Thursday, 8 February 2018

Sydney - Australia Day celebrations

On Friday 26th January Australians celebrated Australia Day
A bit controversial at the moment due to the Aboriginal community not agreeing that the day of the landing of the First Fleet should be celebrated, but this year it was still on.

Helicopters flying the Australian flag and the New South Wales flag, while on top of the bridge they had the Australian and Aboriginal flag.
We had a lunch booked with Portuguese friends who were being awarded citizenship that morning, but since it was only at 1,30pm we had plenty of time to roam the city and get a feeling for how the day was being celebrated in Sydney.

Once again we caught the bus from Middle Cove into the city and then walked to Circular Quay where the festivities were being held.

On the way to Circular Quay - monuments, interesting buildings and lots of people walking towards the area
At 1 Bligh Street, in a modern office skyscraper this artwork dominated the entrance.
Titled "Day in, Day out" it was created by Perth artist James Angus, and those of you that know Perth or might have seen one of my posts about "Public art" might have seen a similar piece dubbed "The Cactus" that stands in Forrest Place. 
And as you might have guessed the reason for the name is that instead of Sydney's colourful one, Perth's artwork is green!

"The Cactus" - Forrest Place, Perth

When we reached Circular Quay at 10am the celebrations were in full swing with musicians singing on a floating stage in the middle of the harbour, jet-skis dancing to music while someone on a water jet was doing acrobatics at the same time. We managed to get a spot and observed the goings-on for a while, taking photos and just feeling the happy vibe.

People draped on the boat sails up high (left), water skis dancing to music, water jet doing pirouettes (right)

The floating stage in the harbour

Everyone was trying to "book a good spot" for the evening show that would culminate with the fireworks at 9pm.  There would be music with some of Australia's best musicians, a boat regatta, ferry race, Aboriginal traditional song and dance performances, fly-over by jet planes, etc. The steps around the Opera House seemed to be a popular spot.

Unfortunately we couldn't stay long... 

On our way down Macquarie Street leading to the quay we had noticed a lot of vintage double-decker buses and people getting on them, so we approached one of the buses and asked  about the the cost of the trip. We were told they were free but happy with donations.
They were advertising the Sydney Bus Museum, and just doing a round trip between the Opera House and Wynyard Station.

When we left we could get the train in Circular Quay, but because we wanted to ride the old buses we got in line and rode to Wynyard station where we caught the train to Marrickville to meet our friends for lunch.
Aren't they a beauty?

Antique Sydney buses from the Sydney Bus Museum

One of the popular ticket collectors and I (I saw he was asked for a lot of photos, poor guy)
On arrival in Marrickville our "freshly appointed Australian citizens" friends picked us up from the station and drove us to Casa do Benfica (Benfica's House- Benfica being one of Portugal's biggest football teams). 
A very unassuming club next to some tennis courts, they are now mainly a restaurant serving delicious and enormous portions of Portuguese food accompanied by Portuguese wines. Didn't take photos of the food, but you have to believe me that it was delicious.
My husband had already eaten there once and he had been impressed with the food!

With 8 people at our table - one American, one Palestinian and 6 Portuguese, we had a very long and enjoyable lunch celebrating our friends' citizenship. We arrived just after 1,30pm and left the restaurant close to 5pm!
Our friends drove us back to the station and we went back home to watch the Australian Day ceremonies and fireworks on TV.

And a lot of fun was had by all!

Some photos from the festivities taken from the TV


  1. It looks great! Really love the cactus and nothing makes me happier than boats on water (unless I happen to be on the boat, then I'm really happy!). Sydney is a lovely city and I really appreciate seeing it through your eyes.

    1. Thanks Jeanie, glad you're enjoying getting to know Sydney. I also love seeing boats and enjoy a boat ride if I get invited to one too.

  2. What do you mean with "but this year it was still on"?
    Ingo wants to see it next year! You think it´ll be cancelled/put to a different date? Ingo is about to book... If you have info, please let us know asap...

    Thanks to FB we could see the gigantic flags over Perth, too.

    Yips, The Cactus :-) I like the green one better (to no surprise).

    I never knew there were so many Portugese places In Australia - good for you!

    1. Who knows Iris, Fremantle has already changed the celebration date to 2 days after. It's bound to change but don't know when.
      There is quite a big community of Portuguese in Australia, just in Perth it's about 10 thousand, overall it's probably about 50 thousand.
      Check this link about Australia Day dates:

  3. I really enjoyed this day with you in Sydney. It's so fun to see this city through your eyes and camera lens. Really beautiful shots of Australia Day and the various places you and your husband walked and visited. I don't think I've ever had Portuguese food, so this really impresses me. Thanks for sharing Australia Day with us, too.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth, glad you're enjoying getting to know Sydney.
      You should try Portuguese food, a huge variety and delicious...but of course I'm biased :)

  4. I didn't realize that the holiday was called just that.

  5. There are certainly a lot of people there for Australia Day. We have a parade, which gets good attendances. The buses look great fun. The Sydney Tram Museum is very good, if you ever have the time when in Sydney.

    1. Thanks Andrew. The bus ride was fun. I'll take note of the Tram Museum for future visits.

  6. Esse espaço junto à água é absolutamente espectacular.
    Adorámos passear aí, visitar tudo o que havia para ver, comer em vários restaurantes com óptima comida e óptimo ambiente.

    1. Sim tambem gosto imenso desta area de Sydney, tem um ambiente fantastico! Obrigada Pedro.

  7. Sidney uma cidade que sempre ma fascinou um dia tenho que lá ir.
    Um abraço e continuação de boa semana.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
    O prazer dos livros

    1. Sidney e muito bonita Francisco, apesar de eu gostar mais de viver em Perth, por ser mais pequena e sossegada. Va planeando uma grande viagem.

  8. Very festive! I love that Opera House.

    1. Thanks for the visit William. The Opera House is very nice.

  9. Circular Quay is one of my fav spots, there's a cafe right on the edge by the river where we like to have breakfast. Excellent series of shots Sami, it certainly was all going on 😀

  10. Yes, Australia Day celebrations are getting very complicated! I love that pic of you and the ticket collector and it is always great to be in Sydney isn't it?!
    Wren x

    1. Thanks Wren. That collector being the youngest and good looking was very much in demand for photos :) I agree always nice to visit Sydney.


I would love to hear from you, please leave a comment.