Royal Tour Australia: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to arrive in Sydney
Royal Tour Australia: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive in Sydney

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have left behind dreary New Zealand for sunny Sydney, with Kate dressed to match.

Prince William, Kate and baby George emerged onto the tarmac at Sydney Airport on Wednesday afternoon to be greeted by sunshine, a bit of wind and the governor-general, prime minister, the NSW governor, and the waiting media.

Kate, who favoured jewelled-coloured coats in New Zealand, wore a short-sleeved, form-fitting, buttercup yellow dress by Serbian-born, London-based designer Roksanda Ilinic as she carried George down from the RAAF plane.

William opted for a classic navy suit.


Little George - in a spotless white romper suit, with smocking on the front - was again a star, seemingly trying to shake hands with the governor-general's wife.

The eight-month-old perked up a little after he was handed off to his father but took little interest in the gathered dignitaries.

Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and wife Lynne, NSW Governor Marie Bashir and her husband Sir Nicholas Shehadie, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott and wife Margie, welcomed the royal family to Australia.

Prince George of Cambridge, with his parents Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, receives a gift from the Governor-General. Credit: wealth of Australia and Auspic

But outgoing NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell, who had been slated to part of the welcome party until his shock resignation on Wednesday morning, was absent from the tarmac.

Twenty-two-year-old Joscelyn Sweeney from the NSW beach town of Vincentia had the honour of presenting the duchess with a posy of vibrant native flowers.

She told reporters she had been looking forward to the royal encounter "forever and ever", after her mother wrote to tell the duke and duchess they had become role models for the young woman, who has Down's syndrome.

But there were no nerves before Ms Sweeney's chat with the duchess, she said.

"She's so nice," she said.

"And I brought a book for Prince George to read."

But others missed out.

Mum Leanne brought a brood of children and a bunch of tulips but was forced to watch on from behind a heavy security contingent.

"We were going to throw them over the barbed wire but we didn't get there," she joked.

After the informal welcome, the royal couple headed straight for the Opera House for a civic reception. Thousands waited on the forecourt to cheer wildly as the couple arrived.

Both Kate and William waved to the crowd, but weren't able to meet and greet with the throng.

Monica, 54, said Kate looked "beautiful inside and out".

"I'm here to see Kate. I don't care much about William. I wanted to see if she looks as good in real life as she does in the magazines," the St Ives resident told AAP.

Before stepping inside, Kate and William took in some of the stunning sights of Sydney Harbour on a gorgeous, sunny autumn afternoon.

Inside, William made a short speech praising Australia.

They were then scheduled to be taken by police boat to Admiralty House where they will be hosted by Sir Peter.

HOW THE DAY UNFOLDED

5PM: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent around ten minutes meeting the public before being escorted across Sydney Harbour to Admiralty House, where they will be staying the night.

The crowds have dispersed and, for now, the excitement is over. Remarkably, given the massive security, the whole visit ran to schedule, from touchdown to arrival at Admiralty House.

They have no official engagements tonight and will head to the Blue Mountains tomorrow.

4:25PM: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have emerged from the Sydney Opera House to large cheers and are meeting the large crowd who have been patiently waiting to see the royals.

It is their first meet-and-greet on Australian soil.

However, there will not be a chance to meet baby George today, as he has been taken ahead to Admiralty House - where the family will stay tonight - with his nanny, Maria Borello.

Earlier, about 400 guests attended the welcome reception, including former Australian cricket fast bowler Glenn McGrath and Australian Women's Cricket Team member Ellyse Perry, along with children dressed to represent all nations competing in the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

3:30PM: Prince William says they have been 'looking forward to coming to Australia for a long time', reports Sunrise Royal Editor Robert Jobson.

Prince William also joked that he suspected George's first word 'might be bilby - only because koala might be harder to say'.

"There cannot be a more impressive place than the iconic Sydney Opera House to begin our first visit together to Australia," Prince William said.

"Australia and Australians have always been for us a beacon of confidence, creativity in the arts and sporting ability.

"I know that a truly unforgettable few days lie ahead."

Prince William also mentioned his late mother, Diana, adding: "My mother’s deep affection for Australia – which you were so kind to reciprocate – needs no reminder."

3.15PM: Thousands have gathered at the Opera House to greet the Royals.

"It's a really strange atmosphere but everyone is really excited," says 7News reporter Melissa Doyle, as crowds wait patiently to meet William and Catherine.

Baby George has been left with the nanny as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge climb the stairs and head of the offical welcome reception where Prince William will speak to 400 guests.

It appears that Catherine has chosen to wear Australian yellow as the duo are shown around Sydney harbour.

After a brief guided tour, they head inside the opera House for a Welcome Reception.

2.45PM: The Royals have arrived in Australia. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, wearing yellow, touched down shortly after 2.30PM and left the plane shortly after.

They were greeted at the bottom of the steps by the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and will now head to the Sydney Opera House for a welcome reception.

1:45PM: Reports suggest outgoing NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell has pulled out of the welcome party after his shock resignation this morning.

It is reported Governor Marie Bashir will host the Royals at the Opera House.

Meanwhile, large crowds - and of course the world's media are starting to gather at the Sydney Opera House. The good news is that it is looking like sunshine ahead of their arrival after they spent their last few hours in New Zealand sheltering under umbrellas from torrential rain.

7News presenter Melissa Doyle has posted this picture on social media as media fight it out for the plum spots.

The world's media gather. Credit: Melissa Doyle/Instagram

1PM: The Royals were expected to land in Sydney at around 2.30PM after departing Wellington in a Royal Australian Air Force jet just after midday.

Large crowds are expected to gather at the Sydney Opera for a welcome reception after 3PM.

Prince William carried his son, all dressed in white, to the jet.

They were escorted to the plane by Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae and his wife, Lady Janine.

A small crowd of dedicated royal fans gathered at the fence at Wellington Airport's military terminal, becoming some of the last Kiwis to catch a royal wave from the family on this tour.

Of course, their visit is not the only big story in Sydney today after outgoing NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s shock resignation.

Mr O’Farrell announced he will step down as NSW premier after evidence he gave to the state's corruption watchdog.

Mr O'Farrell was due to be part of the welcome party, along with Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Governor-General Peter Cosgrove and NSW Governor Marie Bashir, and it is still unclear if he will be present. Read the full story HERE.

ROYALS ON TOUR

Like any other British tourist the Royals will also be heading to the Blue Mountains, tomorrow, meeting a community devastated by the October bushfires before a spot of sightseeing.

The Sydney Royal Easter Show is on the agenda on Friday before a trip to Manly in the afternoon, where they will visit a children’s hospice before taking in a surf livesaving display.

A one-day trip to Brisbane for a city reception and tree-planting at the Amberley RAAF base will break up the Sydney stay.

William and Kate will fly to Uluru in the Northern Territory on April 22, leaving George with his nanny, Maria Borrallo, in Canberra.

While George is expected to accompany his parents on at least one of their Aussie outings, Kensington Palace has not released details of his appearances and there are likely to be limited opportunities to see the third in line to the British throne.

The royal couple are also due to travel to Adelaide to visit the suburb of Elizabeth - so named after the Queen in 1955 - before returning to Canberra to see the National Portrait Gallery and Parliament House.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott will host William and Kate at a Parliament House reception during their stay, before they fly home after attending a commemorative service on Anzac Day.

Melbourne - not without some controversy - will miss out altogether on a regal visit.

NEW ZEALAND A HUGE SUCCESS

Large crowds were left thrilled by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to New Zealand, a trip that included cricket, rugby and sailing, as well as a poignant wreath-laying ceremony at the War Memorial in Bleinheim.

However, the highlight of the trip was a playdate for 10-month-old George with 10 other local babies at Wellington’s Government House – his first-ever official engagement.

Prime Minister John Key said this week that the young royals had "charmed the nation" and he expected the international exposure generated by their visit would boost New Zealand tourism.

"For many, it has been the chance of a lifetime to catch a glimpse of the royal couple," he said. "I've seen first hand how much it has meant to people, young and old, to be part of the generous Kiwi welcome."

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