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:
- Where are the best fireworks vantage point? This year it’s time to find a friend with a harbour view 😉
- Which restaurants have the best view or special NYE dining packages?
- Should you go on a boat on the Sydney Harbour?
- Which hotels have the best views?
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!
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.
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)
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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