United We Shine – Glitter, Rainbows, Tutus and LGBTQIA+ Pride

We hit the road ready for an eventful few days away, we arrived at our hotel, the very swanky Novotel Darling Square, such a great place to stay and close to all of the MG action! After we checked in, we took a walk to Chinatown to check out Paddy’s Markets; everyone was doing their last-minute costume shopping, but we managed to bag some goodies to take home with us. We headed back to our hotel to unpack our bags, get into our swimmers and check out the pool. It was lovely and relaxing, overlooking Darling Square, watching people while they played with their dogs in the open play area on this rainy kind of afternoon. We whiled the afternoon away and relaxed, ready for the party tomorrow…

The next morning, we got ready for the day and headed to a yummy breakfast. Today was a chilled day as we had a big night of fun and excitement ahead of us at the 2022 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. We ventured to the Chinese Garden of Friendship to spot some lizards and soak up the morning sunshine and drizzly rain. We watched the koi fish splash through the water and took in the sights of relaxing waterfalls and greenery. We lazed and relaxed by the pool before getting ready for our fun night ahead.

We were beyond excited as we got dressed up with our costumes and props. Sparkling with glitter, we made our way to the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) for the 44th annual festival of inclusion. We arrived early so we could get some awesome photos with some of the participants before the parade started and the photos did not disappoint! So many glamorous frocks, sequins and glitter all around. We were first in line awaiting entry; On our first stop, we went to say hello to our friends at Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) at the Quiet Room. Tt was so relaxing to sit for a while before the festivities, with some sensory toys away from the crowd. One of the awesome team members from Aspect gave us a sunflower lanyard; the sunflower represents hidden disabilities, people choose to wear the sunflower lanyard to discreetly indicate that they have an invisible disability and may need help, assistance or simply more time. All staff at the event were trained and aware of what the sunflower represents; it worked well especially at a large event like Mardi Gras – What a fantastic initiative!

Let’s get this PARTY STARTED! We found our 3rd row seats, the best seats in the house, and the entertainment commenced. Loud and clear and full of sparkle in Mardi Gras spirit, the lead of the parade, the famous Dykes On Bikes, set the tone for a fabulous night ahead. The SCG was pumping and the atmosphere was out of this world!

The parade hosts of hundreds of floats, marchers showcasing the inclusion and diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual. Partygoers partied, danced and let their hair down and so did we Trusted Travellers. So much fun had by all, the highlight for us was getting to see The Wiggles perform Elephant with Vanessa Amorosi singing Absolutely Everybody a very close second. A lot of rainbow flags were flying high!

The fun was far from over…. this Mardi Gras was a very special one…

Our Trusted Traveller was excited to see her mum and step mum march in the Parade and we had the honour to make it happen. It was a very special moment seeing each other, caught on video, a moment they will cherish forever!

After a late night of fun and excitement, we had a very slow morning the next morning before finally venturing off to Taronga Zoo. We made our way down the hill of Taronga, keeping an eye out for lion cubs and elephant calves along the way. After seeing loads of animals, we rode the cable car back to the top followed by, of course, the souvenir shop. An adorable plush elephant named Elly joined the family that day.

What a fabulous weekend, we can’t wait to see you at Mardi Gras next year!

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