On your bike

It’s Spring, so it must be time for the Sydney Rides Festival!

In addition to the annual events we’ve come to know and love (the Spring Cycle, the Bicycle Film Festival and Ride to Work Day), there are some fabulous workshops coming up this weekend to help you get your bike road-safe and looking sweet:


Watching the Oscars

2011 Oscars

The 2011 Oscars are taking place on Monday. From 12:30pm to (around about) 5pm Sydney time.

If you care about the Oscars at all (like we do), you have a few choices… You can avoid the media all day (including Facebook, Twitter and annoying bosses who yell out “Oh yeah! I knew Natalie Portman would win!”), and then enjoy the delayed telecast on Monday night. You can resign yourself to the fact that you will know the major winners by dinner time, and enjoy the coverage for the frocks and corny speeches. Or you can throw yourself into it completely – take the day off work and watch the telecast live at home or, even better, on the big screen.

To help you decide, here are the nitty-gritty details from a Sydney perspective.

The fingers-in-the-ears “la-la-la not listening” option

Turn off the internet. Turn off the radio and the TV. Listen only to music on your iPod. (Extra points if your playlist for the day consists solely of songs from movie soundtracks.)

When you get home, the Channel 9 coverage (with all that frock-y goodness) starts at  9:40pm. You’ll be up late.

The no surprises option

If you’re going to hear the winners throughout the day anyway, you may as well go all-out and make sure you’re getting the news as it happens. My choices are:

The red carpet will get going at about midday, with the ceremony itself kicking off at 12:30pm. You’ll still be wanting to watch the delayed broadcast at home later (details above), but you may want to make yourself some kick-ass popcorn to distract yourself from the fact that you already know what’s in the envelope. May I recommend Jamie Oliver’s Christmas popcorn recipe as the kick-assiest there is.

The Oscars long weekend option

So you’re taking Monday off work to make sure you see the whole thing live to air? I admire your commitment. If you’re staying at home, you can watch the coverage on either free-to-air or pay TV:

  • Channel 9 has the red carpet at midday, and the telecast at 12:30pm
  • Starpics has even more red carpet coverage from 10am and the telecast at 12:30pm

But why stay in? The following Event Cinemas locations will be showing the whole show live, all starting at 11am and finishing around 5pm:

  • Bondi Junction
  • Campbelltown
  • Castle Hill
  • George Street
  • Macquarie
  • Top Ryde

Tickets for Gold Class at all locations are $65 per person, including a glass of bubbles. Vmax at Top Ryde is $30 per person, also including the bubbly.

Whatever your Oscars option of choice, I hope the Academy gives awards to your favourites. (As long as Colin Firth gets the best actor gong.)

The Queens are coming to town

(No, not Mardi Gras – through we’re pretty excited about that too!)

On February 22nd, the two ocean liners the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth will meet in Sydney. The grand dame Mary will meet the younger Elizabeth (on her maiden voyage) outside Sydney Heads, and lead her into the Harbour. They’re meeting before 5:30am, and are expected to sail past Fort Denison at around 6:30am, before berthing at Circular Quay and Garden Island.

Both ships will leave Sydney the following day, so you get a chance to see them coming and/or going!

Good spots for a view include:

The schedule for the two days of the “Royal Rendezvous” is:

  • Tuesday, February  22
    5:30 am (approx) Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2 meet off Sydney Heads.
    6:30 am (approx) Ships to sail past each other, either side of Fort Denison. Whistle salute from Queen Mary 2.
    7am  (approx) Queen Elizabeth berths at Circular Quay and Queen Mary 2 berths at Garden Island Naval Base.
  • Wednesday, February 23
    Noon: Queen Elizabeth departs Circular Quay. Whistle salute as she sails by Queen Mary 2
    5 pm : Queen Mary 2 departs Garden island Naval Base

Sydney Ferries are running a dawn cruise to meet the Queens as they sail into the Harbour. See www.sydneyferries.info for more information and tickets.

It’s Show time!

Royal Easter Show - the regional displaysThe Sydney Royal Easter Show is coming soon – it starts on the 14th April and runs for nearly two weeks, closing the gates on the 27th April.

This is a must-do event for our family, and we have a real routine for the day. We start with the Food Dome, nibbling our way through the free food samples for morning tea, making sure to talk to the old hands at the regional food displays. We definitely have to look at all the animals, but our favourite is the dogs’ agility trials (although last year’s showjumping rabbits gave them a run for their money). We try to time our picnic lunch so that we can eat it while watching the woodchopping, and we make sure to have our afternoon tea at the CWA cafe (fluffy, fluffy scones). The showbag hall (only one each!) is the last stop of the day, so that we don’t have to drag them around with us all day.

I can’t wait! We’ve already booked our Showlink tickets online. Early bird tickets at discounted prices are available until 29th March.

Sydney Royal Easter Show
14th -21st April
Sydney Showground, Olympic Park