Very probably the single and most iconic New Years Eve fireworks anywhere in the world take place in Sydney, with the focus being the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. As one of the first major cities to greet the new year, the rest of the world turns its eyes to Sydney first of all. I spent the most memorable new years eve of my life in Sydney and can personally recommend it as being without peer.
You need to get there early to secure a decent spot, and be aware that it's an alcohol free event so you won't be able to take any booze, although we found they didn't apply a scent test to this policy so should you decide to spice up, say, your 2 litre bottle of Coke then you should get away with it. If you want to be certain of being able to have a drink then stick the The Rocks or head to one of the viewing areas across the harbour, the north shore is a good choice.
There will this year be an official live stream webcast of the Sydney family fireworks and midnight fireworks available. The New Year 2013 was the first time this has happened in the event's history, and it was repeated again for NYE 2015, where it again proved a huge success with over 600,000 viewers so will be repeated to welcome in 2016 - see the streaming section below for the link.
The theme for the new year 2016 fireworks display is "City of Colour" and will feature for the first time both sides of the harbour bridge's pylons being illuminated by fireworks.
The full program for this new year is as follows:
6.50pm: Fire-tug water display on the harbour
8.40pm: Lighting of Sydney Harbour Bridge effects and pylon projections, with live performance by Rhoda Roberts
9.00pm: Family fireworks display
9.15pm Harbour of Light Parade
Midnight: main fireworks display form the harbour bridge, barges in the harbour and the Sydney Opera House.
Before and after the fireworks then the area around The Rocks is the place to be, although be aware the whole area will be absolutely rammed and specific bars will all be ticket-only (and the tickets for this night will not be cheap!) so make sure you plan well in advance, and allow plenty time to get where you're going, and to get served once you're in there!
There is also a big party this year at Pier One Sydney Harbour, equipped with a marquee right under the harbour bridge and combining great harbour views with drinking, dancing, dining and of course luxurious hotel rooms - get more details and tickets here.
If you don't want to get involved in the crowds around the harbour and Opera House themselves, then there are some excellent vantage points to be had a little further afield - head over to the north shore for a more panoramic view, and you can avoid the public transport issues completely by viewing from across the bay at Manly, which is a few miles away but still affords a decent view of the fireworks.
Some harbourside viewing points are actually offered for sale by the National Parks service. You can secure a spot of the prime location of Clark Island for a whopping $400, while more reasonable prices can secure enviable views from Shark Island, Bradleys Head and Nielsen Park.
Another good idea for securing a front row view of the fireworks is to attend the NYE Harbour Party at Luna Park, perfectly located at the far end of the harbour bridge.
One of the best possible views available is from the vantage point of the Sydney Tower Eye, with it's 360 degree observation deck and the famous SKYWALK. Tickets are available for both the 9pm and midnight fireworks displays - details to follow.
The iconic midnight fireworks event over Sydney Harbour is watched annually by more that 1.5 million spectators actually at the venue and by more than 1 billion viewers across the world via TV an internet. The official celebrations start from 5pm and festivities get bigger with the 9pm Family Fireworks preceding the main display at midnight.
One way to guarantee your view is to watch from actually on the water. There are a few companies offer this opportunity, including the Sydney Showboats, where you can make a real evening of it with food, drink and live music before taking in the fireworks from one of the best vantage points possible.
The Harbour of Light Parade is an additional visual spectacle for all to enjoy in the lead-up to the fireworks displays, a parade of boats of various shapes and sizes being lit up before parading in convoy across the harbour.
For those of a more cultural leaning then it is actually possible to celebrate new year's eve at Sydney Opera House itself, where Opera Australia hosts a black tie dinner event, with live music, an exclusive party and of course some of the best possible views of the fireworks.
Places to watch live online: Sydney has capitalised on it's new year's eve global supremacy by starting to stream the midnight fireworks online, meaning you can watch the full show from anywhere in the world - watch the live online webcast here
The stream is also available via the Telstra Youtube channel, which also has The Official Sydney New Year's Eve App for Android and iPhone whcih will also have the live streamin coverage - you can download the app here
In Australia the evening will be broadcast in a 4 hour special by ABC1 (presented by Stephanie Brantz and Lawrence Mooney) with the family and midnight fireworks shows also being screened live on ABC News 24.
The city's iconic status also means it benefits from several handily positioned live webcams, which mean several different perspectives are available for all of the day's buildup, plus of course the fireworks - check out these live cam views:
New: Webcam showing live the iconic view of Sydney, from the Opera House to the Harbour Bridge, including Circular Quay, The Rocks and the Overseas Passenger Terminal:
If you're planning on visiting Sydney over the New Year period, then early reservation is strongly recommend. You can search, check availability and book local hotels here.
AirBNB is another increasingly popular option for accommodation but again be aware that hosts very much tend to capitalise on the occasion and anythin gwith even a partial fireworks view is going to command a substantial premium.
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