Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Australia: Where and How

new year's eve australia

New Year’s Eve Australian celebrations are famous in the whole world. Not only Australia is one of the countries where the new year arrives first, but being in the Southern hemisphere, Australians also enjoy Christmas and NYE holidays at the peak of their summertime.

Tourists from all continents flock to the land Down Under during this time of the year. Although most people are attracted by the spectacular Sydney fireworks, there are plenty of other reasons why you should spend NYE in Australia.

In this article, you’ll learn about the various options available to international tourists who are looking for a unique Australian New Year’s experience. Moreover, you’ll find out how to plan your end-of-the-year holiday to ensure a smooth and hassle-free time, from getting the right Australian visa to avoiding crowds.

Who Has New Year’s First?

It’s a common belief that Australia is the first country to kick-off the celebrations. However, although the sun of the new year rises pretty early here, Australia only ranks 5th in the list of countries who celebrate NYE first. These are:

  1. Tonga
  2. Samoa
  3. Kiribati
  4. New Zealand
  5. Australia

How Do Australians Celebrate New Year’s Eve?

Australia is a very diverse country and there is something from every taste. In major cities, the new year is welcomed with fireworks and parties featuring music. Masquerades and theme parties are common and parades are very popular too.

However, the country also boasts unique landscapes and stunning natural beauty. Considering that the temperatures in January are ideal for outdoor activities, it’s no surprise that many Australians decide to stay out of the main urban centers. Boat cruises, parks and beaches, and even camping in natural reserves are all popular alternatives. Many decide to throw their own party — usually involving the classic Australian barbecue — and invite friends and family to their house.

As the clock strikes midnight, party-goers hug, shake hands, or kiss each other to express their joy.

Where Can I Watch NYE Fireworks in Sydney?

There’s nothing quite like watching the fireworks being launched over the Sydney Harbour. The event is so iconic that over 1.5 million people reach the city center to experience what many consider the biggest NYE fireworks.

Here are the best spots to watch the show:

  • Mary Booth Reserve. Capacity: 4,500 people. Opening time: 8 am.
  • Cremorne Point. Capacity: 7,000 people. Opening time: 1 pm.
  • Bradfield Park. Capacity: 35,000 people. Opening time: 8 am.
  • Blues Point Reserve. Capacity: 15,000 people. Opening time: 8 am.
  • Darling Harbour. Capacity: 40,000 people. Opening time: 11 am.

Entry is free for all of the above locations. However, alcohol is not permitted. These are all very popular spots with both locals and visitors, so they can become very crowded. Arriving well in advance is highly advisable.

For those who enjoy welcoming the new year with a toast, there are some panoramic spots that allow alcohol like Birchgrove Park.

Alternatives to the Sydney Fireworks: Where to Go in Australia for NYE

If you’ve seen the fireworks already or prefer to stay clear of crowded spaces, there are plenty of other things worth doing in Australia for New Year’s Eve. Music, food and wine, and nature are just some of the reasons why celebrations Down Under are worth applying for an Australian visa and booking a plane ticket to the other side of the world.

Watch the Last Sunset of the Year in Western Australia

The beaches of Western Australia are famous for offering the most picture-perfect sunsets in the country as well as ideal surf conditions. Whether you decide to enjoy the last hours of the year riding a wave or at one of the many White Parties organized on popular beaches, it will be one to remember.

Music and Nature at the Lost Paradise Festival

Those who like the idea of dancing the year away are likely to be amazed by this four-day music festival at the centre of 12,000 hectares of bushland in Glenworth Valley. The festival is completely eco-friendly and committed to leaving the land as pristine as it finds it.

The performances of local and international artists alternate with talks, yoga workshops, and traditional Indigenous activities.

Australia’s Largest Food and Wine Festival

Foodies and lovers of fine wine should head to Hobart for five unforgettable days at the Taste of Tasmania festival. The event is the biggest and longest-running food and wine festival in the country.

You can expect waterfront views, performances and live music as well as the traditional New Year’s fireworks to accompany over 70 stallholders showcasing Australia’s finest delicacies — from world-renowned wines to seafood and cheese.

Tour the Northern Territory’s Most Famous Landmarks

For those who really want to avoid congested cities, there are several operators who organize luxury NYE camping tours at Uluru and King’s Canyon. These rock formations are considered the very heart of Australia, internationally famous for their importance in Indigenous culture. The view over sacred Ayer’s Rock and the many walks available at King’s Canyon National Park are likely to go unmatched by any other celebrations.

Planning NYE in Australia Ahead

As it’s always the case with travel planning, playing ahead is key and may make a big difference in your experience and budget. Remember that this is considered the high season in Australian tourism and transport and accommodation are in great demand. Book ahead to avoid disappointments and costly tickets.

Moreover, you won’t be granted entry into the country unless you hold a valid Australian visa. The easiest and quickest to get are the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) and the eVisitor visa. Both can be applied for entirely online in minutes from anywhere in the world.