New Year’s Eve: How to celebrate the end of a year like no other

Yes, fireworks are still going ahead in some cities – even Sydney.

Yes, fireworks are still going ahead in some cities – even Sydney. Photo: Getty

For most of us, the end of 2020 can’t come soon enough.

We still want to see it out with a bang, but like everything else this year, celebrations are going to look a whole lot different.

Plan a party with friends and family (but remember: check the COVID-19 number restrictions – and avoid a cheeky midnight pash with strangers!). Or get out and about ­while staying socially distanced.

Every state has introduced gathering restrictions, most recently New South Wales where new rules were applied for people in the Greater Sydney area, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains from midnight.

But there’s still plenty on, so we’ve made a list of some of the activities you can do.

Melbourne street feasts

Yeah, yeah, we know … Melbourne’s lockdown was longer and harsher than that of any other state. But now we are ready to party! I can’t be clearer than that.

Thronging street crowds and fireworks are out. Food is in.

Melbourne will ramp up its culinary cred with a two-day Street Feasts celebration. Eleven city precincts and more than 50 venues from Hardware Lane and Chinatown to leafy Domain Road in South Yarra, are inviting you to sit down and party in style.

You have to book but can choose from a casual $25 a head for a hot dog and frosty Japanese beer at Hihou in Spring Street to a what-the-heck seven-course Sunda NYE feast at the famed Hotel Windsor, from $388 per person.

Street Feasts runs New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day (December 31 and January 1).

Sorry, Melburnians, fireworks like this aren’t happening this year. But there are other events on offer. Photo: Getty


Sydney’s world-class fab NYE fireworks have been toned down a tad but will still be spectacular. They’ll only be at midnight though (no 9pm show) and attendance is limited.

Check out the NSW website for details about Sydney Harbour Green and Yellow Zones where you can watch the fireworks.

The Green Zone is only for residents and friends, those working in venues or with restaurant bookings in the zone. You’ll need an official NYE Pass.

Some parks and areas will be closed to the public. So start booking or checking if you’ll be “in the Zone”.

Booking a hotel room or restaurant with a view is an option, but you’ll need to put your skates on to book as the best spots (and harbour views) sell out.

Or, put your feet up at home, break out the sparkling and toast in 2021 watching the fireworks on ABC TV. 

Remember, if you’re feeling even a little bit sick, please stay home. You can always join in celebrations with video calls. Photo: Getty


Brisbane’s glittering firework bonanza is on hold, but revellers can picnic on the banks of the Brisbane River or in the parks (sorry – no alcohol allowed).

South Bank and the city’s other myriad bars, cafes and restaurants have multiple family or adult-only options.

Or perhaps a river cruise is the way to go? Sign up for finger food, drinks, dessert and five hours of NYE fun aboard the MV Lady Brisbane for $165 pp.


Again ­– Adelaide’s fireworks plans have fizzled out, but restaurants are firing up for all ages and budgets.

Summer Sounds Festival at Bonython Park goes full COVID normal with four and six-person “party pods”.

DJ and electronic instrumentalist Timmy Trumpet will be playing and you can dance, drink, stand or sit in your own private pod as you listen to the show. From $48 pp.

For something a little more laidback, consider a sit-down dinner at Skyline Restaurant with Adelaide Hills and park views, for $159 pp.


There will be fireworks in Perth, with family-friendly 9pm and midnight displays plus installations, festive lighting and roving circus performers.

The events will be spread around the Perth Cultural Centre, Yagan Square, James Street and William Street to avoid large crowds.

Take a picnic and find yourself a viewing spot (socially distanced, of course) along the Swan River.

There are also cruise options on the Swan, such as the Captain Cook Cruises (dinner, drinks, DJ) from $269 pp.

Or check out’s list of restaurants, hotels and party hubs.

How about bringing in 2021 from the water? You can do that while watching the fireworks in Perth. Photo: Getty


No official fireworks will be shimmering across the Canberra skyline, but the city will be welcoming 2021 with a food-friendly New Year’s Eve bash stretching across three nights (December 29 to 31). And why not? It has been a long year.

Canberra attractions will be floodlit, there will be entertainment and busker-style performances in a number of popular locations (Braddon, Woden, Belconnen and more) as you wine and dine.

You can get on the beers at BentSpoke BrewPub in Braddon (dress for your favourite travel destination, from $130 pp).

Or enjoy music with the family among the vines at Contentious Character winery at Wamboin from $140 pp.


Hobart will be having fireworks ­ at 9.30pm and midnight from the middle of the Derwent River.

In fact, displays will be higher than usual, so they’re visible from more vantage points around Clarence and Hobart areas. You won’t need to go to the waterfront.

Everyone is encouraged to celebrate at home or locally. Restaurants and bars around the waterfront are taking bookings and will be following COVID-safe guidelines.

So, put your party hats on, keep a safe distance from other revellers and let’s cheers to the end of 2020.

No doubt that for most of us, it won’t be missed.

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