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Spending New Year’s Eve in Sydney has long been on my bucket list. Watching the infamous fireworks over the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge every single year while I’m tucking into my sandwich at lunchtime is just something I loved. Even though for me in the UK, New Years didn’t officially start for the best part of a day, seeing that display was exciting and I knew a fresh start that the new year brings was so close.
Shortly after Tom and I got out working holiday visas approved to come to Australia we got looking at accommodation to get ourselves set up for NYE in Sydney. We were finally going for it! Instead of watching the fireworks on the TV we were ACTUALLY GOING TO BE THERE!
The only thing is, Syndey has about a thousand and one places to watch the fireworks from and the costs range from thousands of dollars for the best view in the house to absolutely nothing but you gotta be there from 4am (no kidding). But, fear not! I have the ultimate affordable solution for you – Barangaroo Reserve!
Here’s everything you need to know about spending NYE in Sydney here.
Where is Barangaroo Reserve?
If you look at a map of Sydney, Barangaroo Reserve is just around the bend from Circular Quay and across from the beautiful suburb of The Rocks making it super easy to get to. It’s Sydney’s newest reserves to be made and it sits on 2 hectares of land which makes it a great space to spend New Year’s Eve. It’s a beautiful spot overlooking the water, and the modest size means no crazy crowds to fight through on the day. It’s excellent location also means that buses run to it too.
Tickets and times
Tickets cost just $40 for adults and you have the option at time of purchase to add on hampers for food and beverages to collect on arrival. Barangaroo isn’t shy about telling you details about the day either – from the time of purchase you get given information about how much food and alcohol costs from the bars and also a map of where the entertainment will be so you can really plan your time.
For people like us who want to carry around as few bits of paper as possible, the option of an e-ticket is also super convenient. If not, you can always print and e-ticket or pick up your ticket on arrival.
Barangaroo offers spectacular views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and let’s face it, this is what the Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks are all about. The proximity of Barangaroo to the Harbour Bridge means you can almost see the whole of it too. Pretty awesome huh?
It’s also a poorly known fact for all non-locals like myself, that fireworks don’t just take off from the harbour bridge but there are in fact 4 other displays that are launched from the water. From Barangaroo you can also see 3 of these, with one of them literally being right in front of you.
Where to sit
Barangaroo has 2 levels – the waterfront pathways on the ground level and the Stargazer Lawn up the stairs. Tom and I check out Barangaroo a couple of days before NYE as we’d never been there and walked along the waterfront where once you get around the bend, has a great view of the harbour bridge. However, on the day we took a gamble and ventured up to Stargazer Lawn and were not disappointed. There’s plenty of grassy space to grab a pitch and as it’s a slope, you won’t have anyone blocking your view. There was a bar, food stalls and a stage in sight, as well as the Harbour Bridge making it the perfect spot.
On the day
The beauty of going to a ticketed event such as Barangaroo is you don’t have to get up at stupid o’clock and simply waiting. Here, the entrance is located at Nawi and gates don’t open until 6. I would recommend getting there early as there will be a queue and you want to still be able to get a good spot. We were waiting in the queue from 4.30pm and it was a great way to soak in the atmosphere without a huge wait.
Another great thing about Barangaroo is you can bring in your own food and sealed bottles of soft drink. This helps keep the costs down and will, of course, help soak up the booze you can buy once you’re in there. Chairs, blankets and small umbrellas are also permitted so you can chill out in comfort before the main event.
If you don’t want to bring your own food in then there are a number of great food stalls dotted around and they’re seriously reasonably priced. From Japanese to burgers to oysters, there really was a great selection. What’s even better is the prices range from $6 for a hefty portion of fries to $20 for Fish and Chips, but that’s as high as the prices got. The bar is equally as reasonable with beers from $8 and wine from $10 per glass. If you feel like splashing out on some bubbles you can pick up Champagne for $60 but you get $10 back if you return your bottle. Decent!
Before the fireworks, there are DJs and musicians performing on 2 stages creating a great atmosphere and a chance to have a dance, sing along or awkward head bopping that I usually do. Whatever takes your fancy yanno. Lets face it, New Years just isn’t right without some cheesy music!
Pros and Cons of spending New Year’s Eve at Barangaroo
As with everywhere, there’s gonna be some good and not so good. I have to say though, I thought it was a wicked place to celebrate the New Year and being able to tick it off my bucket list was amazing. Here are a few things to bear in mind though.
- It’s super affordable.
- You don’t have to spend the whole day sitting and waiting like you would at the free spots.
- The event is ticketed so the number of people entering will be controlled and not crazy.
- You can bring your own food and sealed bottles of soft drink in.
- You can bring your own chairs, blankets and umbrellas -something that is sometimes banned at the free locations.
- BUT most of all, you get a wicked view of the fireworks from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the water!
- Alcohol cannot be brought in
- Therefore the bars can get pretty busy and you can only purchase a limited amount per person
- You can’t see the Opera House
But all in all…
Spending New Year’s Eve at Barangaroo was pretty awesome. I loved that I didn’t have to sit in the blazing heat or rain all day just waiting, I loved that the food and drink inside were not massive rip-offs, and I loved how intimate the space was. Spending New Year’s in Sydney has long been on my bucket list and I definitely feel it can be ticked off after spending it at Barangaroo!
Want to see more of Sydney at this time of year? Check out my video below!