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A Guide to NYE Fireworks Displays (and Festivals) Down Under

A Guide to NYE Fireworks Displays (and Festivals) Down Under

By Zac Bayly | Events | 21 Dec 2017
What are you doing this New Year’s? If like us you’ll be down under, you’re probably wondering where the best place to spend your day is. While we couldn’t round up and rate every party in every city individually, we have put together this handy overview for you, to set you on the path to NYE bliss. Australia is one of the first countries in the world to experience NYE, so wherever you choose to be, you’ll be amongst the first to usher in 2018. We favour a location with views over the water in almost all cases, but there’s plenty of great pub and club nights to check out too, not to mention a few great festivals, which is where you might find us this NYE. Don’t forget — you’ll likely need to use public transport on the day, which will be packed, and spots in great vantage areas fill up quickly, so get in early with plenty of water, food, sunscreen, and some good sunnies obviously. ;-)

1. Sydney:
Sydney’s fireworks display over the Harbour Bridge are amongst the most famous in the world. Everyone down under’s gotta see them once. But finding a good vantage point, that’s not too crowded to even see (unless you’re 7 foot) can be tricky. A lot of people flock to the Opera House, which is certainly a great spot to see everything close to the action, but it’s also incredibly crowded. Same goes for Barangaroo Reserve and Bradley’s Head Amphitheatre, although those two are surely less crowded than the Opera House. The best way to see the fireworks is from Clark Island’s Garden Party — tickets aren’t cheap, though, and they sell out fast! We recommend finding a good spot around Watsons Bay — it’s away from the crowds, and if you get in early, you can set yourself up with a great afternoon picnic spot leading up to the main event. Of course, if you’ve got a boat, you’ll have the best view in the world.

2. Brisbane:

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The popular hiking mountain Mount Cootha is also one of the best places to view the fireworks (from afar) in Brisbane. (It’s also just one of the best vantage points for anything in Brisbane). Kangaroo Cliffs is a great spot also, as is South Bank Beach, although both will likely be crowded. The great thing about Brisbane is that if you have a friend with a house on a hill close enough to the city (and that’s not unlikely, seeing as Brisbane is so hilly) you’ll have a great view of the fireworks without the added stress of battling the crowds. Dandy’s Rooftop Bar and Eleven Rooftop Bar offer great views of the fireworks, too.

3. Perth:

There’s no fireworks display in Perth, but there’s free entertainment at Rottnest Island! Honestly, though, the beaches surrounding Perth are so damn gorgeous that do you really even need fireworks? Enjoy what nature has to offer.

4. Adelaide:

There’s three main destinations to catch the fireworks on NYE in Adelaide — Holdfast Bay, Elder Park, and Semaphore Beach. There’s also great views from the restaurant at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens (you may have noticed we like a good botanic garden!). Japanese-French restaurant Ginza Miyako offers a NYE special menu that friends have told us is insanely good.

5. Hobart:

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In Hobart, the fireworks go off over Derwent River, and the consensus is that Sullivan’s Cove is the best spot to view them. There’s also the Taste of Tasmania festival, if you’d like to gorge yourself on seafood, cheese, berries, wines, and craft beers all night long. You’re in Tasmania, though, so if we were you, we’d go camping and enjoy the insane star displays away from the city. Check out our upcoming guide to Tasmania for more ideas on where to spend NYE in nature.

6. Darwin:
Australia’s northern-most capital city loves a good party. Head down to the wharf area to see the fireworks (although if you have a boat, even better). There’s also plenty of pubs offering NYE parties — Hotel Darwin is perhaps the most popular one. Just remember, Australia gets hot, but Darwin is on fire during summer, so you’ll want to keep hydrated.

7. Canberra:

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Our friends outside of Australia might not know that Canberra is our capital (it’s always outshone by Sydney), but seeing as it’s our nation’s flagship city, the fireworks display over Lake Burley Griffin goes off.

8. Festivals:
You may not want to battle the crowds for a five minute fireworks display, but how about dancing with a crowd at one of the festivals on NYE? There’s plenty of good ones (but get in for tix fast!). Falls Festival runs in all locations (Lorne, Marion Bay, and Byron Bay) except Fremantle on NYE. Field Day at The Domain in Sydney is held on New Year’s Day (rather than NYE). And Lost Paradise in the Glenworth Valley runs from December 28th to January 1st. Want to read more about live music over December and January? Check out our guide!