Ian Swain Sr

  • My First New Year’s Eve in Sydney

    As soon as I landed in Sydney, I felt the energy of the city all around me. As I looked out of the plane window, I saw the Iconic Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the suburbs fringing the water. It gave me a strong sense of belonging. And knowing I would soon be climbing the bridge, and sailing under it, let alone seeing the world’s most spectacular fireworks display, had my adrenaline surging. It was my first New Year’s Eve in Sydney!

    Sydney Harbour | Photo Credit: Destination NSW/Ethan Rohloff

    Sydney Harbour | Photo Credit: Destination NSW/Ethan Rohloff

    Exploring Sydney

    A short drive brought me to my city hotel, and a friendly “G’day” from the doorman and reception staff made me feel at home. Right away, I wanted to get out and explore. I walked to Circular Quay, watched the ferries, and viewed the myriad of people from all over the planet enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. The outdoor cafés beckoned me in for a traditional Aussie beverage and a delicious meat pie.

    I couldn’t help but stare at the Opera House, and to my left at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I was so lucky to be spending New Year’s Eve in Sydney. The world’s greatest fireworks display was only several hours away, but now there was time to discover the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens just a few hundred yards away. I was also able to take a leisurely walk through the historic rocks area. This is the place where the first English settlement landed over 200 years ago!

    Sydney Harbour Bridge | Photo Credit: Destination Tourism Australia

    Sydney Harbour Bridge | Photo Credit: Tourism Australia

    The New Year’s Eve in Sydney Celebration

    It was finally time to prepare for the night ahead, casual clothes were the instructions. Then I met my fellow revelers for a short coach ride to the dock, where the 100-foot luxury motor yacht awaited.

    With a glass of champagne waiting on the boat, I eagerly walked the gangway. Ben the Skipper, renowned for knowing the best spot to be on the harbor for the fireworks display, greeted us with a warm Aussie welcome.

    The DJ had the music going, champagne was flowing and everyone checked out the fly bridge, aft saloon, the bow and the main saloon. We were all trying to decide where to be at 9 pm for the first round of fireworks. The appetizers served by the crew were scrumptious! After two hours of cruising the Sydney Harbour and glimpsing the high-priced houses with the amazing views, we settled into where Ben felt the best viewing would be. He was correct! We were right in the center, surrounded by hundreds of other vessels, all shrieking with delight as the fireworks started. The entire boat was taking selfies, but mostly just watching in awe.

    Sydney Opera House | Photo Credit: Tourism Australia

    Sydney Opera House | Photo Credit: Tourism Australia

    Gearing Up for the Main Event

    Right after this spectacle ended, dinner was served downstairs in the main saloon. There were several delightful beef and chicken dishes, fresh vegetables, salads and an array of ways to prepare sandwiches. There was also a fantastic seafood selection with fresh fish and Sydney Rock Oysters. This made for a beautifully prepared and truly well-enjoyed meal.

    Ben, in the meantime, had been cruising and edging his way to the front of the pack so we would have a splendid view of the Harbour Lights Parade. As the 20 or so decorated boats made their way around, we were right in the front of the other viewing boats. We had an unobstructed view of the main event, the fireworks at midnight.

    Like the earlier fireworks display, they were fantastic! The second round lasted much longer and the finale could not be put into words. New Year’s Eve in Sydney exceeded my expectations.

    Remembering these wonderful times makes me extend my hand to you. Come and join me this New Year’s Eve, and experience this for yourself. It will be one of those events you will remember for a lifetime.

    Sydney Harbour | Photo Credit: Destination NSW

    Sydney Harbour | Photo Credit: Destination NSW


    July 25, 2017 • Articles, Australia, Destinations, Ian Swain Sr • Views: 1229

  • Experiencing Hapuku Lodge and Tree Houses

    As I flew into Blenheim from Auckland over the small islands that start the South Island of New Zealand, the lush green countryside began to unfold amongst the crystal clear water, separating the finger-like peninsulas jutting out. Budget had my car ready and off I drove for the 70 mile journey to Kaikoura. It is amazing how this coastline is almost as untouched as it was when the Maoris first came here; a real treat. As I approached, the Treehouses and Lodge at Hapuku Lodge came into sight. Continue Reading

    April 9, 2015 • Bloggers, Destinations, Ian Swain Sr, New Zealand • Views: 4010

  • Mandarin Oriental, An Exclusive Taipei Experience

    As we arrived at the Taipei international airport, we could tell we were close to the tropics as the warmth enveloped us immediately. We made it to customs hall where quite a line awaited us, but it went very quickly as the officers efficiently processed the visitors. We were immediately met outside by the Mandarin Oriental greeter who ushered us to their waiting Mercedes which quickly headed off to the hotel. Continue Reading

    September 29, 2014 • Articles, Asia, Ian Swain Sr, Travels • Views: 6968

  • Aman at Summer Palace

    Credit: Aman at Summer Palace

    Credit: Aman at Summer Palace

    This was my second visit to this amazing place. I landed from a superb flight with Singapore Airlines on one of their beautifully outfitted A380’s. After a quick trip through the airport, I met up with my transfer and made my way to Aman at Summer Palace. An incredible property that used to be the summer home to Emperors of China. It was a quick and comfortable 30-minute transfer before I arrived at the property.

    Continue Reading

    September 17, 2014 • Asia, Destinations, Ian Swain Sr, Travels • Views: 4178

  • To the Rock and Back in 16 Hours

    I was especially looking forward to this trip as my son Ian 2 was joining me. He has been my Marketing Manager for the past two years now, and enjoys the industry just as much as I do. Over those two years, he and I have been exploring parts of the globe together – whether it be looking for new properties and experiences or searching out new destinations to offer to our travelers;  and now it was time for another adventure! Continue Reading

    May 31, 2013 • Australia, Ian Swain Sr • Views: 5800

  • Safari in the Mara

    I left Nairobi early in the morning and hopped on a short flight to The Mara. The Mara is an extremely large game reserve in Kenya. It was named to honor the ancestral inhabitants of the area, the Maasai people. “Mara”, in their native tongue, means “spotted”. From great distances, the circles of trees, shrubs, cloud shadows and savanna create a brilliant shadow effect that inspired the name, “Mara. I always enjoy hearing these cultural stories – really helps you to immerse yourself in your surroundings -having a bit of knowledge of how it came to be. Continue Reading

    May 15, 2013 • Africa, Ian Swain Sr • Views: 2974