Naval Review   Leave a comment

Saturday, 5th October, 2013

There’s one thing I’ve come to learn in Australia, Sydney knows how to throw a party!

From the New Year’s firework display and the annual Vivid light show through the the many smaller events held in and around the harbour area, there’s always something going on. This weekend, they’ve got something happening that’s potentially bigger than anything that’s been seen on before. It’s one hundred years since the Australian Navy was established and to celebrate there’s been a gathering of many of the ships in the current day navy, as well as warships from many overseas nations such as the UK, USA, New Zealand, India, Spain, Norway and China to name a few. In fact the International Fleet Review is going to be a week long event, that will include a ceremonial entry into the harbour, an official fleet review by that ultimate party animal, Prince Harry, a massive firework and lights show spectacular and many other events and ceremonies involving mariners and their craft.

So this morning I found myself driving up to Sydney at the crack of dawn in order to meet Barbara and Lawrence for a trip into town to soak up some of the atmosphere before taking a trip out on the Sydney Show boat (remember that!) to watch the firework and light show from the water in the middle of the harbour. The cruise was due to leave the pier at 17:30, so we grabbed a lift to the train station from their eldest daughter Zoe at 15:00 and the then jumped on a train into the CBD. As expected the train was packed with families heading into town to join the fun, but a journey that normally takes 45 minutes only took 20 or so as the train bypassed most of the stations on the way in. The only problem was due to the congestion at Circular Quays, it was not allowed to stop at the station there, so we found ourselves jumping in a taxi outside Central Station.

After a short taxi ride down to Darling Harbour, we had plenty of time to take a look round some of the Tall Ships and warships that were moored up along the water’s edge. Of course, seeing that it was a warm day and all that, we had a drink or two in one of the many bars and restaurants that also line the water. Finally it was time to board the boat for the evening’s cruise, but being old hands at this sort of stuff now, we know that we could wait until the last of the passengers were boarding before we made our move, safe in the knowledge that we had a reserved table waiting for us on board. Sure enough, we had a window table in the main body of the boat which was perfect for watching the entertainment on the stage located at the front and also for seeing what was going on outside on the water. Unfortunately, the cost of the tickets for the cruise did not cover all the drinks like it did last time, but the three of us still had a couple in front of us by the time the first course of the dinner arrived.

It was another excellent dinner served up to us tonight and in between courses I managed to go up on the top deck to grab a few pictures of the various boats we were passing on our way out the middle of the harbour. Once out there, we joined a number of other craft in what looked like the designated area for passenger boats to watch the fireworks from the water.

At the appointed hour, the firework and light show spectacular kicked off with a fly pass of several military helicopters that came into the harbour directly over our heads and flew round the whole harbour area in a wide arc, before departing. Unfortunately, we were a little too far away from the opera house and bridge to see what was going on with regard to the light show (apparently there was a whole theme going on, all set to music and dialog, which was broadcast over the radio!). However, when the fireworks section of the show got underway, we were in the perfect to see everything up to and including the totally awesome, finale which the pictures below don’t do justice too.

Once the pyrotechnics area was deemed safe by the water police, our boat made its way slowly back into Darling Harbour past all the naval ships lit up like Christmas trees, the Opera House, where the band was still playing and under the bridge, where we very nearly overrun a yacht sitting underneath the bridge with no lights on. Luckily a few of the passengers and crew spotted it and all alerted the captain who slowed the boat down in time to avoid a disaster. The air was blue for a time afterwards as various people gave out their opinion to the people on board the yacht.

There were still plenty of people milling around the pier area when we docked at around 9:30 but as it had already been a long day, we thought it was better to find a taxi back to Central Station and jump on a train back home.


Posted October 5, 2013 by yermandownunder in Observations, Out and about, Travels

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