Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Australia in 2020

Are you wondering where to spend New Year’s Eve in Australia this year? In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s no secret that New Year’s Eve celebrations are going to look a little different than they have in past years. For example, while fireworks are typically a New Year’s Eve tradition in Australia, most cities will either be toning down these displays or cancelling them altogether to minimise the number of people gathering.

That said, there are still plenty of ways for you to celebrate New Year’s Eve in 2020. Whether you’re keen to get out and about or just stay in with some friends, this guide breaks down all of the best places and activities to check out this New Year’s Eve.

Sydney

Sydney usually hosts two elaborate firework shows at Circular Quay: one at 9pm and one at midnight. This year, the city will instead only be putting on one show at midnight to prevent huge crowds.

If you’re hoping to attend the fireworks display, you need to apply for an entry pass through the Service NSW website or app. This pass will grant you access to the city’s Green Zone on New Year’s Eve, which includes parts of the Sydney CBD, Circular Quay, and key firework vantage points in North Sydney and the eastern suburbs.

It’s important to note that only residents of these areas, their guests, and people with confirmed bookings at venues such as restaurants or cafés are eligible.

A fun, easy and more affordable alternative to watching the fireworks in person is to watch the live broadcast on ABC at home with some friends.

Melbourne 

Instead of hosting a fireworks display, the City of Melbourne is holding a New Year’s Eve food festival called New Year Street Feasts. This two-day dining experience is taking place from 31 December to 1 January. Ten of the city’s precincts will transform into outdoor dining hubs, including some of the most popular streets, such as Flinders Lane and Little Bourke Street. With more than 50 restaurants participating, there’s something here for every budget and every taste preference. Bookings are essential, so be sure to make to save your spot. 

Brisbane

Those wondering where to spend New Year’s Eve in Brisbane are spoiled for choice. Though the annual fireworks show is not going ahead, there is still a wide range of restaurants and bars that will help you ring in the new year in style. One option is to head to Fortitude Valley and check out the XCargo Annual White Party. Entry is free before 9pm and just $10 after 9pm, making it super affordable on a student budget.

Adelaide

In an effort to support local businesses, people spending their New Year’s Eve in Adelaide are encouraged to get together with friends or family and book a spot at their favourite city restaurant, bar or café to bring in 2021. Venues across the city have arranged New Year’s Eve celebrations, with restaurants offering special deals and live music throughout the city. Make sure you reserve a table as early as possible to guarantee your spot.

Perth

Several venues in Perth are hosting New Year’s Eve celebrations to say farewell to 2020. The Windsor Hotel in South Perth is hosting a Garden Bar Disco Prohibition Soirée, which will feature $10 espresso martinis from 7pm to 9pm and $40 bottles of prosecco all night long. The best part? Tickets are only $10.

Fans of the roaring twenties era should check out The Royal’s 1920s-themed New Year’s Eve bash. For just $25, you can forget about the madness of 2020 and enjoy the ambience of a century ago.

Canberra 

Toast to 2021 at any of Canberra’s New Year’s Eve events. Head to The Basement in Belconnen, a popular spot among students for its cool vibe and affordable prices. Tickets to their New Year’s Eve party are just $25, with the event featuring a mix of music from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. 

Jazz lovers can check out Molly Bar’s Prohibition-themed New Year’s Eve party. Your $25 ticket grants you entry and a free signature cocktail upon arrival.

Darwin

New Year’s Eve festivals are a classic annual tradition in Australia and this year is no exception in Darwin. The Darwin Waterfront Corporation is hosting an internationally acclaimed line-up of Australian musical talent, from major musicians – including Tones & I – to local artists. There will also be food stalls, an outdoor bar, and two fireworks shows. You simply need to register in advance for a fee of $20 (excluding GST) and collect your wristband from one of the designated locations. Grab your tickets here.

Hobart

While the Taste of Tasmania food festival has been cancelled, the City of Hobart will still be proceeding with its fireworks show to end 2020 with a bang. If you’re keen to see the spectacular display, you can head to any of Hobart’s various vantage points, including the Hobart waterfront, Mount Wellington or Mount Nelson Lookout.

Staying home for New Year’s Eve

One of the best places to spend New Year’s Eve in 2020 is in the comfort of your own home. If you’d rather save some money and skip the queues, why not have a house party or a small gathering of friends at your place? As of 7 December, the household gathering restrictions for each state can be found here.

You can also sidestep the hassle of checking the rules for private gatherings and just host a virtual party instead. That way, you can have a fun New Year’s Eve without worrying about breaking any restrictions.