New Year’s Eve in Sydney 2020-2021

Due to the pandemic, many of the details for 2020’s celebrations are slow coming through but we are constantly updating this content as new information is released. Please bookmark the page and return or join our Facebook group to stay up to date with the offerings.

The biggest change for this year is that the Fireworks will be presented by the NSW State Government and not Sydney City Council.

The 9pm Family Fireworks show has been cancelled. The midnight show will also be shorter. This is probably not the year to sit outdoors and wait for the show in the sky but to book a hotel with a view, a restaurant with a view or ticketed party if you want to celebrate in the city centre.

“Only those with confirmed bookings at hospitality venues will be allowed into the city. Those without bookings will be turned away. To show appreciation to all NSW frontline workers, designated areas around Mrs Macquarie’s Point, the Sydney Opera House and Campbell’s Cove will be reserved for them.” Details will be listed on the official site in coming weeks.

Updated: 17 November 2020

Frequently asked questions about NYE in Sydney

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:

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

Portside Sydney Opera House
The view from the Sydney Opera House

Sydney Harbour Fireworks Vantage Points

2020 is likely to see many public vantage points closed or open to very limited capacity. Priority will be given to essential workers who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic. As soon as we know specific information we will update this, but if you usually head to the harbour foreshore, you may be best to make different plans.

 

New Year’s Eve Harbour Cruises in Sydney

If you are thinking about booking a New Year’s Eve Harbour Cruise, I suggest you head over and read our detailed advice about what to look out for when deciding which cruise operator to book with.

The view from your NYE cruise depends on the position your boat has secured

2020 NYE Cruises

These traditionally go on sale quite early with early bird prices about a hundred dollars cheaper than final prices. This could be the year to grab a bargain on the harbour with no international visitors demand is expected to be lower. If you’re a local who has not had the opportunity to be out on the harbour on NYE, this might be your best chance.

How much do NYE Cruises cost?

If you want to be on the water under the fireworks, then you are looking at somewhere between $250 and A$600 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 is a great way 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. Twenty something’s may not like to listen to a 60’s band all night 😉 like the fifty+ might not like 5 hours of dance music.

In most years at about 9.20pm after the first round of fireworks, many of the vessels on the water turn on their lights and parade up and down the harbour until the midnight fireworks. We are unsure about whether this will go ahead in 2020 however it may well do. You can view the official Harbour of Light parade vessels for more details if you would like to join one of them.

Captain Cook Cruises

Captain Cook will have three vessels on the harbour this year. Their flagship the MV Sydney 2000, Captain Cook 3 and the John Cadman 2 so let’s go through what’s on offer on each vessel. Note, all cruises depart from King Street Wharf at Darling Harbour and offer individual seating. I have dined on all three of these boats and would happily book again.

The Flagship the MV Sydney 2000 has three decks with different offerings

NYE Sky Deck Dinner – The top indoor level will host a 5-course dinner, with baby lobster and superior drinks (including a glass of Premium Veuve Clicquot Champagne at midnight). There will be live music and you can guarantee a window seat for a surcharge. Tickets are on sale now and cost $799 (Earlybird)

Captain Cook Sydney Harbour
The Sydney 2000 – Captain Cook’s Flagship vessel

NYE Club Deck Dinner – on the middle deck will offer a 4-course dinner with premium drinks, live music and a glass of Champagne at midnight. Earlybird pricing for this deck is $699 ($899 full price)

Ocean Deck – located on the entry-level and the best choice for anyone with limited mobility the Ocean Deck still offers fab harbour views. It will feature continuous roving canapés and bar food and lounge-style seating. There will be live entertainment, and window seats can be guaranteed for an extra $50 pp. Earlybird pricing on offer now for $699 ($899 full price)

Captain Cook 3 – will host a deluxe 4-course seated menu (TBA), an open bar of still & sparkling wine, local & imported beers & standard spirits. Early bird pricing is $599 ($799)

The premium vessel the John Cadman 2, has a huge open rooftop deck and exceptionally comfortable is offering a seated 4-course menu, and open bar is on sale now for $599.

Other cruise options

  • Majestic Cruises have two cruises, a 5-course sit-down dinner for $900 (no kids under 7yrs). 
  • A Bella Vista Glassboat cruise offers great views indoors or out this 6-hour cruise leaves from the casino wharf and offers a buffet, open bar, DJ and is a Harbour of Light vessel. $799
  • The MV Vagabond Spirit is a premium cruise with seafood and meat buffet, open bar (premium drinks included), DJ. Window seating for most tables and three outdoor deck areas. $825
  • Quayside Charters – Have the My Way for $798 – large rooftop deck and a generous buffet and drinks package.
  • Manly Fast Ferry Cruises – Detail of the 2020 offerings are not yet confirmed – they are still showing the 9pm show which has been cancelled?
  • Sydney Harbour Tall Ships – Inside the exclusion zone, two boats on sale include dinner, drinks and live music $949 pp
  • The Sydney Heritage Fleet Waratah – Tickets on sale now BYO dinner, snacks and beverage $500 each.
  • Fantasea – A quality operator with a full range of options from the 90min family cruise for $650 (2A+2C) and $850 for the premium vessel with buffet, unlimited drinks and DJ. They also have a 9 pm family cruise for $295

Want more advice about things to consider before you book a cruise? Check out our main NYE Cruise tips here.

Dining with a view of Sydney Harbour for New Year’s Eve 2020

Having a ticket to a restaurant or event in Circular Quay will be one of the only ways to access the Harbour foreshore this year.

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!

Many will require full payment when you book and refunds may not be available so choose carefully! We have created a brand new complete guide to NYE Dining in 2020.

NYE Dining at Circular Quay

Sydney Cove Oyster Bar will celebrate its last summer at Circular Quay after many years. We will be sad to see it go but this is the perfect time to bid them farewell. Check their website for details on what is being offered.

Aria Sydney with their premium view of the harbour has two offerings, the early seating is $300. The main event, from 7:30pm, will set you back $1450 Details here

Cafe Sydney – Right above Circular Quay with a dress circle view. I have eaten here several times and never been disappointed. NYE they will offer a five-course dinner paired with premium Australian wine. Bookings are $880 per person.

L’Aqua @ Campbells Stores – The Dockside Group will run a pop up for 2020 with a starting time of 7pm $225 per adult, and $110 per child. The menu is an alternate service.

For many more choices see our main NYE Restaurant Packages page.

NYE Events in Sydney 2020

Capping off a year of unknown much of the detail around this year’s event is not yet available. We are not even certain that the usual venues will be open. As soon as we hear we will update these below.

Events will be added as details become available. Check each listing below for more information. If after reading all this, you still can’t decide then you are welcome to pop over to our Sydney Expert Facebook Group and ask any specific questions you might have.

New Year’s Eve at the Sydney Opera House 2020

Performances, Parties and more

Opera Australia usually hosts the NYE party at the Opera House. However this year they an announcement on their website that they will see us in 2021 which suggests this year’s shows will not go ahead. Check their website for any updates to this.

Opera Bar Sydney View
Opera Bar is a great NYE choice

Opera Bar

No news whether Opera Bar will offer an event this year. We have reached out to them for details and will update when we hear back. I love Opera Bar; it’s the ultimate outdoor venue for NYE on the harbour. In 2019 tickets were $460 (+ $4 booking fee).

I reviewed NYE at Opera Bar after my visit several years back. It was a great night. 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

Opera Kitchen has also announced they will host a 2020 NYE Event. No details have been released, but you can sign up on their website for the mailing list. Just along from Opera Bar and with the same great view. Great views, especially from the upper tables and guaranteed seating.

Bennelong Restaurant

Bennelong will be hosting an event this year, but details are not yet available. You can sign up on their website to be the first to hear. The restaurant inside the small shell of the Sydney Opera House. Executive chef Peter Gilmore (Quay) runs the show here, and his food never disappoints. I have eaten here several times and always loved it.

 

New Year’s Eve 2020 in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens

We are awaiting advice from the Royal Botanic Gardens regarding their events in 2020 but as they usually go on sale in late September or October it looks unlikely this year.

Beyond the wharf NYE cruise
The best view in town.

Watching the fireworks from The Royal Botanic Gardens is like sitting in the dress circle. This year they have five paid options for ticketed entry to their amazing locations for those who are not members of the “Friends of the Botanic Gardens”. Tickets are on sale now. 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 presale tickets are released.

NYE Garden Party at The Calyx

Of all the Botanic Gardens events this one is possibly the most likely to go ahead. We hope to hear confirmation soon.

The Botanic Gardens Restaurant

This is another spot we think may be happening but will update as soon as we can.

Botanic Gardens view NYE fireworks
Actual view from reserved viewing area.

Concerts and Parties on NYE in Sydney 2020

Sydney has a New Year’s Eve party to suit everyone!

If you would prefer something a little more structured for your evening, you could try one of these fabulous venues. They usually release these details in Sept or October. This year things are a little slower thanks to the year we have had! I have left 2019 pricing to give you an idea of what to expect.

A New Years Eve “Mask-erade”

Don your finest mask and prepare for an evening of fine food and wine with a trip to the roof for the NYE fireworks show.

View from the rooftop of the Sir Stanford Hotel Circular Quay
Rooftop view from the Sir Stanford Hotel

Tickets include food, a 5-course degustation menu with matching wine. Sparkling wine for the midnight toast. and an exclusive birds-eye view of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks from their rooftop. The event runs from 8pm to 12:30 am. Tickets cost $449 (+ booking fee) and are on sale now.

 

Taronga Zoo

A fantastic choice for families Taronga is well known for its fabulous harbour views. Money raised from these events is used to fund the zoo, so you are also helping a great cause.

Last year there were 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.

Harbour Party at Luna Park

Luna Park North Sydney
View of the bridge from Luna Park

Harbour Party is set to go ahead although details are not yet released. Sign up to their newsletter or check back for updates in coming weeks. Last year tickets started at $149 pp

Sydney Observatory

This over 18s event held in the grounds of the Sydney Observatory is a key fundraiser for the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. This cocktail party features DJs and photo booth to help you celebrate while you wait for the skies to light up. Tickets are $325 and include a substantial finger food package and beverages (French Champagne, red and white wines, beer, cider and soft drinks)  More details Last year tickets did not sell out until 27/12/18

Cruise Bar at Circular Quay

With its position on the Overseas Passenger Terminal at West Circular Quay, this is a great place to see in the New Year. Dance the night away with the hottest DJs including headline act Ron Carroll (USA), Random Soul, DJ Nino Brown and many more. Tickets in 2019 were A$399 VIP package a 3-hour food and beverage package from 6pm-9pm on Level 3 – Free-flowing champagne from 6pm-9pm – Access to all Levels 1, 2 and 3 – 15 DJ’s (House and RNB). General admission tickets $109 (plus booking fee) and includes Glass of sparkling on arrival (before 8pm) – Access to Levels 1 and 2 – 11 DJ’s (House and RNB). Cruise has a slightly limited view of the Harbour Bridge from the balcony but the Opera House view is hard to beat.

Pirama Park Pyrmont

2016 Sydney New Year’s Eve Pirrama Park Wharf, Pyrmont

This event provides a western view of the Habour Bridge. There are 800 tickets, priced at $179-200 which include a meal (starter, main course, dessert) and single drink. Details and tickets available here. Last year these tickets did not sell out until 29/12/18.

Park Hyatt Hotel in The Rocks

See in the New Year in style; the Park Hyatt Sydney is collaborating with Moet Hennessy to offer a New Year’s Eve celebration with views like no other, unlimited cocktails, canapes and the live mix of a DJ. Tickets on sale now Adults $550 per person | 18 years and above only.

 

Hotel Palisades

Head to the Henry Deane bar on levels 4 and 5 of the hotel for a 4-hour food and drinks package and stunning harbour views. The event runs from 7 pm until 2 am and costs $490 per person No under 18s admitted. Book directly with the venue.

New Year’s Eve in the Sydney Harbour National Park and Harbour Islands

Another of the main organisers with no tickets on sale or events planned – suggests this is unlikely to go ahead in the same format as past years. As soon as we hear anything to the contrary, we will update the details below.

Shark Island view

Sydney Harbour National Park encompasses a substantial part of the harbour foreshore and three harbour islands. These sites are ticketed to control numbers and are relatively well priced considering the views they offer. Children under five yrs are generally free at the National Park venues but check booking conditions for each location. There are usually two ferry times for arrival and departure, and you choose these when you book your tickets.

Tickets for all of these are on sale now! Last year the islands were sold out by 26/11/19

Clark Island Garden Party

Clark Island is the closest of the islands to the Harbour Bridge and has excellent bridge views but offers restricted views of the Opera House as Garden Island blocks it.

  • Entertainment includes a DJ (DJ Paul Guy)
  • Tickets include food (a three-course meal, consisting of canapés and a cocktail on arrival, a choice of main and dessert) & one drink.
  • Cash bar for buying extra drinks.
  • Capacity is 480 people making it a great way to avoid crowds.
  • Ferries will depart near Circular Quay at 6 pm and 6:45 pm.

Cost: $410.45 for adults, $252.43 for kids (5-15 years), children under 5 are free. Tickets are on sale now. Find more information here.

Shark Island Party

Shark Island is perfectly positioned with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge directly down the harbour.

  • Entertainment includes DJs (LUEN, Recess DJs) playing a range of house, disco, funk and soul music on the dancefloor
  • Tickets do not include food or drinks, and no BYO food or alcohol is permitted.
  • Capacity is 780 people.

Cost: $247. 33 for adults, $175.97 for kids, children under 5 are free. Tickets are on sale now. Find more information here.

Note: Ferries to Shark Island will depart from Rose Bay Wharf. You can also take a bus from the city to reach the wharf but be prepared for a long trip back to town after the event. When we went, it took us over 1.5 hours to get back to the city.

 

Goat Island Picnic

BYO Picnic – $216.64 adults and $145.28 kids 5-15 yrs. A small island located directly west of the Bridge and almost entirely in line with it. You have a fantastic view of the bridge itself although you do miss out on the light display on the front of the Bridge.

New Years Eve Goat Island
Our view from Goat Island 2015

You can read my separate review of NYE on Goat Island and see what I thought when I spent NYE here. 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 October. This is the cheapest harbour island option, so these tickets often sell out quickly within the first fortnight. Sold out 31/10/19

You can BYO alcohol here. It is not readily wheelchair accessible – there has been no accessible toilet in previous years. Responsible amounts of BYO alcohol permitted.

Bradley’s Head Viewing areas

Located on the North Shore, there are three ticketed areas at Bradley’s Head. The biggest drawback here is transport. Make sure you have considered access before booking these.

View from the amphitheatre at Bradley's Head
View from the amphitheatre at Bradley’s Head

The Amphitheatre has the best views and tickets are Adults are $85, and kids are $44. The tickets sell out first for this area.

The Mast Precinct is $54 for adults and $28 for kids. You have Harbour Bridge views but only partial Opera House views.

Finally, Athol Lawn is $354 for adults and $38 for kids. Same views as the mast but they are somewhat restricted by treetops: Alcohol-free but food and drink for sale.

NYE at Nielsen Park

Located in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney in Vaucluse – ($40 adults, $22 kids 5-15yrs) Great view and a very relaxed vibe make this a good spot for families staying in the east. B.Y.O. Alcohol and food, picnic blanket. Very limited parking – buses do run nearby.

NYE at Strickland House

Milk Beach View
Strickland House will have a similar view to this one taken from the beach below.

Stickland house offers excellent views of the harbour and distance views to the Opera House and the Bridge. The is a BYO event with alcohol permitted. Gates open at 5.30pm and only 1000 tickets are available. You can take the 325 bus to the venue, but getting home without a car could be challenging. Tickets in 2019 $39 for adults $23 for kids

Accessible Areas – Wheelchair access for the NYE Fireworks

Six areas are listed as fully accessible. You need to make a booking for these areas on a form issued by the council. These areas all feature accessible toilets

  • Mary Booth Reserve at Kirribilli on the northern side of the harbour
  • Mrs Macquarie’s 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 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 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.

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

Got a Question?

Want more ideas for exploring Sydney? Join our friendly community where you can ask questions and get advice from the locals

133 thoughts on “New Year’s Eve in Sydney 2020-2021”

  1. Hi There,

    Awesome information. Thank you. Just wondering, the Cahill Expressway, is the walk up to the view point very steep and hard to do? or is it manageable? Thank you 🙂

    Reply
  2. Hi There, we have a booking at HartsPub @ Rocks for 6pm, 2 adults, 2 kids. Can we just walk back to Circular Quay and stand anywhere we find a spot to watch the 9pm fireworks? First time in Syd. Many Thanks

    Reply
    • This is very unlikely Nat. They expect bigger than usual crowds at Circular Quay this year because it is one of the few free unticketed areas this year. I would double-check with Harts for what they suggest.

      Reply
  3. Hi<

    I'll be staying in George St. Tiger Hosted CBD , which vantage point is best to watch the Sydney fireworks & be able to go back to hotel easier. Thinking of Sydney Opera, Campbell's Cove, Bradfield Park Milson’s Point or Harbour Hoopla as other ticketed events/ areas are already sold out?

    Reply
  4. Thanks for this great summary! We are visiting from Austria and have decided to go for Soiree over Portside as it is 150 less and they offer almost the same with (hopefully) even better views!
    Cheers

    Reply
  5. Hi there
    I will be in Sydney for the first time from the UK this new years eve and I’m staying near Bondi Beach – I note you advised to stick to the side of the bridge you are staying on – are you able to advise which side of the bridge I will be on – being based 5 minutes from Bondi Beach. many thanks 🙂

    Reply
  6. Hi, I’m a female solo traveller, the wrong side of 50, who will be on a Cruise Ship docked at White Bay Cruise Terminal. Cruise company cannot guarantee a great view of the fireworks. Never been to Sydney before, looking for best place to view….thinking on one of the boats, or Opera House. Thank you!

    Reply
  7. Hi!
    We are spending NYE 2019 in Sydney and have a hotel booked in Lilyfield. There are 3 of us. Where would be the best place to view the fireworks? Unfortunately we cannot be in Sydney early enough to catch a boat for a harbour cruise, but we are willing to pay for a good view on the South side of the bridge on the Eastern side.
    Thanks for your help.
    Jim Mason.

    Reply
  8. Hi! I will be at The Tank Hotel in Stream 97 Pitt Street, Central Business District, for NYE 2019-2020; what is the best location for the 9pm fireworks?

    Reply
    • You can reach any of the Circular Quay locations in a 5-minute walk. If you want a free area you will need to get there by mid-afternoon at the latest. Perhaps consider Campbells Cove which is one of the lower priced events or Hickson Road if you are happy to pay a little more.

      Reply
  9. HI! We are visiting for NYE from the Uk, we have heard James Squire’s landing is a great spot of the bridge and opera house but know it is a new venue and you haven’t listed it hear so unsure as to try there or not. do you know if it’d be a good spot for NYE? Thank you, may 2020 be one to remember!

    Reply
    • Yes Ben Squire’s Landing does have a great view. I didn’t list it last year because it was the first time and I wanted to see how it went but I will add it shortly. It’s pricy but you are right in the thick of it.

      Reply
  10. Thank you for the amazing post (and for carefully replying to all questions!)

    We are a couple spending our 1st NYE in Sydney, willing to invest in a remarkable experience. Two main criteria would be – 1) amazing view, close to the action, 2) not too crowded, with a plethora of selfie sticks. We don’t really drink so don’t care about champagne fueled parties, but a nice ambiance/music would definitely be a plus. What would you recommend?

    Huge thanks and really look forward to getting your thoughts.

    Reply
  11. Hi,
    We are a couple (30’s) from the UK and are staying at the Rendezvous Hotel Central and wondered if you could recommend a few places that side of the city that would best to view the fireworks and be best to get to and from the hotel? Different options and budgets would be great to explore.
    Your website is extremely helpful.
    Many Thanks,
    Lucyna

    Reply
    • You will be able to take the train from Central to either Martin Place or Circular Quay (this closes about 5pm). Where to go depends on how much you want to spend. Campbells Cove or Dawes Point are reasonably priced. Perhaps head over to our FB group for more ideas. We have discussed this in great detail there.

      Reply
  12. Hi!!!! We are 5 adults and a baby, we wanted to know if you know any cruise that is within the exclusion zone? Or is it better to go to the botanic garden?
    thank you!!!!!

    Reply
    • There are several cruises that are in the inclusion zone. Take a look at the Sydney Ferries options if you are on a budget. Harbour Hoopla would also be good with a child.

      Reply
  13. Watching the NYE fireworks from a friends place in Potts Point, are there any buses or trains from Kings Cross station to Domestic Station,( Budget Ibis Sydney Hotel) after the fireworks?

    Reply
  14. Hi, We are visiting Sydney for the 1st time over Christmas and New year from the UK, and are staying in Parramatta. Can you tell me the best place for NYE fireworks view please ?

    Reply
  15. Hi!

    We are 4 friends going to Sydney for New Years and we are trying to decide where to watch the fireworks. We are between: Campbells Cove, Mary Booth Reserve and Bradleys Head (The Amphitheatre).

    Which one do you think has a better view of the bridge?

    Thanks

    Reply
  16. Hello we are visiting NYE 2019 and looking for a spot to watch the fireworks Southside as staying in Newtown catering for adults and an 8year old we would like to have a drink but BYO is not essential if you can buy. Originally from looking on this site which is amazing by the way I was thinking Barangaroo Reserve. But can you recommend anywhere else that we can get tickets for that we should consider not breaking the bank? Before we book here? We are traveling form the UK and not sure when we would come again?

    Reply
    • Barangaroo is a good option with kids. Harbour Hoopla is also good but will set you back 10 times as much. You can’t see the Opera House but you can see most of the Harbour Bridge and two barges of fireworks are nearby. There is entertainment and affordable food. Drinks were not cheap but they are not ridiculously priced. Hickson Road and Campbells Cove are both great spots too but less space and you need to be there earlier.

      Reply
      • Thank you your site is amazing, current and very informative for international visitors I have found it a great resource, keep it up. Much appreciated advice 🙂

  17. Hi
    We are staying at Sydney Sebel Apartments, 37 Victor St, Chatswood NSW 2067. Can you tell me the best place for NYE fireworks view please ?

    Reply
  18. Hi There,
    Travelling to Sydney from Adelaide for NYE with my boyfriend who will be 17 at the time so we can’t attend over 18 events. Feeling very overwhelmed with all the options for nye but thank you for your blog! What would you recommend between the Harbour Hoopla, Cafe del mare rooftop party, shark island or luna park?

    Reply
    • I would probably not choose Cafe del mare due to location. Harbour Hoopla has a bit of a family vibe but is great. Shark Island has great views up the harbour and usually has good music too. Luna Park usually has a good music lineup and if it allows under 18s could be a good choice

      Reply
  19. Where would you recommend for a young couple (mid 20s)? Thinking maybe Cruise Bar at Circular Quay, Portside, or maybe a cruise (any you would recommend for a young couple too?), but like the look of the views from the Botanic Garden spots.

    Thanks! Found this page super helpful by the way

    Reply
    • All three of these are good options, the Point in the Botanic Gardens attracts a mixed crowd and is very popular with a rock star view in my opinion. Cruise bar has a restricted view of the Opera House so take that into consideration. Another venue that only popped up last year is Squire’s Landing. I was there last night and it has an amazing view of both the icons.

      Reply
  20. Hello,
    we spend New Year’s Eve 2019 in Sydney. Since we do not want to start on New Year’s Eve at 08:00 am, we consider whether we should book a harbor cruise or alternatively watch the fireworks at Midnight at the Oasis.
    But now we want to make sure that we have New Year’s Eve tickets as well. When did the sale of Midnight at the Oasis tickets start last year?

    Is there a risk that there will be no Harbor Cruise tickets when the sale of tickets for Midnight at the Oasis starts or we may not get a ticket for Midnight at the Oasis?

    Thank you very much for the information on this website

    Reply
  21. This is a sensational page. Truly well done! I managed to get some tickets to the Campbells Cove area. What i am not clear on is despite it being a ticketed/controlled area will they actually close it off from everyone even ticket holders? We are only interested in the 9PM fireworks and not hanging around for hours, was hoping we could just rock up sometime before then but not too early and then leave after it. But if they close it at like 6 or 7PM we’d end up coming in for nothing. Hope you can assist..

    Reply
      • Hi. We are trying to choose between Campbells Cove and Barangaroo Reserve. Which would have a better vantage point of the fireworks?

        I saw on a blog that the best would be at the front of the harbour bridge which is where the climax would be. Which is a good place for this without having to spend excessively on ticket fees

  22. Thanks for such great detail! We are considering the Harbour Rocks Hotel package – Harbour suite room/terrace. We’ve been to the hotel before, but not sure if the view from the roof is the best. Do you know? Also, you mentioned the view from the front of the bridge Is best, but I’m not sure what that means – I’m directionally challenged. :). Thank you!

    Reply
    • The “front” of the bridge is the side that faces the Opera House. Your view should include the front of the bridge but I am not sure if it will be at all obstructed. Best to call the hotel to confirm I think. I think the property is a great choice.

      Reply
  23. Thanks for the great summary and tips about NYE, really helpful for someone not from Sydney!

    Do you have any knowledge about the Hickson Road Reserve vantage point at the Rocks?
    My family is going there but it is hard to find info or reviews about that site (maybe goes under another name in reviews or is a new vantage point?)?

    Reply
    • This is the first year this site has been ticketed. The atmosphere and the view of the Opera House are amazing. You are very close to the bridge so depending on the wind it could get a little smokey.

      Reply
  24. Hi Sydney Expert,

    Absolutely fantastic blog and its been so helpful.

    So I’m trying to decide between Portside, Opera Bar and Cruise Bar.

    I used to live in, and I’m bringing a friend over from London to experience NYE in Sydney for the first time. I previously experienced NYE in the Garden in 2016 which was brilliant in terms of views (minus all the other problems). I’m struggling to pick an event that will give us the most bang for our buck, each from what I see has their pros & cons, so I’m struggling to whittle it down, any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Reply
  25. Hi how are you?? I will be in Sydney for Nye and stAying at holiday inn darling harbor any suggestions close by that hotel ? Would love a cruise we are 4 adults budget around 200 to 300 each
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi, There are very few cruises at that price point. Have a look at the Fast Ferry and Sydney ferries BYO cruises. You only go out for one of the two shows for that price generally, you choose between the 9pm or the midnight.

      Reply
  26. Hi there, I would like to propose to my partner on NYE… so looking for a vantage point with good views of at least harbour bridge but preferably also the opera house, intimate setting. One thing is that we will have to be able to reach the location and get in between 10pm and 11pm, since we will be with friends/family outside the city for the 9pm fireworks…
    Do you have any suggestions for us? Thanks very much!

    Reply
    • an intimate setting with a view of the bridge on NYE is almost impossible. Do you have a budget? Perhaps you could book a water taxi? It would not be cheap though. Any harbourside location will be jam-packed with people. I suggest you post this question in our Facebook Group and see if anyone has any ideas. I live on the city side of the bridge and I cannot think of a single spot.

      Reply
  27. Paula,

    This is such a useful page – I’ve recently moved to Sydney and have been looking for a comprehensive guide on NYE for ages, thank you so much for putting all the hard work in!

    In your opinion, is it worth paying a bit more to secure a drinks / food package at the ticketed events?

    Will

    Reply
    • Hi Will, I am not sure if you mean a ticketed area generally or an add-on food and beverage package for specific events.. I think it really depends on how long you are prepared to sit around and wait for the action to begin. The ticketed events mean you are likely able to turn up in the late afternoon or early evening and score a prime position. Alternatively, you would have to be at one of the free areas by early afternoon at the latest for prime position. As for the F&B packages – those really depend on the individual events.

      Reply
  28. Hello Sydney Expert! Really like all the advise on your post…but I’m still confused about the best place to go for my family. We will be visiting from Los Angeles and staying at Meriton Suites World Tower (near Hyde Park). Our kids are 15 and 17 and we are a non-drinking family. What do you recommend please? We are prepared to go to a paid for location.

    Reply
  29. Hi Paula, my wife and I are mid-30s and we will be on our honeymoon in Sydney. We are staying on the Royal Botanic Gardens side of the bridge. We are trying to decide between the following parties: NYE Portside, Opera Bar, Sydney Observatory, Pirama Park Pyrmont, Sydney Harbor Tall Ships and Fusion Cruises. We were leaning towards NYE Portside, but was hoping you might have a suggestion. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Tom Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. From your list, I would choose Portside or the Tallship. The view from Pirama is just not the same as seeing the action up close. It’s not a bad spot but not jaw-dropping.

      Reply
  30. Hi Paula, amazing blog. Thank you.
    My wife and my 2 kids (16 & 15) are coming from Argentina to enjoy NYE at Sydney. We’d love to spend the night watching the fireworks as well as enjoy a MUSIC party (dance, reggae, pop type music) and get dinner. Where would you recommend we go considering South or West side of the Harbour? We don’t mind crowds and our budget is about 600 p.person. There a few places you suggest that seem great (Mrs Macquaries Pt, Midnight at the Oasis) but are for adults only.
    Many thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Pablo,
      Where are you staying? This will help determine which event I recommend as crossing back over the harbour can be a long process after the event is over. Harbour Hoopla at the Botanic Gardens is an all ages event as are the National Park Islands, Clark and Shark – these 2 islands have music too.
      If you are on FB come and join our group – there is so much discussion on this topic already it will save you heaps of time. https://www.facebook.com/groups/Sydneyexpert/

      Reply
      • thanks Paula. We’ll be staying at Novotel Darling Harbour, so we are looking for something on the same side of the harbour (I figure South or West sides would meet that). Clark & Shark islands seem too far away.

      • Dear Sydney expert
        I was hoping to go to Luna park but did not realise it was over 18s only. At this late stage, where can I go with a party of 8 including 4 teenagers. Budget is limited.

      • Hi Caroline with a limited budget perhaps Barangaroo is your best choice. This year also several previously unticketed areas have been changed to ticketed to help manage crowds but will remain free. Check the Official NYE Sydney council website – Campbell’s Cove in the Rocks is one of the new ticketed spots that might be a good option.

  31. Hi Paula, thanks for writing such an amazing and accurate review of the Sydney NYE.
    My family is coming over from overseas, we are 3 couples, my parents, sister and partner, and my 13 old nephew.
    I’m torn in between a few options, our budget it’s around $400.
    After reading your blog, I’m between, Clarke Island, Taronga Zoo Gold, also the Harbourview Hotel in North Sydney (not in your review), or even the Manly Ferry.
    We live close to Manly, which one would you go for?
    I’d love if you can assist me on this one!

    Reply
    • The ferry will have you closest to the action from that list, Taronga Zoo gold would be a good option too. If you are based in Manly I would choose one of those two for ease of getting home.

      Reply
  32. Hi Paula,

    Thanks for this amazing detailed list. I want to spend NYE with my 1yo, husband and my mum but just not sure about the best spot for us. I had a look on Lawn with a view at Botanic Gardens, Bradleys Head (Amphitheatre) or Taronga Zoo (Gold tickets). Which one do you think is better or anything else I’ve missed on the list, please? Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Hi Gabby, which side of the harbour are you staying on? I would not cross the harbour with a small child if I could avoid it as it adds a lot of time to your return trip home.

      Reply
  33. Hi there We are 1st timers in Sydney over New Year and staying in Darling Harbour can you advise what is the best vantage point or restaurant/party to view fireworks within walking distance
    your information is very helpful thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Marie
      Barangaroo would be a good spot for you if you want an outdoors picnic style event. Tickets have been under $50 in previous years and you can buy food at the event. Alternatively, you could try the Star Casino who will be hosting a few events. Many of the restaurants in Darling Harbour have their own NYE dinners and there are fireworks in Darling Harbour itself but you can not see the Opera House or Harbour Bridge from these.

      Reply
  34. Hi there, we have reserved some spaces on a cruise (pending payment depending on where the vessel will be placed on the night). It looks like the council have released who will be in the Harbour of Light parade on their website, however the company are saying they are still waiting on the decision. We have visitors over so really only want to be somewhere between the bridge & the opera house. I don’t suppose you could advise whether we should look into another boat? (would rather not as it is a good price compared to others, and it is listed in your ‘NYE Cruises’ so seems legit!) Thank-you very much!

    Reply
    • Only a few of the Harbour of Light parade boats seemed to have been named so I would assume that the company you are dealing with are still waiting for confirmation. I have only listed trusted companies on this page so you should be safe. I would give them a little more time.

      Reply
  35. I’m going to Australia for the first time over NYE and this is so helpful. Thank you so much for this information!

    Reply
  36. Hey, I am hoping to visit Sydney for new years and was wondering if it would be cheaper to stay outside the CBD and get a taxi on the night or stay central for one night?

    Reply
    • Hi Poly Taxis on NYE are very very rare. Rideshares like Uber and Ola surge at crazy prices. I would factor public transport into your plans as really it’s the only way and it’s busy and safe. How far our are you thinking of staying? Anywhere on the suburban train network would be fine for travelling home. It will be very difficult to find a room in the CBD for one night only as many have minimum stays and those that don’t will be booked out.

      Reply
  37. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  38. 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.

    Thanks,
    N

    Reply
  39. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  40. 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?

    Reply
  41. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  42. 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?
    Thanks

    Ray

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  43. 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
    Thanks

    Reply
  44. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  45. 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!

    Reply
    • 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/

      Reply
  46. 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 ?

    Reply
  47. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  48. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  49. 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.

    Cheers,
    RIZ

    Reply
  50. 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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  51. 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.

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  52. 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?

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
      • 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!

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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  54. 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…
    Greetings

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  55. 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!

    Reply
  56. 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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  57. 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,

    Jorge

    Reply
  58. 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.

    Thanks

    Reply
  59. 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.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  60. New Year’s Eve in Sydney must be EPIC! Especially the warm weather makes it a little more enticing to be outside to celebrate!

    Reply

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