Mrs Macquarie’s Point NYE Fireworks

Mrs Macquarie’s Point, the dress circle seats for the Sydney fireworks. We have spent many a NYE here and today share our review of this favourite New Year’s Eve spot.

In 2023 this site is a free site again but aspects of the review may have change as it relates to my visit in 2017

If you are trying to decide if you should spend New Year’s Eve at Mrs Macquarie’s Point, read on. I have seen in the new year from this spot four times and have tried here to cover the main things you might want to know to help you decide if it’s the right spot for you.

You might also like to check out our mega list of 45 places to watch the NYE fireworks in Sydney.

What’s it like to what the fireworks from Mrs Macquarie’s Point?

As a fireworks vantage point, Mrs Macquarie’s Point, also known as Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, is hard to beat. Right in front of you are our two best-loved icons, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, providing the perfect backdrop. Add to that two firework barges right in front of you are a view to 3 more up and down the harbour, and you are surrounded by the action. Oh and best of all – it’s free!

Where is Mrs Macquarie’s Point?

Mrs Macquarie’s Point is a large grassy area that hugs the harbour at the edge of the Royal Botanic Gardens. It offers a fair amount of shade and a postcard view of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

The area has a capacity of 18,000 people, but even with such huge numbers, it fills up earlier every year. The site opens early in the morning, and it is usually packed and closed well before dark. Serious NYE revellers bring sleeping bags and begin to queue the night before. I arrived at midday in 2011 and had to join a 1-2 hour line to enter. If you arrive at 4 pm, you will probably miss out.

Sydney NYE Queue at Mrs Macquarie's Point
The line up to enter Mrs Macquarie’s Point – bag searches tend to make this a long wait.

What type of visitor is Mrs Macquarie’s Point best for?

This is the spot for party lovers on a budget who have plenty of time to spare. This is not a good place if you don’t like crowds, but if you do, you have found your home! With a few thousand people waiting for the action to begin, the mood is excellent.

Mrs Macquaries Gold Area NYE
Tree cover at Mrs Macquare’s Point

Despite the crowded conditions, everyone is generally very well-behaved, with good numbers of security staff. 

Overall I would describe the atmosphere as friendly, although it can get a little rowdy later in the day. We witnessed a couple of young ladies from the UK who had had a little too much sun (or beer? who’s to say) decide they need to dance topless!

What is available at the site?

Food and drink are on sale, standard festival fare, noodles, wraps and the like at gourmet prices. Beers are pricey, but there was a refund on bottles to encourage returns. The wine was only available in 1-litre tetra packs, but it was surprisingly good from memory.

You can bring in all your food and non-alcoholic drinks but no glass. You are searched on entry, and they take things away, so it’s best to follow the rules.

NYE View Mrs Macquarie's Point
The crowd at Mrs Macquarie’s Point patiently waiting for the night to begin.

Would I do it again?

Wall to wall people, pretty disgraceful portable toilets, overpriced drinks and long entry queues and yet for many years, this was my favourite place to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks display in Sydney.

Mrs Macquarie Point crowd NYE Fireworks 2011
The crowd waiting at Mrs Macquarie’s Point New Year’ Eve 2011

The older I get through, the more I think it’s worth getting organised and coughing up the big bucks for one of the Royal Botanic Gardens ticketed areas that offer a slightly better view sans trees, and the addition of a 5-course meal, a dance floor and a seat. It does not get any better than this for anyone on a budget, provided you can get a spot away from the tree cover.

Pros: The view and the vibe, oh and it’s free

Cons: The toilets get more revolting as the night goes on, no music or entertainment while you are waiting. The drinks are pretty expensive.

My tip: BYO toilet paper, sunscreen and a deck of cards to pass the hours of waiting time.

Sydney fireworks from the iphone
A photo from my phone

Have you been more recently? What did you think?

I have reviewed my last four New Year’s Eve outings, so make sure you check them for full details. If the crowds are a turn off consider a harbour cruise.

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5 thoughts on “Mrs Macquarie’s Point NYE Fireworks”

  1. Now totally out of date. Prices rise each year. Food is non-existent queues to stinky toilets are long and arduous. Why bother!

  2. Hi Wendy, Thanks for your comment. I do not feel this post is totally out of date. While I have not personally been to this spot in the last few years, several of my colleagues have, and I have updated this post each year based on their feedback. I did mention the long toilet queues and high drink prices. The crowd numbers have been the same the last five years, so I think the photos do give people an idea of the numbers there. I agree this is not the spot for everyone, me included, but plenty of young party people still love it. It is an option that gets talked about a lot by visitors, so I wanted them to be able to see some real images of the surroundings and the queues, so they know what to expect.

  3. What is the best time to queue up to get the best available viewing area? I am coming with my 85 year old mother and couldn’t make a booking(Harbour Hoopla).Should I bring bedsheets and pillows?

  4. Hi, great articles on SYD NYE!
    Can you comment on the ticketed area at Mrs Maquarie’s Point too?
    Trying to find out how much it is likely to cost and whether it’s worth coughing up the funds 🙂

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