The holiday season is upon us and it’s time to start thinking about where to spend New Year’s Eve. In Australia, you can be one of the first to ring in the New Year; here are 5 of the best places to do just that!

  1. Sydney: Of course, the capital city is filled with all the bright lights, pomp, and circumstance! The place to be is in Sydney’s Darling Harbour. Whether you are on land or on a boat, watching the New Year’s Eve spectacle here is one of those experiences that you should do at least once in your lifetime. There are dozens of vantage points for undoubtedly one of the best and most iconic fireworks displays in the world. Sydney is not only at the top of places to ring in the New Year by Australian standards, the city makes most worldwide lists, and rightly so; it is a spectacular event. You should definitely plan your entire evening ahead of time and make plans to see the pre-show entertainment that starts at 6pm including: an aerial display, pylon projections, dancing, an early fireworks display for youngsters who may not be able to stay until midnight, the Harbour of Light Parade, and then, the big event: the countdown to midnight followed by 12 minutes of fireworks and pyrotechnics, all synchronised and simulcast on FM radio too.
  2. Byron Bay: Byron Bay sees the first sunrise on the Australian mainland. So you can celebrate New Year’s Eve there and then welcome the first sunrise of the New Year! Byron Bay is in the northeastern corner of New South Wales, so easily accessible from either New South Wales or Queensland. Even though this is a beachfront community, the New Year’s events are not located on the beach. Of course, that doesn’t mean that your time here shouldn’t include some beach activities because the coastline is beautiful here and there is much to see and do including visiting the lighthouse, whale watching, and surfing. Byron Bay offers many different options to ring in the New Year. There is the Falls Festival featuring live music. You can spend New Year’s Eve at one of the major venues or join in the family fun party at the Soul Street New Year’s Eve. Byron Bay delivers a relaxing and renewing New Year celebration than many other choices.
  3. Tasmania: If you love food, then join other gourmands and foodies at the Taste of Tasmania in Hobart, Tasmania. Hobart is the capital city of Tasmania and it is home to the annual Taste of Tasmania celebration from 28 December to 3 January. Hobart is located on the southeast coast of Tasmania. It is a coastal city with so much to offer visitors including marine life tours, mountain climbing or biking, and a rich city life. There is something for everyone here in addition to the amazing Taste of Tasmania food festival. One of the events during the festival is New Year’s Eve fireworks, but the brightest attraction here is the food. You are in store for an explosion of flavor, sparkling wines, and much more over the 5 day festival.
  4. (and #5) Celebrate Twice (Coolangatta and Tweed Heads): Numbers 4 and 5 round out our list together. How often can you celebrate New Year’s twice? Technically, there are two ways. The first way is to celebrate on the east coast of Australia and then hop on a flight to Hawaii and go from one of the first New Year’s celebrations to the very last New Year’s celebration on the planet in Hawaii. That idea is a bit extreme, so instead you can celebrate New Year’s on the beach in Tweed Heads, New South Wales and then walk (yes, walk) over to the New Year’s party across the border in Coolangatta, Queensland and do it all over again. The one hour time change between New South Wales and Queensland makes this incredible party extension possible. You get two beach party celebrations for the price of one and the twin towns come together to put on two New Year’s Eve celebrations. If you love fireworks, you can actually catch 3 displays because Coolangatta puts on a kid friendly fireworks display around 9pm, the Tweed Heads beachside fireworks display will happen an hour before Coolangatta’s main fireworks attraction.