Book ahead at some of Sydney’s best New Year’s Eve parties to usher in the new decade with a celebration to remember.
Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel
Its enviable beachside location is a hot ticket any time of year but Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel is turning it up a notch this New Year’s Eve. Not content to rely on its panoramic Sydney Harbour views, the hotel is putting on a party with a beach club, drag performances by Brendan de la Hay and local-girl made good KLP as the headline act. General admission costs from $129 and includes an hour of drinks and access to the Beach Club for the fireworks. Take it to the next level with a VIP ticket ($249), which promises canapés, two hours of drinks and access to all areas.
5pm-2am; 1 Military Road, Watsons Bay
NYE in the Park
We know the harbour fireworks are world-famous – but if you’re from Sydney, you’ve probably been there, done that. Eschew the water this year for Victoria Park in Camperdown for NYE in the Park. There will be food and drink trucks and a stage set to host Girl Talk, Hermitude, Sneaky Sound System, Client Liaison and Safia. Final-release tickets are now on sale for $129.90; there are also fancier options such as VIP Garden ($169) or the truly extravagant Sky Deck Experience ($799) that guarantees backstage entry, unlimited bubbles, canapés, an exclusive terrace deck and, most thrillingly for a music festival, VIP bathrooms.
From 5pm; Victoria Park, Camperdown
Harbour Party 2019
With rides running until 1am, an unbeatable location and numerous bars and eateries, Luna Park’s Harbour Party 2019 makes a pretty convincing New Year’s Eve plan. Add tunes from Hot Dub Time Machine, Example and Thandi Phoenix and unlimited rides and you’ve got yourself a real party. The first few rounds of tickets have already sold out but the fourth release ($190) is still available. There are, of course, other options including the Crystal Palace VIP: $439 buys guests their own party space, canapés and free-flowing drinks. And if that’s not quite right, try the Palais and Altum packages ($749), which include a six-course dinner with matching wines and priority entry.
6:30pm-2am; 1 Olympic Drive, Milson’s Point
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NYE @ Pier One Party
Glide past the crowds at Circular Quay and into the stylish Pier One Sydney Harbour hotel, where things are decidedly plush. The tickets (general $599; VIP $799) are pricey, but they’re all-inclusive. Load your plate as you wander among the premium street-food stalls; choose cocktails from pop-up bars and, of course, enjoy a front-row seat to some of the world’s best fireworks.
7pm-1am; 11 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
The first New Year’s Eve celebration at Opera Bar was in 2002; the party has been getting bigger and better each year since. This year, the celebration promises to be the best yet. Here’s what the bar has in store for ticket-holders: live entertainment from Bermuda Social, Soulphonics and more; roaming performers; food served all night; and priority entry to the Sydney Opera House precinct. The event costs $495, and a warning: it sells out every year.
6pm-2am; Sydney Opera House, Lower Concourse Level, Sydney
Sunset Supper at Aria
This year marks 20 years of Aria, the Sydney fine diner that has maintained its position at the pinnacle of the city’s restaurant scene since it opened in December 1999. And it shows no sign of wearying, with a plan to celebrate New Year’s Eve in signature style. The credit-card withering Premium Package ($2020) is now sold out, but there are still tickets available to the Sunset Supper ($300 for adults; $150 for kids). This early seating is for a three-course a la carte meal. After the hour-and-a-half supper is complete, there’s plenty of time to wander and find a prime position for the early fireworks.
5pm-7:30pm; 1 Macquarie Street, Sydney
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The Squire’s Landing
Situated at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at The Rocks, The Squire’s Landing is ideally situated for the fireworks. The pub is offering two options for New Year’s Eve: The Upper Deck ($500) welcomes partygoers to the upper level, with a three-hour beverage and canapé package and access to the Harbour Deck for firework-viewing. The second, The Forecourt ($350) takes place in the beer garden and also includes three hours of canapés and drinks.
6pm-2am; Overseas Passenger terminal, Circular Quay West, The Rocks
Rockpool Bar & Grill
Not everyone wants to be dancing the night away on New Year’s Eve. Some of us would rather be nibbling, sipping and reflecting with our nearest and dearest. The dining room of a Sydney institution, then, is the perfect option. At Rockpool Bar & Grill, there’s a four-course set menu ($155) including Spencer Gulf Kingfish witH lemon, black sesame and Davidson plum; Abrolhos scallops with Aleppo pepper and orange oil; Cape Grim grass-fed fillet of beef; and a passionfruit pavlova. The price includes a glass of NV Ruinart “R de Ruinart” Brut; for an extra $55 there are matching wines.
66 Hunter Street, Sydney
If you can’t play dress-ups on New Year’s Eve, what’s the point? The Botanist’s theme is the desert, which, if you think about it, offers rich pickings. Will you be an explorer? A character from One Thousand and One Nights? A Burning Man attendee? While you ponder this, allow us to appraise you of the deal: for $125 per person, guests will enjoy a two-hour drinks package, canapés, DJs and prizes for best costume.
9:30pm-2am; 17 Willoughby Street, Kirribilli
Endeavour Tap Rooms
A low-key New Year’s Eve is all very well, but even the most relaxed among us need a plan. There won’t be a single spot at the bar at any of The Rocks’ famous pubs for the errant walk-in. A ticket to Endeavour Tap Rooms is a good bet: for $80, you’ll receive beer or wine on arrival and a shared banquet. Add a $65 two-hour drinks package to make it a party.
From 6pm-late; 39-43 Argyle Street, The Rocks
Taronga Wildlife Retreat
Drink in the views of Sydney Harbour from the vantage point of Taronga Wildlife Retreat. Book the New Year’s Eve experience at the brand-new lodge at Taronga Zoo, which includes a six-course degustation at Me-Gal restaurant, an incredible view of the fireworks from either the restaurant or the N’gurra Lounge, as well as overnight accommodation and the potential to wake up to a koala in the window. The package costs from $1987 per room based on double occupancy.
Check-in from 3pm; Bradleys Head Road, Mosman
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Grab your swag and jump a ferry to Cockatoo Island this New Year’s Eve. The island is welcoming campers to stay at its waterfront campground – meaning you can unzip your tent to the sight of sparkling Sydney Harbour on 1 January 2020. There will be pop-up food stalls and bars, live music, island tours and activities. There are options to either BYO tent (from $400 for four people) or take a pre-erected one with sleeping mats or raised single beds and optional extras such as camp chairs, toiletries, linens and esky (from $700 for three adults or two adults and two children).
Ferry times vary; Sydney Harbour National Park
The Doss House
As the city sky explodes in light above, hunker down below at The Doss House. This heritage bar in The Rocks is throwing a Roaring Twenties party to ring in the new decade, so don your best Gatsby-chic and grab an Old Fashioned. Standard tickets are $130 and include a drink on arrival, six hours of canapés, bubbles at midnight and live music; the Premium Package ($195) includes an additional three hours of free-flowing drinks. Prohibition, eat your heart out!
6pm-2am; 79 George Street, The Rocks
NYE Strickland House
Pack a picnic basket (don’t forget the champers), grab a rug and head to the grounds of beautiful Strickland House in Vaucluse with kids in tow. This family-friendly New Year’s Eve promises excellent views of the harbour and fireworks and plenty of room for young ones hopped up on creaming soda to run around. Tickets are $38.33 for adults and $22.53 for kids. Children under five are free.
5:30pm-12:20am; 52 Vaucluse Road, Vaucluse