April’s Fool 2012 was the best April’s Fool day spent for me as I joined AirAsia X’s historic milestone – the D7 222 flight to Sydney! After 4 years of waiting, we are finally flying to Sydney – an absolutely amazing (and magical) journey for all of us at AirAsia!
From top left : Our A330 making its mark in Sydney; CEO of AirAsia X, Azran Osman-Rani with our lovely cabin crew making a special appearance on a cruise jet, “Do you believe in love at first flight?” – yes, I do! ; stamping my own X mark with Sydney Opera House 😛
Lucky me, I got a chance to discover Sydney with Destination New South Wales who had kindly arranged a fantastic itinerary for us!
So what were my initial impressions of Sydney before heading over? Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the hot, good-looking lifeguards in Bondi Beach (The human me succumbed to temptations so easily :P). Now if you think that’s all Sydney has to offer, get ready to hear the words “You are WRONG!” (Yup, in full caps, my furry friends). At least, that was what happened to me.
Okay, now let me share with you what Sydney has to offer!
Like any other visitor visiting Sydney, one of the must-dos would be visiting the iconic attractions such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge! And yes, that’s what I did except I did not just visit the Bridge – I climbed it!
Sydney Harbour Bridge celebrated its 80th ‘birthday’ this year and if you visit Bridge Climb Sydney, you will get a chance to check out the many anniversary souvenirs and of course, take home the X-hilarating experience of the climb of your life!
Bridge Climb Sydney offers 3 types of climbing experience – the Express Climb (over 2 hours), the Discovery Climb (3.5 hours where you get to explore the inner workings of the Bridge) and the Bridge Climb (3.5 hours of uninterrupted view as you will climb the outer arch of the Bridge). We took “The Express Climb” due to time constraint but nevertheless it was an amazing experience! Prior to the climb, we were brought into the briefing room for a detailed safety procedure talk and then we were moved to the dressing room where we get suited up in the specially designed BridgeSuit suits for all weather conditions. We even get a wrist handkerchief just in case we want to wipe our sweat, which I soon found out that despite the rather cold weather, I would desperately need it for my future ‘cold sweat moments’.
I wasn’t sure if I have acrophobia (fear of heights) but I have to admit, the Bridge stood so majestically (and intimidatingly) tall at 134 metres! I told my Climb Leader Chris about it and he asked me some basic questions such as if it was diagnosed (I never knew that it could be diagnosed LOL!), was it just a gut feeling, etc. He assured me that I’ll be fine, plus I am connected to the Bridge throughout the entire climb to ensure my safety, security and comfort.
Well, better safe than sorry:-)
Now, back to the climb. We started off our journey from the inner bridge and slowly made our way upwards to the breathtaking view of Sydney!
The Bridge Climb was the best experience to experience Sydney from an uninterrupted horizon – where we climbed past the busy highways and blue water underneath us, gazed at the Sydney Opera House, Luna Park or waved enthusiastically (a little too much) to the tourists on cruise boats! Our experienced Climb Leader Chris also shared many interesting facts about the Bridge, the history of Sydney and its surroundings.
I was so fascinated by the view that it literally took my mind off my acrophobic worries (apparently I don’t have them). Nothing beats the sense of achievement and awe when we reached the top for the 360-degree view of Sydney!
A few of us were tempted to shout “WE ARE ON TOP OF THE WORLD!” but our enormous pride stopped us 😛
In case you’re wondering why there were no photos on the Bridge Climb, that is because we were not allowed to bring our cameras for safety reasons, but Chris took photos of us! After the photo session, we then crossed over to the left side of the Bridge to descend.
Look at the amazing view on top of the Bridge! We get to see Sydney in 360 degrees view- an experience not to be missed!
Next stop, up-close and personal with animals in Taronga Zoo!
We took the Sydney Ferry ride from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo and met up with Ben and Gabe (Australian Widlife Keeper). Our fun journey continues!
We were given a rare tour of the zoo’s kitchen where they prepared food for the 2,660+ “residents” and to meet our first zoo “friend”! Meet Seamus, a feather tail glider whose sleep was interrupted by our visit (thank goodness, it wasn’t throwing any tantrum :P). A couple of us laughed because we have a colleague by the name of Seamus in office!
We were also given a short briefing on how the food was tediously prepared, the routines and the animals in the zoo. Although we feel heavy hearted to bid Seamus good-bye, we had to move on because we are going to meet more furry and non-furry “friends”!
From top left : Seamus the feather tail glider; Gabe (Australian Wildlife Keeper) with Rudy the porcupine; in Taronga Zoo we can get even have a chance to pet animal or view them up-close and personal!
We were given a tour around the zoo where we got to meet the animals at a close range such as the thunderbird, giraffes, quakka (a member of wallaby kangaroo family), tree kangaroo (never thought there was such a species! They climb and sleep on top of the trees), Rudy the porcupine (again, laughter was all around because we also have a colleague by the name of Rudy! And to our surprise, the porcupine’s fur or pricks are not as hard as it had always seemed!) and last but not least, the lovable koalas!
Although the koalas were asleep, we were given a chance to get close to them. Trust me, all of us were really refraining ourselves from cuddling the sleeping koalas! They are just too adorable! I think the animals in Taronga Zoo get the best views of all zoos in the world because some of them get to see the Sydney Waterfront, the Sydney Tower, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House!
As we left catch the ferry for our next “appointment”, we had to bid farewell to our new “friends” with a heavy heart.
So our next destination lets us experience Sydney atop a cruise! We went onboard Sydney Showboats for a lovely 3 hour dinner cruise filled with unique and spectacular entertainment and night view of the city. That’s not all; we laughed till our stomach hurts all thanks to Mr Showboat, Jack Black who entertained us with his stand-up comedian jokes! And we were also treated to an extravagant international show featuring Australian showgirls who have danced their way from the Moulin Rouge!
From top left : Boarding the Sydney Showboats; if it’s your birthday, you will get a special treat!; bring home the memory with a special photo on-board Sydney Showboats; night view of Sydney Harbour Bridge
Prior to the dinner, we were given a chance to go upper deck to enjoy the night view of Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The night view was simply gorgeous and some of us couldn’t help but stand on the bars and shout “I’m the king of the world” ala Titanic style 😛
Check out more photos at http://on.fb.me/JRr4rb and stay tuned for Part 2
Swee Ping (AirAsia Social Media Team)