Sydney is one of the first few cities to see in the New Year and Sydney Harbour it is quite possibly the greatest place in the world to be when the clock strikes midnight. Sydney’s New Year celebrations attract a global audience with an incredible one billion people tuning in online or on TV to witness the display. Over 2 million people flock to vantage points across the city to watch Sydney, its land marks and its harbour illuminated by colour and light. Past years have seen an astounding 7 tonnes of fireworks explode from buildings and barges, erupting off the arches, catwalk and roadway of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The Sydney New Year programme of events promises to enthral and delight year on year like never before. The celebration begins around 6pm and culminates with a colossal firework display, it is the largest and most technologically advanced display in the world. This year it promises some new and exciting effects but the fireworks and Sydney Harbour Bridge effect are always kept secret until midnight on December the 31st. Each year the event takes on a different creative director and theme, past year's themes have included shine, colour and inspire.
If you’re planning to see in the New Year at one of the biggest parties in the world, we’d like to help you experience the best of it. After all, it may happen every year, but most of us can only hope to see it once in our lifetimes and we don’t want you to miss a thing.
The countdown begins - an example of past years itineraries
• 6pm – The evening’s festivities start with a thrilling aerial display over Sydney Harbour Bridge.
• 7.00pm – A fire tug blasts tones of water high into the sky creating a magical water display against the back drop of a setting sun.
• 7.30pm - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander vessels rid the harbour of negative spirits with traditional eucalyptus smoke which flows across the water, cleansing the past and preparing everyone for the New Year ahead. Expect some impressive pyrotenic smoke effects.
• 8pm - The Aerial acrobatics return for a second installment of heart stopping flying maneuvers.
• 8.30pm - The shows ultimate star, the Sydney Harbour bridge has its time to shine with images projected onto the surface of the north and south pylons.
• 8.40pm - Red flares erupt from boats assembled in the harbour and from Sydney Harbour Bridge following an Acknowledgement of Country ceremony, a Music and Dance display which honours the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander culture and heritage.
• 8.45pm – Second to the fireworks, this is the next most anticipated event of the evening and the Sydney Harbour Bridge Effect is finally revealed displaying images that reflect the annual theme.
• 9pm – Is a tantalizing taster of what’s to come with a short fireworks display designed to allow families with young children an opportunity to enjoy the festivities before the late night crowds start to gather.
• 9.15pm - The Harbour of light parade begins. This year the parade is expected to feature over 60 vessels illumined with bright and colourful lights. The flotilla starts from Cockatoo Island making its way under the Harbour Bridge and east down to Clark Island.
• 12pm Midnight - The firework spectacular begins. The display itself is a closely guarded secret but each year is bigger and better than before. Previous New Year’s pyrotechnics have cost over £4.2 million pounds. Past year’s displays have seen fireworks launched off everything from the Harbour Bridge, city buildings including the Sydney Opera House, to boats and jet skis, so this year anything is possible.
For the best view of the fireworks head to Cockatoo Island, Pont Piper or Gladesville near the harbor. Recommended vantage points do change each year and you can find the most up to date information by clicking here. Whilst the celebrations themselves are free, many of the vantage points require prior reservation so be sure to do your research and secure your spot.
Plan your route carefully and make sure you leave enough time for the journey, you don’t want to miss a moment. Whilst public transport is the best way to get about, given the influx of visitors to the city expect it to get busy. You will most likely be making your way to your chosen vantage point on foot so probably best to leave your dancing shoes at home in favour of comfortable footwear.
For an unrivalled view of the whole event you can opt for one of the cruises which sail across the harbour, although they do get booked up early and can get quite pricey. A number of bars and restaurants around the city offer dinner and drinks packages along with some awesome views of the fireworks. It’s a great way to soak up the electric atmosphere and party until the early hours.