Find out what's happening in Sydney on New Year's Eve and start 2018 with a bang.
Planning early for next year's New Year's Eve celebrations?
Well, you've come to the right place. With more than a million people flocking to the Sydney foreshore, there's sure to be a party no matter where you watch from - and we have a few ideas for where find the best ones.
Top things to do on New Year's Eve in Sydney
- Watch the fireworks over Sydney Harbour
- Get tickets to one of the city's hottest New Year's Eve parties
- See a show at the Sydney Opera House
- Take a harbour boat cruise and see the light show close-up
- Book a table at a restaurant with a special New Year's menu
- Check into a hotel with views of the harbour
Sydney Harbour has dozens of prime fireworks viewing areas scattered all along Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, Balmain and the North Shore to name a few. Here's where the main vantage points were in 2016, which we expect to see again in 2017. These were our top picks for free spots to go and watch the fireworks, along with the extra info you needed to make your night go as planned, like when to arrive and whether there was food and drink for sale.
Location Capacity Food and drink When does it open? What to Expect Dawes Point (Ta-Ra) Park 40,000 Food and non-alcoholic drinks for sale. 12:30pm, expected to reach capacity early in the day. Right under The Harbour Bridge and looking at Luna Park, this is a popular but beautiful spot. Mary Booth Reserve 4,500 No food or drinks for sale. 8am, expected to reach capacity early in the day. In Kirribilli staring straight into the city, this one gets packed early. Blues Point Reserve 15,000 Food and non-alcoholic drinks for sale. 8am, expected to reach capacity early in the day. Hugely popular for a reason. Get in while you can. Observatory Hill Park 7,500 Food and non-alcoholic drinks for sale. 12pm, expected to reach capacity late in the day. They don’t call it a hill for nothing, you know. Minutes from Circular Quay and Wynyard it’s like there’s nothing else but you and a sky full of stars. Oh, and fireworks, naturally. East Circular Quay 8,000 Food and non-alcoholic drinks for sale. 9am, expected to reach capacity late in the day. In front of the shops and restaurants on the path toward the Opera House, this area has great views of the Harbour Bridge. Mrs Macquaries Point 16,000 Food and alcohol for sale. 10am, expected to reach capacity late in the day A favourite every year, with spectacular views and catering and bar service. Thornton Park 1,000 No food or drink for sale. 3:30pm, expected to reach capacity late in the day. Park it early in the day and you won’t regret it. This park, while being popular, doesn’t reach capacity until later in the day. Balls Head Reserve 2,000.00 No food or drink for sale. 12pm, expected to reach capacity late in the day. Another hot favourite on the other side of the bridge and within easy reach of public transport. Pyrmont Bay Park 10,000 Food and non-alcoholic drinks for sale. 1:30pm, not expected to reach capacity Nestled between the Australian National Maritime Museum and The Star, while the views of the fireworks are limited, the crowds almost never reach capacity. Darling Harbour - Cockle Bay 41,000 Food and non-alcoholic drinks for sale 11am, expected to reach capacity late in the day. While Circular Quay is everyone’s first go-to, don’t forget we have another Harbour with some pretty amazing views and fireworks shows going on, too. There’s a light show at 8pm, and Pyrmont Bridge is also accessible for viewing the show. Birchgrove Park 5,000 No food or drink for sale. 8am, expected to reach capacity late in the day. With views of the western side of the Bridge, this unassuming park is a pretty neat spot to ring in the new year.
Parties are held across the city every New Years Eve. Here were some of the top events for 2016, many of which are annual:
What's happened on New Year's Eve in Sydney Botanical Gardens?
- Foundation and Friends New Year's Eve Picnic: A family friendly BYO picnic setting held from 5pm on the Mare and Foal Lawn in the Royal Botanic Gardens, where you'll get prime views of the Opera House in front of the Harbour Bridge. Starts at 5pm. Tickets from $140 for non-members, $75 for Foundation and Friends members, $25 for children 6-15, free for children younger than six.
- Harbour Hoopla NYE Event: Check out the fireworks display off the Harbour Bridge from the lush hill above the Opera House at Circular Quay Tickets include a summer picnic hamper with an entree, main, sweet and savoury treats and a bottle of water. There's also a cash bar. Starts at 6pm. Tickets from $299.20.
What's happened on New Year's Eve at Sydney Opera House?
- NYE Party at the House: Indulge in a New Year's menu of canapes by Matt Moran and sip on wines, cocktails and champagnes throughout the evening. There will also be a DJ to get you going before the fireworks kick off at midnight. Price: $595 per person
- Opera Kitchen: The ultimate New Year's Eve meal and a way to end the year that you'll never forget. This dinner is complete with butler service and premium, top-shelf drinks and French champagne. Finish of the night with a view of the fireworks from a private viewing area.Price: $1,200 per person.
- Bennelong: Feast on a six-course dinner by Peter Gilmore that's paired with matching wines, all within the Opera House's sails. Price: $1,350 per person.
- La Boheme: Watch the classic bohemian Puccini opera in the Joan Sutherland Theatre. You'll have a chance after the first act to watch the 9pm fireworks, and stick around after the show for the big show at midnight. Tickets from $299.
- Opera Gala: Sit back and watch some of opera's most famous arias on stage in the Opera House's Concert Hall. This show also gives the chance to watch both the 9pm and midnight fireworks. Tickets from $289.
For more information about La Boheme and Opera Gala, check out our main page about the events.
More Sydney New Year's Eve fireworks ticketed vantage points, parties and events.
- Harbour Party NYE 2016 at Luna Park: Ride all of the rides and then party your way into the new year with Havana Brown, Sneaky Sound System, Jesabel at Luna Park. Rides will be open until 1am and the park will be open until 3am at this 18+ event. Tickets from $299 for Diamond VIP.
- New Year's Eve on Cockatoo Island: Spend the night camping on Cockatoo Island, surrounded by the harbour and views of the fireworks. While glamping spots are sold out, one- and two-night camping packages are still available. Camping for four people from $470 per night, camping for six people from $780 per night.
- Dudley Page Reserve: One that's great for the kids and for the wallet, with tickets from just $15 a pop for kids. The child-friendly event has free rides for kids and facepainting. There's room on the lawn to bring your own picnic and there's a bar on site. Starts at 6pm. Tickets from $35 for one adult and up to one child, $15 for concession (additional children younger than 16, pension card holders, aged pensioners and registered carers). Add on a hamper from $100 (with dinner for two and a bottle of wine).
- NYE at Bradleys Head: Athol Lawn: On the Mosman foreshore, Bradley's Head has great views of the harbour and is an affordable North Shore option. There's no food or drink available for purchase, but the lawn year just beckons for BYO picnics. Starts from 3pm. Tickets from $30 for adults, $15 for children 5-15, $70 for a family of two adults and two children, free for children younger than five.
- Ivy NYE Party: The Ivy on George Street, right in the heart of the CBD, threw a New Year's Eve bash. Tickets included entry to Pacha Sydney and up to 30% off Secure Parking. Some of the big names that will be there are Tommy Trash, Oski, Senor Roar, Glover, Jaysounds, Kyro, Alex Preston and Jordan Magro. Starts at 6.30pm. Tickets from $83.20.
- Pirrama Park Wharf Viewing: Allocated to just 600 people at this awe inspiring spot, this party includes a 3-course modern-Asian hamper by Jimmy Liks. Alcohol and more food is available for sale. Starts at 4pm. Tickets from $176. (SOLD OUT)
- Clark Island Garden Party: Join the garden party on Clark Island, located in Sydney Harbour near Darling Point. Partygoers will get a 3-course meal and a cocktail on arrival, not to mention epic views of the fireworks. Ferries to the island at 6pm and 6:45pm. Tickets from $375 for adults, $225 for children 5-15, free for children younger than five. (SOLD OUT)
- Shark Island: Have a vibrant start to the new year at a Caribbean-themed island party, with music provided by Triple J's Luen and dining on gourmet eats (for sale) by eateries like Butter and Thievery. Ferries to the island at 6:15pm abd 7pm. Tickets from $225 for adults, $160 for children 5-16, free for children younger than five. (SOLD OUT)
- Taronga Zoo: Take in the views of the CBD, Harbour Bridge and Opera House from the North Shore to the sounds of critters in the zoo. It's a charitable event, where proceeds from sales will go toward conservation work and breeding programs. Food and drinks are available for sale. Starts at 3:30pm. Tickets from $500 for Diamond Tickets, $290 for Gold Tickets for adults, $190 for Gold Tickets for children, $815 for Gold Tickets for families, $190 for Silver Tickets for adults, $100 for Silver Tickets for children and $490 for Silver Tickets for families. (SOLD OUT)
- NYE at Bradleys Head: Mast Precinct: Nearby to the Athol Lawn, the Mast Precinct offers access to the upper road, boardwalk and grassy areas near the Mast. There will be live entertainment and music, plus pizza, Brazilian BBQ, ice cream and coffee available for purchase. Starts from 3pm. Tickets from $45 for adults, $15 for children, $100 for a family of two adults and two children, free for children younger than five. (SOLD OUT)
- New Year's Eve at Goat Island: Take in the view from the west side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from Goat Island, near Balmain. Ferries to the island at 6:30pm and 7:15pm. Tickets from $195 for adults, $130 for children (SOLD OUT)
- New Year's Eve at Barangaroo Reserve: One of the newest places you can watch the big show from, Barangaroo is limited to ticketholders only. But at an affordable $30 a ticket, it's an idea spot for an evening picnic to kick off the New Year. Tickets from $29.50 for adults, $5 for children. (SOLD OUT)
Getting around: Sydney New Year's Eve Road closures and public transport options:
While lines for transport leaving the city centre are often long, New Year's Eve is still a night to leave your car at home if you can.
If you're taking public transport, here's a few things you should remember from past New Year's Eve events:
- 4,500 extra transport services, including an additional 1,000 trains, will be running on New Year's Eve
- Circular Quay station will be closed from 6pm-1am and Milsons Point station will be closed to city-bound travellers from 6pm-12am.
- Buses replace light rail services from 2:30pm-4am
- Ferries will stop running on New Year's Eve from 8pm-12:45am and Transport NSW expects services to fill up, so plan to travel early.
- Uber surcharges were very high last year, so be extra careful in checking the rate before booking a car.
- Road closures start from 11am: Cahill Expressway will close to traffic from 11am and roads in The Rocks will close from 2pm, Anzac Bridge and the Western Distributor will be closed between 8:30pm-9:30pm and again from 11:30pm-1:30am. The Harbour Bridge is closed to walkers and cyclists from 6pm- and traffic from 11pm-1:30am. All streets in the CBD north from Liverpool Street will be closed from 11pm.
New Year's Eve Sydney Hotels
We do throw quite a party on New Year’s Eve. If you don’t want to battle the commute home, or are visiting our fair city, then here are some top spots to book into that will provide you with the perfect view to kick off the New Year. If you're looking for more options, check out our top picks of the best budget hotels and splurges on accommodation with views of the fireworks. Note: limited rooms available.
Images: City of Sydney And Sydneynewyearseve.com