We had one full-day in Sydney to kick off our adventure before heading to NZ. We slept in and were anxiously awaiting the arrival of our friends John and Jennie who are joining us for the next two weeks. After the usual hotel breakfast buffet and their arrival, we met up with another of our good Vanderbilt friends (Abby F) who moved to Sydney from Chicago.
She took us on a tour of the downtown area as we walked through some parks and visited her apartment while overlooking the city and getting some caffeine in the jet-lagged folks (and Debbie). After visiting a Mediterranean spot for lunch, we followed the meal up with gelato before heading back to the hotel to rest up for the evening’s plans and fun.
First up on the docket was the famous Sydney bridge climb. With many options to choose from, we selected the Twilight option so we could climb up in the daylight to watch the sunset but head down in the evening to see the lit up sky-line. We arrived at 4:30 for our 4:45 tour and were curious how the process would take 3.5 hours as advertised. Of any planned activity I’ve ever done, this was the most methodological I’d ever seen. They had every single component of the process broken down so there was never a serious concern of safety (aside from the slipper ladder in the rain) or a doubt in your mind that they knew what they were doing.
We sat through a brief overview and changed into our bridge climbing attire (plenty of photos below) before getting all geared up for the trip. Aside from the jump-suit, we had hats, rain jackets, radios, rain pants which we all turned down, a special clip (we were clipped in straight through for 2+ hours to the safety mechanism), and much more. We started the journey off with a practice ladder climb before making our way out into the tunnel over the high-way to enter the bridge climb area.
We started off with a bunch of steps before reaching a series of 4 nearly vertical ladders to get to the top area and then followed that up with more steps. Our tour guide was awesome, gave us a little bit of history of the city as we climbed up over the bridge and they let us take a bunch of photos in both the large group of the five of us as well as couples/individual shots.
Post bridge climb we embarked upon the second adventure. We were all very hot and sweaty after a combination of 90 degree weather and rain and made our way back to the hotel. Given that it was nearly 9 pm, I proposed (intentional word) that we skip the shower and head straight to a French restaurant in the park since it was getting late. John informed the group that he needed to change his shoes before heading over so Jennie/Johjn stuck around for a few minutes at the hotel while Abby, Debbie, and I made our way “to dinner”. We were situated in the park ready to sneakily capture what was about to happen…
So yeah…that happened! John and Jennie are engaged! Debbie and I did our best to capture the moment from afar as John got down on a knee in the center of Hyde Park next to a beautiful fountain to propose. Of course Jennie said yes and we walked back to the Harbor to post up at a casual spot for celebratory drinks and a perfect view of the Opera house (all Jennie wanted was dinner in the Harbor and she was super upset when we had to tell her we weren’t eating out there- she was very happy when she learned this was part of the cover).
After dinner was over, we took a few more photos of the beautiful views and went back to the hotel to conclude the engagement celebrations with a custom made cookie cake (Jennie loves cookie cake, this is the 3rd we’ve had an honor to buy for her, the most significant though was this one of course). We did a number on the cake before everyone was exhausted and found their way to bed.
The first day in Sydney was going to be hard to beat with all of the excitement. Next up we had one more day in Sydney before hitting the road to begin our road trip in NZ!