Celebrating New Year’s in Sydney – Watching the Fireworks at the Harbour at Campbells Cove

This year was a very special New Year’s Eve because we started the year with fireworks at the Harbour Bridge and Opera House in Sydney!

You might have seen the famous fireworks on TV several times already because they show them every year. Not just because Sydney is the first big City celebrating into the new year every year, but also because the scenery of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House makes an amazing location.

I was not just lucky enough to have my family over for three weeks in Australia and not having to be without them for Christmas, but we also got to end our road trip from Cairns south to Sydney on New Year’s Eve to see the fireworks at the harbour.

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Our New Year’s Eve Day

We already arrived in Sydney on the 30th and stayed the last night in our camper at Burwood Park where it wasn’t prohibited to stay overnight.

The next morning we checked into our rooms in Burwood at Boronia Lodge, left our camper and went straight into the city centre. Luckily Burwood is only 20 minutes away from the city centre.

We had lunch in the city and walked to The Rocks where we had tickets for a cordoned area with a great view over the Harbour Bridge and the Opera that where FREE! You only need to be quick.

All the areas with the best views are cordoned for New Year’s. For some, you have to pay lot’s of money (the cheapest were around 400$ including food), for the Campbells Cove you just need to be quick to get the tickets (we already got them in September).

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The view from the Botanical Garden over the Harbour is amazing, but the tickets for that venue that includes a dinner where crazy!

After we checked how the land lies because we didn’t know how many people are going to be there / if the view would only be good from specific places that you need to save early etc. we went to get an afternoon snack and some sandwiches for dinner to take away as there weren’t that many food options on the venue area.

From around 4pm we started waiting… because we didn’t have that much information about how the afternoon/evening in Sydney will take place, we had to be there early and wait a lot – but you will be lucky enough to have some more knowledge after reading my blog post and you can improve from our mistakes/experiences!

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Unfortunately, it started raining very hard at around 7pm and we couldn’t stay seated. Luckily there was a bridge on our venue location where everyone looked for shelter from the rain and storm. We also were very lucky that it was still warm because we were not prepared at all and only improvised a rain cape from a garbage bag that kept us dry and warm.

At 9pm there was the first fireworks for the kids which was already amazing and some families also left afterwards.

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We had a few more rain showers and at around 22pm it started to get fuller because they close the gates for the area at 22.30pm. But there was still enough space to sit down and walk around comfortably.

From our place, we could see that that the streets leading to the Harbour through the Rocks where packed. Like really packed. So we were very thankful for our safe space and also the bridge saved us a lot.

All the hours of waiting were very exhausting because there wasn’t a lot of distraction and if we would have known how things work before, we for sure wouldn’t have arrived that early.

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Then it was FINALLY 12pm and the amazing firework started. The firework locations are spread over the whole water area in Sydney and there are no private fireworks allowed (obviously), but the Harbour and Opera view, of course, is the prettiest. It’s just a great show and location!

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After the fireworks, EVERYONE is trying to get to the tram stations as quick as possible and you can’t believe how many people are there. All the streets are packed with people walking in the same direction. It is insane and you can only be thankful that glass bottles and alcohol is prohibited – otherwise, it wouldn’t work out as relaxed!

You can’t really do something to get home quick. It’s just not possible. Everything is crowded and even though there are lots of trams departing they can’t bundle off these millions of humans fast.

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There are lot’s of places you can celebrate the New Year in Sydney with amazing views: rooftop bars, restaurants, at the botanical garden or from a boat – it’s just a matter of how much you want to spend :D

Things you need to know before

  • get lots of information and tickets for the events/locations at sydneynewyearseve
  • in the whole city centre area, glass bottles and alcohol are prohibited and the police (that is very present the whole evening) is allowed to check your bags
  • the streets of the CBD, as well as the Harbour Bridge, are blocked for vehicles from the afternoon on until late at night
  • around 2 million people watch the fireworks at the harbour in Syndey (even more than in New York!) and they all want to leave after the show – don’t even think about getting a taxi/uber or the tram at Circular Quay right away (as long as you don’t stand next to the station while watching the fireworks. When you are close to the Harbour, everyone else behind you will get there before)
  • restaurants and bars might close earlier to prepare for their evening dinners (prebooked way in advance and pretty expensive)

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Celebrating at Campbells Cove

  • more info!
  • they start selling the tickets about in September and you need to be really quick. You can sign up for their e-mail newsletter and be the first to tell when they start selling
  • arrive by tram and walk to the Campbells Cove from Circular Quay – driving by car is just way too stressful when everyone wants to go home and also lots of streets are closed
  • when the weather is supposed to be bad/rainy, lot’s of people that got tickets look for different options or only arrive at around 22pm, but when the weather is good the venue is reaching its capacity at around 5pm, they close the entry at 22.30pm
  • they say they have food and drinks for sale, but there were only 2 stalls and you are allowed to bring your own food and unalcoholic drinks
  • take reusable non-glass bottles to refill so you don’t have to buy their expensive water
  • take blankets, card games, snacks, jackets to survive all the waiting
  • don’t arrive too late (besides that you won’t get a good place) but it also will be hard to get through the crowds to the entry of the venue

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It was an amazing experience and I would never want to miss it, but I have to say that it was also very exhausting and I would not want to do it the same way every year. I am more a person for a chilled dinner with friends and watching the fireworks from distance.

What was your craziest New Year’s experience? How do you like to celebrate the new year? How did you this year? Would you like to see Sydney’s fireworks for New Year’s one day?

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