Celebrating the arrival of a new year frequently involves lavish spending and an inevitable countdown. Yet with frugality being the theme of recent times, there are a host of wallet-friendly ways to welcome in 2011.
Parks and Gardens
View the famous Harbour Bridge fireworks from one of the many parks, bays and gardens which frame Sydney Harbour. In the eastern suburbs, McKell Park lies on the water's edge of Darling Point and provides a very close, albeit noisy vantage point for the fireworks display. Queens beach, Milk beach and anywhere along the Hermitage Walk in Rose Bay offer spectacular, secluded views often from a jutting precipice along the walkway.
On the western side of the bridge, Illoura Reserve and Simmons Point Reserve in Balmain East become jam-packed with a youthful crowd unfazed by the boom of fireworks in very close proximity. Balls Head Reserve in Waverton on Sydney's north shore remains a favourite for being one of the few remaining alcohol-friendly bastions where you can couple the countdown with a case of chilled stubbies.
With quality HDTV, you don't need a balcony that boasts views of the Harbour Bridge. Leave it to the experts and channel the 9pm and midnight fireworks to a cacophany of your closest and craziest friends. Good people, a pumping playlist and some potent punch may be all thats necessary to celebrate the new year. If a house party doesn't hold the allure of celebrity DJ parties, remember that exhorbitant ticket prices, strangled public transport and frenzied fans can make New Years Events more drama than delight.
It may seem obligatory to spend New Years Eve gyrating to famous DJ's on a sweaty nightclub floor yet on December 31, pubs may offer more than simply chilled beer on tap and a rickety old juke box. If you arrive early enough in The Rocks and find pubs including The Orient and The Australian Hotels, you may find yourself comfortably seated amongst the anarchy that occurs under the Harbour Bridge.
Like all pubs, entrance is free as is seating and you can find yourself enjoying the explosive exhibition off the Harbour Bridge from perhaps the closest vantage point in Sydney. Unfortunately, getting to and from The Rocks and most places in the Sydney CBD or North Shore is arduous, to say the least.
For easier access and perhaps less crowds, pubs with great atmospheres around Sydney include The Golden Sheaf in Double Bay and The Exchange Hotel in Balmain. Manly provides an ideal setting where the fireworks are forgotten in a sea of frothy lager from the Bavarian Bier Cafe while the grassy area behind Manly Beach becomes a patchwork of checkered picnic blankets.
While your final destination may cost you nothing, getting there most inevitably will. Organising transport well in advance is vital to ensure you're not left stranded, without mobile connectivity, in a sea of adrenaline-fueled party animals. Unless of course, that is your intention.
Public transport including buses and trains can bring most suburbanites into the city until close to midnight, where they level off and taxis become the main medium for getting to and fro. Many roads are closed around the CBD and North Sydney however most re-open early the next morning while public transport begins in full force once again from 6am New Years Day. Specific, customized transport details can be found on www.131500.com.au
Mobile phones don't tend to work as midnight approaches, thanks to a congestion in air traffic of loved ones wishing one another a good year so be prepared with an exit strategy that does not rely on a keypad.
This year, extravangant is out and economical is in. With the correct planning, New Years Eve in Sydney can bring a heavy dose of fun for a drop of the price when compared with other large cities across the world.