Mrs Macquarie’s Point, the dress circle seats for the Sydney fireworks.
If you are trying to decide if you should spend New Year’s Eve at Mrs Macquaries Point read on. I have seen in the new year from this spot 4 times and have tried here to cover the main things you might want to know to help you decide if it’s the right spot for you.
What’s it like?
As a fireworks vantage point this is hard to beat. Right in front of you are our two best-loved icons, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, add to that 2 firework barges and you are surrounded by the action. Oh and best of all – it’s free!
Where is it?
Mrs Macquarie’s Point is a large grassy area that hugs the harbour at the edge of the Royal Botanic Gardens. It offers a fair amount of shade and a postcard view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The area has a capacity of 18,000 people, but even with such huge numbers it fills up earlier every year. They open the site early in the morning and it is usually full, and closed well before dark. Serious NYE revellers bring sleeping bags and begin to queue the night before. I arrived at midday in 2011 and had to join a 1-2 hour line to enter. If you arrive at 4pm you may miss out.
Who is this site best for?
This is not a good place if you don’t like crowds, but if you do you will love it here. With a few thousand people waiting for a the party to begin the mood is great. Despite the crowded conditions everyone is generally very well-behaved, good numbers of security staff and no byo alcohol help on that front. Overall I would describe the atmosphere as friendly.
What is available at the site?
Food and drink is on sale, standard festival fare, noodles, wraps and the like at gourmet prices. Beers were $7 in 2011 and there was a refund on bottles to encourage returns. Wine was only available in 1 litre tetra packs for $28 from memory but it was quite good.
You can bring in all your own food and non alcoholic drinks but no glass. You are searched on entry and they do take things away so it’s best just to follow the rules.
Would I do it again?
Too many people, pretty disgraceful portable toilets, overpriced drinks and long entry queues and still this is my favourite place to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks display in Sydney.
The older I get the more I think it’s worth getting organised and coughing up the big bucks for one of the Royal Botanic Gardens tickets that offer the same view with the addition of a 5-course meal and a dance floor. For anyone on a budget it really does not get any better than this!
Pros: The view and the vibe, oh and it’s free
Cons: the toilets get more revolting as the night goes on, no music or entertainment while you are waiting. Drinks are pretty expensive.
My tip: BYO toilet paper, sunscreen and a deck of cards to pass the hours waiting time.
The crowd waiting at Mrs Macquarie’s Point New Year’ Eve 2011