Our Amazing New Years Eve in Sydney Harbourlights, at the Botanical Gardens

I wanted to dedicate an entire post to New Years Eve and just how incredible it was. It’s been my #1 bucketlist item for all my life (pretty much) and when the clock was five minutes to midnight I needed pinching just to convince myself we were actually there – and I was actually doing this thing which I’d always wanted to do. There’s not many times in your life when you can say that I guess.

It really was an amazing night – and perfect beyond belief. I think it exceeded both our expectations, not only because of how well it was organised, but because of how perfect our view was and perfect the weather was… etc. We decided in the summer that we’d spend NYE in Sydney, and I knew from past research that queing up for the public viewing points was going to be a big no-no. Around 17,000 people queue up and crowd into the botanical gardens for the best “free view” but that involves:

1) Queuing

2) More Queuing

3) Standing in the heat all day

4) Being crammed in with 17,000 other people for a view that’s not even guaranteed

Pad an I were pretty dead set against all of the above so started looking for ways we could have an amazing view – with minimal of all of the above – but maximum awesome. Which is when we stumbled across the private ticketed events held by the Botanical Gardens. We found one we liked the sound of – called Sydney Harbour Lights NYE, an outdoor event, with an incredible view and a free gourmet picnic, a bar and private seating. So we went for it.

Neither of us have any regrets with the choice – it was perfect. Sure, there were a lot of people in the Harbourlights NYE section of the Botanical Gardens, but it felt very private and you felt like the fireworks were being put on just for you. The views was completely clear too – no trees blocking the way and the picture perfect location for all those amazing photographs I was determined to get.

Watching the sun go down, and a plane flew over with this message. I loved this almost as much as the fireworks.

Another gorgeous shot of the sunset. This would be our view for the night!

The event Harbourlights began at 7.30pm – but we arrived at the Botanical gardens about an hour and a half early. People had already started to queue up, so I’m pretty glad in hindsight that we secured a decent spot in line because it meant we got first dibs on the seating. I would say, get there about 2 hours early if you’re really intent on getting a decent seat. I know 2 hours seems like a lot – but it’s not really anything compared to all the other people in the public area who would’ve queued for 8+ hours!

Remember that there are 3 private events at the botanical gardens too that night – so make sure you get in the right queue. It was sign posted – but lots of people we chatted too found that they’d been waiting in the wrong line for half an hour… so just be sure to check.

The way they set the event up was really interesting and not how either of us expected. There was a bar at one end with toilets, a water fountain halfway, and then rows of these cute deck chairs lining the harbour-side all the way up to the curve of the botanical gardens, the seats seemed to to go on and on. It was set out so that everyone had a great view, but if I was handing out advice to anyone hoping to book next year – it would still be to get there early and claim a seat on the front row.

Most people stood up when the midnight fireworks start anyhow, but for those practise ones at 9pm, sitting at the front will give you the best views.

The Harbourlights seating, we got to take these chairs home with us too!

Very impressed with the Gourmet Picnic!

Once the sun went down, we enjoyed a DJ and some “practise baby fireworks” and some incredible views across the harbour towards the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. This was enough to keep us entertained! I brought a magazine with me too – just incase, but didn’t really need it. Do take some bottled water with you for the queue though – as it can get a bit hot!

The atmosphere was great all night long, and the views made it all the more memorable. I honestly think they are the best views on offer in the whole city. It sounds incredibly geeky but I can’t wait until we’re back in London – so I can order some of these prints blown up on canvas.

The view across the harbour, pretty amazing right?

The viewing platform… I loved the lanterns!

Lots of photo opportunities whilst waiting for midnight!

Blatantly getting more excited!

Then of course…. The fireworks started! I’ll just let the photos do the talking here!

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  • Gill Roberts


  • http://skysearch.aero/ Jenny @ Air Charter Services

    Pretty amazing sights! Thank you for sharing.

  • Ruth

    Your mum teaches me at dubai british school
    i really like your blog there is lots of cool stuff on there I especially like the video of queensland

  • http://www.travellingking.com Sam D @Travellingking.com

    Beautiful! Sydney on NYE is one the list for next year! too much on this year already I think

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