This trip to Sydney in February 2010 was to celebrate Adrienne’s 40th birthday in the same month Poppy turned 4 years old. We were also excited to spend some time with Jono and Christopher – in fact staying at Jono’s apartment while he was out of town on business. Poppy LOVED flying on the three aeroplanes to get there and was allowed to hand out lollies on the domestic flights.
We got settled into Jono’s apartment and did some walking around Mosman before Jono got home from work and took us for some nighttime sightseeing at famous Sydney landmarks.
The next morning Jono left for his business trip and we caught the Mosman bus to explore the area. Rock climbing is high on Poppy’s holiday to-do list so we ended up at Balmoral beach. Walking home was a challenge – we didn’t realise that Mosman was so high above the beach!
Our first day in the city began at Hillsong church for their Sisterhood morning then included lots of walking through Darling Harbour with a fun afternoon at the Powerhouse Museum. Unfortunately, we couldn’t quite afford the ticket prices at the Sydney Aquarium – but we found some giant crabs and lobsters at the Golden Moon Chinese Restaurant! We continued walking through Chinatown and then the city to catch our bus home. On the way, I saw a huge WICKED sign for the show at the Capitol Theatre. After reading the book years ago and listening to the soundtrack as well, I decided tickets might be the perfect 40th birthday gift to myself! We stopped into the box office and discovered although the tickets started over $140 each, the theatre ran a lottery two hours before every show and if you are lucky enough to win, the tickets are $30 each! PERFECT for the budget traveller like us.
So we took the bus into town again the next day and waited for the box office to open to fill out our lottery form and wait for the drawing. Over 60 people were there too – all hoping for the opportunity to see the show at incredibly reduced prices. As the lottery was drawn, 3 sets of double tickets were given away and Poppy was getting a little disappointed…. until they called my name and we WON THE LOTTERY TICKETS! So exciting – I actually couldn’t believe it! I quickly paid the $60 for our tickets and showed my ID (to protect the process from scalpers) and realised the tickets we won were in the FRONT ROW!!! With smiles on our faces, we spent the next couple of hours before show time watching the dragon boats at Cockle Bay and having lunch before walking back to the theatre to take our seats. My seat was exactly centre front and the show was amazing. It will be my defining memory of my 40th birthday celebration – watching Wicked from front row centre in Sydney.
Afterwards we explored Circular Quay and Poppy especially enjoyed the Opera House. To end a brilliant day, we walked with thousands of others down Oxford Street to watch the Mardi Gras parade. Poppy caught a whistle – what a noise – and we stayed for the initial stages of the parade with all the motorbikes. I didn’t see much – but Poppy was on my shoulders and had a better view. Once the bright pink lights were switched on and dusk started to fall, we made our way back through the incredible crowds to catch the bus home. The city was full of partying people in costumes – it reminded me a lot of Mardi Gras in the French Quarter in New Orleans.
My actual birthday fell on Sunday so we got the special family fun day pass for unlimited bus, train and ferry rides in Sydney. We started out on a ferry to Luna Park then exploring Paramatta on the train and taking the RiverCat to Syndey Olympic Park. Poppy had a fantastic time at the Olympic Aquatic Centre with an amazing range of water activities. After a wee sleep on the train back to town, Poppy was recharged and ready to go again for our evening adventures. We went to the top of the Sydney Tower and then went for my birthday dinner in Chinatown. After dinner it was dark enough to return to the tower and see the wonderful Sydney views again with all the lights on.
Taronga Zoo was our adventure on the next day – however, it was a little challenging as it rained for a couple of hours and we had to find all the inside and undercover exhibits. At one stage we travelled on the Sky Safari loop twice to get out of the wet and dry off a little. The zoo was excellent and because rain was predicted, there were very few other people there. The seal and bird shows were highlights – Poppy mentioned her new future employment wish is to be a seal trainer. The day before she wanted to be a bendy bus driver.
On our next morning we slept in a little before taking the bus to Christopher’s house in Five Dock. He made us lunch and we had fun 10-pin bowling and spending time at an awesome new playground close to his house. He brought us back to Barmoral beach where we played in the rock pools and walked the sand as dusk fell. On our walk back to Jono’s apartment in Mosman, we found a great supermarket so bought some more groceries to see us through till the end of our holiday.
On our second to last day in Sydney we tried to get to the Australian Museum but kept getting distracted by other fun things to do! We completed one of Poppy’s wishes – to walk over the Syndey Harbour Bridge. As we spent time up the Pylon Lookout we were buzzed by a couple of Black Hawk helicopters doing some kind of training mission. Later after we looked around the Observatory and The Rocks, we were interviewed about the helicopters down at Circular Quay by Channel Nine News. I managed to get home in time to record it and we both ended up with quotes for their report! Poppy was also the star of a unicyclist busker’s show when she was selected to be jumped over by his small unicycle, and then paid $10 when she successfully threw his juggling bats to him whilst he was on his 4 metre unicycle! We gave back the $10 plus a little more at the end.
We also toured the Opera House, watched an Aboriginal playing the digerridoo, walked through the Bontanical Gardens and explored the ‘castle’ (Government House) before taking a long-awaited monorail ride around the loop a couple of times. By this time it was after 3pm so we had to postpone the Australian Museum until tomorrow when we’d have more time – so we spent the next couple of hours back at the Powerhouse Museum where we found lots more exhibits we didn’t get time to see last visit.
Our last day in Sydney started early with a bus trip to the Austrailian Museum where we spent the morning engrossed in all things Aussie. Poppy joined in the Kids Space morning session where we met a home-school family. The Dinosaur area was full of school kids and Poppy was happily making friends and contributing to the fun. After lunch in the park we headed out to Bondi (in a bendy bus, finally!) and had an afternoon of sun, sand & surf. Watching the lifesavers and rescue teams was great – I’m looking forward to seeing Bondi Rescue on TV again. We arrived home hot so decided to have an evening swim at the local Mosman pool where Poppy played with a local Kiwi preschooler. Christopher arrived after dinner and spent the night with us at Jono’s to facilitate the extremely early transfer to the airport in the morning.
The plane home was comfortable with Poppy having two seats to stretch out and catch up on some sleep from the early start. GranJan, Yogi & Lacey were very happy to see us back in Nelson after our 10 day adventure to celebrate turning 4 & 40 in February 2010!