The ultimate guide to New Year’s Eve Sydney 2020/2021
Where to see the fireworks, NYE harbour cruises, restaurant packages, hotels with views and more.
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The below information is for New Year's Eve 2020/2021. We'll update this page with information about the 2021/2022 events once available.
Millions of people flock to the Sydney foreshore every New Year's Eve however, due to COVID-19, this year's event is quite different. The 9pm fireworks have been cancelled but the midnight show is still going ahead as a shortened 7-minute display.
To reduce numbers, your only options to see the fireworks up-close in the CBD is to be an event, cruise and restaurant ticketholders, a hotel guest, a CBD residents (or one of their guests), or be an event worker. Whatever your case, you will need a New Year's Eve Pass to enter the city after 5pm. As of 28 December, the plan to allow access to the city for frontline workers has, unfortunately, been scrapped.
Don't have mates in the city and want to be front-and-centre? We've narrowed down your best event options to ring in 2021 in Sydney.
What would you like to do on New Year's Eve in Sydney?
Hot tip: choose carefully and you can score a bird's-eye view of the midnight fireworks from restaurants such as Harbourfront Seafood Restaurant.
- Watch the firework from your office: If you work in a Sydney-based office where a COVIDSafe plan is in place, you may be permitted to head into the city to watch the fireworks from your workplace.
- Gather in a private residence: CBD residents and their guests are permitted into the city with a permit. Bear in mind there are a number of rules to follow, including keeping gathering numbers to 5 guests or under.
- Book a ticket for a party or event: COVID-safe venues throughout the city are hosting events and stays. This includes the Opera House's venues, and foreshore restaurants and venues such as Cruise Bar and Luna Park.
- Have a house party or get together in a public space outside of the CBD: While you might not be able to make it into the Green Zone of Sydney's CBD, Sydneysiders are encouraged to celebrate in small groups. If you can see the city from your home you might like to host some friends. See here for more information on celebrating at home.
New Year's Eve pass for residents (and their guests) and event ticket holders
To be permitted into the Sydney CBD Green Zone after 5pm on 31 December 2020 you will need to secure your booking to an event and then apply for a New Year's Eve pass.
Here's how to do it depending on your circumstance.
- For residents of the CBD: If you live in the Green Zone (see here to check your address) you are permitted to stay at your property on the night. You are also allowed to gather in groups of up to 5 guests to your place. All, including yourself, must apply for a New Year's Eve pass through the Service NSW app. While residents don't need a registration code to access this (you just need proof of your address), your guests will. To access this code you must register your event online here. You can then pass the code on to your friends.
- For event ticketholders and event workers: All cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars, hotels, hostels, workplaces and strata building managements must register their events online here. Once registered, they'll receive a registration code that they can pass on to their guests or staff to apply. Once you've received your code, register for your New Year's Eve pass via Service NSW.
Everyone over 16 years old must have a New Year's Eve pass to enter the city after 5pm on 31 December 2020. Children under 16 must be registered on an accompanying adult's pass. Anyone without this pass may be denied entry into the CBD.
On New Year's Eve there will be a Green Zone and a Yellow Zone in place. The Green Zone is strictly for New Year's Eve pass holders. The Yellow Zone is free to the public however large groups and gatherings may be asked to move on in these areas.
As of 28 December, the plan to offer ticket-holding frontline workers access to prime viewpoints for the fireworks has been scrapped due to concerns around the ongoing Northern Beaches coronavirus cluster.
Sydney New Year's Eve parties and events
The Sydney Opera House has cancelled its gala performances for 2020 due to the pandemic but will return in fine form in 2021.
That's not to say you can't party under the sails. Most of the Opera House's attached restaurants and bars are opening on New Year's Eve with dinners, parties and those stellar views of the bridge and fireworks.
Here's what you can book right now:
- Bennelong: Peter Gilmore's in-house restaurant is hosting a New Year's Eve event in its main dining room and along its Cured & Cultured Counter in bar-style seating. At both, you can expect to feast on canapes followed by a 5-course dinner that's paired with matching wines. And all within the Opera House's sails. Tickets $1,450pp (bar-style seating) and $1,690pp (main dining room).
- Opera Bar: Welcome the New Year on Darling Harbour foreshore almost directly under the sails of the Opera House. The NYE 2020 Under The Stars dance party is set to sparkle with some of Sydney's premier musicians at play. Roving food is included but drinks are extra. This is a standing 18+ event. Tickets $450pp.
- Opera Kitchen (NYE dinner and fireworks): Situated right on the harbour's edge, Opera Kitchen is a favourite for sunny weekends. On New Year's Eve, it's a prime spot to take in unimpeded views of the Harbour Bridge. A ticket to the VIP event gets you a waterfront table, 4 hours of free-flowing drinks, a rolling feast of charcuterie and cheese, canapes, tapas, main and dessert (phew!) and a glass of champers to toast off the night. Tickets $700pp. For a cheaper seat, there is GA seating which includes 3 hours of rolling tapas and general access to the area for the fireworks. Tickets $450pp.
- Opera Kitchen (NYE sunset dinner): For something cheaper (and child-friendly) there's also a sunset dinner which starts at 4.30pm and ends at 7.30pm. While you won't get the fireworks, you will nab incredible views of the final sunset of the year. This package includes a reserved waterfront table, 3 hours of hot and cold tapas and a drinks package with cocktails, wine, sparkling, beer and soft drinks. Tickets $295 for adults and $150 for children.
- NYE Soirée: Ring in 2021 at the Yallamundi rooms at the Sydney Opera House and enjoy a 4-course meal and free-flowing champagne, beer and wine as midnight strikes for the fireworks. Tickets from $750pp (earlybird release).
- Joan Sutherland Theatre: Tucked inside the Opera House, the northern foyer of the Joan Sutherland Theatre is being transformed into an exclusive night in for New Year's Eve. Take in a mammoth 5-course seated dinner and 5 hours of beverages and keep your eyes on the windows at midnight for the lights. Tickets $850pp (earlybird release).
- New Year's Eve at Infinity at Sydney Tower: There's not a better night to have access to 360-degree views of Sydney than on New Year's Eve. Tuck into a 6-course degustation menu paired with matching wine and ring in 2021 in style by upgrading your ticket to a guaranteed window seat. Prices from $559 pp.
- New Year's Eve at Bar 83 Sydney Tower: Ring in 2021 on an unforgettable night at Bar 83 Sydney Tower. Indulge in a 4-hour beverage package including beer, wine and cocktails as well as a canapes package inclusive of a food station with oysters and antipasto platters. Prices from $500 pp.
- Harbour Party NYE 2020 at Luna Park: A New Year's Eve party amongst this Sydney icon's fun-filled rides is currently in the works. Ride all of the rides and then party your way into the new year to a series of local artists and DJs. Prices from $99pp.
- New Year's Eve 2020 @ Taronga Zoo: Spend the evening overlooking Harbour views with the animals at this annual experience. There are three tiers of tickets, all of which include a complimentary park and ride service, live entertainment and entry to the zoo. Food and non-alcoholic drinks are BYO or can be added onto your ticket. Prices from $200pp.
- Cruise Bar: Sitting right underneath the Harbour Bridge with pristine views over the harbour, Cruise Bar comes alive with the sound of Sydney DJs and clinking glasses of sparkling. Prices from $229pp.
- Barangaroo House: Matt Moran's venture has three options for you to choose from on the night across its three levels. Choose from a DJ party at Smoke on the rooftop with beverage package and share food ($349pp), a shared feast plus drink package at Bea on level 2 ($249pp) or for the cheap seats (and drinks), a table at House Bar.
- A "Mask-erade" New Year's Eve @ Sir Stamford: Mask-up for this enchanted evening moments from the harbour. Held on the rooftop of the Sir Stamford, prepare to be regaled with a 5-course sit-down degustation, drinks, entertainment and those epic views. Prices $467.62pp.
- Sails at Lavender Bay: The restaurant with a view is hosting an interactive 7-course tasting menu featuring a seafood course, meat course, cheese and dessert. Champagne is given on arrival, premium wines are served all night with DJ entertainment spinning well beyond midnight. Starts at 7pm. Prices from $845pp.
- New Year's Eve at Sailmaker Restaurant: Settle in for an indulgent evening of succulent seafoods and charcuterie platters. Running from 8-11pm, children are welcome. Though bear in mind that since this ends early you won't be able to catch the midnight fireworks. Prices from $110pp.
- New Year's Eve at Jounieh: Dine on a 3-course menu right on the edge of the wharfs of Walsh Bay. Seatings start at 6pm and run until midnight. You know the deal, book the latest you can get to catch those midnight sparklers. Prices from $85.49pp.
- Zephyr Rooftop Bar: Sky high is where you want to be if the midnight fireworks are on your agenda. Book a spot at Zephyr and you'll be the envy of all with panoramic views as well as a DJ to set the scene and live food stations with fresh seafood and gourmet canapes. Runs from 8pm-12:30am. Prices from $422.03pp.
- COAST cruise: Catch all the sights and sounds from the water on this luxury catamaran. On top of its 5-star service is live entertainment, nibbles and drinks. Sailing from 7.30pm-1.30am. Tickets from $755.41pp.
- Stars Nightclub Cruising Extravaganza: Dance your way across three levels and two pumping stages while sailing your way into 2021. This on-the-water nightclub runs from 8.30pm-1.30am only stopping for the midnight fireworks. Operating at reduced capacity, expect live DJs, open bar and free flowing canapes. The way it should be. Tickets $466.45pp.
- View Soiree @ View Sydney: Head to View Sydney to start 2021 with cracking views of the Harbour Bridge as it lights up at midnight. On the menu are oysters, champagne, seafood platters and gin cocktails. Tickets $150pp.
- New Year's Eve at Quay: For front row views of the midnight fireworks and a delicious 7-course menu from Executive Chef Peter Gilmore. Prices from $1,400pp.
- O Bar and Dining New Year's Eve: If fine food and wine is something you appreciate, it's only right that you farewell 2020 with an 8-course tasting menu paired with wine. Prices from $695.
- View Dine NYE: Up the ante with something more luxurious at View. Say, a multi-course degustation dinner. Naturally, this includes drinks and access to the restaurant terrace where all the fireworks action can be seen. Seatings at 6pm ($400pp) and 9pm ($500pp).
- Boat Party SoundWaves VII: Dance your 2020 cares away at the inaugural SoundWaves boat party. Expect 5 hours of non-stop fun to the tune of house and techno DJs, endless drinks and dinner to fuel you to the very end. Runs from 8pm-1am, tickets $475.84pp.
- NYE Cruise on MV Spirit, MV Star or MV Princess: If ending 2020 in style is what's on your agenda, you can't do much better than one of Vagabond Cruises' ships. These luxurious cruises are serving up a night of seafood and carvery dishes complete with open bar, all night DJ and light show. Don't forget to grab your free party screamers and hats before running out onto the open deck at midnight for the main event. Tickets from $600pp depending on the ship.
- NYE Prohibition Party in the Doss House: Not fussed about fireworks? On a bit of a party budget this year? For $135pp you can get in on this underground party in the heart of the city. For that price you'll nab a drink on arrival, bubbles at midnight, sharing platters and canapes and entertainment. And yes, if you really want to catch the fireworks you can run out to George Street and Playfair Street to get an eyeful.
- New Year's Eve at Zephyr Bar: Enjoy a vibrant atmosphere on New Year's Eve at Zephyr Rooftop Bar with gourmet food and a DJ playing throughout the night so you can dance your way into 2021. Prices start at $399 pp.
- Cockatoo Island: Spending a few nights on Cockatoo Island over New Year's Eve rewards you with epic views of the fireworks. Normally you'd be able to book a camping stay for a few nights for a pretty neat price. This year only the homesteads are available to book and these for a minimum of 5 nights. A ballot is in place to secure your spot in homes that accommodate 2 to 12 people. Prices start from $2,000.
- Glass Island: While not exactly an island, this is a floating cruise ship that sails and docks at various spots in Sydney Harbour. On New Year's Eve, it's taking out the best seat in the house on the water. Naturally, there will be drinks, canapes and food stations, seats for everyone on board and a glass of Moet to toast the midnight fireworks. Tickets $565.95pp.
Things to do on New Year's Eve in Sydney
Finish off 2020 with a bang with these epic experiences that are available on 31 December.
Paint and sip class
Jet boat adventure
Skywalk scenic tour
Virtual reality escape room adventure
Frequently asked questions about New Year's Eve in Sydney 2021
What is Sydney doing on New Year's Eve to be COVID-safe?
What's allowed when celebrating New Year's Eve at home?
What are the rules for residents in restricted zones?
What are the popular free vantage points for the New Year's Eve fireworks? Will they be closed on the night?
What will public transport be like on the night?
Will roads be closed on the night?
What happens if I try to get into the city without a New Year's Eve Pass?
Where are the "zones" on the night and how can I tell where they begin and end?
Will recreational boats be allowed on the harbour?
What are some of the best restaurants with harbour views?
Waterfront or rooftop restaurants are your best bet for securing a table with a view. Here are some of our favourites that are having New Year's Eve events in 2020:
- Harbourfront Seafood Restaurant
- City Extra
- Tayim Restaurant and Bar
- Bennelong at the Opera House
- Opera Bar
- Opera Kitchen
- Aqua Dining
- Cruise Bar
- O Bar and Dining
- Cafe Sydney
Where to stay: New Year's Eve Sydney hotels
If you don't want to bother with the commute home, or are visiting the city, here are some top spots to book with perfect views to kick off the New Year.
Note: limited rooms available.
Park Hyatt Sydney
Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney
The Hilton Sydney
Pier One Sydney Harbour
Sydney Harbour Marriott
Looking for more options? Check out our top picks of the best budget hotels and splurges on accommodation with views of the fireworks.
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Images: City of Sydney And Sydneynewyearseve.com
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