Goat Island on New Year’s Eve

New Years Eve Goat Island

Should you spend NYE on a Sydney Harbour Island?

Thinking about shelling out some dollars for a  Sydney Harbour Island view on New Year’s Eve this year?  We did just that in 2012, read on and see what we thought of it.

Where is Goat Island?

Sitting in the middle of the Harbour just west of the Harbour Bridge Goat Island is a ticketed NYE venue operated by NSW National Parks and Wildlife.  You can check out the map here

How do you get there?

We met our ferry at King Street Wharf.  Security guards manning the wharf entrances and only those with tickets were allowed past with their picnic baskets and alcohol as this is not a BYO approved area on NYE. The organisation of ferries to and from Darling Harbour was very well done When you buy your tickets; you can choose the 6.30pm or the 7.30pm ferry.  We went with the first one which I think was a good choice.  We arrived at the wharf about 5.30pm to line up, but I am not sure this was necessary as everyone with a ticket gets on.

What is it like on Goat Island on NYE?

Well for a start it is BYO friendly, and the view is fantastic. There are two fireworks barges near the island, and you can also see some of the separate Darling Harbour fireworks show if you can tear your eyes off the main event.

Organisers only sell 700 tickets meaning that there are none of the crowd crushes you get at many of the other viewing spots. There are also minimal lines for toilets 🙂  The main thing you need to remember is there is no food or drink for sale, so you need to bring all you want with you or befriend people around you who have bought too much!

With are three large grassy areas that all have great views of the bridge we found a nice spot pretty quickly.   There were a couple of picnic tables, but it’s mostly grass seating.  It had rained a few days before, and the ground was still a bit damp so considering bringing something to keep you dry.

Is it worth the money?

You are paying for space and the view.  Nothing more is included, so it is not a cheap option. There is plenty of space for your blanket and no large queues or the need to arrive hours early. There are also real toilets, not portaloos, which were remarkable clean when I used them at 11 pm. The site is wheelchair accessible (on a slightly uneven path), but I did not notice accessible toilets which is a shame, still worth checking if you need this access.

Would I go again?

Goat Island 2012 fireworks

With all these positives you would expect to be pretty happy – and I was, but still, I missed the Opera House. Yep, I am that person – hard to please lol.  For Sydneysiders I think this is a great option, we have seen it all before 🙂 but for interstate or international visitors, I think you should try for an Opera House view if you can.

Tickets usually go on sale at the beginning of December and are gone in a matter of days.  In 2012 it cost $185 and included the ferry there and back and entry to the island.

Pros: well organised, clean, not too crowded, BYO
Cons:  cannot see the Opera House, no accessible toilets, only two arrival times.

My tip:  They offer two ferry times 6.30 and 7.30, get the first ferry to score the best spots.

Have you tried this?  Let us know how it went.



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  1. Where to go for New Year’s Eve in Sydney 2014-15 | Sydney Expert

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