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Where to catch New Year’s Eve fireworks in Australia’s capital cities

The Sydney Harbour Bridge will once again light up for the new year.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge will once again light up for the new year. Photo: Getty

The last hours of 2023 are winding down and Australia’s capital cities are getting set for the biggest party of the year – despite some stormy forecasts.

Thousands are expected to flock to city centres across the nation to help ring in the new year – more than a million in Sydney alone.

One in five of those planning to watch the firework displays say they will arrive before midday to claim a free spot. Tourism and Transport Forum Australia said residents of NSW, Victoria and South Australia were the most likely to be camping out early.

Although thunderstorms have eased along the eastern seaboard in recent days, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned of a potential return this weekend.

Here’s what our capitals have planned for tonight’s big celebrations.

new year's eve

The harbour and opera house will again be the focus of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve party. Photo: Getty

Sydney

Sydney is one of the world’s first major cities to celebrate the arrival of the New Year, with its celebrations centred – unsurprisingly –  around the Harbour Bridge.

Events kick off with a smoking ceremony at 7.30pm, followed by projections on the pylons an hour later to celebrate the Opera House’s 50th anniversary.

The first round of fireworks goes off at 9pm before the night is capped with a midnight display launched from the bridge, opera house and some of Sydney’s other famous landmarks.

“This year the displays will feature bright white, peach, lime, silver, gold, violet, yellow, burnt orange, pink and blue fireworks, as well as the crowd favourite colour-changing fireworks and some other surprises,” City of Sydney fireworks director Fortunato Foti said said.

The 58,000-firework show will also feature surprise shapes and new pastel and neon colours.

“We’ve reached a point where each year we walk away thinking ‘that was the best show we’ve ever done’ – and really, that just spurs us on to do even better the following year,” Foti said.

See the official Sydney New Year’s Eve website for information about the best vantage points for the display – most of which aren’t ticketed, so get in quick to nab the best view. There’s also a link to watch a livestream from the comfort of your own home.

Sydney will operate thousands of extra train and bus services from 2pm on Sunday, and more than 2000 extra police will be on patrol. With major roads closed from as early as 6am, the official advice is to leave your car at home.

The weather forecast for New Year’s Eve in Sydney is cloudy with a chance of an early shower, temperatures from 19-24 degrees. See the latest here.

Melbourne

Melbourne’s night sky will light up twice on New Year’s Eve, with family-friendly fireworks at 9.30pm in four “celebration zones”, and a midnight blast-off of rooftop fireworks and lasers.

The crowd is expected to be similar to New Year’s Eve 2022, when a record 475,000 people flooded the CBD.

People celebrating at home will also be able to enjoy the midnight display with a live broadcast on Channel Nine.

The celebration zones open from 6pm-1am at Docklands, Flagstaff Gardens, Kings Domain and Treasury Gardens, and will also offer food trucks, performances, a silent disco and music.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said measures will be in place to avoid pedestrian “pinch points”, including closing the Elizabeth Street underpass.

Revellers are strongly recommended to take public transport (free from 6pm) as there will be road closures and tow-away zones across Melbourne.

The forecast for Melbourne is partly cloudy, temperatures from 13-21 degrees. See the latest updates here.

Adelaide

People celebrating in Adelaide can gather at Elder Park to enjoy free live music, a circus stage, family fun and food and drink offerings from 5.30pm.

People are encouraged to bring picnic blankets to spread out by the river, with fireworks to go off at 9pm and midnight.

Gates open for entry from King William Road at 5.30pm, with crowd capacity capped at 25,000.

Parking is available across the CBD, although some surrounding roads will be closed. Public transport is free on Adelaide Metro buses, trains, and trams from 5pm-6am.

Adelaide will enjoy a warm end to the year, with the weather bureau forecasting a high of 26 degrees and a low of 12. Latest updates here.

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South Bank will again be the focus of Brisbane’s New Year’s Eve festivities. Photo: Getty

Brisbane

Despite the weekend’s predicted wet and stormy weather and a recent run of extreme heat, Brisbane’s fireworks celebrations are still set to go ahead.

There will be two New Year’s Eve firework displays at South Bank Parklands; one at 8.30pm and one at midnight.

The best viewing locations at South Bank include Clem Jones Promenade, the Cultural Forecourt, Riverside Green and River Quay.

South Bank Parklands retailers will be open during the day, along with food and beverage vendors in the Cultural Forecourt.

South Bank Parklands will be fenced and there will be bag checks from 10am for those wanting to enter.

The area is alcohol-free, except for those dining in a restaurant or licensed premises. Food and non-alcoholic drinks can be brought into the Parklands, but metal cutlery and other sharp items are prohibited.

Travel will be free across Brisbane’s SEQ network from 8pm until 5.30am.

The weather for the city is likely to be partly cloudy with a high chance of showers and the chance of a thunderstorm. Temperatures range from 22-30 degrees, a welcome relief after the recent heat. Latest updates here.

Canberra

Fireworks won’t light up the night sky at midnight in Canberra, but there will be a display at 9pm from Central Basin and off Commonwealth Bridge.

Revellers are encouraged to hang around the shores of Lake Burley Griffin to catch the show.

People can pack a picnic, or grab food from vendors from 5.30pm at one of three hub areas along the foreshore: Regatta Point, Commonwealth Place and Rond Terrace.

Each hub will have music from 6pm, and services and amenities will also include first aid, portable toilets, and security.

Additional vantage points to watch the fireworks will include Black Mountain Nature Reserve, Mount Ainslie Nature Reserve, Red Hill Nature Reserve, and viewpoints in surrounding suburbs.

Public transport is recommended to get around; all Transport Canberra bus and light rail services will be free from 5pm until the last service at about 1am.

New Year’s Eve in Canberra is predicted to be cloudy, with temperatures from 11-22 degrees. Updates here.

Perth

Firework displays will be scattered around the city throughout the night, including:

  • From 3.30pm, Shelley Beach Foreshore will have food trucks, live music and children’s entertainment, capped off by fireworks at 8pm;
  • Claremont Showgrounds is home to the ticketed SNACK New Year’s Eve festival from 4pm. It features a lineup of more than 40 DJs across nine stages and fireworks from 11.50pm;
  • Elizabeth Quay will come alive with family-friendly festivities from 5pm, including a hula hoop workshop and a sideshow alley. There are fireworks at 8pm;
  • Perth’s CBD rooftops will set off fireworks from 11.59pm.

Perth’s public transport will run all night, and will be free from 12am-6am.

Perth has a forecast sunny day, with temperatures of 19-30 degrees. See the BOM site for the latest.

Darwin

The city’s main New Year’s Eve event will be at Darwin Waterfront from 5pm, featuring food vendors, a neon disco and live music.

Firework displays will light up the sky at 9pm and midnight.

There will also be three showcases of a New Year-themed Liquid Light show; a multimedia experience including laser projection, water fountains, flames and animations set to a soundtrack.

Free bus rides will be available from the Darwin, Casuarina and Palmerston interchanges from 7pm-6.30am.

From 6pm-1am, a free shuttle service will also be available to and from Darwin Waterfront, departing every 15 minutes from Darwin Interchange ‘Bay F’.

But those wanting to head out to celebrate could face some wet conditions. Sun is forecast early in Darwin, with a slight chance of a shower in the afternoon and evening, and the chance of a thunderstorm.

Temperatures will range from 27-35 degrees. See the BOM site for the latest.

Hobart

Fireworks will light up Hobart’s sky over the River Derwent, launched from multiple barges to celebrate 25 years since the city’s first New Year’s Eve river fireworks.

The $127,000 event will include displays at 9.30pm and midnight, with the waterfront the perfect place to watch.

There will be multiple road closures in the area, with a designated drop off/pick up area on Elizabeth Street. Metro buses will operate additional MAIB Nightrider buses, and from 6pm, rides will cost $2 (cash only).

The forecast for Hobart is partly cloudy with temperatures from 10-23 degrees. Updates here.

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