Sunday, March 31, 2013

Girls' Weekend in Sydney: Days 3, 4 & 5

Days 3 and 4 were basically spent at Colour Conference, as these were the main 2 days of the Conference, that went from morning until night, with a 3 hour break between the last session and the evening event.

Going through my photos, I found these two which I took from the bedroom window of the room I was sharing with a friend.  I took the night one on our first night there, just to show the view from the window.  I took the second photo during the day, to show just how close we were to the venue for the Conference (a 5 minute walk!):

 The Sydney Entertainment Centre can be seen between the 2 big buildings - it has an orange 'tower' in front of a circular looking building - really close and extremely convenient!
Our last day in Sydney got pretty full...



While we were at Colour Conference, we were given a "brunch" bag which contained a few things to tie us over until lunch.  At the end of the Conference, we'd collected a few of those bags and had a lot of food left over, both from the bags, and from what we had bought while in the apartment.  So, we decided to make up care packages to give out to the homeless people we had seen along the streets of Sydney.  As we were heading to Circular Quay to catch a ferry, we thought we'd walk around there.  I've never done anything like this before and as I walked around and gave out a couple of the bags, I got so emotional.  The two men that I gave the bags to, were so grateful and had put their hand out to accept the bag, before I'd even said a word.  And they were so thankful.  As I write this, I'm the verge of tears, remembering the look in their eyes as they accepted the bags.  As I walked away from each man, I was crying.  I could write so much more, but that's worthy of a post on its own.

 Manly Beach

To finish our time in Sydney, we decided to take a ferry to Manly Beach, to enjoy fish and chips for lunch.  It was certainly a beautiful day for it... just like every other day Sydney had put on for us!

Enjoying the Sydney Opera House's view in all its unique beauty

 Centrepoint Tower, where we enjoyed dinner on our first night in Sydney
The Heads on Sydney Harbour - pass through there, and you're on your way out to sea, and the Pacific Ocean!

 More celebrity spotting of the sporting and inanimate object type - "Wild Oats" - winner of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race (I wouldn't have known, except for a friend pointing it out!)

Lunch on the beach

 Heading back to Sydney on the return ferry... our last glipse of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, before flying home

After that very long day, we returned to our hotel, checked out some accommodation for next year and ended up booking a lovely place, even closer to where we had been.  We then caught our ride to the airport, hung out playing cards and had dinner, waiting for our flight, then gratefully boarded the plane back home!

Needless to say, we were all exhausted disembarking!

Those few days were some of the most amazing days of my life.  It truly was so wonderful hanging out in the city, with the women who traveled with me. As impatient and tired as we were all getting with each other by the end of it, I look forward to next year, when we can have further adventures in the big city!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Girls' Weekend in Sydney: Day 2

Day 2 was full on!



We started the day by heading up to Martin Place to watch "Sunrise" live.  The security that were there, were really lovely and kept us up to date with what was happening next and when to expect the hosts to come out for the end of the show.  We managed to get on TV heaps in the background, and then at the end when they closed the show from out on the street.  We even got a plug for Colour Conference from the main host!  It was such a fun morning!

 Watching the live taping of "Sunrise" in the studio

Getting on camera often (click on the picture to enlarge it!)

 Catching up with the friendly hosts after the show had finished.


"Lindt Chocolate Cafe"  

The security guards were extra lovely in telling us about the movements of "The Morning Show" hosts, so we could meet them after the show (which was taped straight after "Sunrise", so conveniently, we headed across the road to the Lindt Chocolate Cafe, where we were in heaven while we killed time until the end of "The Morning Show".


 "The Morning Show"

 At the allocated time, we headed back to the studios to await the end of "The Morning Show" so we could meet the hosts.  The security guards (now our friends!) had told us that if the hosts didn't come outside to end the show, they would arrange access to the foyer for us, and have the hosts come out and meet us.  The hosts didn't come outside, so we felt quite special being allowed in to the foyer to meet Larry and Kylie.



After all the excitement of watching the TV programs, we headed up to Circular Quay.  One of the girls had already split to meet up with her friend for lunch and the other 3 decided to have lunch at the Quay.  For lunch, I also split away from the girls and met up with an old friend.  I used to work with Matt over 10 years ago and haven't really seen him since!  He works in North Sydney, so I took a taxi across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and met up with him for lunch.  We had about an hour and a half together and it was so wonderful catching up with him after all these years!  A pity we only had a limited amount of time, but I'm grateful that it worked out for us to meet!

Enjoying the beautiful weather at Circular Quay!
 Catching a taxi over Sydney Harbour Bridge
(note the pylons in the second photo - we climbed ones similar to this later in the day... see below)

Unfortunately, I was so focused on catching up with Matt, that I didn't even think to take a picture together, so I don't have a record of our wonderful catch up. :o(

Walking the Bridge

During lunch, a couple of the girls from my group said they were walking the bridge and said they'd meet me half way.  By the time I finished lunch (we went way over, catching up!) and found my way to the bridge on foot, the girls had made it all the way across!  They were keen, so we all walked back together and climbed a pylon at the other end.

 Meeting up with a couple of the girls to start our bridge walk back into the CBD

 Crossing the bridge on a windy, but beautiful day

 Climbing the pylon on the other side of the bridge.  Gorgeous 360 degree views of the Opera House, CBD, North Sydney and the Queen Mary II docked at Circular Quay.
The pylon on the opposite side of the road/bridge, to give an example of what we climbed (by climbing, I mean climbing stairs!)

 Walking back into the CBD via The Rocks and stopped for a well-earned drink (Midori & lemonade).  Yum!

After the very big day we'd had, we got back to the apartment and met up with the other girls and had a quick relax, before heading off to the opening of Colour Conference.  You can imagine how tired we were after the opening ceremony, which only started at 7:30pm!

After it finished, we stopped in China Town (which we walked through to get back to our apartment) to get a light meal for a late dinner.  Just as we were about to leave, I heard someone call my name out from another table.  It was a lady I knew from Diamond Valley Baptist Church (where Big Spring and I were married), who I hadn't seen in probably over 12 years!

Whilst on the topic of random run-ins, on the Wednesday night as we were heading through the reception of the apartments we were staying in, to have dinner and a show, I bumped into the president of the Lutheran Church of Australia, who was in Sydney for a completely unrelated meeting.  It was totally random!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Girls' Weekend in Sydney: Day 1

As per my previous post regarding Colour Conference, I headed down to Sydney with 4 other precious women from my life.  Our main reason for going, was to attend the Conference, but we had a couple of extra days before and after to spend investigating the city. And here is what we got up to:


 At the airport, waiting to start our adventure!
Passing the time on the flight

 After arriving in Sydney, we did some exploring, which included shopping (buying my first Pandora bracelet!! Have wanted one for a few years now!) and some inadvertent celebrity spotting - Psy - famous for Gangnam Style.

All dressed up and ready for a night on the town!

We started with drinks and dinner at Centrepoint Tower's Revolving Buffet Restaurant, where we were about to view 360 degree views of Sydney, without leaving our table, including a beautiful sunset!

Then it was time to see a show - "Driving Miss Daisy" starring Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones.  Unfortunately I didn't enjoy the show as much as I'd hoped, but it was fun going out with the girls!

We took the monorail to dinner and then walked back to our apartment after the show.  The location of our accommodation was great - walking distance to everything and right near the free bus, when it ran during the day.  Wednesday was a fantastic start to our weekend away!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Colour Conference

I attended my first Hillsong's Colour Conference 10 years this month.  Ever since then, I'd wanted to go back, but just never got around to it.

However, it finally happened again, and I made my way to Sydney for this wonderful event a couple weeks ago!  Some beautiful women from church came with me and we had a fantastic time.  More details about our adventure outside of the Conference will be available in another post.

What an amazing time we had at Colour.  The event was held in the Sydney Entertainment Centre, which seats 13,250. This was filled to capacity with women attending the conference and on the first night, as I looked around me, I was awestruck to think that all the women around me were praising Jesus.  It was lovely to know that there are so many women who are following Christ... and that was only small portion of all women in Australia, and the world!

Here are panorama shots of where we sat each session... we moved around each time, depending on the availability, and with one session, priority seating on the floor seats near the front.  Also included are other photos highlighting the session.

Thursday Night  - Opening Celebration


 Friday Morning and Afternoon Sessions

 Wendy Treat & Dr Caroline Leaf | Sisterhood Session

Dr Caroline Leaf

Some entertainment!

Sisterhood Session
(which was sadly just Brian Houston defending women in Ministry - whether I am for or against it, I just felt like this session was just him pushing an agenda onto us, rather than it being a discussion on something that I could take away and apply to my life)

My Sisters in Christ who I spent a wonderful time with.  We decided to dress the same for Colour!

Friday Night

Evening Celebration - Floor Seats! 

 Worship | Bobby Houston talking

  Can't be serious all of the time!

 Saturday Morning

Wendy Treat & Dr Caroline Leaf | Sisterhood Session 


Saturday Night

Closing Celebration 

Slipper Party!
(Free slippers when you registered for Colour 2014!)

A beautiful performance while they sang "Lanterns"

All those women praising God together... amazing!  Hillsong really know how to party!  We can't wait to do it all again next year!!

Praise God for a wonderfully uplifting and inspiring 2+ days!