Celebrating New Year’s in Sydney – Watching the Fireworks at the Harbour at Campbells Cove

This year was a very special New Year’s Eve because we started the year with fireworks at the Harbour Bridge and Opera House in Sydney!

You might have seen the famous fireworks on TV several times already because they show them every year. Not just because Sydney is the first big City celebrating into the new year every year, but also because the scenery of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House makes an amazing location.

I was not just lucky enough to have my family over for three weeks in Australia and not having to be without them for Christmas, but we also got to end our road trip from Cairns south to Sydney on New Year’s Eve to see the fireworks at the harbour.

danr2874

Our New Year’s Eve Day

We already arrived in Sydney on the 30th and stayed the last night in our camper at Burwood Park where it wasn’t prohibited to stay overnight.

The next morning we checked into our rooms in Burwood at Boronia Lodge, left our camper and went straight into the city centre. Luckily Burwood is only 20 minutes away from the city centre.

We had lunch in the city and walked to The Rocks where we had tickets for a cordoned area with a great view over the Harbour Bridge and the Opera that where FREE! You only need to be quick.

All the areas with the best views are cordoned for New Year’s. For some, you have to pay lot’s of money (the cheapest were around 400$ including food), for the Campbells Cove you just need to be quick to get the tickets (we already got them in September).

dsc03043
The view from the Botanical Garden over the Harbour is amazing, but the tickets for that venue that includes a dinner where crazy!

After we checked how the land lies because we didn’t know how many people are going to be there / if the view would only be good from specific places that you need to save early etc. we went to get an afternoon snack and some sandwiches for dinner to take away as there weren’t that many food options on the venue area.

From around 4pm we started waiting… because we didn’t have that much information about how the afternoon/evening in Sydney will take place, we had to be there early and wait a lot – but you will be lucky enough to have some more knowledge after reading my blog post and you can improve from our mistakes/experiences!

img_1632

Unfortunately, it started raining very hard at around 7pm and we couldn’t stay seated. Luckily there was a bridge on our venue location where everyone looked for shelter from the rain and storm. We also were very lucky that it was still warm because we were not prepared at all and only improvised a rain cape from a garbage bag that kept us dry and warm.

At 9pm there was the first fireworks for the kids which was already amazing and some families also left afterwards.

dsc02911

We had a few more rain showers and at around 22pm it started to get fuller because they close the gates for the area at 22.30pm. But there was still enough space to sit down and walk around comfortably.

From our place, we could see that that the streets leading to the Harbour through the Rocks where packed. Like really packed. So we were very thankful for our safe space and also the bridge saved us a lot.

All the hours of waiting were very exhausting because there wasn’t a lot of distraction and if we would have known how things work before, we for sure wouldn’t have arrived that early.

dsc02953dsc02937

img_1475

Then it was FINALLY 12pm and the amazing firework started. The firework locations are spread over the whole water area in Sydney and there are no private fireworks allowed (obviously), but the Harbour and Opera view, of course, is the prettiest. It’s just a great show and location!

dsc02915

After the fireworks, EVERYONE is trying to get to the tram stations as quick as possible and you can’t believe how many people are there. All the streets are packed with people walking in the same direction. It is insane and you can only be thankful that glass bottles and alcohol is prohibited – otherwise, it wouldn’t work out as relaxed!

You can’t really do something to get home quick. It’s just not possible. Everything is crowded and even though there are lots of trams departing they can’t bundle off these millions of humans fast.

dsc02961
There are lot’s of places you can celebrate the New Year in Sydney with amazing views: rooftop bars, restaurants, at the botanical garden or from a boat – it’s just a matter of how much you want to spend :D

Things you need to know before

  • get lots of information and tickets for the events/locations at sydneynewyearseve
  • in the whole city centre area, glass bottles and alcohol are prohibited and the police (that is very present the whole evening) is allowed to check your bags
  • the streets of the CBD, as well as the Harbour Bridge, are blocked for vehicles from the afternoon on until late at night
  • around 2 million people watch the fireworks at the harbour in Syndey (even more than in New York!) and they all want to leave after the show – don’t even think about getting a taxi/uber or the tram at Circular Quay right away (as long as you don’t stand next to the station while watching the fireworks. When you are close to the Harbour, everyone else behind you will get there before)
  • restaurants and bars might close earlier to prepare for their evening dinners (prebooked way in advance and pretty expensive)

kleiderkreisel

Celebrating at Campbells Cove

  • more info!
  • they start selling the tickets about in September and you need to be really quick. You can sign up for their e-mail newsletter and be the first to tell when they start selling
  • arrive by tram and walk to the Campbells Cove from Circular Quay – driving by car is just way too stressful when everyone wants to go home and also lots of streets are closed
  • when the weather is supposed to be bad/rainy, lot’s of people that got tickets look for different options or only arrive at around 22pm, but when the weather is good the venue is reaching its capacity at around 5pm, they close the entry at 22.30pm
  • they say they have food and drinks for sale, but there were only 2 stalls and you are allowed to bring your own food and unalcoholic drinks
  • take reusable non-glass bottles to refill so you don’t have to buy their expensive water
  • take blankets, card games, snacks, jackets to survive all the waiting
  • don’t arrive too late (besides that you won’t get a good place) but it also will be hard to get through the crowds to the entry of the venue

dsc02946


It was an amazing experience and I would never want to miss it, but I have to say that it was also very exhausting and I would not want to do it the same way every year. I am more a person for a chilled dinner with friends and watching the fireworks from distance.

What was your craziest New Year’s experience? How do you like to celebrate the new year? How did you this year? Would you like to see Sydney’s fireworks for New Year’s one day?

Advertisements

Exploring the Secrets of Esperance in Western Australia

I decided to skip writing my diary blog posts with daily reviews of what I am up to. Even though it is a nice memory for myself to look back on later, it doesn’t really give any value to you and isn’t very interesting either. I much rather want to focus on the exciting things that I experience, my thoughts on different topics like travelling solo & being homesick and sharing content that brings value and inspiration to your life.

So if you have requests of blog posts or topics you would like me to talk about, please let me know down below!

DSC02527

When I came to Western Australia, I suffered a little bit from the feeling of loneliness. I already wrote a little more about it in this blog post and also some of my tips against feeling lonely as a solo traveller.

IMG_0990

Anzeige |  So I wanted to get rid of these negative feelings inside of me and socialize more and as I already had two amazing tour experiences, I decided to book another six-day tour. This time Nullarbortravel* took me and my eleven travel mates from Perth to explore the south-west of Australia, the Secrets of Esperance and many more wonderful places.

IMG_0991

Day 1: Wave Rock & Fitzgerald River National Park

The first day is always very exciting when you meet your tour guide and group because I think they are the most important factors to make a great trip. Just like on my other tours we had a small bus (for around 20 people) and luckily, we were only 12 travellers, which is a great group size in my opinion as the chance of some cool people is big and you still get to know everybody in the six days quite well.

Once more I was blessed with a lovely tour guide. Nat (aka. Natalie) was just super funny, cute and she really cared for each and everybody.

My travel buddies were: an Aussie couple (Virginia and Mathew) from Victoria state, two more Aussie girls (Emily from Victoria and Tiffany from Sydney), Jeff from Canada, James from London, Josefine from Sweden and four other solo travelling girls, two from Swiss and two from Germany.

IMG_9585

Our journey started with a long driving day and our first stop at the famous Wave Rock. Before I came to Australia I was always keen to see this weird rock transformation in the shape of a wave. Now I have to say that it was not as impressive as I thought but still kinda cool though.

IMG_9726

IMG_0989

IMG_9691

We had lunch with thousand flies around our heads and then drove further into Fitzgerald River National Park, which is such a beautiful place on earth. We climbed up one of the mountains in the NP for a spectacular (almost) sunset view. The hike was the toughest I did in Australia (until now) because it was super steep and had many loose rocks, even though it’s quite short.

IMG_0988

The first night in a swag again was a little bit weird and I had to get used to it again. Also, it was freezing cold (summer nights in December can still get very chilly in the south) and our camping space had no light at all.

Those of you who already read my Outback Diary know what sleeping in a swag means, as I explained a bit in that blog post.

Nevertheless, it was wonderful to sleep under the stars again and I was excited for 5 nights of camping adventure.

IMG_9734

Oh, and we also spotted this beautiful huge spider at our camping toilet – fun, isn’t it? :D

IMG_9743.JPG

Day 2: Esperance & Cape Le Grand National Park

The next day we had a stop at “Pink Lake” that actually isn’t pink anymore which is a little disappointing, but the algae that create the pink colour isn’t thriving at the moment because the water level is too high… still a pretty view though.

IMG_0141IMG_0022

IMG_0014

We had several stops at different beaches that are all breathtaking: turquoise water, white sand and we were blessed with the nicest weather as well. So we enjoyed some time in the sand, sun and waves.

11.PNG
We weren’t lucky to see kangaroo’s at the beach, but @lene_merle was.

Then we drove into Cape Le Grand National Park right to our camping spot for the night: Lucky Bay. One of the most famous beaches in whole Australia, because it is one of the whitest and very special for the fact that you can be lucky to see some kangaroos at the beach.

BPYU2293DIAE6339EAIQ7063IMG_0299

IMG_0304IMG_0880IMG_0984IMG_0980IMG_0986DSC02492IMG_0983

In the afternoon we did an amazing 3-hour coastal walk from (I think) Hellfire Bay back to Lucky Bay. It was such a beautiful walk with so many great ocean and beach views and I think it would have been my favourite if we would have done it in the morning. I just prefer working out/hiking in the morning so much more! Especially for sunrise, but the sunset views we had at Lucky Bay afterwards were just insane!

Day 3: Frenchman’s Peak & Stirling Ranges

In the morning of day three, there was another hike on our to-do list. I love how you hike so much on these tours! I really enjoy being in nature, walking, getting a sweat on, feeling my legs the next day and having the greatest views at the top.

DSC02499DSC02507DSC02552

But before, I got up at 4.10am to watch the sunrise at Lucky Bay – definitely worth getting up early!

Frenchman’s Peak is a rock (yep, it’s basically just one solid rock) not far from Lucky Bay, that is pretty steep and slippery. Especially the way down was difficult and not super safe. But we made it, and it was a great morning workout before we had our second breakfast: pancakes.

Afterwards, we could enjoy ourselves at Lucky Bay, soak in some sunshine and jump into the beautiful turquoise (but chilly) water.

IMG_0531

In the afternoon we had a long drive to the Stirling Ranges and saw the reddest sunset that I ever experienced before.

IMG_0543

Oh and we also had sooo many yummy strawberries! It’s so nice that it’s getting into strawberry season here now – I love it!

DXVL0106

Day 4: Climbing Castle Rock, Coastal Drives and Tingle Trees

Another day, another hike. But sadly the last one for our tour. We walked up the Castle Rock hill through a beautiful forest and this hike was my favourite because the way reminded me of hiking at home. I really enjoyed it and walked all by myself. The view from the top wasn’t as spectacular as the other ones we had before, but the little bit of climbing to get there at the end was super fun.

IMG_0927

IMG_0566IMG_0933IMG_0799

The weather wasn’t that great that day, but we still enjoyed the views over the beautiful coastal scenery. We saw Elephant Rock, the Green Pools and the huge tingle trees.

In the evening we arrived at a rainy and wet campsite. I had a wonderful experience with a kangaroo that came so close to me (for more roo stories head to my Instagram @mind.wanderer), we had a birthday boy Mathew that day and celebrated with chocolate cake and had to sleep in the kitchen area of your campsite because it was so rainy outside – what an eventful day.

IMG_0974

Day 5: Tasting us through Margaret River

Day 5 wasn’t around hiking and moving, but more around driving around in Margaret River and testing us through all the different factories. We went to a distillery, several wineries, a dairy factory that sells super yummy ice cream and a chocolate factory. Had lunch at the beautiful Margaret River and went to a super fun pub where you can play a lot of funny games in the outside area.

BOGC5050AWRD3302IMG_0906IMG_0973

For sunset, we went to surfers point beach and had a beautiful pre-sunset view. Sadly, when the sun set there were too many clouds, so we could only see a slight red shimmer, but it was still super pretty.

Day 6: Ngilgi Cave Stories & Back to Perth

On our last day, we went to a cave in Dunsborough and heard some stories, information and wonderful didgeridoo songs by the Aboriginal Josh. He showed us traditional fire lighting, bush medicine and hunting equipment from his tribe, the Wardandi.

IMG_0951IMG_0955

Afterwards, we had a wonderful last lunch and swim in the most turquoise water I’ve ever seen and drive to Brusselton for our last real stop on tour before we headed back to Perth.

IMG_0948


To conclude: it was once again a great tour experience and I am very happy that I decided to book it and got to see some of the beauty that Western Australia has to offer. I’ll for sure come back to see the West Coast as it is supposed to be the most beautiful and untouristic part of Australia (but it’s not season right now).

And I learned on this tour that the first impression of people can sometimes be the complete opposite. At first, I thought, I would get along very well with my German speaking travel mates, but after day three I decided to try to stay away from them as much as possible as they only spread negativity against everything (and I mean really everything). And the people I thought would be boring turned out to be the nicest, loveliest and funniest! But that’s the great thing about these tour groups, you really get to know each other when you hang out for six days and usually, you get along very well because you already have a commonality: the urge to travel and adventure.

IMG_0285


*Disclaimer: I got a discount for my booking with Nullabor Travel, but I am obviously still 100% honest with all my reviews and thoughts.

Outback – Roadtrip through the Red Centre | Diary 006

After a few relaxed nights in Adelaide, I went on my second group tour that led us from Adelaide over Coober Pedy, the world famous Uluru to Alice Springs in 6 days. Like on the Great Ocean Road I did this tour with Groovy Grape* and it was once more an awesome experience.

IMG_6953

Saturday 13/10

Saturday started early with a pickup from the hostel and meeting our tour guide Bronny and my new travel mates. We were 13 people (a couple from Germany/the US, a mom and her daughter from the US, two Asian girls, a Dutch family of three and 3 solo travellers: Charlott from Amsterdam, Stephanie from Guatemala living in Canada and Harri from Wales). We were a great group and especially with the 3 other solo travellers I got along well.

The tour started with a long drive to our first stop and was only the start to very long upcoming drives. For lunch, we stopped at a super cute vinery run by an old couple who invited us to eat on their property and enjoy the idyllic scenery of their home. We had yummy buns and once again I was super happy to get great, fresh and mostly healthy food on tour.

VYUN7596IMG_6970

Afterwards, we drove to Alligator Gorge to hike through the canyon and enjoyed the nature and the silence in the gorge.

Arriving at our campsite for the night we got ready for our first night in a swag under the stars. We had a BBQ and delicious salad for dinner and crawled into our sleeping bags next to the campfire.

Swags are basically bigger sleeping bags with a thin mattress inside and made from thicker and denser material. In the inside, you have your real sleeping bag and that was our bed on the ground under the stars for 4 of 5 nights on tour.

 

The first night in nature immediately made me fall in love with sleeping outside and I enjoyed every single night. Even when it started to rain a little bit because it is such a cool feeling and you can easily put a cape over your head.

IAWZ5572

Sunday 14/10

On tour, we either woke up early for a sunrise hike or to start driving to get to our next destination earlier. Sunday we finally made it to “the outback”. Red sand, less vegetation and less green outside the window.

IMG_6996

For lunch, we stopped at a super small “town” that consists of only one roadhouse with a refill station and about seven trailers. As there was basically nothing around, we had a very windy and sandy lunch: couscous salad, green salad and sandwiches.

IFNT2646

In the late afternoon, we arrived in Coober Pedy and got a very informative and interesting tour through old opal mines. Afterwards, we were able to shop some pretty jewellery and I bought something for my mom. As most things were made with silver, I didn’t buy anything for me as I usually were rose gold, but I already regret it as they had very pretty rings and necklaces…

IMG_7029

While watching the sunset from above the hill, we ate pizza and enjoyed the view.

IMG_7215IMG_7252IMG_7278

Afterwards, we went to one of my highlights of the tour: visiting a kangaroo sanctuary and being able to pet and watch disabled adult kangaroos that live there, and baby kangaroos, called Joey’s, that will be released back to wild when they are big enough. It was so cute to see this little animal with its big ears and eyes.

IMG_7020

This night we slept in another unusual place: under the rocks. Most houses in Coober Pedy have rooms under the earth as it gets super hot here and it was very nice to sleep in a cold and very dark dorm, so I had a great night sleep.

DSC02174

XULN3897

Monday 15/10

On Monday we had to drive the most kilometres on tour (over 600km) so we got up at 5.30 am to see the sunrise over the opal minefields and fall asleep again afterwards on the bus.

IMG_7317

That day, we passed the border to the Northern Territory which was basically the highlight of the day.

DSC02191DSC02209DSC02186DSC02199

We arrived at the Kings Canyon Creek Campground, where one of my favourite picture from the tour was taken. It really sums up the vibe of our tour: many sunsets and sunrises, beautiful star skies, campfires and good company.

CQJW6099

Tuesday 16/10

Tuesday was finally the day of less driving and more adventures and we started right away with a hike around and through the Kings Canyon.

IMG_7326ANLE2107IMG_7334IDRJ8990

We got up at 4 am, jumped in our comfy clothes, had a big breakfast and drove to the beginning of the trail called ‘heart attack hill’. It is named like that because the beginning of the hike super steep and exhausting, to get on top of the canyon. From there we watched a beautiful sunrise and then hiked around and into the canyon which wasn’t that difficult anymore. We had many wonderful views over the breathtaking nature and in that park, this first hike was my favourite.

When you wake up super early every day feels like two days because you do so much. It was only 11am when we finished the walk and drove to the Ayers Rock.

 

Arriving at the Uluru our guide told us about the history of the rock and some Aboriginal stories around it and we walked a bit around the Uluru/Ayers Rock.

DSC02267DSC02258

DSC02215DSC02237DSC02274

For sunset we drove to the best place with the best view on the rock and had yummy cheese and crackers while admiring how the red rock changes its colours while the sun sets.

For the next/last two nights we stayed at the Uluru Campground.

IMG_7406

Wednesday 17/10

Another day another hike. So we got up at 4am again and drove to the famous Olgas/ Kata Tjuta. The scenery was amazing once again and on top of the mountain ranges our guide had the idea to stay completely silent for 3 minutes and just be in the moment and I really enjoyed that quiet time and it was a beautiful experience.

On our way back, I got to know Stephanie the Guatemalan girl more and we had such a fun time together. We really got along so well and I was once more amazed by how easy it is to meet likeminded people while travelling – but that’s probably because you already have one similarity: the urge to travel and adventure.

Steph invited me to come to Guatemala one day when she is there too and she would be my travel guide and show me around her favourite places and I already know, that I’ll do that for sure!

IMG_7438

For our last dinner together we had an amazing veggie curry with coconut milk and rice noodles (called Laksa) – a special recipe from our guide Bronny.

DSC02337DSC02333DSC02306DSC02350

We had another wonderful sunset view in the evening. This time with a view over the Olgas and the Uluru from more far away and it was gorgeous once again!

And then it was already the last night under the stars. I am already considering getting one myself at home to be able to go to beautiful places in summer and sleep outside wherever I want to…

IMG_7441

Sleeping under the stars was an awesome experience every night. I really enjoyed sleeping with fresh air, light wind and snuggled up into my warm sleeping bag. The matrass in the swag was comfy and it is the best feeling to fall asleep looking at the beautiful dark sky full of light stars and when you wake up at night (to go to the toilet or turn to the other side) you are amazed every single time by the beauty of nature and I could never resist smiling. Furthermore, waking up at 4 am is much easier when the first thing you see is the endless sky.

DSC02368

 

Thursday 18/10

This day, we got up early for the last time again to see sunrise over the Uluru. Another special morning and wonderful view. We enjoyed pancakes for breakfast while watching the sun rise and it was another favourite moment on this tour for me.

DSC02380

Afterwards we did the base walk around the Uluru (around 8km) which was a great and easy trail and I had time to talk and get to know my travel buddies even more.

As Alice Springs is another 5-hour drive north from the Uluru, we had a last very hot and exhausting drive, but arrived full of new memories at our final destination.

IMG_7479

In the evening our tour group met again at Uncle’s for burgers and waffle fries (so yummy!), beer or cider for me and playing pool, which was so much fun. Afterwards, we went to another pub and had a great night, but didn’t go home that late because we were all super tired from the eventful last days.


My days in Alice Springs

…consisted of going food shopping with my friends from the tour, writing the blog, saving pictures and editing and cooking a yummy dinner together at night. We had sweet potato spinach bowls topped with salted cashews (so so amazing!) and watched Karate Kid and talked.

Saturday and Sunday I basically did the same: went for a run, bringing postcards to the post, working and cooking dinner.

On Monday I flew to Sydney and left the red outback with hundreds of new memories, experiences and new friends.

FTFS7200


*Disclaimer! Just to clarify that: I got a discount for my tour with groovygrapetours, but I am obviously still 100% honest with all my reviews and thoughts!