THINGS TO DO
Make a day of it
Before the family firework display begins at 9pm, Sydney Harbour is the setting for a host of activities and pre-show entertainment. Previous years' festivities have included aerial displays, a sunset demonstration of fire tug water cannons, and a traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoking ceremony, which uses eucalyptus smoke to cleanse the harbour of negative spirits. Many roads around the city will be closed during the event, so the best way to travel to and from the city centre is via bus, train, ferry or light rail.
See the fireworks from the foreshore
Numerous vantage points around the Sydney Harbour foreshore provide fantastic views of the fireworks. Access to many of these vantage points is free, but some areas are sectioned off for ticket holders, and you'll need to buy tickets in advance. To be smack bang in the middle of the action, secure a spot at the Sydney Opera House, the Circular Quay promenade or at Mrs Macquaries Point in The Domain. Or on the north side of the bridge head to Mary Booth Reserve at Kirribilli or Blues Point Reserve at McMahons Point. The harbourside park of Barangaroo Reserve is one of the hottest seats on New Year's Eve, with 12,000 tickets up for grabs (adults AUD$29.50, children AUD$5) and offers 180-degree views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and beyond.
Head out on the water
Take in the fireworks from the water aboard a New Year's Eve cruise. There are a number of cruise operators to choose from, and packages include canapés, dinner, beverages and live entertainment. Many cruises also take part in the Harbour of Light Parade, where decorated vessels dance across the harbour from Goat Island to Cockatoo Island and back. Cruises return after the midnight fireworks.
Stay close to the action
When it comes to booking accommodation in Sydney for New Year’s Eve it's all about one thing: location, location, location. There are countless hotels around the harbour that offer spectacular views from their suites, or special firework viewing areas that are reserved for guests. The luxurious Park Hyatt Sydney is nestled between the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge and most rooms have a private balcony overlooking the water. The coveted Grand Harbour View Rooms at the Shangri-La Hotel offer panoramas over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, while the wraparound rooftop terrace above the InterContinental boasts enviable vistas. There are also countless budget-friendly options in the city centre, including serviced apartments and youth hostels, so in the wee hours of the morning you won't have to travel far to rest your head.
Visit the official Sydney New Year's Eve website to see the program of events and learn about this year's best vantage points. Arrive early. This is one of largest and most popular free events in the world and the crowds build steadily from about midday.
HOW TO GET THERE
International flights arrive at Sydney Airport from many global hubs. From the airport it's an easy 20 minute taxi or train ride to the city centre. On New Year's Eve, use public transport (including taxis, trains, ferries and buses). There are extra services operating on the night. Information on transport, vantage points and access for people with a disability is available on the Sydney New Year's Eve website.