When I think of the world’s most iconic skylines, I think of London (obviously), Paris, New York, Berlin, Dubai… and of course, Sydney.
However if you’d ask me to visualise the Sydney skyline a few years ago, I’d instantly have pictured the iconic Opera House and the spectacular Sydney Harbour Bridge. These are two landmarks any Brit will find synonymous with Aussie, let alone Sydney. Ever since I was little the Sydney Opera House represented Australia in my eyes – it always reminds me of watching TV every New Year’s Eve when I was little, cheering as fireworks glittered over the white armadillo. This is why, fresh off the plane from Perth on my first ever trip to Sydney in 2016, I made a beeline straight to the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. I actually visited them twice, just to believe it – even FaceTiming mom from under the Opera House sails.
Last month I was lucky enough to spend three nights in Sydney on a business trip for the Mumbrella 360 conference. Going away for work is always such a privilege – but can also be a little frustrating. Hear me out… you get to visit some amazing places, but can only really enjoy them in the evenings when work is done and you’re a little pooped from concentrating. so. bloody. hard. all. damn. day. long. Right? One of my bestest friends recently said to me that she really admires how much I get done. “You’re always go, go, go – it makes me want to leave my couch once in a while. Almost.” But it’s true. Yes, she’s still not left her couch… But I do find it hard to sit still and just ‘be’. Especially when I’m in a new city and all I want to do is explore, adventure and feed my tourist curiously…
On my 2016 trip to Sydney I stayed for a long weekend with my gorgeous friends Gary and Simone (who are about to become parents this December, sqweee!). At the time they were living out in Sydney Olympic Park, in an apartment which showcased an epic view of the Sydney skyline. That was the very first time I saw the Sydney Tower.
On this trip I stayed at the Hilton in Sydney CBD – which couldn’t have been a more perfect location. I got up early to run Hyde Park before the conference, used the gym & sauna daily and even managed to nip over to the QVB one lunchtime for a quick retail therapy fix and to feed my architectural appreciation of that exquisite building. The thing I was most excited about though was seeing the Sydney Tower Eye up close… and boy, did I get personal.
Referred to by Sydney-siders as Sydney Tower or Westfield Tower – it is Sydney’s tallest structure, one of the tallest observation towers in the Southern Hemisphere and has been an integral part of the Sydney skyline for over 35 yrs. When I met up with Gary for dinner (and a mammoth catch up) one evening, the annual festival of light, music and ideas, Vivid Sydney just happened to be in full swing too. Vivid lights up Sydney every year with spectacular outdoor light installations and projections – and what better way to enjoy them, than from a sky high feast at the top of the 309m tall Sydney Tower.
Now I say that, when in fact one of the two light installations I was most excited about seeing (you guessed it, the Opera House) was only partially visible through two skyscrapers. And so, as we sat down for dinner at the top of the Tower, we enjoyed breathtaking views 85km across Sydney… as twilight set in, Vivid lit up, showcasing vibrant views of the glittering Harbour Bridge, glowing Botanical Gardens, and a colourful Opera House sail. Ha! Scroll down to the sixth picture and look to the right and you’ll see what I mean.
It took a full 70 minutes to complete one 360 degree rotation and the whole experience was such a treat. We talked non-stop, caught up on SO MUCH NEWS, and the food was delicious with heaps of choice from just about every cuisine you could imagine. Yes, desert was our favourite part. I snapped a zillion pictures but it was hard to capture the moment without too much reflection. The below are my amateur attempts… I think there are a few crackers in there though.
All in all, the evening is definitely up there as one of my favourite Aussie adventures. Catching up with one of my oldest friends, sky high above one of the most iconic cities in the world.