By Mark Maloney, chair of the Sydney Convention Committee and a member of the Rotary Club of Decatur, Alabama, USA
As chair of the Sydney Convention Committee, I am enjoying the opportunity to share the many wonderful opportunities that await Rotarians and their families in Sydney. Sydney Olympic Park may well be the best venue for a Rotary International Convention ever.
In addition to offering world-class convention and meeting facilities, Sydney Olympic Park is a holiday destination in its own right! A vast array of family-oriented activities can be found just steps from the Convention plenary hall in Allphones Arena and the Billabong House of Friendship at the Sydney Showground.
Many of these activities are free. For families with younger children, playgrounds are dotted throughout Sydney Olympic Park. There’s a great one just outside the Billabong House of Friendship in Cathy Freeman Park.
The convention facilities are surrounded by 640 hectares (1,580 acres) of parklands. These natural areas offer more than 35 kilometers of bicycle trails and walking paths. One of my favorites is the Brickpit Ring Walk, an elevated 550-meter walk overlooking the habitat of the endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog. In earlier days, the brickpit was the source of the millions of clay bricks used to build Sydney. Other trails take you through wetlands and woodlands where you can view more than 180 species of birds. You can even view a shipwreck from a special platform!
Having hosted the 2000 Olympic Games, you would expect Sydney Olympic Park to offer excellent sporting and athletic facilities. And you will not be disappointed. You can play tennis on the same courts and swim in the same pools Olympic athletes competed in. The Aquatic Centre offers an indoor water park and a fully-equipped health club. You can rent a bicycle seven days a week at Bicentennial Park.
If you’re feeling adventurous, sign up for a gantry tour of ANZ Stadium that takes you “above-the-scenes” along a steel mesh walkway 45 meters above the stadium turf. You can try out your skateboarding skills at the Monster Skatepark, or sign up for a Segway tour at the Newington Armory.
Australia and New South Wales offer many tourism opportunities, but you would not have to venture outside the Olympic Park to enjoy a complete family-friendly holiday. Please join me and your fellow Rotarians from around the world in Sydney as we Engage Rotary, Change Lives.