Getting away for New Year's Eve in Australia

December 5th, 2014

Celebrating New Year’s Eve is very exciting – and it’s also a great excuse for a local getaway over the holidays!

If you plan to travel over the break and celebrate New Year’s Eve in another city, town or regional location, here’s what you should know.

Accommodation options

Accommodation options in Australia range far and wide, so your choice is huge. Depending on where you want to go and what you want to see and do on NYE, you can:

  • Stay in a major hotel or resort

  • Choose from other options like serviced apartments, B&Bs, motels and youth hostels

  • Rent a holiday home for your family or a group of friends

  • Camp out in the wilderness or in a caravan park

Whatever you do make sure you book your accommodation early. Rooms often book out fast (sometimes a year in advance) and prices can also jump up significantly for NYE.

Keep in mind that many establishments will have a 2-3 minimum night stay over the holidays too.

Watching the fireworks

There are hundreds of places where you can see New Year’s Eve fireworks around Australia, whether you’re in a big city or a more rural spot.

  • Major Aussie cities will usually hold key fireworks events around the harbour, water or inner city; make sure you show up early in the day if you plan to picnic and hang out until night time (in popular places, spots fill up fast, so you might not even be allowed in! In Sydney, for example, numbers can reach 1.6 million people around the harbour foreshore alone) (Source: www.sydneynewyearseve.com/fireworks/)

  • If you prefer not to be in the central business district, look for fireworks displays and celebrations in other locations near beaches, lakes, rivers or parks

  • Rural towns and locales will often hold their own fireworks displays and celebrations usually include things like live music and market stalls

  • In Australia, some cities or towns will hold two fireworks shows on the night: One at 9.00pm (great for kids and families who don’t want to stay out late) and the official display at midnight

Eating & drinking out

Eating and drinking out is one of the best bits of New Year’s Eve celebrations.

  • If you’re picnicking or camping out, plan ahead and check the regulations on alcohol and what you can/can’t bring with you (e.g. around Sydney Harbour, many firework vantage points are alcohol-free zones) (Source: www.sydneynewyearseve.com/plan-ahead/watching-the-fireworks/)

  • If you prefer to have a designated seat for the whole night, you can also book a table in a café, restaurant or bar. This will usually involve paying a package cost for dinner and drinks. If you’re keen to splurge, check out establishments close to the fireworks; otherwise, bargains can often be found elsewhere

  • In more remote areas, food and market stalls are common and are a great option for food and drinks on New Year’s Eve

Transport

Researching transport in your local area on New Year’s Eve is also a must. Taxis can be difficult to get and even public transport options can be packed, so plan ahead carefully.

Melbourne, for example, has major transport shut downs and road closures on New Year’s Eve. (Source: www.thatsmelbourne.com.au/nye/plan-ahead)

  • What transport options are there to/from your desired spot?

  • What time will public transport run to?

  • Will there be shut down times after the fireworks?

  • What about delays?

If you prefer to be within walking distance of your hostel or accommodation, book early to avoid missing out.

Weather

December and January can be extremely hot in Australia. Make sure you:

  • Dress accordingly in light clothing

  • Use sunscreen and protect yourself from the sun if you’re going to be out during the day

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day (and night) to stay hydrated

  • Stick to shady areas if it is extremely hot

Travel Insurance

  • Did you know that over 285,000 Australians travelled domestically in 2014? (Source: www.tra.gov.au/statistics/domestic-travel-by-australians.html)

If you are going to be travelling domestically within Australia, protecting yourself, your family and your possessions with domestic travel insurance is advisable.

Domestic travel insurance can help you cover emergencies and mishaps such as:

  • Last minute emergency cancellations

  • Flight and travel delays

  • Lost, stolen or damaged luggage or possessions

  • Lost or stolen cash

  • Accommodation, meals and travel expenses cover in the event of an emergency

Remember, anything can go wrong on any type of trip, even when you travel in Australia, so ensuring you’re covered could save you hundreds.

A quick guide to NYE in the capital cities

  • Sydney holds a major fireworks event in around the harbour, with much focus on the Harbour Bridge; get organised ASAP if you want to spend NYE in Sydney, as it can get packed out fast

  • Melbourne’s celebrations take place around the Yarra River, with fireworks displays shooting off high rises around the city; picnicking is possible or you can secure at seat at any of the Southbank restaurants

  • If you’re in Brisbane, Story Bridge is the place to be for fireworks and major celebrations; and on the Gold Coast, you can catch the fireworks display from the beach

  • Canberra backpackers should head to Civic Square for two cool fireworks displays (9pm and 12am), as well as a tonne of live music and bands

  • In Perth, amazing foreshore fireworks displays are accompanied by a huge street party at Northbridge; there are also a bunch of NYE music festivals you can attend

  • The River Torrens is the spot to head to in Adelaide, with two fireworks displays to boot; the night is accompanied by live music, food stalls and even a beer garden

  • In Darwin, celebrations often kick off earlier in the afternoon, with plenty of live entertainment, and a 9pm fireworks show for all on the Waterfront

  • Hobart is ideal if you’re a foodie or just want to backpack in one of Australia’s most gorgeous wilderness spots; the Taste of Tasmania food festival and the fireworks are the two main events here

For further info on New Year’s Eve events in the major cities, visit Tourism Australia

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