HAPPY NEW YEAR! (and a firework or two!)

Mike and Liz Downing
Tue 1 Jan 2013 11:58
Although Pittwater is only an hour away from Sydney by bus and ferry (so it's not difficult to return) we're trying to see as much as we can while we're here. So it's a holiday for us and we're doing a bit of concentrated sightseeing! Saturday was a beautiful day in Sydney and we did what every tourist was doing - taking a picture of the Opera House, a picture of the Bridge, another picture of the Opera House, another picture of the Bridge, an even better picture of the Opera House and an even better picture of the bridge.......... we have loads! But the waterfront of Sydney really is a lovely setting and it did look a picture. While there we had a fascinating guided tour of the Opera House, so got to see all the theatres inside and learnt some of the history - including the fact that the original build estimate of 3 years turned out to be 16 years.That almost makes the standard overrun of IT projects look good! It seems the winning designer (there was an international competition), not expecting to win, submitted a design that he had no idea how to build! Still they got there in the end and made a beautiful job of it.
Other things have included a trip up the main Parramatta river on the Rivercat to Parramatta (with a weir across the river, that's where navigation ends), the Sydney Fish Market (reputedly one of the largest in the world) for fish 'n' chips (of course!), the Maritime museum (there for 3 1/2 hours and we only saw half of it) and The Hobbit in 3D on the largest iMax screen in the World. That was amazing and if anything, too close and too real! Oh, and of course there was a little something organised on New Year's Eve. Unlike Christmas Day, the weather behaved itself for New Year - no wind, the harbour water was calm and the skies were clear, and it was quite warm for midnight. So it was just about perfect for the fireworks which lived up to expectations with the normal Sydney extravaganza (rumoured to cost 7 million dollars). We could see it all from the boat on the mooring, but we actually saw it 50 yards away on the pontoon of the marina where our friends were also gathered. During the day, hundreds of boats had been making their way down the rivers and inlets to the harbour to see the fireworks and the anchorages were all packed. At 00.15 they all decided to head for home, tearing back up the river at dangerously high speeds and 5 or 6 abreast - just like the M25 on Friday afternoon! The water churned and it was too risky to make our 50 yard return trip for a good hour or more.  But eventually it was a safe return from a wonderful experience.     
Have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!
A Japanese tourist or what?!
On a lovely day it's difficult not to take pictures of it!
And it looks different from every angle.
The shells, or sails, that they had no idea how to build!
Very cathedral-like from this angle.
And it covers a vast area.
The shells are covered in 1,056,000 ceramic tiles (all made in Sweden) that reflect the sunlight.... 
..... and present a beautiful pattern.
Lots of people! With bars/restaurants alongside and along the waterfront, it's the place everyone
Quite a reflection! The photographer (me) is standing in the middle, in front of the doors.
The other side. It's an exhibit at the Museum for Contemporary Arts.
Back to that Bridge again.
And Liz checking out one of the bridge supports.
One of the modern skyscrapers in the harbour area - streamlined and a lot of glass! 
But not everything new is rectangular.
It's NEW YEAR! The Bridge had a big red pair of electronic lips in the middle that counted down
to midnight and when the first fireworks went up they exploded into the shape of red lips
- very clever!
Fireworks were on the Bridge, on several of the skyscrapers and on 7 barges stretching the length
of the main harbour area.
There were in fact 2 displays. The first took place at 21.00 for the children (but was just as good)
and lasted 8 minutes. The display at midnight lasted 12 minutes.