Whether it’s fireworks for the family or sizzling sparks on the club scene, Australia is the place to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Summer nights and nearly endless variety make New Year’s Eve Down Under special. From the Gala at Sydney’s Opera House to catching first light at Lord Howe Island, there is truly something for everybody on New Year’s Eve in Australia.


New Year

New Year

Home to the world-famous Sydney Opera House, Sydney has a variety of both sophisticated and family-friendly New Year’s Eve events.

  • Midnight Fireworks. Launched from seven barges on the Harbour, seven city skyscrapers, and of course from the Harbour Bridge itself, the Midnight Fireworks are not to be missed. The incredible 12-minute display will be accompanied by music specially composed for the event. Nearly 40 vantage points are available for viewing this spectacular celebration.
    • Kid-friendly option: A Family Fireworks display designed specifically for children begins at 9pm. This 8-minute long extravaganza is choreographed to hit music by artists such as JLo, Rihanna, Jessica Maubuoy, and Wes Carr.
    • Stay after the fireworks for the Harbour of Light Parade. This perennial favorite of specially lit ships is always a crowd pleaser for all ages.
  • The Opera Gala. Enjoy gourmet food and classical entertainment in the glamorous setting of the Sydney Opera House. View the Harbour fireworks during the 9pm interval and stay for the midnight party after the performances.


Melbourne offers a wide variety of parties and Harbourside events for New Year’s Eve revelers.

  • Yarra River Cruise. A popular option for New Year’s Eve, several companies offer cruises along the Yarra River. Refreshments are included in the ticket price, which varies depending on the company and the package option.
  • Harbourside Summer Party. Enjoy the 9pm and midnight fireworks displays from only 60 meters away on the top floor of the Waterfront Venues at the NYE h2oh! party event. This seven-hour party includes music, drinks, and finger foods.
  • Themed Parties. Experience Las Vegas, the Roaring 20s, or Carnevale without leaving Melbourne. Robarta in St. Kilda offers a professional casino setup while the Long Room on Collins Street presents “Chicago.” Showtime Events Centre brings Venice to the Yarra with a variety of entertainment and roaming performers.
    • Kid-friendly option: The Medibank Icehouse at the National Ice Sports Centre offers an alcohol-free party for the whole family. Free skating lessons begin at 7pm and pass outs are offered for the 9pm fireworks.

Gold Coast

There are literally dozens of New Year’s Eve parties and events along the Gold Coast. With possibly the widest selection of family-friendly events in Australia, the Gold Coast is an ideal destination for families.

  • Fireworks. Displays are generally at either 8pm or 9pm as well as at midnight. Eight different locations between Coomera and Tweed Heads are featuring fireworks with the display at Surfer’s Paradise Beach rumored to be the largest.
    • Kid-friendly option: Catch the earlier fireworks shows.
  • New Year’s Eve Ball. Palazzo Versace hosts the Gold Coast’s most famous New Year’s Eve ball. This year’s theme is “24k Gold.”
  • Jupiter’s Casino. Having a hard time deciding what to do? Jupiter’s at Broadbeach has a variety of eateries and live entertainment, as well as a 24-hour casino and a balloon drop at midnight. Most restaurants require reservations.
  • Wet’n’Wild Waterpark. This waterpark hosts a truly family-friendly New Year’s Eve, with plenty of activities and events for the whole family.


Just south of the Gold Coast, Brisbane offers both adults-only fun and family-friendly events on New Year’s Eve.

  • Fireworks and Street Party. Bring the entire family to the Streets New Year’s Eve Party located at the South Bank. Festivities start at 3pm and include live music, free movies, a dance party, and a fairground. Fireworks displays at 8:30pm and midnight can be seen from a variety of popular locations including Streets Beach, Clem Jones Promenade, Little Stanley Street, Suncorp Piazza, and Cultural Forecourt. Each location features fun activities and events.
  • New Year’s Eve Ball. Adults can relive Prom Night at the RNA Showgrounds while enjoying food, spirits, and rides.

Lord Howe Island

  • See First Light. The first place to see the morning light of the New Year is actually on the World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island. Located about 500 kilometers east of Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Lord Howe Island has no organized events but is a quiet yet stunning place to welcome the New Year.


  • The Taste Festival. This week-long festival draws hundreds of thousands of foodies from around the world to Hobart’s waterfront to enjoy food and entertainment. On New Year’s Eve food and live entertainment are just the start of the party that includes fireworks displays at 9:30pm and midnight.
    • Kid-friendly option: Movies show on the Lawn before the 9:30pm fireworks display. General entry (no seating) is free to children 12 years old or under when accompanied by a parent or guardian.

If you happen to be lucky enough to spend New Year’s Eve Down Under, there is always a great experience to be had.

[box color=”white” icon=”accept”]This guest post article was written and provided by Erica Gustafson who is an avid Australia traveler, freelance writer and digital media consultant for Expedia.  She helps people book cheap hotel reservations at many locations around the world.[/box]