Eaten Alive By Sydney
February 9, 2010 – 2:49 am | 5 Comments

When the prospect of a shift to Sydney is raised, the doomsayers often rise as well. And they’re nasty! The manner of one’s demise is always different, but the result is always the same – …

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Home » Awesome Attractions, Featured

Sydney From The Sky

Submitted by on February 9, 2010 – 4:06 amNo Comment
Sydney From The Sky
To fully appreciate Sydney’s unique beauty Sydney Newbie took to the heavens and, finding the courage to open his eyes, saw the city in a whole new light.

I knew I was in for a thrilling birthday when my wife told me she had upped my life insurance. A 40-minute flight over Sydney was the big surprise, especially when I saw the helicopter – a wee two-person chopper that looked like it could be folded up and taken home in a backpack.

As we stood in the reception of Sydney Helicopters’ Parramatta Heliport, there was no need for the pilot to ask who was taking the flight – a bigger grin won’t be seen until next month, when the Cheshire Cat hits cinemas in Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland.

The stupid smile was extreme excitement mixed with a touch of fear, tempered somewhat when I saw the chopper being fuelled. That looked like a good start.

Because the cockpit is purely window, the vista is expansive. It was like floating across an Emerald City in a giant bubble.

The initial views were of Parramatta Speedway and Rosehill Gardens Racecourse, home of the Sydney Turf Club and the prestigious Golden Slipper Carnival. Then it was a cruise across green galore, with sensational views of the southern region of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and across the Narrabeen Lakes up to Palm Beach.

…the chopper banked right. My stomach continued straight ahead.

When we hit the coast at Dee Why the chopper banked right while my stomach continued straight ahead. Appropriately, I’d rediscovered my courage by the time we reached Manly Beach. From that moment on, the focus was solely on the scenery as a glance in any direction returned images of outrageous beauty – surfers floated in the calm blue water below, hanging out for a rogue wave, while the CBD was mirage-like in the sun-soaked distance.

“There’s very few beaches in Sydney from which you can watch the setting sun,” I heard my pilot, Peter, say through my headphones, “but there’s one down there: Shelly Beach, rare west-facing sand.” Wow. Who knew?

Entering the harbour between the famous sandstone heads was majestic and mind-expanding. Whereas Arthur Phillip and the first British settlers back in 1776 didn’t know what was around the corner, my pilot and I could see the big picture…and it was dynamite. Unreal.

Watson’s Bay and Rose Bay were sprinkled with moored yachts as gazillion dollar homes played sentinel. Pool boys would be in much demand in these parts.

The Manly Ferry was doing a reverse-Australian Crawl – making its way from Circular Quay – as we bubbled over Fort Denison and I experienced sensory overload…all those epic and familiar icons, encountered from an eerily unfamiliar angle.

I’m so taken by the Sydney Opera House, whose front windows suddenly look like hooded eyes casting a watchful eye over the harbour, that I fail to see we’re buzzing alarmingly close to the Harbour Bridge. The Bridgeclimbers are waving up at us. I’m having canaries.

Thankfully, Darling Harbour takes my mind elsewhere. And there’s the Anzac Bridge. Is that the Endeavour out sailing? So that’s Cockatoo Island, the harbour’s largest land mass. In previous incarnations it was an imperial prison and one of Aussie’s biggest shipbuilding yards. Now you can camp there. It’s also the World’s Funniest Island, debuting comedy gold with The Goodies in October 2009.

Mild panic attack averted, it’s at this time it becomes difficult to distinguish where Sydney Harbour finishes and its biggest tributary, the Parramatta River, begins. We fly above the Gladsville Bridge and I can fully appreciate the geographical obstacles Sydney faces. This river literally cuts the city in half and another eleven bridges are needed between here and river’s end to ensure vehicle and train crossings between the east and west.

Sydney…your icons look gorgeous in that geographical make-up.

Peter points out the site of Sydney’s first harbour bridge, long since gone and now just an unusual dead end at the end of a suburban street. Then it’s Sydney’s only remaining car ferry service and Thomas Walker Hospital, which Peter points out was the first private home in Sydney to receive electricity. Now the Rivendell Adolescent Unit for Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, it also doubled as Vanderworth Mansion in the movie “Superman Returns”.

Just like the Man of Steel, I continue flying. Coming up on my radar is Sydney Olympic Park at Homebush, site of the “best games ever” in 2000. The main stadium is impressive from any angle, but I’d prefer to be hovering when the Wallabies and All Blacks collide or the NRL Grand Final is set for kick-off.

Rosehill Gardens and the speedway loom again, signalling my descent into normality. My bird’s eye view of Sydney is now closed. I’m grounded.

As we waited for the chopper to power down, the family emerged from the waiting room, where they had been watching cartoons and playing with a toy helicopter. They were pleased to see my grin was just as wide and that my eyes sparkled, well and truly alive.

Not only had I enjoyed a 40-minute thrill ride, which was actually a lot smoother and more comfortable than my overactive mind perceived, I had also gained a much clearer understanding of Sydney and her unique beauty: “wow, your icons look gorgeous in that geographical make-up”.

Awesome activity, incredible venue, amazing day. It will definitely be a birthday to remember, not least because it was rounded out with dinner at Altitude, the restaurant on Level 36 of the Shangri-La Hotel at the Rocks, on the doorstep of the Harbour Bridge. If it wasn’t for the presence of my wife I would have been captivated and spellbound, once again, by the city’s charm.

Sydney, I could fall for you. Especially when I’m up in the air.

Sydney Helicopters

T +612 9637 4455
Fax +612 9637 2772

E info@sydneyhelicopters.com.au

www.sydneyhelicopters.com.au

Parramatta Heliport, 25 Wentworth St, Granville, NSW 2142

Sydney Heliport Terminal, cnr Ross Smith Ave & Heliport Place, Kingsford Smith Airport, Mascot

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