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New Year Fireworks and Celebrations @ South Bank

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by Geraldine Massey (subscribe)
I'm an experienced corporate communicator and editor with an eye for interesting events and an attachment to my trusty Oxford dictionary.
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Free festive fireworks and other New Year celebrations
"Each age has deemed the new-born year the fittest time for festal cheer." So said the famous English author, Sir Walter Scott. And it would seem that nothing much has changed in the last 200 years because each new year the celebrations get bigger and better. And in Brisbane nothing is bigger or better than New Year's Eve celebrations at South Bank. It's Brisbane's biggest party.

south bank new years eve
Image from South Bank website.

As Brisbane's cultural and social hub it's fitting that South Bank does the new year honours. But don't think it's all about what happens at the Parklands, though that's obviously the major festive focus. The whole South Bank precinct will be brimming with activities, parties and dinners to enable you to choose the best way to ring out the old and ring in the new year. Read on to find a celebration that suits you.

New Years Eve Fireworks at South Bank

If you want to enjoy everything the celebrations have to offer you really must get there early - this is one event that is definitely for sardines. New Year's celebrations begin at 2pm and live music performances and entertainment at the Cultural Forecourt and Riverside Green continue until 7pm. In the evening there'll be fizzing, crackling, whizzing and booming aplenty to provide the background to the glowing fireworks light shows. They will illuminate Brisbane's skyline not once, but twice, on New Year's Eve. For families with littlies who need to get to bed, the first volley fires off at 8.30 pm, and the big one, of course, starts at 12 midnight. Entry is free.

new years eve south bank
Image from South Bank website

To ensure a safe, family atmosphere no alcohol is allowed, and bags will be checked to make sure of it. Bag checks will take place at Tribune, Ernest, Sidon and Russell Streets, and the Cultural Forecourt itself.

Queensland Pops Orchestra: New Years Eve Gala

queensland pops orchestra, new years eve
Queensland Pops Orchestra. Image from QPAC website.

If you'd rather bring in the new year with a pop than a bang then perhaps you'd prefer the Queensland Pops Orchestra's New Years Eve Gala Concert. This is a sold-out extravaganza every year so you'd better get in quickly while tickets are still available. Special guest singers will be Craig Atkinson and Judit V. Molnár. The program will include favourites from musicals and operas, a musical nod to this year's Olympics and it just wouldn't be New Year without Auld Lang Syne. The show kicks off at 9.30 pm and tickets, which range in price from $80 to $85(plus a $5.50 transaction fee), are available here.


South Bank is one of Brisbane's favourite dining precincts, with a host of different dining options and New Year's Eve has some special dining events. You can enjoy fabulous food and service with the added bonus of the beautiful riverside location with uninterrupted views of all the fireworks and fun. This way you can also be spared the problem of getting too up close and personal with some new acquaintances you might like to forget.

champagne, new year
Image by Jon Sullivan fro

Cove Bar and Dining

Cove are having a party and you're invited. For $180 per person you can enjoy canapes and fork dishes, along with beer, wine and sparkling, all to the tunes of a DJ and percussionist. To book a place email

The Jetty

the jetty
Image from The Jetty website

The theme for this new year at The Jetty is 'Beach Party' so don those thongs, Hawaiian shirts and leis and pretend you're Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello in Beach Party. There are 2 settings so you can choose between the early or late fireworks shows. The full a-la-carte menu is available for both sittings but for the late sitting there is a $150 minimum spend. Bookings are essential and limited. Call the restaurant on 07 3844 8838 to reserve your spot.


How about New Year kisses on the rooftop at Rydges? Their new year party boasts panoramic views, cocktails and premium drinks, canapes, live entertainment and a 5 course degustation menu. $200 will get you a seat at one of the best venues for watching the fireworks. The evening begins at 7pm and you can book by phoning Kelsie Smith on (07) 3364 0852 or by emailing her at

Stokehouse New Year's Day 2013

If you have survived the revelleries of New Year's Eve and are ready to keep partying on then turn to Stokehouse for hot DJs and cool vibes on New Year's Day from 1pm to 7pm. But don't think restaurant, think chilling out in the space that will be transformed by couches and dance areas. Tickets cost $50 and for that you'll also get canapes. Call (07) 3020 0600 to book.

So you have no excuses not to get into the spirit of the new year. Don't worry if 2012 didn't turn out quite the way you planned. As another great English author, Alfred Lord Tennyson, said "Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering 'it will be happier'..." And only you can make it so.
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Why? Start the New Year with a bang.
When: 31 December 2012 to 1 January 2013.
Where: Various south bank venues. See article for details.
Cost: Varies, Ranges from free fireworks to $200 for restaurant events.
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