Sydney at New Years' - a zoo or don't miss it?

Old Jun 27, 15, 6:35 pm
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Sydney at New Years' - a zoo or don't miss it?

Heading over to a wedding in New Zealand in January.
Just got the 2 of us on points in J from North America to Sydney and back on Air Canada.

We arrive in Sydney on Dec 31 and leave back for N.America on Jan 25. We want a few days in Sydney on one of the two ends, before or after New Zealand (we'll buy SYD-CHC,AKL-SYD for $).

In Sydney, will it be feasible to see main sites/museums/etc Jan 1,2 etc? Or will it be a completely busy crazy zoo and we'd be better to zip off straight to New Zealand and take our Sydney days on the way back, end Jan?

I have heard the New Years' fireworks in the Harbour are quite something, and certainly would be fun to go. But seeing more of the sights is more important, and would sacrifice the fireworks if Jan 1-2 would then be just dodging crowds or post-party rubbish rather than enjoying the city.

Thanks!
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Old Jun 27, 15, 8:03 pm
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Accommodation on 31 Dec in SYD on the harbour - city centre may be an issue. Have you checked? Hotels with harbour views ramp up the rates.

Airlines that fly Australia (CNS BNE OOL SYD MEL ADL) – New Zealand (AKL WLG CHC ZQN) are
- Air New Zealand (codeshares with VA) [Star Alliance]
- Virgin Australia (codeshares with Air NZ) (Delta partner)
- Jetstar (a low cost low quality carrier with low-medium-high priced fares owned by QF)
- Qantas (codeshares with EK) [OneWorld]
- Emirates (codeshares with QF)
- LAN (SYD AKL) [OneWorld]
- China Airlines (BNE/SYD - AKL & SYD - CHC) [Skyteam]

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Jun 28, 15 at 3:59 pm Reason: spelling
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Old Jun 27, 15, 10:59 pm
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Prime hotel rates for NYE are triple normal rate, and often require multiple night purchase; outside of prime areas accomodation is easier but still going to be more expensive than usual. Expect to pay $1000+ for a nice one-night stopover.
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Old Jun 28, 15, 9:21 am
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Originally Posted by number_6 View Post
Prime hotel rates for NYE are triple normal rate, and often require multiple night purchase; outside of prime areas accomodation is easier but still going to be more expensive than usual. Expect to pay $1000+ for a nice one-night stopover.
Indeed. Am currently holding a $250/nt reservation in Summer Hill, at a mediocre hotel that is usually $150/nt. But it's fully cancellable, and I'm looking at airbnb listings as well. I'm just not willing to pay $500,$800,$1000/nt that some usually $200-250/nt hotels are asking.

What I'm more seeking counsel on is what being a tourist will be like on Jan 1-2. If people get up late, shops are closed, but we can happily wander, eat, and visit museums (which seem to be open), we're fine paying a $100/nt surcharge on the hotel. If the city will be a mound of post-reveller rubbish slowly being cleaned, and nothing will be open, then we'll visit Sydney on the way back instead.
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Old Jun 28, 15, 11:41 am
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I wanted to do NYE in Sydney, but the prices at the 4S jump from very reasonable levels (around $200 US/night) to the thousands, especially the harbor-view rooms. Decided to stay in Auckland for NYE and stay in Sydney a few days after when prices go back to normal.
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Old Jun 29, 15, 10:19 pm
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Assuming you get the accommodation issue sorted, the fireworks are definitely spectacular and it's a great place to ring in the new year. It'll definitely be crowded at all the good vantage points, but only from 9pm-1am.

You're not going to be dodging crowds all Jan 1-2, in fact Jan 1 will be very quiet as everyone will be at home nursing a hangover. It's not crowded because massive numbers of people come to Sydney, it's crowded because all five million people in the Sydney metropolitan area wants to pack into the harbour area -- then they all go home. So yeah, seeing the main sights will be no problem (though some things may be closed on Jan 1 since it's a public holiday, check on that).

I could recommend some vantage points, but ultimately the best vantage point is the one you can walk back to your hotel from. Public transport will be a mess and taxis are really hard to find in the post-fireworks period.

edit: I just read the bit about Summer Hill -- in that case you probably won't want to walk back and should just brave the train. I would perhaps recommend McMahon's Point as a good yet accessible viewing location accessible on foot from the train station, and crossing the bridge should allow you to avoid some of the worse excesses of the crowd in the CBD proper.

Last edited by Jorgen; Jun 29, 15 at 10:34 pm
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Old Jun 30, 15, 12:44 am
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I've done many NYE in Sydney over the past year, It's not really that special apart from the extra extreme prices you pay!

The NYE just gone, I spent it in Melbourne for an chance and wished I'd done that more often over Sydney.

In Melbourne there was no need to be at an viewing point at 5am in the morning to get an spot. All the trams/trains we're free with plenty of services, that weren't overcrowded. Had dinner at the hotel then head into the tram around 8pm, plenty of space really chilled vibes. It after the fire works back at the hotel within 20minutes
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Old Jun 30, 15, 3:29 am
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Zoo!

You might find you are paying a thousand dollars a night for a 3 star hotel and during this time many have a minimum night stay so you cannot just stay on NYE. They sucker you in for as much money as they can.

The crowds are horrific if you cannot view the fireworks from your hotel or room. If you want to view the fireworks from a good public vantage point you need to stake your area of grass very early on in the day.

If you have the bucks to spend it would be fabulous.
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Old Jun 30, 15, 5:57 am
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As a Sydneysider with free harbour views from the office, I'll have to +1 the general assessment in this thread: yes, the fireworks are spectacular, but not "pay thousands and thousands of dollars" worth of spectacular. But if you've got a hotel sorted then I'd still say go for it, sightseeing in the following days won't be problem as long as you double-check opening hours (many places are open all year round except Xmas and New Year's Day!).
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Old Jul 1, 15, 7:25 pm
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Thanks for all the comments. Still haven't cancelled the crappy hotel in Summer Hill, but now also have a B&B in Watson's Bay, right by the ferry, for a reasonable price. Seems Roberston's Park is a fireworks viewing venue though at ~10kms away it may feel a bit small. So we'll have to decide if to head in to the CBD and brave the crowds (by bus? ferry?) or join the local party in Watson's Bay and use binoculars Time to figure all that out, I guess.
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Old Jul 1, 15, 8:55 pm
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Originally Posted by montrealer View Post
Thanks for all the comments. Still haven't cancelled the crappy hotel in Summer Hill, but now also have a B&B in Watson's Bay, right by the ferry, for a reasonable price. Seems Roberston's Park is a fireworks viewing venue though at ~10kms away it may feel a bit small. So we'll have to decide if to head in to the CBD and brave the crowds (by bus? ferry?) or join the local party in Watson's Bay and use binoculars Time to figure all that out, I guess.
Watson's Bay is a looong way to the CBD, if the ferries aren't running. I'm not sure if ferries run after midnight out to there. Assuming no ferries, expect the journey home to take at least an hour. Personally, if I was making a trip to watch the NYE fireworks in Sydney I wouldn't be that far out. Alternatively, book a cruise and see if they'll drop you at Watsons Bay wharf at the end.
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Old Jul 22, 15, 1:46 am
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New year's eve is a bit zoo-like, so you need to decide if you want to see the fireworks or not. They are undoubtedly spectacular: I've seen lots of firewords displays in various locations, but none has ever compared with the Sydney ones on new year's eve, or even come close to it - the "theatre" (i.e. the harbour) is a marvellous showcase for the display and there's a sense that, somehow (illogical though it probably is, and the cynics will no doubt scoff), you are witnessing something quite special.

Assuming that you have your accommodation sorted, you need to decide where you want to go to view the fireworks. Inevitably you will need to get there early and spend quite a lot of the day there if you want to see both the harbour and the fireworks. (There are places from where you can see the fireworks but not the harbour.)

The next two days - 1 and 2 January - will be much calmer: you are in a large city that is "on holidays" and in a party (or recovery) mode, with lots of visitors as well as locals moving around, but the frenetic pace of the previous day, and the transport difficulties, will be over.
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Old Aug 1, 15, 1:21 am
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We did this two years ago. We stayed in Manly Beach and paid 300 bucks each to go out on a boat in the harbor for the fireworks. Quite spectacular. We went sight seeing the next morning and most things were open, and not crowded at all. Quite peaceful on 1 jan until later in the evening. Negative was that even though we were quite far from Sydney, we were still putting out 800/night for a mediocre 1bd suite.
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