New Year’s Eve Day: It’s a miserable 80 degrees and perfectly clear – an ideal day to go to the beach. Since neither Leila nor I are beach people, we opt for the 8 km walk from Bondi beach to Coogee Beach that brings you to five beaches and four headlands. We start at Coogee and walk to Bondi because the bus that stops just outside Sydney University International House where we are staying goes directly to Coogee Beach.
You can tell the serious beach people by the skimpy swim gear and a couple of surf boards on the bus. Leila and I are in hiking boots, knee-length shorts, sun hats and lathered with sun screen. We ignore the beach and walk to the top of the headlands going north and drop down into Gordon’s Bay.
Not much of a beach here, but the houses have a great view.
Then it’s another slog up the next headlands — passing some amazing houses with spectacular views – and then down to Clovelly Beach
You can tell this is the family-friendly beach by the large number of sun-tents and the lack of surf. A salt water pool on the left is available for those people who don’t want to worry about what’s below their feet.
The next headland features the priciest real estate for the departed – the Waverley Cemetery.
It’s downhill again to Bronte Beach that has all the amenities you could want – good surfing, natural wading pool, artificial saltwater pool, cafes, coffee houses and park area for your barbie.
And then another hot climb to the next headland where even the birds needed to cool down
before dropping down to Tamarama Beach – just another beautiful white sand beach and multitudes of sun-lovers.
Finally it is the hike up to the top of Mackenzies Point. There’s supposed to be aboriginal carvings of a whale at the point, but we couldn’t find them.
Bondi Beach stretches out in front of you with thousands of people covering the beach.
On Christmas day, more than 100,000 people came to Bondi to celebrate the day. We thought there were more than enough today and we quickly found a bus and escaped back to the calmer University District
Even with the crowds, we think the walk is a “must do” when in Sydney.
New Year’s Eve Night: After a shower to wash away the day’s sweat, we headed to a friend’s flat with a view of the harbor, Opera House and Harbor Bridge. They claim that 1.5 million people swarm to locations with a view of the bridge to see the New Year begin with fireworks above the harbor and off the Harbor Bridge. They do a 9:00pm preview for young children, which is a nice lead-up to the big show.
Boats crowd the harbor to get the best views.
At midnight the show begins. Many of the fireworks are over the harbor and are fairly standard.
But the ones on the bridge are unique. The large “X” represents the end of the first decade of the millennium. The hand recognizes the aboriginal roots of the country.
The most spectacular fireworks are the waterfall of sparks flowing from the car deck level of the bridge and the silhouette of the Opera House in front of the effect.
It was odd to go home afterward, get a full eight hours sleep and then wake up realizing that the celebration of the New Year in Seattle was still eleven hours away.
Leila and I hope you had a great celebration of the New Year and are looking forward to a wonderful 2011.