Australia is one of the first in the world to toast in the new year. More than a billion people globally tune in to the LIVE broadcast of our world class pyrotechnic shows. The Sydney New Years Eve is brought to a standstill in a spectacle of daytime aerial shows, a parade of harbour lights, finally culminating in a multimillion dollar sky flaring art display powered with over 8 tonnes of fireworks. It’s a national tradition with close to 2 million people descending into the city. Whether you’re new to Sydney, visiting it for the first time or looking to make it a night to remember, we explore some of the hippest vantage points in the thick of all the action and some worthy of note alternatives.
The Island Sydney is a member based floating club and applications are encouraged from those with tough skin. Quite simply, when requesting membership, it helps if you’re referred in as it works on a polite but inevitable “don’t call us, we’ll call you” basis. The demand is so great for this place, it’s just impossible to respond to everyone due to the sheer volume of requests so don’t take it personally if you don’t hear back. Just hang in there and keep trying as they have a whole string of events lined up including some new innovations in the new year!
But if you are lucky enough to get in to one of the city’s most exclusive Sydney New Years Eve parties, you’ll enjoy prime views of the entire city skyline with the spectacular 9pm and Midnight fireworks show providing the backdrop for this ocean panorama. They’ve received special permission from Maritime Services to anchor ‘The Island’ floating club and bar in the exclusion zone for small boats. This is located between Cockatoo Island and Clarke Island. Just 500 metres from the Sydney Opera House, a deluxe range of canapes to complete the premium bar service of beer, wine and spirits. And of course, Champagne for the midnight toast. It’s one of the most coveted tickets in town, with no other venue able to match some of the exclusive extravagances this one does to usher in a New Year.
When: From 7pm to 2am
Price: Apply to purchase tickets on Membership Approval
Where: The Island Sydney, Sydney Harbour
Now if it’s panoramic views you like, we do have another option for you offering the same – only this one stands 309 metres (1013 feet) or 95 storeys high in the iconic.
Sydney Tower Eye and its sky high “360 Bar & Dining” restaurant will be putting out an unlimited buffet spread of over 55 gourmet dishes. Matched with an endless flow of wine, beer and soft drinks, a live band will be providing entertainment. A balloon entertainer with colour and squeak twisting creations will be on standby for the kids as the floor to ceiling windows provide views of all the action across the major city landmarks up in the air amongst all the sky filled hues and sparkle. For groups of 10 or more, receive one complimentary ticket.
City of Sydney and NSW Transport are no stranger to the swarms of crowds that will be flocking to the CBD all day. You can be assured a swift exit back out thanks to all the extra public transport services, coordinated road closures and police services that will be on hand.
However, why not build a short staycation into your night out? Save yourself the hassle of unavoidable waits for your taxis and uber and check-in to one of these properties that will also be hosting their own Sydney New Years Eve events in prime view of the main attractions.
When: From 7:30pm to 12:30am
Price: Adults $550 | Kids $250 (3-12 yrs old)
Where: Sydney Sky Tower, Market Street, Sydney
Pier One offers 189 guest rooms under the southern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and is a 106 year old former shipping wharf. If the plethora of pillow choices are anything to go by (ie. Pillow menu: Standard polyester pillows, plus feather/down, pure natural latex, contour memory foam and boomerang pillows on request) – its bound to be an experience taking you to realms of luxury many can only dream of.
The set up will be like it’s own makeshift festival with pop up bars pouring Absolut & Havana Rum cocktails, wine, craft beers and Chandon. The street style food stalls will be serving Seafood Paella, Kerrigan mini-burgers, Pork Bao Buns, Oyster Bars, Cheese & Charcuterie grazing tables. Live acts provide the soundtrack to the party to end all parties.
When: From 8pm to 1am
Price: From $499 per person
Where: Pier One, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
The Novotel Darling Harbour’s in-house bar, asian kitchen and grill will play host to a cocktail masquerade ball. A 15th Century tradition reserved only for the most elite, it was a playful way to bring a crowd together as they attempted to guess one’s identity. The colour choice and design, a discreet means to assert freedom of speech, emotion or send hidden messages to one another.
The Ternary’s revival of the masquerade will lead you into an inescapable ripple of choreography on the dance floor as live bands and DJs dance you through the end of 2018. Free flowing beverages and food for 5 hours, on-site parking is available and there are some compelling rates to choose from if you’re looking to procure one of the 525 guest rooms available for the evening.
When: From 730pm to 12.30am
Price: $319 per person
Where: Murray Street, Pyrmont
The Deck Restaurant’s private venue space, Palais, is the most coveted ticket within the Luna Park space and the best vantage point at Harbour Party just 600 metres away from the main attraction. Canapes and a select Chef’s carvery will be served with a premium selection of wines, beer and house spirits. The private boardwalk features prime view of the main landmarks for the fireworks show and tickets include priority entry to the Big Top, all Luna Park rides and Crystal Palace VIP lounges.
The Veronicas will be headlining the entertainment lineup which includes electro pop queen, Nicole Millar, house DJ KLP, Zephyr resident DJ, Nat Conway and a string of acts featuring FBi Radio and Purple Sneakers.
When: From 7pm to 1.30am
Price: 3rd release tickets are still available, $579 per person
Where: Olympic Drive, Milsons Point
For those with a propensity to avoid the mass mobs this year, know that you still have some spectacular options available to you should you be looking to venture outside of the usual hotspots and looking for that flavour of quirk as you twerk and work your way into the new year…
It’s for the uber cool urbanites who prefer to march to the beat of their own drum. Going against the grain, the 9 hectare park hosts an escape from the drama of the CBD with a stellar lineup of DJs and live acts set across two stage areas with matching dance floors. Grazing through the park you’ll find pop up bars, gourmet street food vendors and spaces throughout to chill with your crew, starting the new year on an easygoing relaxed note. The countdown takes place before the main screen where all punters converge to welcome in 2019 and the atmosphere is one great way to see in 2019.
Price: Final Release tickets and VIP Tickets are still available, $129.90-$160.90
Where: Parramatta Road, Broadway
If there’s anything worth gambling your New Year’s Eve plans for, it’s this! Just over an hour south of Sydney (75km), the ultimate party people at FBi Radio and Resident Advisor present their beachside pop-up event. The setting at an undisclosed warehouse location to be revealed closer to the date if not on the night to ticket holders.
The only information you have to go off is its Wollongong location somewhere on Bulli Beach. The set list boasts an ensemble of international DJs of German House, UK Dub Step, House and more including: Motor City Drum Ensemble, Mall Grab, Midland (UK), Moxie (UK), Ben Fester, Nite Fleit, Adi Toohey, Parkside DJs, Freda & Jackson.
Price: At the time of writing, tickets literally sold out, but there is a waiting list, you can register your details here.
Where: Secret Warhouse Party, Bulli Beach, Wollongong
In the opposite direction, 54 minutes north of the harbour bridge, a ‘hidden wonderland” manifests amongst a 300 acre estate. It’s described as one of the most unique music festivals in Australia unlike any other currently out there. Known for being the largest horse riding and outdoor adventure centre, Glenworth Valley in the hinterland of the Central Coast hosts a 4 day festival running through to New Year.
You must enter by 4pm at the latest to enjoy the four day festivities that go long into the night. Come and go as you please or set up camp or glamp as you explore the unique fusion of music, experience stations, sparkling conversations by water, yoga, acoustic sessions, inspirational talks. creative and performing arts, massage. disco yurts, twilight parades, electronic alcoves. sumptuous feasts. four-poster day-beds, aerial acrobatics and costume!
Price: 3 and 4 day passes include camping permits, $369-$419
Where: Glenworth Valley, Gosford
The 85 hectare heritage site brings together the community and surrounds and is a short drive just 32 minutes out of the Sydney CBD. The celebrations foster a family friendly environment with face painting, amusement rides and a food village of mobile truck vendors. Select a spot on the open range to plant yourself and enjoy the roving entertainment of creatives that weave themselves through the gathering of punters throughout the evening prior to the 9pm fireworks finale.
Entry is Free and it’s a great options to enjoy that much deserved night out without having to go through the main brunt of revelers making their way back from the midnight shows in the city.
Price: Free Entry
Where: Corner of Pitt & Macquarie Street, Sydney
It’s a community mecca for many in the area and a connection to the much beloved NRL team. Some of the 11 dining venues ranging from desserts, burgers, seafood, asian and grill will be providing their own lineups of entertainment, but it’s the outside backyard where one has to be, come Sydney New Years Eve.
The grounds are transformed with the arrival of carnival rides, food stalls and jumping castles with fireworks both at 9pm and Midnight.
Entry is Free with ample parking on-site. What a great city we live in, filled with so much vibrance and unique finds in and around Sydney to celebrate the end of a year where we’ve achieved and accomplished alot and welcome in the promise of a new one.
Price: Free Entry
Where: Mulgoa Road, Penrith
So where do you see yourself this New Year’s Eve?
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Rad's top 10 action sports, adventure events and music festivals in 2019