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Flashback to ABBA in Sydney

Taronga Zoo, SydneyCREDIT: Destination NSW

Stunning harbour views as viewed from Taronga Zoo in Mosman.

#ilovesydney

Flashback to
ABBA in Sydney

Taronga Zoo, Sydney CREDIT: Destination NSW

Stunning harbour views as viewed from Taronga Zoo in Mosman.

#ilovesydney

Hashtags #ilovesydney

On February 27, 1977, there was something in the air that night when iconic music sensations ABBA landed at Sydney airport greeted by 2,000 screaming fans. Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid had journeyed down under for a tour and Bandstand special, The Best Of ABBA. The popstars have actually visited the Harbour City twice in 1976 they came to release their single Fernando.

So, to celebrate the launch of ABBA’s new album Voyage, why not start planning a trip to Sydney and follow ABBA’s footsteps exploring the city.

Stay where ABBA stayed
The Swedish band rejuvenated and held a press conference at the magnificent modernist Sydney Hilton, which opened in 1975 the second five-star hotel to open in Australia.

Then: The Hilton had a façade that resembled a concrete box and an interior dominated by beige and brown. Guests could sit in the underground speakeasy, Marble Bar, and sip Agnetha’s favourite tipple, whisky, or stock up on local fashion at nearby House of Merivale.

Now: Known now as the Hilton Hotel Sydney, the luxe property soars above Pitt Street, all glass and light. Perch at the opulent Glass Brasserie for Luke Mangan’s fine fare, slip into Marble Bar (yes, it’s still trending) for live music and cocktails, then rest your dancing feet in your Corner Suite with skyline views, plush linen and modernist pops of colour.

Play where ABBA played
ABBA played a sold-out concert at the former Sydney Showground at Moore Park to 20,000 frenzied fans. “The Australian tour was the most incredible of all the things I experienced with ABBA. There was fever, there was hysteria, there were ovations,” said Agnetha Fältskog in her book As I Am.

Then: The Sydney Showground was home to an international speedway – Saturday nights were spent watching sprint cars race around the egg-shaped track. The Royal Easter Show was also a big event here before it moved to Homebush in 1998.

Now: The Entertainment Quarter at Moore Park is a now a playground for young and old, with a farmers market, cinema and adrenaline adventures. Stock up on organic goodies at the Cambridge Market, dine on pizza and pasta at Fratelli Fresh or go Hyper Karting on level five of the carpark.

Cruise the Hawkesbury on a piece of pop history
In 1976, ABBA explored the tranquil inlets of Cowan Creek in the Hawkesbury River region on the MV Kangaroo – a classic 36-foot Halvorsen boat, which you can still hire today.

Then: ABBA lounged on day beds on the rear deck, stopped for a beach picnic and jumped in a rowboat to explore the pristine surrounds of the Hawkesbury. You can watch their MV Kangaroo antics in their music video, Tropical Loveland.

Now: MV Kangaroo is like stepping back in time with an intricately crafted wooden interior, galley kitchen and nautical stripes. Have a steer of the original galver, soak up the sunshine on the rear deck and cook fresh-caught fish on the barbecue.

Houseboat, Hawkesbury River CREDIT: Destination NSW

Houseboat on the Hawkesbury River near Wisemans Ferry at sunset.

#ilovesydney

Houseboat, Hawkesbury River CREDIT: Destination NSW

Houseboat on the Hawkesbury River near Wisemans Ferry at sunset.

#ilovesydney

Taronga Zoo, Sydney CREDIT: Destination NSW

Curious giraffes peering over their enclosure at Taronga Zoo, Sydney.

#ilovesydney

Taronga Zoo, Sydney CREDIT: Destination NSW

Curious giraffes peering over their enclosure at Taronga Zoo, Sydney.

#ilovesydney

Cruise Sydney Harbour to Taronga Zoo
On their first visit in 1976, ABBA cruised the glittering harbour pausing at Taronga Zoo where Frida and Agnetha cuddled a four-month-old red kangaroo.

Then: By the late sixties, Taronga Zoological Park Trust had built the large exhibits we know today for big cats and apes and removed the monkey circus and elephant rides to make way for Platypus House and the walk-through Rainforest Aviary.

Now: Catch a ferry from Circular Quay to Taronga Zoo and spend the day marvelling at giraffes, Sumatran tigers and elephants, all with a stunning backdrop of Sydney Harbour. Then stay overnight in a luxurious eco resort right inside the zoo at Wildlife Retreat.

Visit a Koala Sanctuary
Like most international tourists, ABBA were keen to see koalas up close, so they visited the Koala Sanctuary at Bobbin Head in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

Then: Nestled in beautiful bushland dotted with waratahs, the sanctuary was established in the 1950s and there were enclosures for about 20 koalas.

Now: While ABBA’s koala corner closed long ago, visit Koala Park Sanctuary in West Pennant Hills and see kangaroos, dingoes, wombats and emus. There’s also a farmyard petting zoo and acres of rainforest and bushland.

Stay in ABBA’s secret sanctuary
According to those in the know, ABBA stayed with Reg Grundy, the late entertainment industry mogul, in his waterfront home in the leafy enclave of Narrabeen.

Then: The singing superstars bunkered down here for some relief from the fan hysteria that followed them everywhere on the 1970s tour.

Now: Escape to ABBA’s beachside bolthole Narrabeen and spend the day surfing, sunning and sipping by the sea. Grab breakfast from Oceans, margaritas from Mexicano, pizza from Moonlight Social House, and Mid-Century treasures from Eclectic Find.

To follow in ABBA’s footsteps and plan a trip to Sydney, go to www.sydney.com.

Share your favourite holidays in Sydney and NSW on social media using @sydney #ilovesydney @visitnsw #lovensw.

Please stay up to date on the latest NSW Government health advice regarding COVID-19 and travel within NSW, here.    

North Narrabeen Beach, North Narrabeen CREDIT: Destination NSW

Surfer's arriving early to catch a wave at North Narrabeen Beach, North Narrabeen.

#ilovesydney

North Narrabeen Beach, North Narrabeen CREDIT: Destination NSW

Surfer's arriving early to catch a wave at North Narrabeen Beach, North Narrabeen.

#ilovesydney

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