Next week’s once-in-a-century International Fleet Review is an opportunity for the many Sydney business leaders whose offices have water views to treat clients to a spectacular vista as the backdrop for key meetings.
Some 40 warships and 16 tall ships will move into Sydney Harbour from Thursday October 3, and remain in the area until Friday October 11.
The event will bring huge crowds of spectators to the Sydney CBD, and also marks Prince Harry’s first official visit to Australia.
If you’ve got an office in the CBD with views of the Harbour now is a great time to be thinking about inviting your current or prospective clients to your office, and making time in your schedule to enjoy what will be stunning scenes on the water.
Here’s where to be and when (Sydney time), for the best views:
Thursday October 3, 11am – 2pm
Two rows of tall ships will enter Sydney Harbour, approaching Circular Quay from the east, proceeding under the Harbour Bridge and berthing at Cockle Bay (5 ships) and the Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour (11 ships).
Offices with a view of the Harbour Bridge are best placed to watch the procession. Those in Pyrmont, Barangaroo and those with a view of Cockle Bay Wharf – from the Darling Park towers, for example – are best placed to see the ships as they berth.
If you can’t see the water from your office, a lunch meeting in a well-placed restaurant may be a good alternative: Shangri-La’s Altitude Restaurant, Aria in Circular Quay and the many great venues in the Overseas Passenger Terminal are a few options.
There’s a map of the procession here.
Friday October 4, 9.30am-noon
Some 35 warships from around the world will enter Sydney Harbour in five separate divisions at 6am, 8am, 9.30am, noon and 2pm, but most international warships will berth east of the city and not pass the CBD.
Division 3, comprising seven Royal Australian Navy warships, will be the most impressive for those in the city. The ships, led by HMAS Sydney, will recreate the original 1913 fleet entry, entering the harbour from the east, then sailing under the Harbour Bridge and around Cockatoo Island before berthing.
HMAS Sydney will fire a 21-gun salute on rounding Bradley’s Head at 10am. The warships will not yet be visible from the CBD, but you may be able to catch a glimpse of the Navy’s Helicopter Display Team, Seahawk helicopters and the RAAF Roulettes, which will welcome the visiting ships from the air between 9.45am and 10.15am.
Division 3’s route will be visible from Circular Quay and Walsh Bay in the CBD, while offices overlooking Barangaroo will have the best views of their berthing at White Bay, Barangaroo and HMAS Waterhen in Waverton.
There’s route map here.
Saturday October 5, 7.40pm-8.10pm
While few Sydneysiders will be at work on Saturday, some may choose to visit Circular Quay office buildings – workplace policy permitting – to avoid the crowds on the biggest day of the International Fleet Review.
There will be airshows and demonstrations throughout the day but the highlight will be a “Fireworks and Lightshow Spectacular” that will light up the harbour from 7.40pm.
Fireworks will be launched from city rooftops, barges, the Harbour Bridge, and from the decks of RAN warships, and a lightshow telling the history of the navy will be projected onto the Opera House sails, Harbour Bridge pylons and National Maritime Museum roof.
Monday October 7
Tall ships will be conducting day sails around the harbour at various times between 9.30am and 5pm. Again, those in Pyrmont, Barangaroo and those with a view of Cockle Bay Wharf will be best placed to see them coming and going from Cockle Bay and the Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour.
Tuesday October 8, 12.30pm-2pm
Martin Place offices will have the best views of a Navy Memorial Service led by Governor-General Quentin Bryce, to remember those who have died in service to the Royal Australian Navy since 1911.
There will be marching parades with helicopters overhead in Mosman and Parramatta between 12.30pm and 1pm.
Wednesday October 9, 12.30pm-2.30pm
In another day for the landlubbers, offices along George Street will have the best views of the Combined Navies Parade from the Rocks to Town Hall, although they will also have to deal with accompanying crowds.
Up to 12 Navy helicopters will overfly George Street from Circular Quay to the Town Hall between 1.00pm and 1.30pm as part of the march.
Thursday October 10, 11am
Tall ships will be departing their berths in Cockle Bay and Darling Harbour for Auckland from 11am, and should be visible from Circular Quay on their way out.
Friday October 11, 7.30am
Breakfast meetings with water views are your best bet as the fleet review comes to a close, with warships scheduled to leave their berths from 7.30am.
A majority of warships will be departing from berths east of the CBD, but those leaving from Barangaroo and Waverton will be visible from the city.
There’s more on the Navy’s IFR program of events.
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