Broadcast around the globe, Sydney Harbour’s New Year’s Eve (NYE) celebrations are one of the biggest events in Sydney’s annual calendar. A must-see for locals and visitors alike, the spectacular fireworks display and the city’s electric atmosphere make for an unforgettable way to ring in 2018.
If you’re thinking of starting the new year in Sydney, read on to discover some of the best vantage points around Sydney Harbour:
- Sydney Opera House
- Barangaroo Reserve
- Bradleys Head: The Amphitheatre
- Clark Island ‘Garden Party’
- Dr Mary Booth Lookout Reserve
- Observatory Hill
- Bradfield Park
- Pyrmont Bay Park
- Thornton Park
- Watsons Bay
Sydney Opera House
Unsurprisingly, the iconic Sydney Opera House tops this list. This location will get you smack-bang in the middle of the action with views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Harbour, and directly above the Opera House. The location opens to the public at 7:30am and is free to enter but fills up very quickly, so it’s recommended to secure your spot earlier in the day. Food and beverages will be sold within the vicinity.
Situated between Darling Harbour and Circular Quay, Barangaroo Reserve is both one of Sydney’s newest harbourside parks and one of the city’s best vantage points. Pack a picnic rug, bring along plenty of snacks and admire the 9pm or midnight displays. The area will be ticketed and open to the public at 6pm. Food and drinks will be available to purchase (with no BYO on site) and guest can enjoy a dedicated viewing area offering a front row seat to one of the world’s best firework displays.
Bradleys Head: The Amphitheatre
Make a day of it on Sydney’s north shore at Bradleys Head. Opening to the public at 3pm, this ticketed area is popular with families and perfect for picnicking. With a clear harbour view and a wide range of food stalls serving tasty treats from day to night, this vantage spot is one book in early!
Clark Island ‘Garden Party’
The Clark Island ‘Garden Party’ presents a hassle-free, ticketed vantage point offering stunning views from the tip of Darling Point. The ticket includes a three-course meal, gourmet starter box and cocktail on arrival, a choice of mains and desserts, as well as return ferry transfers. Welcome in the new year with a live DJ set from DJ Ariane and friends, and enjoy the fireworks from one of Sydney Harbour’s islands!
Dr Mary Booth Lookout Reserve
Dr Mary Booth Lookout Reserve is a small grassy area opposite Milsons Point in Kirribilli. Entry to the designated viewing area opens at 8am and has a capacity of 4,500. Groups are encouraged to arrive together and an early start is recommended as capacity was reached by 3pm last year. With breathtaking views and a waterfront position, this is the perfect spot for a New Year’s Eve picnic. Remember, alcohol is prohibited here and there is no BYO.
This year, head for higher ground to get incredible views of the New Year’s Eve fireworks. Observatory Hill is a fantastic free vantage point located just a 20-minute walk from Circular Quay and boasts an enviable birds-eye view of the harbour. The area opens at midday and fills up quickly, so be sure to roll out your picnic rug early!
Bradfield Park is where the northern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge meets land. This park is a great location for families and groups to sprawl on the grass and watch the fireworks light up the night sky. Opening at 8am, this free vantage point will have food and drinks for sale, as well as plenty of public toilets. Bradfield Park is an alcohol prohibited zone, with no BYO.
Pyrmont Bay Park
Pyrmont Bay Park is located in the Darling Harbour precinct, between the Australian National Maritime Museum and The Star, Sydney casino. The park enjoys great views of Sydney Harbour, but be sure you get a spot on the western side of the park if you want see the bridge. The area opens at 1:30pm and entry to the park is free, with food and soft drinks available for purchase.
The suburb of Balmain has fantastic views across the water, with Thornton Park being a particularly popular spot to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks. This park enjoys uninterrupted views that reach to the western side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Opening at 3:30pm, entry is free and easily accessible via Balmain East Wharf. Alcohol is prohibited at this site.
Watsons Bay is fairly removed from the crowds of Sydney Harbour, yet it’s still a great spot to see the fireworks fill the city skyline. Set up at Robertson Park or Watsons Bay wharf, to see the horizon light up with colour from Watsons Bay. Many of the surrounding restaurants will also have New Year’s Eve packages on offer, including Sydney icon Doyle’s on the Beach. Bring a picnic and join in the fun from 12pm.
New Years Eve Tips
- Many free vantage points fill up quickly on the day, so be sure to claim your spot early to avoid disappointment.
- Most vantage points have restrictions on things such as alcohol, pets and items that may obstruct others’ views. Be sure to check what’s allowed at your chosen spot before leaving home.
- It’s highly recommended that you use public transport to get to and from your chosen vantage point. Road closures and heavy foot traffic around the CBD will make for high congestion in the city. Extra bus and train services will be in action as always, making it even easier than ever to get around on New Year’s Eve.
- Some train stations, bus stops and operating routes may change on New Year’s Eve, so be sure to check out the latest updates.
- If you’re claiming your vantage spot early, be sure to shield yourself from the hot summer sun. Items such as sunscreen, hats and long-sleeve shirts are easy to transport and provide good coverage.
- December is typically hot in Sydney, so ensure that you pack enough water to stay hydrated. It’s also well worth checking if your vantage point has any drinking fountains nearby.
- If you can, leave a little later after the fireworks end to avoid the congestion as everyone heads home. While you might get home later, you’ll likely have an easier journey.