New Years Eve 2010
A group of us - myself, James, Neil, Hilke and Maren, all decided to head to Sydney to watch the fireworks for New Years. Neil's girlfriend suggested we head to Conservatory Hill a good location to watch the fireworks. We did a bit of research and found out that not only could we not drink there, most of the roads to access the area it was in would be closed for most of the day. With our little knowledge of Sydney and not being able to programme the sat nav to avoid certain areas or roads I spent the two hours when everyone had gone to bed finding other suitable places to go to. I made a list and then the following morning suggested places to everyone. We agreed on an area of Sydney called Balmain. It was near Darling Harbour and had good views of the Harbour Bridge. also there were three parks to chose from.
We left the "ghetto" at around 9:30 am. we had been advised to get wherever we were going early as places get crowded and the roads get busy. It didn't take us long to get into Sydney about 1-1.5 hours. We parked in a suburb that the girls knew how to get to and were familiar with the train into the city. We caught the train into the city with the plan to get 2 buses to Balmain. I had researched where to get the bus and which number bus before we left that morning however someone decided we should get off the train a stop later as it would save us a bus journey.
What a palava. I know didn't know which bus we wanted or where to get it. We found a map of where the bus stops were but it wasn't the easiest to understand. we walked to where we thought we needed to be. The bus stop wasn't there. How annoying. It was so hot and we were carrying food and drinks which were heavy. We found a transport information centre and picked up a map of the bus routes. Neil sort of took control and and we ended up on the correct street but we couldn't see the bus stop and didn't know what letter stop we wanted. A number of times I told people to look at the map to see if said which stop we wanted. No one would look. I eventually got hold of the map and behold the answer was on the paper! I identified the correct letter bus stop and identified it was on the same road we were on. I tried to get everyone to walk in the same direction as me but they were going somewhere else. What was going on???? Someone had seen that there were more bus stops around a corner (on a different road), oh and the letters were getting close to the one we wanted. I tols everyone that this was a different road and that it wouldn't be what we wanted but they knew best! Low and behold we arrive at what they think is the bus stop and guess what - it's not the right one. Me and James were seriously getting agitated at this point so it was up to me to regain control. I confirmed with a lady at the bus stop that it was in fact the wrong bus stop and the one we wanted was where I had been trying to get everyone to walk to. After a 10 minute walk we arrived at the correct bus stop. Lesson learnt - if I want to get somewhere trust my own judgement - or was it just do things on your own in future?!?!?!?!
We jumped on board and were shortly followed by a large number of other travellers all carrying food and drinks. Well it was mostly drinks and they were mostly Irish! haha. I roughly knew where we needed to get off but the bus stopped short of where it was supposed to go and made everyone get off and he said that he couldn't get any further as the roads were blocked.
At this point it was 1pm and the temperature outside was around 40 degrees. We had no idea how to get to where we wanted to go so the plan was to follow the drinks. We followed people that were carrying drinks in the hope that they knew where they were going. We finally arrived at the end of the peninsula where there was Thornton Park - it wasn't actually the park I had selected but it would do. There was no way I was searching for somewhere else. The 20 minute mostly up hill walk from the bus in the swealtering heat was enough.
The park was absolutley rammed. You couldn't see the grass for all the people and it was the tiniest park not at all what we were expecting. As before it was down to me to organise everyone. I found a patch of grass that was free and asked the surrounding people if we were ok to set up in that spot. We laid down a rug and took out a well deserved drink. We were totally unprepared for the day. We had talked about bringing chairs but it was extra weight we didn't want to have to carry through the city. We had all presumed there would be shade to sit in it being a park and expecting trees. All the natural shade was taken. We had to sit in the sun from 1:30pm until the sun went down. Seriously it was so hot and very uncomfortable on the hard grass. I managed to steal a bit of shade from the people next to us. We should have prepared days/weeks in advance. People had brought umbrellas, tents, gazebos to shelter from the hot sun and we had nothing. We did have a pretty good view of the Harbour Bridge though so we weren't complaining. We were close to where the boat brings people across and it was so hot lots of people were jumping in the harbour. The police kept turning up to tell people to get out of the water.
We spent the day eating, drinking, talking and playing cards. The first fireworks display was the family fireworks and was at 9pm. It was pretty short and unspectacular. We were going to be disappointed if the main fireworks were a hundred times better. The toilet situation at the park was interesting. There were male and female public toilets. The female toilets had 3 cubicles and the mens had one cubicle and urinals (yes i know this because i used the mens). There were also portaloos out on the road (about 20 in total). The queue for the ladies toilets was constantly long. I never understand what takes girls so long. I don't take that long especially in public toilets you get in and out as fast as possible. I had been holding off going to the toilet for hours 1. due to the queue for the girls and 2. due to the stories I had heard of the portaloos being very stinky and overflowing. Anyway enough about the toilets - they were soooo disgusting. I was glad to have packed baby wipes.
We had a good few drinks and were in merry spirits for the fireworks. They were quite enjoyable and it was a nice way to bring in the new year. We had some laughs and at least spent the evening meeting new people.
Once the fireworks were over it was time to trek home. The options were to try and get a boat across the harbour or to get the bus. The boat was a 30s walk away but there was already a long queue forming and the bus was along walk away. We finally decided the bus was the best option as there was only one boat that would be coming. As we left the park had been left in a right state. There was rubbish everywhere. I was glad I wouldn't be the one cleaning it up.
Once we got to the bus stop the queue was huge. People were puching from the back to get on the bus and there weren't enough buses for the amount of people there. There were police that must have never been trained in crown control and there was an absolute nause failing to control people getting on the bus. When we finally got to the front of the queue the "nause" was allowing people from down the side of the bus (ones that were pushing their way from the back) onto the bus before everyone else. The people that had been waiting at the front were being ignored. It was an absolute joke. It got very heated with a number of people getting very angry with the situation. Finally we managed to get on a bus and eventually found our way back to the station to get the train. On the car journey home Hilke entertained us by getting sick out of the window and got to enjoy it splattering up the back window! Good job I had closed ot or we would have been covered! Nice! When we arrived home the sun was almost up! It had taken us 5 hours to make the journey home. The fireworks were definitely not worth all the hassle.
Me and James wished we had prepared earlier and bought tickets to an area where you could camp the night or to a organised event.