After travelling on a plane for roughly an hour from Melbourne to Sydney we spent the remainder of the day viewing the city and planning out what we would do come the following days. Friday the 22nd of May was a fun filled day for our group.
We all met downstairs at around 9 o'clock to embark on our journey to the Olympic Park which held the world’s largest sporting events in the year 2000. After running from the train to the stadium in the pouring rain we arrived at our destination. I was astonished by the sheer size of the stadium that was in fact originally built bigger but was reduced in size because it originally held over a 110,000 people. It now seats just over 83,000. On the outside of the stadium they still have concrete slabs which mark where the walls were taken down in order to shrink the stadium. The area outside our guide referred to as the “concrete park”.
Upon entering we were all shocked at the inside of the stadium and how truly large is was. We walked out onto the field and got a feel for what it would be like to play a sport in front of 85,000 people. The arena is the only privately owned stadium in Sydney whereas all other arenas are owned by the government. ANZ stadium caters to several different sports including soccer, AFL (Aussie Rules Football), rugby and cricket. They can alter the stadium in order to accommodate all of the various sports by shifting the stands in and out.
One of the more interesting facts is that Russell Crowe owns a team called the Rabbitohs and spoils his players. They have their own room which we were not allowed to enter but is the only private room in the whole stadium. We then travelled up to the 5th floor which would be considered the high rollers area. This private club had a one-time fee of $34,000 Aussie dollars when it was first built which gave the member a 32 year membership. The membership is for 32 years because ANZ is privately owned and the lease only last 32 years before the government claims the stadium - therefore the membership would no longer be valid.
There were only 600 original memberships sold and some people re-sold their in the following years. The last individual who sold their membership sold it for $800,000 Aussie dollars. We then went to the media area as well as the Coca-Cola suite which was extremely nice. These suites only have a 7 year lease which they must renew with the stadium to keep operating out of that particular location. These suites average $600,000 per year.
We than concluded our visit at the stadium and began our Sydney scavenger hunt from Olympic park. Each group’s scavenger hunt was a little different but our first destination was to a shirt club and a whiskey club in the city. This pub was a classy establishment with the option to buy high class shirts and suits or sit down and enjoy a whiskey on the rocks and a coffee. The people working here were enthusiastic and very helpful when we tried to think of a creative picture to do.
After that stop we walked to “The Rocks” (the oldest area of Sydney) and went to the little store where they make their own candy right in front of you which was pretty cool – but we did not get to experience the actual candy making process. From there we got on the train and travelled to an area called “Kings Cross” to a place that served a drink called the Zombie. This drink was equivalent to having 3 which is why they have a 2 drink limit (meaning you could not consumer more than 2).
After that it was back onto the train where we went to Sydney's oldest park which would have been beautiful to see if it weren't for the sporadic rain falls that occurred throughout our scavenger hunt. We continued our marathon walk all the way to Chinatown, where we felt as if we were in a whole other country. We took the traditional tourist picture in front of the gate and departed to meet up with our professor.
It was safe to say our group did not utilize public transit as much as we should and my legs are extremely sore from the countless miles we walked. That ended our scavenger hunt and what we had planned for the day and were free to go about Sydney and do what we wanted to.
May 22nd marked the beginning of the light festival known as Vivid which begins at 7 p.m. and last until about midnight. The festival goes on for about a month. Lasers and water shoot up in the air creating the most majestic and mesmerizing show that I have ever seen. We stayed and watch for an hour than decided to move on throughout the city. This was when on group split up and everyone sort of went about the city looking for cheap meal deals and other sorts of cool activities.
Overall the first full day we spent in Sydney was remarkable. After only one day I can easily say I enjoy this city a lot more than the two other destinations and I am extremely happy we saved it to the end so that we go out with a bang. I hope everyone is doing well at home and enjoying the warmer weather! weather. This is Jeff DiNallo signing off from Sydney Australia, Cheers Mates.