Top Australian New Year’s Eve Experiences

17 December 2013

New Year's Eve is a time for celebration, reflection and merriment. There are many fantastic events organised around Australia to see in the new year - from the mesmerising fireworks display over Sydney Harbour to the Taste of Tasmania Festival in Hobart and the Falls Music and Arts Festival, which is now held simultaneously in three different locations. For the end of 2013, consider heading to a memorable Australian destination where you can raise your glass to the successes of 2013 and make a toast that 2014 will be even better.

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Sydney

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 Fireworks over the Sydney Opera House. Image courtesy of Destination NSW. Photographer Hamilton Lund.

It’s no secret that the fireworks on Sydney Harbour are spectacular. Around one million revellers each year jostle for the best vantage point on the waterway. This year there’s a great line up of pre-fireworks entertainment including aerial acrobatics and fire tug water displays. The principle show starts at 9pm and there’s a second fireworks display at midnight. Alternatively, head across to Bondi Beach for the Shore Thing concert on the famous golden sand.

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Steep Point, Western Australia

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 Francois Peron National Park. Image Courtesy of Tourism Western Australia.

As the sun sets in the west, consider travelling to Steep Point, the most westerly point of mainland Australia to watch the sun gracefully descend on 2013. This region is renowned for its fishing, with an abundance of Spanish Mackerel, Yellow Tailed Sea Kingfish and Cobia. So perhaps a new year’s day fish feast is in order?

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Tweed Heads/Coolangatta

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 Boardwalk, Coolangatta. Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland. Photographer Paul Ewart

When one count down is not enough, head to the twin cities of Tweed Heads and Coolangatta. Because Queensland doesn't have daylight saving, revellers can enjoy the midnight festivities in Tweed Heads in New South Wales before crossing the border into Coolangatta and doing it all again. The Gold Coast in general is a focal point for festivities with many family friendly activities centred around Broadbeach and Southport.

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Hobart

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 Taste of Tasmania. Image courtesy of Tourism Tasmania. Photographer Sean Fennessy.

The Taste of Tasmania Festival celebrates the glorious culinary delights produced by the Garden Isle. Based around Hobart’s waterfront precinct over one week, delicious fresh Tasmanian produce is on full show for all to enjoy. And on December 31, the festivities centre around the Princes Wharf Shed – where there’ll be bands playing from two separate stages, DJs on the forecourt, acrobatics and roving musicians. Needless to say, there will be plenty of Tasmanian gourmet delights to tempt you.

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Norfolk Island

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 Norfolk Island

While Byron Bay might be the most easterly point of the Australian mainland, the most easterly point out of all Australian territories is Norfolk Island. And once you’re on Norfolk, zip across to Steels Point, which is as far east as you can go on the island. This way you can be guaranteed to experience midnight before any other one else in Australia. Norfolk Island is officially 1.5 hours ahead of AEST but with daylight saving it’s 30 minutes ahead. For New Year’s Day, be sure to admire the colonial buildings or have a stroll in the National Park.

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Mount Warning

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 Mt Warning. Image courtesy of Destination NSW. Photographer Hamilton Lund.

This volcanic plug is the first place on the Australian mainland to receive the sun’s rays – it’s the highest point that’s closest to Byron Bay. After being closed for most of 2013 as a result of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald ripping through the region in January, the path to the peak is now open again. So for a unique New Year’s Day experience, enthusiasts at the top of Mount Warning can be the first people on the Australian mainland to feel those rejuvenating rays on January 1.

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Lorne Victoria

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 Lorne. Image courtesy of Tourism Victoria. Photographer Gavin Hansford

Shining the spotlight on Lorne on Victoria's Great Ocean Road, the Falls Music and Arts Festival began in 1993. Taking the organisers by surprise, almost 11,000 attended that first concert. Today the event has grown so much that it’s now held simultaneously over several days in three locations – Lorne, Marion Bay in Tasmania and Byron Bay in New South Wales. This is a fantastic way to celebrate terrific music and see in the New Year.

Lyndon Barnett

Guided by curiosity and a sense of adventure, Lyndon travelled independently to 69 countries on six continents. As such, travel is Lyndon's only addiction. He enjoys with equal measure - scaling the peaks of a South American mountain at altitude, attending opera in a European Opera House or hunting for a bargain in an Asian market.