Embarrassing as it is, last night was the first time in two years I have been out on New Year’s Eve. However, if you live in Sydney you simply cannot miss the best fireworks display in the world.
Most of the good viewing spots for the fireworks are taken very early in the morning with some people camping out for over 24 hours to get a perfect spot. I am too lazy and not silly enough to try this so I figured I would find somewhere where I could be guaranteed a great view without a massive wait. That spot was on the headland at Barangaroo which is to the west of the Harbour Bridge. Entry to Barangaroo cost $5 but it was the best five dollars I have ever spent, especially as others were spending five hundred dollars to view the fireworks from the Opera House which is about the same distance from the Bridge.
Gates to Barangaroo opened at 6pm and we joined the queue at 5.30pm. Upon entry people were split into two groups – those with bags and those without. To get the best view our group gave all our bags to a few people, took the rugs out of them and we through the smaller queue for those with no bags to get a good spot set up. The plan was brilliant and we ended up against the safety barrier with an unimpeded view of the harbour bridge and inner harbour.
One of the great things about going to a managed site was that speakers were set up broadcasting the official soundtrack to the evening. The soundtrack was anything but the expected dry and boring music. Instead it was remixed versions of hits from the 80s, 90s, 00s that had people dancing in both the licensed and non-licensed areas of the site. Living on a Prayer, would fade into Blink 182 which would be followed by The Offspring to be followed by Keshia.
The 9pm family fireworks were enough to convince me that at midnight we would be in for a good show. The fireworks were somewhat timed to a mixture of classical and pop music – including Justin Bieber. The fireworks were coming off buildings in the city, the bridge, and barges in multiple places in the harbour so everywhere you looked something was happening. Believe me photos simply cannot show how amazing it is.
After the 9pm fireworks a lot of people left. Mostly families, but I was somewhat surprised by the number because of having to pay to get in and having one of the best spots I expected most to stay. The almost three hour wait between 9 and midnight became long and boring at times. There was a parade of boats on the harbour but there was not enough happening to keep you entertained. At around 11.15pm lots of people started to push forward, and at one point we almost lost out spot against the guard rail as people just pushed in front while we were sitting down. Lucky for us they moved after we gave them a dirty look.
The midnight fireworks were different to what I expected. What you see on TV (and it lots of my photos) is the Harbour Bridge being the centre-point of all the fireworks. In reality the Harbour Bridge is only one part of the show. More fireworks were launched off barges than the Bridge. But like the 9pm fireworks everywhere you looked there was things exploding. The attitude of people was really good, with people ducking so other could take photos over their heads and the like. In total there was 12 minutes of fireworks but because of how awesome it was it only felt like 3 or 4.
Once the fireworks were finished we started the long walk back to Hyde Park for buses. The media was reporting there was 1.5 million people in town but you didn’t really notice it until you got to George Street. George Street was at a packed and essentially stopped. It took close to an hour to get through to Hyde Park from there. After getting friends onto buses I walked home arriving at 1.30am.
Eight friends, best fireworks on earth, music, dancing, fun. Best New Year’s Eve Ever.