It’s that time of year again. The weather’s heating up, the calendar’s winding down and thoughts are turning to party season. While Melbourne prepares to bid adieu to 2016 and hello to 2017, Larissa Dubecki has compiled 10 exciting New Year’s Eve events to enjoy as the clock ticks down to midnight.
Footscray Park fireworks
Why should Melbourne’s CBD have all the fun? In the west, Footscray puts on a family-friendly show set around the banks of the Maribyrnong River that gets bigger each year. Ringing in the bells for 2017 includes a 9.30pm fireworks display, free entertainment including carnival games and rides, food trucks and a great line-up of bands including Mental as Anything, family favourite The Mudcakes, Horns of Leroy and spectacular African dance act King Bell and Soukous Ba Congo. Get there early to secure a good spot and make sure you take a picnic rug.
Footscray Park, 40 Maribyrnong Boulevard, Footscray
Darkness and Light
Melbourne’s newest New Year’s Eve event, Darkness and Light promises to be a South Wharf spectacular on the banks of the Yarra River, featuring DJs, light installations and dancers at South Wharf Promenade. Tickets range from general admission with canapés and house drinks to premium riverside private booths for up to eight people, featuring private dance floors and Mumm Champagne delivered at midnight.
Eureka 89 – Elevation 2016/2017
It’s a New Year’s Eve party high in the sky. Right up on the top two floors of Melbourne’s tallest building, the 360-degree view of the fireworks is incredible. Best glad rags are required for this sophisticated ticketed bash complete with DJs, roving entertainment, canapés and free-flowing fizz.
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The party’s always raging at Melbourne’s coolest South American joint, tucked down hip AC/DC Lane and decked out in vibrant street art style. And for New Year’s Eve it's only going to get hotter, with festive Cumbia beats playing soundtrack to a Peruvian feast. Guests have a choice of going a la carte or choosing a $100 set menu featuring all the Pastuso greatest hits including ceviche – and free-flowing pisco-based cocktails, of course.
Le Bon Ton
Party until 6am on New Year’s Day at Collingwood’s debonair Southern US saloon. Its ticketed Carnival Extravaganza will feature an all-you-can-eat New Orleans backyard barbecue, live music and Mardi Gras-style entertainment such as sword-eaters, burlesque dancers and fire-throwers. And drinks? Oh yes, there will be drinks.
Melbourne CBD fireworks
The crowds throng to the inner city for the annual midnight firework display, safe in the knowledge that finding a good spot to see the sky’s bedazzling isn’t at all difficult (we recommend the grassy slopes at Birrarung Marr for maximum ooh factor). You can tune in on FM radio 99.7 for the official New Year’s Eve soundtrack, which is synchronised with the fireworks, and visit one of four official “live” sites (at Docklands, Flagstaff Gardens, Treasury Gardens and Kings Domain) where there will be free entertainment and countdown screens.
St Kilda beach gets all the attention – and all the backpackers – during the festive season but for a secret New Year’s Eve spot, nothing beats Williamstown for unadulterated views across Port Phillip Bay to the fireworks lighting up the midnight sky. Grab an ice-cream from one of the shops near The Strand, unfurl a rug and settle in for a civilised end to 2016.
It’s one of Melbourne’s quintessential bars, stretching 150 metres along Flinders Street Station’s disused platform nearest the river. Arbory Bar also hosts one of the city’s quintessential NYE celebrations. All bases are covered with this ticketed event: DJs spinning tunes, food from chef Nick Bennett, an oyster and charcuterie station, canapés and more than 18 taps serving craft beer, cider and wine. As for the theme? Dress to impress with a splash of red.
Want a New Year’s Eve with a bit of urban grit? Pilgrim Bar, located on the river alongside the bluestone vaults of Federation Wharf, is hosting a cocktail party, with tickets covering an all-inclusive, all-Australian drinks package of premium beer, wine and spirits, plus canapés.
The Boatbuilders Yard
Melbourne’s coolest indoor/outdoor venue – a reimagined historic boatshed with a huge wooden deck – will be capitalising on its position on the south side of the Yarra (an excellent vantage point for the fireworks) with a ticketed event that includes music, entertainment and all-inclusive beer, wine and cocktail food. Get in before November 20 for a discounted early-bird ticket.
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