You know the year is coming to an end when Christmas decorations line the streets and appear on storefronts all around Sydney. They also signal a time when families and friends come together, spread the well wishes around, making New Year resolutions and enjoying year-end parties. You may already have your Christmas celebrations all pinned down so now its time to make those last minute plans for New Year's Eve. In an international city rich with world-class venues, entertainment, food and wine like Sydney, there is no lack of options.
With eyes of over a billion people globally on the Sydney Harbour during New Year's Eve, you can be sure the firework displays and parties are one of the world's best. Whether you choose to welcome the new year on the water, perched above ground or in fine surrounds, there is something with top views of the fireworks precinct. To help you move forward with your 31 January plan, here are 10 top places to celebrate New Year's Eve and watch the night sky light up in party central of Australia.
If you're searching for one of the best vantage points in the city, it has to be Tarpeian Way North. Located next to Bennelong lawn above the Opera House and adjacent to the Royal Botanic Garden, it provides uninterrupted waterfront views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.
This inaugural event covers all your food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages needs from 7pm to midnight, and includes DJ entertainment throughout the night. There is also live broadcast of the 2 DayFM soundtrack for the firework displays at 9 pm and midnight. For $395, you can relax on the lawn and celebrate 'New Year's Eve Under the Stars' with Trippas White Group and the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust. Phone 02 8023 7600 for more information and purchase your tickets here.
The iconic Luna Park is transformed into 'New Year's Eve Harbour Party' central each year as thousands gather to enjoy the thrills and views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from this prime waterfront property. It is no different this year as Luna Park gears up for non-stop party action with a stellar cast of DJs including The Stafford Brothers (Gold Coast), Wave Racer (Sydney), Ganz (Amsterdam), Sable (Perth), Dugong Jr (Melbourne) and many more. There's a fully themed outdoor stage where you can interact with roaming street performers. And the fun doesn't stop here.
Each Harbour Party ticket allows you to enjoy unlimited FREE rides all night. There are also plenty of games and prizes to win. To keep energy levels up and bodies hydrated, this exclusive party precinct has multiple licensed bars and food outlets, and certain packages offer canapes and wine all night. Tickets are priced from $135 per person. Phone (02) 9033 7676 for more information or visit the website for ticket options.
Cargo Bar has been one of Sydney's top partying spots for 12 years and this New Year's Eve is no different. It continues to offer the ultimate party experience with a line-up of entertainment that rival larger venues and front seat for the fireworks from its prime waterfront location.
This year will see the likes of Hermitude, The Aston Shuffle, Yolanda Be Cool, Crooked Colours, Hayden James and many others as part of the carefully selected artist programming. The party will be sprawled across both floors of Cargo and extended out onto the pier. You can grab your share of the fast selling tickets at $99.
For $180, you can access the VIP Red Carpet Cocktail Package where you can secure your front row seats before everyone else and enjoy an exclusive pre-cocktail-party which kicks off at 6pm with canapes and drinks for 3 hours. Phone 02 9262 1777 for more information or grab your tickets here.
Address: 52 -60 The Promenade, King Street Wharf, Sydney, NSW 2000
How else can you get into the thick of the New Year's Eve action in Sydney? With Captain Cook Cruises, you can sail right inside the exclusion zone on board one of their vessels included in the city's New Years Eve Harbour Light Parade from Shark Island to the Parramatta River. You can choose from several packages priced from $440 that include food, beverages, onboard entertainment, a harbour cruise and fireworks.
The 9pm fireworks is curated for families and kids. It is followed by the Harbour Light Parade and laser displays. The midnight fireworks will be launched from 7 barges on the harbour, rooftops of 7 city skyscrapers and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Tickets are required to access security gates and through to the wharves. Phone 1800 804 843 or visit the website for more details and reservations.
The Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel is popular as a peaceful retreat with beaches, parks, relaxing walks and great views over wide expanse of water. This New Year's Eve, leading events company Love Cloud will transform this east Sydney icon for over 180 years into a massive party. For $119, you can party into the night with tunes from KLP (DJ Set), Dolso, Phlby and Jack Kennedy and watch the midnight fireworks light up the sky at 'Wonderlust NYE'. Phone 02 9337 5444 or visit the website to grab your tickets.
While it may not be Melbourne's Eureka 89, the Sydney Tower Eye still provides the best panoramic view of the city at 250 metres above street level. For $80 per adult (16 year and up) and $50 per child (4 to 15 years), you can head up to the Observation Deck for a birds-eye view of Sydney and enjoy the 9pm New Year's Eve fireworks display. Access is available from 8pm promptly to 9.45pm. So grab the family and head over to Sydney's tallest structure and the second tallest observation tower in the Southern Hemisphere for New Year's Eve. Phone 1800 258 693 for more information or grab your tickets here.
Address: 100 Market Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Q Station Manly
Photo courtesy of NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service
If your family prefers to be away from the crowd around the Sydney Harbour but not the sight of the fireworks, then head over to Q Station. Located at the historic site of the former Quarantine Station just 5 minutes from Manly and 30 minutes from the heart of Sydney, this venue offers a family-friendly celebration from afternoon to night.
You and your family can enjoy the natural attractions of Quarantine Beach and the exhibitions before heading off to dinner. After the meal, watch the the Sydney and Manly fireworks from Q Station's exclusive Hospital Precinct on North Head. You can also dance the night away under the stars and welcome the New Year from 10.30pm until 1am.
The family event in the Governor Bourke Ballroom is priced at $199 for adults and $75 per child (3 to 12 years). Children under 3 are FREE. You will enjoy a market place style buffet from 7pm to 1030pm including beverages for 3 hours and 1 drink at the Hospital. If your party is only adults, there is also dinner option at the Boilerhouse Harbourside Restaurant & Bar. For $219, you can enjoy a 5-course dinner package with 3 hours of beverages from 7pm to 10.30pm, and 1 drink at the Hospital. Phone 02 9466 1500 for more information or to make your bookings.
Address: 1 North Head Scenic Drive, Manly, NSW 2095
If you're looking for a touch of luxury, comfort and fine dining with great views, then head over to Altitude Restaurant perched on the top of Shangri-La Hotel in the city. For $1,100 per person, you are guaranteed a window table overlooking the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour, 36 levels above The Rocks. You will also enjoy canapés designed by Chef de Cuisine Steven Krasicki for the occasion such as Caviar with Potato and Smoked Eel, Tuna with Fennel, Radish, Ponzu and Roe, and Wagyu with Beetroot, Chocolate and Cherries as you watch the 9pm and midnight fireworks displays. Phone 02 9250 6247 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or reservations.
The Sydney Opera House is not just popular for Christmas events. It is one of Sydney's top places to be for New Year's Eve if budget is not a challenge. It continues to attract locals, interstate and overseas visitors who pay top dollars for the city's top New Year's Eve party and unparalleled views of the Sydney harbour and annual fireworks and light show. Phone 02 9250 7777 for more information and ticketing details.
For $595, you can partake in 'NYE PARTY AT THE HOUSE', held waterside on the western broadwalk of the upper concourse of the Sydney Opera House from 7pm to 1.30am. In addition to the views and resort-lounge atmosphere, you also enjoy Asian-inspired canapés designed by Matt Moran of ARIA throughout the night, premium beverages like Piper-Heidsieck Brut NV Champagne and signature cocktails, and non-stop music from The Faders (aka Milly Gattegno and Suhana Lye), The Voice's Ms Murphy and DJ Dan Rowntree. Tickets are available here.
At $950, 'NYE AT BENNELONG' will elevate your New Year's Eve experience at the Sydney Opera House by placing you at the epicentre of the 9pm and midnight fireworks displays. You will also enjoy exclusive access to the private balcony providing a first class viewing platform. Matt Moran will excite your taste buds with a bespoke menu and French champagne, fine wines and cocktails selected by Matthew Dunne, Head Sommelier at ARIA. Entertainment will come in the form of bold, sassy, delta blue sounds of The Alice Terry Big Band. Tickets are available here.
New Year's Eve is the night when the City of Sydney puts on the biggest festival of fire across the midnight sky in the country. This year, actor Jack Thompson AM PhD, a legendary figure of Australian cinema will be helping to bring the 'Inspire' theme to life as the festival's Creative Ambassador.
1.6 million visitors will gather along the Sydney Harbour Foreshore to celebrate Sydney's biggest annual event and welcome in the New Year. Head over to the Harbour and Sydney Opera House where illuminated vessels will deliver an amazing parade and the whole area will lighted up by fireworks at 9pm and midnight. Phone 02 9265 9333 or visit the website for more information.