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.
There was actually be a third fireworks display last year, taking place at 10.30pm to help fill the gap between the earlier and later shows and only lasting for a minute! We'll confirm asap if this will be the case again for 2016.
The theme for the Sydney new year's eve fireworks this year is "Inspire". One change this year sees the city's infamous lockout laws relaxed to allow entry to bars and clubs right up until 3am.
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, 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.
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 one 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 - get more details here.
If you prefer to get away from the city and like your live music then the Lost Paradise Music Festival might be worth checking out - taking place over 3 days from 30th December to New Year's Day in the nearby Glenworth Valley this electronic music festival boasts an impressive lineup set alongside plenty of food, art and yoga - details here.
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:
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.
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