New Year’s Eve from the best seats in Sydney

Sydney NYE fireworks by Expat Edna-3

For someone who loves New Year’s Eve as much as I do, being invited to a private party, in Sydneyright next to Harbour Bridge — that’s equivalent to, say, giving a teenage boy front-row seats to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

I was pretty pumped.

Empty streets of Sydney on NYE by Expat Edna

Apocalyptic downtown Sydney, four hours before midnight

Originally, I’d planned to go to Sydney and do the whole ‘cross your fingers and hope to magically find a space’ trick, like the last time I attempted this.

(And honestly it worked well, was a pretty epic night, and I was secretly concerned I wasn’t going to be able to top it — and I really wanted to top it, partly because it was Joe’s first time ever in the country.)

NYE on the Rocks, Sydney by Expat Edna

But then wouldn’t you know it: just before leaving on the trip, I learned my company was one of Sydney NYE’s sponsors this year; and the Australia team had a couple extra tickets to the [corporate brand] party at Dawes Point Park; and would I possibly want to get on the guest list?

Sydney NYE Wonderland invitation by Expat EdnaSydney NYE party sponsor by Expat Edna

Tickets thanks to this one (and I don’t mean Joe)

And that’s how I found myself in New Year’s Eve heaven: waiting for midnight standing pretty much as close as I could get to Harbour Bridge without actually being on top of Harbour Bridge.

Sydney NYE Wonderland party by Expat Edna

First, there were the 9 PM fireworks (also called the Family Fireworks, so kids can catch the show but still be put to bed at a reasonable hour):

Sydney NYE 9 pm fireworks by Expat Edna Sydney NYE 9 pm fireworks by Expat Edna-2Sydney NYE 9 pm fireworks by Expat Edna-3

And then we had three hours to go. Which is when the really sweet perks of being here, besides the location, became obvious.

Sydney NYE by night by Expat Edna

We weren’t fighting against crowds, because there were none — meaning we didn’t have to hoard our spots like Gollum and could actually walk around, change locations, get food and drink, use the bathroom (which were the most efficiently manned portapotties I’ve ever seen — manned portapotties!) — all without worrying about losing our spot and view.

Sydney NYE - Edna and Champagne by Expat Edna

There was alcohol for sale, meaning: champagne all around! (Many viewing areas in Sydney don’t allow glass and alcohol on New Year’s Eve for safety reasons.)

Sydney NYE Harbour by night by Expat EdnaSydney NYE boats by night by Expat EdnaSydney NYE Harbour bridge by night by Expat EdnaSydney harbour NYE by Expat Edna

There were spectacular views of the city.

Sydney NYE jacket sequins by Expat EdnaSydney NYE broadcasters by Expat Edna

Plus some entertainment in the form of watching two guys I assumed to be Australian Dick Clark and Australian Seacrest mulling about, searching for giggly groups of women to put on camera. (That’s Australian Dick Clark above, he was distractingly sparkly.)

Finally, it was time for the countdown:

Sydney NYE - Bright Ideas Can Change the World on Harbour Bridge by Expat EdnaSydney NYE countdown - 59 seconds by Expat EdnaSydney NYE countdown - 1 second to go by Expat EdnaSydney NYE countdown - MIDNIGHT! by Expat Edna

[At :59, I realized the countdown was starting and I had drifted from my spot on the iron-wrought fence! So I wiggled my way back up and reclaimed my prime spot, standing right on the fence, just in time to count the final ten seconds.]

Happy New Year!!

Happy fireworks dude by Expat Edna

Immediately after midnight struck. This guy’s face says it all.

Sydney NYE fireworks by Expat EdnaSydney NYE fireworks by Expat Edna-7Sydney NYE fireworks by Expat Edna-4Sydney NYE fireworks by Expat Edna-5Sydney NYE fireworks by Expat Edna-6Sydney NYE fireworks by Expat Edna-8Sydney NYE Happy New Year by Expat Edna

When the fireworks were over, most people cleared out and started trekking home.

Not us. I knew from experience that the streets would be unpleasantly packed for quite a while — and accordingly, the party (and therefore its DJs) were scheduled to keep rocking till 1 am.

Sydney NYE Edna and Joe by Expat EdnaSydney NYE Edna and Joe 2 by Expat EdnaSydney NYE afterparty by Expat Edna

So we snapped some goofy photos without the crowds around, then moved onto the dance floor to party.

Best part: as soon as we got to the stage, Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody came on, which is one of my favorite songs and I absolutely LOVE IT, and Joe [likes to pretend he] absolutely hates it because of how much I absolutely love it, and it was just the perfect first dance of the new year.

It was the cherry on top and I was all smiles and pure joy.

Edna in Sydney on NYE by Expat Edna

Pretty brilliant start to the new year, I’d say (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?)

I won’t name my work but should anyone there stumble across my blog, eternal gratitude goes to my Australian colleagues for inviting me — this was the best New Year’s Eve I could have never even imagined.

For more:

  • Sydney 2015 fireworks (YouTube): A short video clip I took of the fireworks (probably best to start around :35)
  • Hotmanay!! | JK Roaming: My friend John posted some sweet photos/videos of his view from the Botanical Gardens.

A little belated but I believe in better late than never!: How did you ring in the new year?

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  1. This looks awesome!!

  2. Ahh, what an incredible show! I spent New Year’s 2013 on the banks of the Vltava river in Prague looking out at the fireworks…. and the first song to come on was Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, which I decided must be my ‘Song of the Year’. Maybe the Whitney Houston song is yours! (such a good one) Anyhoo, thats the only NYE that even comes close to what this one looked like. And you were one of the first to ring in the New Year, as well1

  3. This is at the top of my bucket list! Those fireworks are simply spectacular!

  4. Wow! Those fireworks look incredible! I was living in Sydney for a year, but I missed the NY celebrations because I went travelling in the Northern Territory over the Christmas break. The best we could do was a glow stick!

  5. Gorgeous snaps! Still something I’m dying to see.

  6. I’m kind of ehhhh about New Year’s Eve but this actually looks pretty awesome! I think celebrating the holiday in the Southern Hemisphere is a good choice.

  7. Wow, that looks like just a spectacular way to ring in 2015!!! So happy for you that you got tickets to that sweet party! Given how much you love New Year’s, they couldn’t have given those tickets away to a more perfect person!

  8. “that’s equivalent to, say, giving a teenage boy front-row seats to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.” Haha! Hey… your hair is short — cute!

  9. Wow, I can only begin to imagine how incredible that sight was. What a way to welcome in the new year. :D I was fast asleep before midnight for this NYE, haha. Party on!

  10. Epic!!!! I gotta do that one year. When I was 19, my family went to Australia during winter break, but we left on Dec. 30 because school started up again so soon, and thus was I jipped of my Sydney NYE opportunity. A sad story, I know.

  11. I was also in Sydney for New Years, but watched the fireworks from a boat:

    Are you living in Shanghai? We should meet for coffee sometime and have a blogging chat! :)


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