Australia Day 2018 – Wollongong

Australia Day 2018 (5)Some of you know that Bill and I volunteer to welcome passengers and crew when cruise ships call in to Wollongong (Port Kembla).Recently our local council asked if any of those “ambassadors” could also volunteer to help with our Australia Day (26th January) celebrations in Wollongong.

Bill and I were allocated to the accessible viewing area for the 9pm fireworks. When we came on at 6pm, the area set aside for those with pre-booked special access needs looked like the photo on the left. Unfortunately, due to a (necessary) switch in regular position, plus forecast stormy weather, by later in the evening the special area looked like the photo on the right.  . . . that’s right . . . not many customers. The lead coordinator was able to contact all the people who had arrived despite the forecast and gone to the place they were familiar with. He ensured they had parking and a spot in which they were comfortably settled, and council will be given appropriate feedback.

That left us volunteers with loads of time on our hands to chat and observe the beach and harbour in front of us. The day’s activities were winding down, as people swam, ate, chatted, and waited for the big show. Try to imagine the below four shots as a panorama from left to right. (There was also plenty happening in the park behind us and other areas. Plus great entertainment being broadcast over the audio system).

Twilight time added another dimension to the scene.

And then the big shebang. Fireworks are notoriously difficult to photograph. I am reasonably satisfied with these, given they were snapped on the phone. The ten second video gives a better idea. The show lasted about ten minutes.


On Monday the Radiance of the Seas is due into Wollongong, bringing with it 2501 passengers and 859 crew. Bill and I are allocated to the shuttle buses that bring them from dockside to a central point in the city, a less than ten minute ride. Not everyone gets off the vessel, which is a pity, ‘cos I’d sure like to know who is that 2, 501st passenger 🙂

This voyage has a very odd calling schedule, so we are not expecting too many international guests. It will have circumnavigated New Zealand, then called Melbourne before coming to us, then it will hop up to Newcastle, and then double-back to finish in Sydney. Then it is off to New Zealand again; after which it will circumnavigate Australia.

I’m getting dizzy just thinking about it. Anyway, wherever they hail from, greeting the passengers and crew is always a lot of fun, and from past experience we know that will be a busy day. We are very excited to be a part of it. And in March we will welcome its much larger sister, the Explorer of the Seas.


14 thoughts on “Australia Day 2018 – Wollongong

  1. Pingback: Wollongong Ambassadors Welcome Radiance of the Seas Again! | The Reluctant Retiree

    • Turns out there was a large contingent of Americans on this one. But none with the accent he claims to sport. Although I did not personally speak to all 2000 who came ashore. The next vessel in March will be even bigger.

      I have all the time in the world so don’t rush to get down to the Gong – at least, not in the way you are planning.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s certainly a huge advantage, and if you choose one that starts and ends in your home port, there is no flight to contend with. I sense that for you however, it would be crucial to select the “right” ship. Too big, or too many children on holidays, would be a no? Too small and there is no entertainment or diversions, so you are stuck in a confined environment. probably best is the type that sail overnight and sightsee each day eg Hawaii 7 nights, Yangtze River 9 nights. Or a special interest cruise that has lectures on board. Aargh! I’m struggling with the iPad keyboard here.


  2. Fantastic way of celebrating. I’m quite ambivalent about the whole shebang but somewhere amongst all the fireworks and BBQs and cane toad races there is something special being shown about what it all means to us. I don’t think many other countries would understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. 7 million for the Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks. Obscene, isn’t it? A couple of years ago I wrote about the thong throwing contest on Australia Day, that got a bit of mileage from my overseas followers who thought I was referring to underwear.

      Liked by 2 people

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