Watch the gathering of the Royal Australian Naval fleet in Sydney
SEPTEMBER 08, 201312:00AM
Sailors prepare for the 100th anniversary of the fleet review below the Opera House. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied
I'VE lost count of the number of cities I've visited around the world, but there's one thing I'm sure about.
Sailors on HMAS Parramatta. Picture: SuppliedSource: Supplied
None of them has anything to match a sunny spring day on Sydney Harbour, with a fresh breeze blowing, lorikeets on the foreshore and the Opera House as marvellous as the first day I clapped eyes on it.
Last weekend, feeling blue, I went out and rode the Balmain ferry knowing that, when the afternoon was over, the scenery would have cheered me up.
I always have renewed feelings of how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place, whether I'm on the ferry, walking the shoreline or sitting in a cafe with a water view.
So I'm particularly looking forward to early next month, when the harbour won't only be graced with its usual assets but will host a mass gathering of spectacular ships.
The fleet of the Royal Australian Navy is celebrating its centenary with a series of special events that will animate the harbour and surrounding foreshores for a week.
In October 1913, the flagship HMAS Australia accompanied six other new cruisers and destroyers into Sydney Harbour for the first time.
A century on, and the navy promises at least 19 of its ships and submarines will be on review, part of celebrations that will run from October 3-11.
There will be a bigger naval presence on the water than at any time since the Australian Bicentenary celebrations back in 1988.
Also on display will be something we didn't have in 1913, a variety of naval aeroplanes and helicopters that will be making fly-pasts and aerial acrobatic displays.
The Australian naval contingent will be accompanied by nearly 60 other warships and tall ships that will converge on the harbour from around the world for the fleet review.
The tall ships will be calling into Fremantle, Melbourne and Hobart on their way to Sydney, and will join a race regatta to Auckland afterwards.
Warships will arrive from Singapore, New Zealand, Russia, the UK, Canada, India and several other nations, and will include an American guided-missile cruiser and a Chinese destroyer.
If you buy tickets in advance, you can board some of the tall ships and warships moored at Garden Island, Darling Harbour and Barangaroo for a closer inspection.
On October 5, there will be a fireworks and light show over the harbour that the navy says will be like Australia Day and New Year's Eve rolled into one.
Certainly, huge crowds are expected around Sydney Harbour for the occasion, whether it's to see the warships, the fireworks, the ceremonial fleet review or the naval gun salutes.
Also part of the celebrations are on-land events such as concerts by military bands, sports competitions, memorial services and naval marches through the Sydney and Parramatta CBDs.
There couldn't be a better time than early October to visit Sydney and enjoy the spectacle and entertainment.
And if you live in Sydney, it's the perfect excuse to get out in the sun and remind yourself why our harbour is the envy of the world.
Call me biased but, when you see Sydney at its best and in full celebration mode, it leaves every other city in the shade.