Things to do in Sydney

Sydney Fireworks | The Ultimate Experience Guide

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Not all endings need to be gloomy. A living testament to this is the ending of the calendar year. As November gives way to December, the arrival of the New Year brings celebrations around the world. Sydney arguably trumps all other New Year’s Eve festivities on the planet. The Sydney fireworks show over the Sydney Harbor Bridge is one of the most widely televised and watched events on New Year’s Eve.

Owing to its position on the east coast of Australia, Sydney is among the first major cities to welcome the new year and there is no better way to begin a year than to witness this astonishing display of fireworks. Apart from New Year’s Eve, a fireworks display is organized every Saturday of the year and can be witnessed from anywhere around Cockle Bay, not too far from the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Why Visit Sydney for the Fireworks

Sydney fireworks

New Year’s Eve is generally the time when Sydney garners the most attention, and for good reason. The number of ways to have fun in Sydney goes up exponentially as the year draws to a close. The legendary fireworks display is preceded by a number of events, including the Harbor of Light Parade, in which the harbor is illuminated by decorated ships that have their own unique choreography.

Sydney fireworks

For the artistically inclined, the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House will be holding shows of La Boheme featuring a brilliant ensemble cast. If you are more of a party animal, a New Year’s Eve tour of Sydney is undoubtedly made for you.

There are ticketed and open events all across the city on December 31st. One of the most popular ones for adults is the NYE Soiree at the Yallamundi Rooms in Sydney Opera House. An event that you cannot afford to miss is the NYE Party of the Decade at Portside. Live entertainment, food, drinks and an unobstructed view of the fireworks from the Western Broadwalk makes this event true to its name.

Despite the myriad events and activities, the most exhilarating experience in Sydney on New Year’s Eve is certainly the fireworks display. New Year’s Eve Picnic at the Royal Botanic Garden is an ideal way to make a family evening out of the fireworks display. For the seniors, NYE 2019 at the Kirribilli Club will be an event away from the hustle and bustle of Sydney CBD yet with a spectacular view of the fireworks. Apart from these, there are a number of cruises that provide a panoramic view of the fireworks display.

Best Ways to Experience Sydney Fireworks

Sydney fireworks

1. Tall Ship Cruises

Tall ship experiences let you witness the family fireworks display at 9:00 PM and one at midnight from one of the historic ships. These ships resemble the wooden expedition ships that were once used by European conquerors.

2. Tower Eye

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Take in the bird’s eye view of Sydney on New Year’s Eve from the Tower Eye before heading to one of the parties.

3. Bradfield Park Milson’s Point

This viewpoint offers a view of the fireworks display from the west side. The park has a capacity of 22,000 which means getting into the place will not be very difficult. The ones who arrive early, however, will have a great view of the Sydney Opera House.

4. Mary Booth Reserve

This vantage point offers a great view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge as well as the Sydney Opera House. This area has a capacity of 3000 and is ticketed. This area gets filled up quite early.

5. Mrs. Macquarie’s Point

If you are planning to get into this place, you may have to queue up before dawn. But, that is because this place is free and offers a brilliant view of the fireworks display. The total capacity of the area is 13,500.

6. Cahill Expressway

This is one of the best places to witness the fireworks display. It is located above the Circular Quay Station and is managed by the Roads and Marine Services. The total capacity of the place is 3000 and one can witness either the family fireworks display or the midnight one from here, but not both.

7. Cockatoo Island

Sydney Fireworks

You can purchase tickets or participate in a ballot to secure entry to Cockatoo Island for a wonderful view of the fireworks display. The camping ground of the island allows you to bring your own tents for the event. The apartment buildings on the island can be rented for the day too.

8. Dudley Page Reserve

This place has a paid reservation policy, which means it is usually a low-interest viewpoint. The views offered from Dudley Page Reserve are excellent and well worth the ticket prices. The total capacity of the Dudley Page Reserve is 2500.

9. Goat Island

Goat Island offers a great vantage point for the fireworks show as well. Goat Island is located on the West of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and its proximity makes for a wonderful way to welcome the new year.

10. Luxury Cruise

Sydney Cruise

The Platinum Penfolds Grange cruise is a great way to witness the Sydney fireworks. The luxury cruise comes with a 6-course contemporary Australian a la carte dining. You can enjoy your fancy wine and food while seeing one of the greatest New Year’s Eve events on earth.

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List of Free Vantage Points to View the Sydney Fireworks

sydney new year fireworks - free vantage point
Mrs Macquaries Road

Capacity : 13,500
Opening times - 10:00 AM – 12:30 AM
Restrictions - No BYOB, no camping, no sunshades, no portable chairs, no pets, no busking.

Enjoy views of the front of the Harbour bridge with the Sydney Opera House in the backdrop

sydney new year fireworks - free vantage point
Birchgrove Park

Capacity : 5000
Opening times - 8:00 AM – 12:30 AM
Restrictions - No BYOB, no camping, no sunshades, no portable chairs, no pets, no busking.

This one's a popular location with good views of the western side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

sydney new year fireworks - free vantage point
Dawes Point Park

Capacity : 38,000
Opening times - 12:30 PM – 8:30 PM ( expected to reach capacity)
Restrictions - No BYOB, no alcohol, no camping, no sunshades, no portable chairs, no pets, no busking.

Located under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Bradfield Highway on the southern side of the harbour, the Dawes Point Park offers a mix of good, yet limited fireworks views.

sydney new year fireworks - free vantage point
East Circular Quay

Capacity : 8000
Opening times - 12:30 PM – 8:30 PM ( expected to reach capacity)
Restrictions - No BYOB, no food, no alcohol, no camping, no sunshades, no portable chairs, no pets, no busking.

This promenade between Alfred Street and Sydney Opera House offers a limited view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour with no views of the Sydney Opera House, but splendid views of the fireworks.

sydney new year fireworks - free vantage point
Yarranabbe Park

Capacity : 10,000
Opening times - 12:00 PM – 12:30 AM ( expected to reach capacity)
Restrictions - No BYOB, no food, no alcohol, no camping, no sunshades, no portable chairs, no pets, no busking.

The Yarranabbe Park is a large open foreshore location with clear views of the city and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Know Before You Go

Sydney fireworks


  • 7:00 PM: Fire Tug Water Display
  • 7:30 PM: Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony
  • 8:00 PM: Air Display
  • 8:30 PM: Pylon Projections and Lighting Effects
  • 9:00 PM: Family Fireworks
  • 9:08 PM: Calling Country
  • 9:15 PM: Harbor of Light Parade
  • Midnight: Fireworks Display


Sydney fireworks

The viewpoints offering accessible areas to experience the fireworks display are Barangaroo, Campbell’s Cove, Cahill Expressway, Bradfield Park, Pirrama Park, and Royal Botanic Garden. Prior bookings are mandatory at these sites.

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Sydney fireworks
  • Check if the free viewpoint of your choice is still free in advance. More and more viewpoints have started charging over the years.
  • Book your tickets well in advance as it might be impossible to secure a last-minute entry.
  • Come to the viewpoints prepared to negotiate the weather. Keep sunscreen, raincoats, and comfortable shoes handy if you are planning a prolonged outing.
  • Do not leave your spot close to the entry time because normally the queue moves fast after the gates to the viewpoints open.
  • Research the entry conditions of the viewpoints beforehand and adhere to them diligently in order to have a good experience.
  • Bring a folding chair if your viewpoint allows one. You can also hire one on the spot at some of the sites.
  • Choose your viewpoint on the same side of the bay as your accommodation. Crossing the bay after the fireworks display can be hectic.


Sydney fireworks

Is Sydney Fireworks free to watch?

What are the best places to see Sydney fireworks for free?

How long does the Sydney Fireworks display go on? 

Can I bring food and drinks to the viewpoints? 

Where can I watch the Sydney Fireworks online? 

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Sydney Fireworks