Day 141 : Up On High

Tues. 1st January 2013

Harbour bridge walkersWe have a long list of things we wanted to do before we leave Sydney. Dave is booked on the Sydney Bridge Walk and I want to walk around the bays by the apartment around to the zoo. We also remember liking Darling Harbour on our previous visit to Sydney so want to go back there. As it is a bank holiday the ferries are operating a Sunday service.We just missed the 8:41am ferry so need to wait an hour for the next one which gives us time to put a wash on to give it a chance of drying on the balcony.

Big cruise ship and Harbour bridgeWe manage to catch the next ferry and head off under the Harbour Bridge to the Rocks, around by the water front past the Park Hyatt Hotel where we watch the guests sat having breakfast looking out over the water to the Opera House – they must have had an amazing view last night and we cannot imagine how much a room for the night would have cost.

As we walk under bridge we watch a group of morning bridge walkers setting off –that will be Dave this afternoon. Our route takes us past the observatory and round to Darling Harbour. The walk was deserted but once we get to the restaurant area it is busy with revellers, possibly still from last night and they are still in party mood.

Water displays Darling HarbourWe decide to head to the Chinese garden which has been described as tranquil, hoping to find a quiet spot for lunch, however it is more of a tourist attraction and we did not have the time to justify paying to enter. The remaining park area is pleasant enough and full of fountains and water features, which do give a cooling effect as the day is turning warm.

Westfield Tower and Mono rail

We walk around the shops in  the Harbourside still looking for a T shirt for Dave, but decide £30 is too much to pay as it is unlikely to make it home.

It is soon time for Dave to head off for his bridge walk and as we head off we spot the Westfield Tower, which is mentioned in Trip Advisor as a place to visit and get great views of the city. We part company and I go and investigate. All the shops are shut but the tower is open and busy. My options are $26 to go to inside the 360 degree observation deck or $65 to go for the skywalk outside on a glass floor. As I bide my time in the queue I deliberate which to do and after watching the skywalk video they show I decide to go the whole hog as does not look too scary.

Safety testing glass floor!I have to wait for the 3:30pm slot and so spend time looking at the amazing views of Sydney and read the facts on various places in the notes displayed for children. One place we can see is the Woolloomooloo wharf built in 1911 to 1915, when it was the largest wooden structure in the world. How did they come up with a name like that? Finally after a breath test (which I passed even after the celebrations last night) and signing every disclaimer possible, it is time to put on an enormous jump suit and enclosed shoes (why?). Also we all empty our pockets and secure our specs as anything dropped over the edge from 260 metres would hurt anyone underneath. At last the safety rope is connected and we are off outside and the views are well worth it.

I was there on the bit sticking outFirst we walk around to the other side of the building as the guide points out places of interest. Next it is out onto a glass floor through which the air conditioning units on the roof a few feet below can be seen, so it is not very scared and we are told regular safety checks are performed. All twelve of us then jump up on the count of three – we are then told It is the safety check for the next group! It is all a bit of a show and we have loads of photos taken of us (on a CD coming your way later this year!). The picture above is a preview of those to come. We then walked around the rest of the building back to the beginning before standing on a second narrow glass shelf. Whilst we were distracted looking up, the platform extended away from the building to reveal Market Street below. Once back outside I looked up at the tower and I had been standing on that little balcony you can see at the top – and I did look down!

Proof of Dave's Bridge climbBy the time I am done the next ferry is 5:25pm and as I wait Dave appears with his certificate for climbing the Bridge and a printed photo of his group on top of the Bridge with the Opera House in the background – he was too cheap to go for the digital copies  I never did get to walk around the points near the apartment and the zoo.

Once back at the apartment there was a mad rush to pack and we get a Pizza delivered as that is quick. We want to catch a showing of the Hobbit before we go into the wilds of New Zealand (research on the country, Dave assures me!!). It is a 30 minute walk to the cinema (5 mins if we had a car!!!) and we arrive just in time and put our lovely 3D specs on. The cinema, the Hayden Orpheum is very old time and still decorated in the original Art Deco theme inside – much more character than our newish cinema in Didcot.

Showing the HobbitBy the time we have walked back it is gone midnight and we have a 5:30 alarm tomorrow. Two late nights in a row – can we cope? We console ourselves with the fact we lose two hours tomorrow so the alarm is really only 7:30am New Zealand time.

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