that visit to the Continent we also explored Queensland and Great Barrier Reef, as well as the Great Ocean Road .To realise your holiday of a lifetime call Eagle Travel , most of us here have  been to Oz so can help you.

Sue Alexander MD of Eagle Travel can be contacted on 01234 348882 or email her at sue@eagletravel.co.uk