If you could ring in the New Year in any city in the world, where would it be? Keep in mind that January is smack in the middle of Australian summer, and that it’s tough to surpass the exciting vibe and spectacular firework display at Sydney Harbour.
As one of the first cities around the world to celebrate midnight, Sydney sets the standard for the world to follow. With half of the Packed Perfectly team based in Sydney ― and having spent New Year’s Eve in 12 different cities ― we feel qualified to say that ringing in the New Year doesn’t get much better than spending NYE in Sydney Harbour! Visiting Sydney Harbour for New Year’s Eve is one of the most premier New Year’s Eve trips you can take.
One of our favorite spots to celebrate NYE in Sydney Harbour is Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel. Just a short ferry ride from the city and located at the edge of the harbour, it’s a prime location for viewing fireworks all the way down to the world famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. Simply put, it’s one of the best spots in Sydney Harbour for New Year’s Eve.
With an excitable, friendly crowd, multiple bars, and busy dance floors, it’s easy to celebrate the night away under the stars, wearing your hot new Bec & Bridge dress, or a Winona Australia lace jumpsuit with Tony Bianco heels. The Watsons Bay hotspot is located just outside of Bondi Beach. Don’t be surprised if you get lucky and grab a “pash” (that’s Australian slang for “tongue kissing”) from a cute local.
Event tickets start at $100 AUD ($75 USD) for general admission. VIP is around $250 AUD ($180 USD) and includes drinks and a better vantage point to watch fireworks. Watson’s Bay Hotel also hosts a New Year’s Day party.
A helpful tip for spending NYE in Sydney Harbour: New Year’s Day (NYD) in Australia is often bigger than NYE due to the incredible weather, so pace yourself and save some energy to celebrate the next day.
If you’re not at Watsons Bay on NYE, The Island Bar is our 2nd pick, if you’re lucky enough to be one of the 250 people who score tickets early. Tickets start at $250 AUD ($180 USD), and you must apply on the establishment’s website.
With uninterrupted views of the bridge, this European-style floating barge is the perfect place to take spectacular photos and rub shoulders with the Sydney elite.
If you’re after something more low key, any of Sydney’s beachside parks and beaches offer fantastic views and scenery for a picnic with friends. Lay out your Basil Bangs picnic rug, load up the cooler, and kick back on the grass or sand, until the firecrackers start exploding.
The Sydney Opera House is a national treasure renowned for its culture and arts. However, the front steps and restaurants located below are the BEST views of the action. It’s important to note that the establishment starts filling up around 8 a.m. So, be ready for a long day of sitting around, until the first lot of family friendly fireworks start at 9 p.m.
As we said earlier, “Sydneysiders” love to extend a good party. As a result, NYD is often a bigger event than NYE in Sydney Harbor. The brilliant weather and semi-aquatic environment lend themselves perfectly to a day of celebrating with good friends on or around the harbour.
Milk Beach is one of our favourite destinations for NYD. It overlooks the yachts and flat waters of Rose Bay and Gordon Bay. Located just around the corner from Bondi Beach, Milk Beach is home to an unofficial event known as the “raft-up”, where scores of yachts drop anchor, and hundreds of locals take to the bay on their own personal flotation devices! All you need to bring is a floating device from Get Floaty, a Farron Swim bikini, a cooler with plenty of cold beers (or ciders), and a sunny attitude for enjoying the fun.
If you’re looking for something glitzier, then head to Bondi Icebergs to dance the day away in a stunning For Love & Lemons dress, Petite Grand jewelry, and a personalized The Daily Edit monogramed clutch. The price tag for attending can be steep, varying between $400-$500 AUD ($290-$360 USD). But considering the price includes unlimited cocktails, Veuve Clicquot champagne, and an unparalleled view of Bondi Beach, tickets to the Bondi Icebergs NYD event are snapped up fast.
In 2016, the Packed Perfectly team hired a yacht to cruise vast, spectacular Sydney Harbour. Departing from the Rose Bay wharf, Prometheus and its captain, Paul, took us on a tour toward the breathtaking Harbour Bridge before returning east to drop anchor next to The Island.
My new bikini by Stone Cold Fox was put to good use in the sparkling blue water, about 200 m (656 ft) from shore ― a perfect place to dive from the boat and practice backflips! A few Veuve Clicquot champagnes and Billecart-Salmon champagnes later, we made our way to Milk Beach to raft-up with a crowd of bronzed Aussies. Be sure to have your smartphone fully charged and your camera card empty. This is an Instagrammer’s paradise!
Chartering your own yacht to sail the harbour may sound expensive and out of reach, but there are a number of companies, such as Sydney Harbour Escapes, that offer packages to suit every budget. Prometheus is our personal favorite and is always our first choice to help us celebrate with 20 of our closest friends. They are days that won’t be forgotten, and we’re hard pressed to think of a more fitting way to welcome the great year ahead.
Before you pack your bags and head Down Under for New Years Eve, don’t forget to pick an outfit that’s going to be as memorable as your adventure. Browse our curated collection of apparel and accessories specifically suited for NYE in Sydney Harbour and ring in the New Year in style!
Search More Events