In the world’s most watched fireworks on New Years Eve Sydney blows up over $5 million in 12 minutes. There’s more to our celebrations of course, but most New Year’s Eve events centre on the spectacular fireworks display.
New Year’s Eve Celebrations
Huge crowds mean that planning is required for the best fireworks-based New Year’s Eve celebrations.
There are lots of great vantage points to see the fireworks. It comes down to
- Where you’re staying (for getting home again)
- Whether you want to party with thousands or to stay out of the ruck
- Whether you’re prepared to be in place by early afternoon
- Whether you’ll bring your own food and drink or want to buy it on site
- How much money you want to spend
An official list of New Year’s Eve Sydney vantage points and the facilities they offer is published each year.
Popular spots, especially those close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, reach capacity and are closed to newcomers by early afternoon. Further away you can rock up well into the evening.
You cannot take glass of any description to any managed site. Everything, drinks included, must be in non-glass containers. All sites allow you to bring food, many do not allow alcohol to be brought in. You can buy it at most sites, although some family-oriented spots are completely alcohol-free zones.
Ticketed Sydney events let you be more casual about planning and getting to your spot. Some are free – you just need to apply for tickets – but most have a cost.
They might include cocktails, canapes and a meal at Fort Denison, a DJ and dance floor, catered food with drinks available for purchase at the bar, or a gourmet picnic on the lawn at the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Many streets in Sydney Australia are closed for the evening. Forget bringing your own car downtown, parking is impossible. Ferries stop early and there is restricted access to trains. Extra alternative public transport is laid on but expect delays, especially after the fireworks finish. Walking to and from your chosen viewing spot is the very best solution.
Most importantly: wear comfortable shoes, take plenty of water to drink, bring sunscreen and wear a hat. And bring something warm for later at night. Sydney can get cool.
If all of this sounds too hard but you still want to watch the fireworks – they’re ‘live’ on TV around Australia, complete with radio simulcast synchronised soundtracks.
Want Pictures of Fireworks?
Fireworks displays are held at 2100 (9 pm) and at midnight. The earlier display is designed for families with young children, the later is more extensive. Pre-show entertainment starts at 1700 (5 pm).
New Year’s Eve Sydney fireworks are launched from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and its roadways, barges in the harbour, city buildings and the Sydney Opera House.
If you want to include the distinctive annual ‘special logo’ displays featured on the harbour bridge in your photos, then you should try to be on the Opera House side of the bridge, not behind it.
New Year’s Parties
Bondi Beach hosts a licenced 18+ dance party – Shore Thing. Special event buses take partygoers there and back.
Check the internet or pick up one of the free gig guides for lists of New Year’s Eve Sydney events.
The Ivy in George St, one of Sydney Australia’s more glam venues, hosts an annual New Year’s Eve event.
Or go to the Harbourparty at Luna Park. It’s a dance party with funfair rides and you’ll be up front and centre for the fireworks display as well.
New Year’s Eve Packages
Most big hotels and top Australian restaurants offer dining packages for New Year’s Eve Sydney. Some offer superb firework viewing opportunities as well. You need to get in early for the best choice as many sell out very quickly.
Apart from the obvious harbourside choices, like Quay, restaurants at the Overseas Terminal, or Altitude restaurant in the Shangri La hotel, places further back in the city, such as Sydney Centrepoint Tower’s revolving restaurant, also offer grandstand views.
On the north shore, the North Sydney Harbour View Hotel offers New Year’s Eve menus and great views of the fireworks.
One of the best New Year’s Eve packages around is the gala concert at the Sydney Opera House. You can opt for any or all of a pre-gala dinner, a gala concert of greatest opera hits – almost inevitably featuring the now obligatory Nessun Dorma – and a midnight party in the northern foyer. This foyer offers a close and uninterrupted view of everything that’s happening on the harbour. More on New Years Eve packages at Sydney Opera House
For a completely different sort of package camp out on Cockatoo Island. Spend one or two nights in the middle of Sydney harbour and see all the fireworks action! The package includes sites, tents and accessories, and catering’s available too. It’s another one that needs early booking though. The sites go quickly and there’s no last-minute option.
Heritage houses and harbour view apartments are allocated through a sealed bidding process which closes in mid to late July. Glamping, camping and camping site packages go on sale in August. If you plan to come to Sydney for the fireworks this is a fantastic way to see them.
Although New Year’s Eve itself is quite costly, you can book extra nights for very little extra money. Full details and application forms for Sydney new years eve accommodation on Cockatoo Island
The latest addition to Sydney New Years Eve packages is NYE Above the Harbour which is an open air event held in the Tarpeian Precinct, next to the Botanic Gardens and just above the Opera House. A great venue, in other words,on an elevated stretch of land so that you get the entire harbour panorama. Food, drink and entertainment are included in the ticket price.
New Year’s Eve Cruises
There are cruises galore on New Year’s Eve, Sydney.
Many of the cruise ships have access to an exclusive designated viewing area inside the harbour exclusion zone.
Together with Australia’s heritage fleet and tall ships they also take part in the annual Harbour of Light Parade.
Fifty vessels switch on their lights and do a 15 km circuit of the harbour after the 9 pm fireworks display. They’re back in good time for their dress circle position at the main midnight extravaganza.
Costs vary but range from A$349 to $1,000 per person for a 6-7 hour cruise. Most include dinner, an open bar and, often, on-board entertainment. For more details go to New Year’s Eve Sydney in Style
New Years Eve Sydney sans Fireworks
What if fireworks are not your thing?
Pretty much every restaurant in town will be open to serve you. Take your pick, sit back and enjoy your more laid-back New Year’s Eve Sydney experience.