If you are going to be in one of the greatest cities in the world on New Year’s Eve you are probably wondering about the best way to spend the night. So many questions spring to mind,

What is the best fireworks vantage point? Which restaurants have the best view? Should you go on a boat on the Sydney Harbour? When should you book your hotel? 

Well, I am going to attempt to answer all these questions and more below. You might want to grab a drink…. this is a long post!

Information is correct as of May 15, 2018. Events will be added as details become available. Some tickets are on sale now. Check each listing below for more information. I have included the sold-out dates from last year to give you an idea how early you need to commit.

Sydney Harbour Fireworks Vantage Points

Postcard view Sydney from Mrs Macquarie's Point by Paula Morgan

When, where and how to watch the fireworks on Sydney Harbour

Sydney City Council stages the Sydney fireworks on NYE, and each year they create a brilliant website that has maps of the vantage points and rules for each viewing point. The 2018 site is not yet live and much improved on last year with lots more details. You can quickly search for accessible areas, areas where you can drink and

There has been a significant increase in alcohol-free areas over the last few years so make sure you check the maps on the city of Sydney website for the rules before you head to your favourite spot. There are no free official areas where you can bring in your own drinks (BYO).

The main thing to know is that the city is very crowded on NYE, lots of roads are closed, and most people travel by public transport. The buses and trains will be really full and moving around the city between 8 pm and 1 am is quite difficult. That said, it is still worth being there. You just need to plan in advance what you are going to do, where you will meet and what you will eat and drink.

You can bring your own food into almost all vantage points, but most do not allow you to bring your own drinks. They do however sell them at ridiculous prices inside some of the sites. To be safe check the NYE in Sydney website for the latest information on alcohol restrictions.

There are great viewing areas on both sides of the harbour so my strong recommendation is to stick to the side that you are staying on. Getting back across the bridge after it’s all over is tedious. My personal preference is to be able to see the front of the Harbour Bridge if possible; this is where the main climax of the fireworks takes place, and it’s usually spectacular. I think it’s a must for international visitors.

In no particular order, my favourite spots are:

North side of the Harbour

  • Cremorne Point Reserve – it’s an alcohol-free zone these days but still a beautiful place to view the action. Get there early – like before noon as only 5000 people are allowed. FYI there is no direct view of the Harbour Bridge from here.
  • Bradfield Park Milson’s Point – Room for 50,000 – no BYO alcohol – separate ticketing for North Sydney Pool. Access here is usually fine until late afternoon.
  • Bradley’s Head Mosman – This once free area now has some pretty steep entry fees. There are three ticketed areas. The Amphitheatre has the best views and tickets are  Adults are $79, and kids are $39.  The Mast Precinct is $49 for adults and $18 for kids.  Finally, Athol Lawn is $33 for adults and $18 for kids. No alcohol is allowed at these venues, and there is capacity for approx 5000. Tickets sold out last year on 26/12/17

South side of the Harbour

  • Mrs Macquarie’s Point – this was once my favourite spot, these days I am not so sure.  The reserve fills up and closes by 4-5 pm most years so get here really early – and it’s no longer BYO so bring $$$ if you want to drink – capacity 19,000. Read my review of 2011 NYE at Mrs Macquarie’s Point if you are thinking of heading here.  Please note I have not spent NYE here for 5 years and things change so consider more current reviews that have been less positive. Things like restricted views due to the trees that have grown to cover much of the space and a very full-on party atmosphere due to the popularity with backpackers means this may not be the right place for everyone.
  • Sydney Opera House – Any free area around the Opera House, is beyond hectic on NYE – it’s  THE best view, but this is THE most crowded place you can imagine however if you don’t mind crowded the buzz here is incredible. The ticketed areas are a different story and outlined below.
  • Dudley Page ReserveThis reserve in the Eastern suburbs offers great views of the city. Tickets are on sale  $40 for adults and $18 for kids. Usually still available until the end of December. Last year this sold out 29/12

West of the Harbour

  • Elkington Park, Balmain – Free site, no glass or alcohol. Good family friendly place. Slightly restricted views of the city. Capacity 3000.
  • Birchgrove – Free site with no glass or alcohol. Good shade for hot sunny days. Capacity 5000. This site has a good view of the western side of the Harbour Bridge
  • Barangaroo – West of the Harbour Bridge – Barangaroo Reserve opened for the first time last year, and it sold out pretty quickly. It was a great hit so expect it to go more quickly this year.  Keep an eye on the Barangaroo website or sign up for their newsletter to be the first to know when they are available. Tickets $35 each.  Last year this sold out by early November
  • Goat Island – A small island located directly west of the Bridge and almost entirely in line with it. You have a fantastic view although you do miss out on the light display on the front of the Bridge. You can read my separate review of NYE on Goat Island and see what I thought. Fewer than 800 tickets are sold, and there is plenty of space to move about unlike most other harbour venues. Tickets go on sale in early October. Being the cheapest harbour island option, these often sell out quickly. You can BYO everything and tickets cost $202 for adults.  Usually sells out in a week or two.

New Years Eve 2018 in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens

Beyond the wharf NYE cruise

Watching the fireworks from The Royal Botanic Gardens is like sitting in the dress circle. They have three paid options for ticketed entry to their amazing locations for those who are not members of the “Friends of the Botanic Gardens”. I have to tell you this is my favourite place. If you are planning for next year, I suggest you register here to be advised when tickets are available. 2018 tickets are not yet on sale.

Midnight at the Oasis

Located at the First Fleet Steps south of Mrs Macquarie’s Point this site offers great views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge together. They almost look like they are sitting one in front of the other.

Key points:

  • Includes a three-course meal and a midnight snack.
  • Drinks are not included though so it might not be the best bet if you want to drink the night away as the prices will be steep I am sure.
  • This is an adult only event.

Cost: Tickets cost A$430 and sold out in mid/late December last year. I think this event is a great value considering the location.

Lawn with a view

Located on the lawn outside Government House and directly above the Sydney Opera House – a box seat view.

Key Points: 

  • Very popular – in 2017 this was one of the first areas to sell out.
  • All ages event

Cost: Adult tickets are $340.

The Point

Fleet Steps North, Mrs Macquaries Point. This is an over 18s only area. Includes food but drinks are from a cash bar. Tickets in 2017 sold out 17/10

Harbour Hoopla

A circus theme event held on the lawn above the Opera House

Key Points:

  • Picnic style meal
  • Cash bar
  • Great reviews for the 2017 event from several of our Sydney Expert community members.

Cost: $325

If you are planning on viewing the fireworks from anywhere within the gardens, either paid or unpaid, download a map for entry times and walking routes for the fireworks viewing locations.

Choosing a Sydney Harbour Cruise for NYE?

NYE Sydney Ferries

If you want to be on the water under the fireworks, then you are looking at somewhere between $250 and A$500 per person for a basic food and drink package. All the leading tour operators offer cruises on Sydney Harbour on New Year’s Eve with some of the big name boats charging up to A$1200 per person. For that, you get a 6-hour cruise with a five-course meal and drinks. This really is great to experience Sydney on NYE if you can afford it. Just do your homework and make sure you chose a vessel that is suited to your musical/food tastes. 20 something’s may not like to listen to a 60’s band all night 😉 just like 50+ might not like 5 hours of dance music.

At about 9.20pm after the first round of fireworks, many of the vessels on the harbour turn on their lights and parade up and down the harbour until the midnight fireworks.

You can view the official Harbour of Light parade vessels for more details if you would like to join one of them.

2018 NYE Cruises

These traditionally go on sale quite early, and most are on sale now.

    • Majestic Cruises have two cruises, a 5-course sit-down dinner for $1000 (no kids under 7yrs). One of the two boats is already sold out. This company typically sells out quite early.
    • Harbour City Ferries this year’s event details are not available yet. Last year they offered three charter ferry services with 1,550 tickets available in total. There are sailings for both the 9 pm and midnight fireworks. First sailing for the 9 pm fireworks departs at 8 pm and returns at 9:30 pm. The second sailing leaves at 11 pm and returns at 12.30pm giving you time to have a nice dinner out before you board. Tickets range from $125 for kids on the 8 pm ferry to $499 for tickets that include the Harbour of Light parade and both fireworks shows. These boats are BYO food and are alcohol-free.  Sign up for the newsletter on their site for ticket sale notification. 
    • Captain Cook Cruises have five cruises on offer from the BYO budget-priced Rocket for a BYO food and drink cruise to the standing buffet on the Matilda 3 for $849. A seafood buffet will set you back $925, and an à la carte meal on their best vessel will cost up to $1499  Guaranteed window seats $99 extra. BYO cruises $550 still available This is one of the last companies to sell out – I think because they have quite a few boats and they are on the pricey end of the scale.  Last year tickets were still available on NYE.
    • The Pontoon Ballroom vessel from Sydney Harbour Escapes has a $620 cocktail food and drinks cruise in their glass-sided boat. 2018 options not yet available.
    • Vagabond Cruises has three options with early bird prices on sale now ranging from $625 up
    • RhythmBoat Cruises – has a cruise for $520 that includes seafood buffet and beer and wine. These sold out by boxing day last year
    • Quayside Charters – Have a range of boats on offer with prices from $550 for their smallest boat right up to $750 for a glass boat in the light parade. ??? unclear if sold out or not 31/12
    • Manly Fast Ferry Cruises –  two types of cruises – one that takes in both shows and a cheaper alternative that gives you a choice of either the 9pm or the midnight fireworks. BYO early bird tickets are $175 for the 9 pm show and $275 for the midnight show are on sale now. In 2017 these sold out in late December.
    • Fantasea – A full range of options from the 90min family cruise for $650 (2A+2C) and $895 for the dinner, drinks and DJ.  They also have a 9 pm family cruise for $295
    • Fusion Cruises – 6-hour cruise with food and beverage packages $595 adults and $495 kids under 12.  2018 information not yet available.

Tickets are on sale now, and all but the most expensive cruises usually sell out pretty by late October so if you are considering on lower-priced options buy early.  Be careful about purchasing from a smaller operator who does not have much history as there were issues last year with some people losing their money on a no-show boat.

Check out Sydney Boat Hire Another option is to hire a water taxi for either the 9 pm show for about $175 or $295 for the midnight show.

In 2014 I met a reader of this blog at the NYE fireworks who had followed by suggestion and booked a Harbour City ferry –my first meet with a real-life reader. Very cool 🙂 We had a fantastic view of the Harbour Bridge, and it was great fun to be in the middle of the action.

New Year’s Eve at the Sydney Opera House 2018

By Linh_rOm via Wikimedia Commons

Spend NYE at the Sydney Icon

There are several options for those of you who want to see in the New Year at the Sydney Opera House. Tickets are now on sale. Read these descriptions carefully.  You need to have tickets to the Opera but then add on the midnight party if you choose the Opera Australia packages.
  • The Opera GalaOpera Australia hosts the party here… This year you can choose between a full performance of The Merry Widow or the Opera Gala which features works from a variety of composers. The interval is timed for the 9 pm fireworks with viewing from the glass balcony at the front of the Opera House. Along with the Opera events, you then need to add tickets to the Midnight Party $329 which includes canapes, drinks and live entertainment from 10:30 pm, or the platinum package for $1399 that includes opera tickets, dinner, drinks and the party! To attend any of the NYE Opera events, you must have tickets for one of the Opera performances. Dinner packages are also available from $399. The Opera Gala sold out just after Christmas last year.
  • NYE Portside – Free-flowing Moet, catering by Lauren Murdoch, entertainment featuring soul, bass and funk style music and one of the best views in town. Over 18s only.  Early bird tickets $595 for an extra $200 you can have a seat in the VIP area.  Tickets sold out late December. Members of the Sydney Expert FB community rated this event very highly.
  • Opera Bar –  I love Opera Bar… it’s the bar with the white umbrellas that sits next to quayside of the Opera House and the ultimate outdoor venue for a NYE on the harbour. In 2017 tickets are $460 (+ $4 booking fee). This includes express VIP entry to Sydney Opera House area, live entertainment and a 5-hour canapé package with finger food and pizza – drinks are not included. I have reviewed NYE at Opera Bar after my visit several years back. I loved it. You will need to get there really early if you want a seat as seating is limited. Doors open at 6 pm. They usually go on sale in early October and last year sold out on Boxing day.
  • Opera Kitchen – Same great view as Opera Bar. See the website for details or sign up to be notified when tickets are available. Tickets are $1300 per person. These also don’t appear until after October.

Restaurants with a view of Sydney Harbour for New Year’s Eve 2018

Good food with a view of the harbour fireworks is possible.

There are a few waterfront restaurants that will earn you a view of the fireworks with your meal, but you will pay for it. Having said that at least, you are guaranteed a seat, something to eat, that in most cases will be pretty sensational, and you don’t have to get there at midday to secure your place. I am not going to tell you which is best because I honestly don’t know. While I have eaten at most of these places during the year I have never done on NYE – I wish!

Most restaurants have not been fully booked before Christmas in earlier years, so it is not as vital to book early for restaurants. I would suggest if you have your heart set on a particular place, and you have a small party of the 2-3 book early as smaller tables seem to go first. Many need full payment at time of booking and are not refundable so choose carefully!  I will update 2018  pricing later in the year when it becomes available.

South Side of the Harbour 

  • The Sydney Cove Oyster Bar is a picture perfect location with full view of the bridge and outdoors under the stars.  In 2017 an eight-course degustation menu was $750 per head and $650 per head for all other tables. A $150 deposit is required upon booking.
  • Cafe Sydney – Right above Circular Quay – fantastic view and the times I have been there I have had excellent food. Contact them directly for information on NYE. No tables of 2 are available. 2017 was $810pp
  • Pier One Sydney Harbour – I have not eaten here, but the location is great – You will not see the front of the bridge, but you will be in the middle of the action. Their 2017 packages are on sale now.  There are two options – A degustation menu with drinks from $699 or a more casual affair with Paella and burgers, drinks and DJ for $399.
  • Aria has the best view of the front of the bridge. Canapé s and pre-dinner drinks followed by a four-course tasting menu with wines was $1200 pp. They also have an under 12 years price of $600. All bookings are prepaid. Available now.
  • Altitude – perhaps the most incredible view in Sydney with a price tag to match, seriously check their website… the view is amazing. A window seat $1300, View seat $1150 – 7-course degustation with wine.
  • 360 Bar and Dining at Sydney Tower offers spectacular harbour views from Sydney’s highest vantage point and music. On offer is a degustation dinner including wines. Tickets$699 (no under 18yrs) from 8pm-1am Last year did not sell out before the day so usually no rush on this one.
  • The Dockside Group have some venues at The Star Casino, Darling Harbour and in the Rocks including The Italian Village and Wolfies.  Great view of the Opera House, The Harbour Bridge is partially obscured.  Very reasonable pricing at $255 for the Rocks and under $200 for most of the Darling Harbour locations.

North Side of the Harbour

  • Ripples at Milsons Point  A degustation menu including beer and wine for $695 per person is on offer here.   Fantastic view of the Opera House and back of the harbour bridge.
  • Ripples at Chowder Bay – A view of the harbour and the fireworks but not of the icons.  $225 for dinner and unlimited drinks.
  • Q Station – Choose from a seafood buffet ($199) or a 4-course degustation($229)  Good views over the harbour – quite distant but still very nice.  Options for families and adults only.

Concerts and Parties on NYE in Sydney 2018

Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks Pirrama Park Wharf, Pyrmont
The view from the wharf at Pirrama Park Pyrmont

Sydney has something to suit everyone

If you would prefer something a little more structured and planned you could try one of these events.  These prices are from 2016.  These event details are usually released in Sept or October.

  • Harbour Party at Luna Park – PNAU, hip-hop artist Tkay Maidza and several DJ’s will entertain the crowds at Luna Park.  Great views too.  General Admission on sale now $149 several VIP packages also on offer.  This sold out early December in 2017
  • Sydney Harbour Islands – There are four other harbour islands, Clark (DJ, band, food & drinks $395), Shark ($232), Cockatoo (camping packages) Tickets are on sale now. Children under five yrs are generally free but check booking conditions for each location. The less expensive ones sell out very quickly.  All islands were sold out by 26/11/17
  • Goat Island – family-friendly BYO ($135-$202) – see my review of my Goat Island NYE – Sold out 17/11/2017
  • Fort Denison’s Black Tie Gala package was $1250 last year, and surprisingly tickets run out quickly.
  • Darling Harbour will have free family areas as well as lots of restaurants offering special packages. It’s also home to several nightclubs so there is something for everyone, but you should know that you don’t get the harbour experience from here. They have fireworks but in my opinion, it’s just not the same, particularly for first-time visitors.
  • Taronga Zoo – Three different packages available a total of just over 2000 tickets. Silver Reserve tickets with some restricted views started at A$175.00; Gold Reserve $275 unrestricted views. Both Silver and Gold tickets are BYO. The diamond reserve was $510. All tickets include entertainment, zoo access, free parking and complimentary transport from the car park. The zoo is a perfect site, and limited numbers mean you won’t feel too crowded. Sold out 
  • Sydney Observatory – over 18s event with DJs, finger food and beverage package, also a  late night snack and photo booth. Sold out 
  • Destination NYE at Cruise Bar – right on Circular Quay this is a great place with a really affordable price. Some tickets still available 31/12
  • Pyrmont Point Wharf – Tickets include a Jimmy Liks Menu, including a salad, a main & a dessert and a free glass of sparkling wine, wine, or soft drink, exclusive use cash bar throughout the night and exclusive toilets (yes this is a big deal lol) $176 for adults and $154 for kids. Sold out 30/12

Accessible Areas – Wheelchair access for the NYE Fireworks

There are six areas that are listed as fully accessible. You need to make a booking for these areas on this form.  These areas all feature accessible toilets

  • Mary Booth Reserve at Kirribilli on the northern side of the harbour
  • Mrs Macquaries Point in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
  • Pirrama Park at Pyrmont
  • Sydney Opera House
  • Cahill Expressway (Balloted)
  • Barangaroo (ticketed)

The Official Sydney NYE website has more details on these areas and how to reserve tickets.

To sum up

  • My biggest tip is to plan early unless you do you may find there are limited choices many events sell out weeks and sometimes months in advance.
  • If you are reading this in December, don’t despair there are lots of free vantage points to see the world-famous fireworks, and it will all work out on the night if you just have a plan.
  • Decide which part of the city to stay in and secure your hotel.  I have reviewed a long list of budget hotels in Sydney if you need don’t want to max out your credit card.
  • If you want to book, a hostel be prepared for minimum booking periods of up to a week.
  • If you have a long-lost relative now is a good time to rekindle that relationship 😉


In 2016 year I watched the action from the Cahill Expressway after scoring some free tickets in the public ballot. Follow their Facebook page to hear when the ballot opens.

In 2017 I watched from Barangaroo and will have my review up shortly but feel free to ask me questions about it on the FB group.

I have reviewed my last 4 NYE outings so make sure you check them for full details.

Need help planning your trip to Sydney? Join our Sydney Expert Facebook Group where you can ask questions, stay up to date with what’s happening in Sydney and meet a bunch of friendly locals just waiting to share their advice!

Starting to plan your NYE in Sydney? Then check out this list that covers over 45 options for celebrating New Years Eve in Sydney and covers everything from free vantage points on the harbour to restaurants, parties, harbour cruises and the Sydney Opera House #Sydney #NYE


  1. Hello, thanks for your tips!
    Is there any place with a party for people around 30, that you could recommend? You talk about a couple of clubs in DarlingHarbour, but don´t mention any name.

    • Hi Raquel
      It’s hard to say without knowing your musical taste 🙂 The bars along King Street Wharf usually have parties, places like Cargo Bar and King St Brewhouse. There will also be parties at The Star Casino venues. Depending on your budget you could check out Opera Bar ($$$$) or Luna Park’s Harbour Party ($$-$$$) with tickets starting at $139pp https://harbourparty.com/ but the best bet would probably be a search of the Moshtix website which sells many of the NYE parties in Sydney.

  2. Hi there

    We are hosting two ticketed NYE events – one at the Sydney Observatory and one at the Australian Museum. Would love to be included/listed on your website if possible.


  3. Hi,

    First of all thanks for the effort.
    We are a group of 20 people around 25 years old. We like hip-hop, Techno/electro, reggaeton/latin, club music, etc.
    We want to go on a cruise on NYE, but we dont want to pay too much. Under 150AUS$ would be great. You know anything like that?

    Thanks you,


  4. Thank you so much for writing this. I just wish I had found this sooner. My friend and I are trying to decide between seeing the fireworks from Mrs Macquarie’s Point or the Harbour Hoopla. Does the Harbour Hoopla offer the same views as Mrs Macqurie’s Point. Thanks!

    • The view from Mrs Macquaries Point is of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge almost side by side. It is probably my favourite view of Sydney. If you are considering the free area you would want to be there very early in the day to score a prime position. The view from Hoopla is from just above the Opera House with the Harbour Bridge to the side. From either spot you can see both clearly if you are in a good position.

  5. Hi. Thank you so much for the information. I just found out that the tickets for the Foundation and friends picnic at the Mare and Foal Lawn at Botanical gardens are still available. This is my first time in Australia. We are trying to decide between the Harbour Hoopla and the Foundation and Friends picnic. In your opinion which of these events would offer the best view for NYE.

    Also is there a local Facebook or ticket sales page where people may post tickets to the other sold out parties at the botanical gardens. Thank you!

  6. Hey! Thanks for the nice tips. Are you sure if it’s really okay to bring your own alcohol to birchgrove or Balmain? Because on the official Sydney nye site they said it’s prohibited…

    • Hi Lars
      I have just checked, and it appears you are correct. All the Balmain sites are now alcohol-free. I am sorry for the error and have updated the page. It’s a shame that they restricted BYP in so many places as it makes it an expensive night out if you have to buy them from the bars on site.

  7. Hi,
    Can you give a small insight on the harbour hoopla… as that is still available for sale on the NYE official website

    • I think Harbour Hoopla is selling a little slowly this year because another operator ran that space last year and it was a disaster – bad food, long lines and very bad set up. This year the Royal Botanic Gardens have taken back the space, and I expect it will be managed as well as their other events that have been running successfully for year. You have a fantastic view from this spot, so I would certainly consider it.

  8. We are visiting Sydney from Europe for NYE and want to see the fireworks at 9pm with the kids! How early should we tealistiscally get there to get a good spot? Any idea?

    • Hi Mari
      It depends on where you are planning to watch from. The areas closest to the Opera House and the Bridge will fill quite early. Last year many were nearing capacity at 3 pm. If you are heading to Mrs Macquaries Point, for example, I would aim to be there in line by midday. Bradfield Park and Milsons Point seem to be OK until later in the day. Areas a little further out or without an Opera House view are a little slower filling up. I would head to the city around lunchtime to be sure of a good spot. The heat this year might make some people reconsider sitting out in the sun all day. Also, this is the first year they have locked down all open harbour spaces until 8 am NYE morning meaning you won’t have people camping out overnight for the best spots. Not sure yet what effect that will have. Also being a Saturday fewer people will be working so can come in earlier. So many variables, it is hard to predict. The Official NYE websitehttps://www.sydneynewyearseve.com/vantage-points gives details on how soon the city council expect each area to fill. Wherever you end up, I hope you have a fabulous evening!

      • Hi again! Thank you form your reply! We’ve been looking at the maps and reading about the vantage points and I think we’ll be heading to pirrama park, which is walking distance from where we are staying!

  9. Thanks for your useful info.

    Do you know when all those alcohol free zones got out in place? It’s such an embarrassment. Sydney must be the only city in the world where alcohol is banned in public parks on New Year’s Eve.
    Do you think the authorities in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro care about 1 million people drinking on one beach?

    I remember in the early 2000s we were free to drink in Sydney parks while watching the fireworks.

    • Hi Daniel It seems the alchol free zones are increasing every year. I think it really started increasing about 3 years ago and it’s gotten to the point of being ridiculous in my opinion. Sad you can’t see in the New Year with a glass of bubbly!

  10. Hi, I have got tickets for the Cahill expressway as well. Any tips on how to make the most of them and also what may be the best location? Thanks

    • Hi Andrea How did you find the Cahill? We arrived in time to get a front row spot not far from the elevator and were really happy with our view of the Harbour Bridge. We were not able to see the Opera House at all – that end of the road was really packed and we decided as locals it was not such a big deal for us. The bridge is more of a focus but it would certainly have been much better to have been more towards the western end of the road.

  11. You are absolutely amazing! Thank you for putting this together and replying to everyone as well! Just a quick question what would the atmosphere be like at cruise bar (if you’ve been there) do they have a capacity limit (to allow for breathing space)? And also would it be impossible to find a table to sit at etc? Looking to have a chilled out time rather then a “hard party” style.


  12. Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair is not recommended for someone wanting to see the fireworks. Too many trees obscure the view. Great if you want to party with your friends though.

    • Hi Dave Thanks for raising this, you are right it seems Mrs Macquarie’s chair has turned into party central – I suspect this increased this year due to the fact most of the other free Harbour vantage points were alcohol-free. Certainly, something to keep in mind for next year and I will update my article to reflect this. If you get there early, it’s still a great view, but later arrivals will find you stuck under the trees.

  13. This is very helpful, thank you! Question about transport- are there ways to reserve a car service to/from the harbor if you’re doing a cruise or how do you recommend getting back to your hotel/arinbnb after the evening?

    • Hi Alex
      Glad you found the page useful. The streets around Circular Quay will be closed from mid afternoon on New Year’s Eve until early the next morning. You will most likely need to walk back to a meeting place determined by your car service. Uber and Taxis are very hard to find on this night, so I would recommend having a booking if this is important to you. Trains at Circular Quay station also stop for a few hours as the crush if it was opened would be just too dangerous. I would follow the advice of the car service company as they will be familiar with the road closures.

  14. I found your page whilst starting my research on a first time trip to Australia with limited time but for me NYE Sydney was a must. Very useful info .. torn between a tall ship experience and the Opera house.. but found the comment about booking a hotel on the same side to avoid crossing bridge useful though need to work out my geography now.. as a specific any additional ideas for the solo traveller ?

  15. Hi
    Thanks for all the useful info on here. We are a couple from the UK, in our 50’s, who happen to be flying into Sydney on NYE at 7.30pm..and want to book accommodation somewhere in the city, with the hope of still being able to see some fireworks… Are we being unrealistic given we will probably not be in the taxi from the airport until around 9pm!

    • Hi, Catherine firstly if you have not already booked your accommodation do so as soon as you can. By far the easiest option will be if your hotel has a rooftop or view. Lots of the main areas are full by 9 pm, but then a lot of families head home after the 9 pm show so it can be easier to get a spot at 10 pm. Let me know where you are planning to stay, and I will make some recommendations based on that. Also feel free to join our FB community where you can pick the brains of a bunch of locals. You can join here https://www.facebook.com/groups/Sydneyexpert/

  16. Hello Paula,
    This such wonderful information! We’re traveling to Sydney for NYE with our 11 year old; booked at a hotel in Circular Quay but now torn between keeping the room with a view or splashing out on the Hoopla or Lawn party. What do you recommend?

    • Personally I would keep the room with a view and splash out on great wine and fancy food 🙂 Either Hoopla or the Lawn Party will have great atmosphere but the food and the lines at Hoopla can be disappointing for some.

  17. Hi Paula
    As a Pommie who has never been to Aus before, info like this is really invaluable, cheers 🙂
    We are a family of 3 with an 8 year old boy staying in Camperdown for NYE. Whilst keen for the adults to able to celebrate with a drink or 2, we are conscious that keeping an 8yr old occupied for the afternoon until the late show might be quite a challenge.
    Would appreciate if you could give some suggestions that will keep both old and young occupied in the south with a great view too

  18. Hi,
    Thanks for this page it has been so useful. My wife and I will be travelling from the UK for a short 7 day stay in Sydney so that we can see the fireworks and your site has helped me such much. I have one question though as I am torn between 2 locations, the Aria or the Opera Kitchen. I have been leaning a bit towards the Aria as we would like a sit down meal but am slightly concerned the view might be obscured after looking at the website. Would you have a preference of which one might be best?


    • Hi Ray So glad it has been helpful. I would probably choose Aria but honestly either would be a great night out. Enquire directly with Aria regarding the view but I imagine they will keep the Bridge end of the restaurant as standing space for everyone to gather for the fireworks show.

  19. Hi Sydney Expert,wrt capacity/room for an estimated crowd at the free venues, would they be gated and people getting denied entry? I experienced that Circular Quay one year and ended up not getting a view of the fireworks as I was kept outside the gate and the only view was Cahill Expressway which blocked the view of the whole bridge and harbour. In particular, I am thinking of going to Blue Point Reserve this year.

    • Hi Michelle, not sure where my previous response went – I have been travelling with sketchy internet so my apologies as I thought this response had saved. Blue Point Reserve fills quickly each year with many people arriving there first thing in the morning. The capacity here is Capacity 15,000 and it reached that at 6pm last year. With NYE on a weekend this year I expect it will fill earlier. Bradfield Park is a good back up plan as it did not reach capacity until 11pm.

  20. Hi! Your information is super helpful. We spent NYE on our boat in Sydney Harbour in Farm Cove. Super fantastic view. Question for you; there were kayakers in Farm Cove for the fireworks. How would one go about getting out in a kayak?

  21. Hi! Planning to be in Sydney for a week during NYE 2018. Going with my husband and 2 kids (6&5yo).
    Best time to book a hotel? Area? All the hotels right now have a no-money-back policy (Pay now full amount!). Would be too risky to wait another 6 months? Also where can we spend NYE with small children… Any child friendly location/restaurant?

    • Hi Marcela There is no need to book yet. I would wait until after Easter at least. What do you need from your hotel? I would seriously consider the YHA at the Rocks. They have family rooms and you can watch the fireworks from their rooftop terrace. If you are considering a hotel room with a view you will be looking at a minimum 3-5 night booking and at least $500 a night for a budget hotel with no view and way over that if you want a view. I am working on a post of the best hotels for NYE at the moment that I hope to publish early February. Keep your eyes out for it and perhaps join our Facebook Community, several members shared their NYE experiences there this year.

  22. Hello,

    Thank you for this great article. Me along with my wife and my 3 year old son would be visiting Sydney especially for NYE and have already booked our hotels in CDB. I believe RBG is the most convenient location and Harbour Hoopla would be a good event. We have also registered at the link at RBG website. However, we are not sure if the pre-sale has started would would it start later. Any guess by when you it be available.


  23. Hey,
    I have a question about viewing the fireworks. Is it also possible to not enter any of the areas (free or paid), and to just stand somewhere on a random spot to view the fireworks? This because we do not feel much for entering an area really early, but prefer to just go to the city and view the fireworks from a random point. However, I cannot find anywhere if this is possible.

    • Yes you can just stand on the street and have a view of some of the fireworks. However, anywhere with a view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House will attract a crowd. I would suggest Bradfield Park. Bradfield Park under the northern side of the Harbour Bridge is a good spot to turn up later in the night.

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