Australia

Where to go for New Year’s Eve: from city breaks to beach parties

Whether you want to be in the city to watch the fireworks amongst the skyscrapers or kicking back on a beach with a cocktail in a coconut, here are some great spots to spend your New Year’s Eve.

December 31st often brings with it the fear of missing out like no other time of year. So many parties and celebrations happening all around you, knowing which one to sign up to is overwhelming. Skipping town and doing your own thing for NYE not only dodges the FOMO, but it also gives you the excuse to travel.

From family stays in the next city to something a little more exotic, here are some options for getting out of town and seeing in the new year from somewhere completely different. And if you’re sticking around this New Year’s, these staycation ideas will give you the perfect way to see a whole new side to your hometown over the holidays.

Sidestep Byron for a relaxing Tweed Coast New Year’s Eve

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Byron Bay might seem like a good idea for New Year’s Eve celebrations, but recent years have seen this once cruisy beach town become quite commercialised. However, a few kilometres up the coast—the Tweed Coast in fact—things are all set up for the perfect family beach stay away from rowdy crowds.

Right at the water’s edge, the Mantra on Salt Beach near Kingscliff is the ideal setting for a chilled-out beachside NYE. Pools, parks, restaurants and shops in the resort’s Salt Beach Village keep you entertained all the way up to and past the stroke of midnight.

The fireworks on Salt Beach in front of the Mantra are ample, but if you’re looking for something a bit bigger, Coolangatta is just up the road across the Queensland border. Right on Coolangatta Beach, you’ll find more elaborate fireworks, more people and a busier atmosphere. You can also book a table at Cooly’s-Coolangatta’s surf club for dinner and enjoy the entertainment all the way past midnight till 1 a.m.

While you’re in the area, you’re still close enough to Byron for you to go and see what you’re not missing out on, but even closer are fun spots like Cabarita Beach and Paper Daisy for a pretty lunch venue and a striking coastline.

Where to watch the fireworks in Coolangatta

Enjoy the two fireworks shows—one at 9 p.m., the other at midnight—either from the QE2 Park next to the beach or from Cooly’s-Coolangatta’s surf club overlooking the water.

Mantra On Salt Beach

Top rated
8.6 Excellent (2139 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.9 / 10
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Watch the year’s last sunset dip into the ocean

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With the warm waters of the Indian Ocean lapping at its feet, Perth is a perfect place for a luxury escape this summer. Watching the sun set over the sea is one of life’s true pleasures, and even more so if it coincides with fireworks and NYE celebrations.

Set in a beautiful state building from the 1800s, Como the Treasury’s 48 guestrooms and elegant spa make for the finest stay over the holidays. You’re one block back from the Swan River’s Port of Perth and parties like Foreshore NYE.

But for true panorama, the views down from Kings Park over the city and the Swan Valley are prime for watching the NYE fireworks that Perth puts on each year.

Where to watch the fireworks in Perth

A picnic on the gentle slopes of the Botanic Gardens is one of the most popular ways to ring in the new year in WA.

Como The Treasury

Top rated
Perth, 1.2 km to First Church of Christ Scientist
9.2 Excellent (171 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.6 / 10
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Skip classic Sydney for Brisbane NYE vibes

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Brisbane always seems to get overshadowed by Sydney for the best NYE celebrations on the east coast, but Queensland’s capital can more than hold its own. Whether you want to see the night sky light up during the fireworks shows or party hard in the city centre, the whole city comes alive with parties and fun for the last night of the year.

The Calile Hotel, right in Fortitude Valley, is the perfect place to stay for a Brissie NYE. The Calile’s light, airy Palm Springs vibe, and it’s slick white and rose gold colour scheme make you feel more like you’re in a far-flung glamorous resort than a city-central hotel.

Once you’ve enjoyed all the entertainment in the Valley, like beer-forward Tippler’s Tap or Alfred and Constance—a department store of bars, clubs and eateries, the build-up to New Year’s culminates with two 10-minute fireworks displays that set the city’s river on fire.

Best spots to see the fireworks

Head to the South Bank of the Brisbane River—between Clem Jones Promenade, Streets Beach and River Quay. These spots are popular, so getting a good position early is a good idea.

The Calile Hotel

Top rated
Brisbane, 2 km to Albert Street Uniting Church
8.8 Excellent (100 reviews)
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A birds-eye view of Surfers from the top of Q1

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As the year ends, Surfers Paradise lives for the parties, fireworks and big celebrations. Watch as 30,000 fireworks light up the sky over the ocean from barges and a beach carnival with rides and games turns the already lively party atmosphere of the Gold Coast up to the highest notch.

Standing high above it all is Q1 Resort and Spa—the tallest residential building in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere. Inside, rooms and apartments offer incredible views over the beach and across the Queensland landscape. When you’re not marvelling at the vistas, exploring the menus of Q1’s four restaurants or reclining beside its sparkling lagoon pools, there’s plenty of entertainment right on your doorstep.

With only a short walk from one of Australia’s most famous beaches in one direction and Cavill Avenue’s 300 specialty restaurants, bars and boutique stores in the other, you’ll be busy right until it’s time for Auld Lang Syne.

When it comes to the countdown for the new year, Q1 is home to SkyPoint Tower, whose observation deck hosts an NYE party. Tickets for New Year’s Eve are available online and include food, drinks, live entertainment and of course the view. From up here, you really will be the first in Australia to see the sun rise on a new year.

Q1 Resort & Spa

Surfers Paradise, 0.1 km to Cavill Avenue
8.4 Very good (6548 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.9 / 10
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Food festivals and famous races close out the year in Hobart

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There’s always more than one reason to come to Tasmania, and never is that truer than at the end of the year. Not only does Hobart throw an excellent New Year’s Eve party, but throughout the last week of December and the first week of January, the Taste of Tasmania festival fills Hobart’s Salamanca waterfront precinct. Already famous for its food and produce, Tassie really turns it on for this festival.

In tune with everything that’s going on, the Hadley’s Orient Hotel, a monument to Hobart’s history, is full of the cosy grandeur that makes this city so compelling. Rooms have a regal old English elegance, and the hotel’s staircases and fireplaces only add a charming luxury to your stay. And only a quick stroll down to the water from your room, the Hadley’s Orient Hotel is perfectly placed to keep you close to the action.

An action-packed end to the year

Aside from enjoying some tasty grub at the festival, you can also watch the marvellous finish of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, one of the most famous yacht races in the world. Landing in Hobart on December 31st, the jubilation of all these celebrations reaches crescendo just in time for the fireworks.

Hadley's Orient Hotel

Top rated
Hobart, 1 km to Battery Point
8.7 Excellent (2637 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.3 / 10
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Party by the water at the Top End

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For a New Year’s like no other, a trip to Darwin and its busy Waterfront Precinct has everything you need. From museums, galleries and shops to restaurants, a man-made beach, wave pool and waterpark it’s all here.

Looking out over it all, the Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront has all this on its doorstep, as well as the elevated walkway into Darwin’s city centre nearby too. Also, the hotel is equipped with its own restaurant, indoor pool, and access to the Deckchair Cinema and local boat tours. While you wait for the spectacular fireworks shows, take a dip in the lagoon, protected from the open ocean by the sea wall, or have a bite to eat over the water at Stokes Hill Wharf.

Where to watch the NYE fireworks in Darwin:

New Year’s Eve celebrations go off right over the waterfront. Fireworks fly from Kitchener Bay’s Wharf One at 9 p.m. and midnight.

Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront

Darwin, 0.2 km to Christ Church Cathedral
8.3 Very good (2153 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.1 / 10
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See in the new year from a beachfront resort in Bali

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Why not go further afield this New Year’s Eve and relax on the beaches of Bali? There’s always something happening on this island known for its parties but also for its relaxing peaceful retreats away from the crowds.

Just far enough away from the hedonist paradise of Kuta but only 10 minutes to Seminyak, Legian Beach is the perfect spot for you to choose between going wild at Skygarden and the relaxed sophistication of Potato Head Beach Club.

Even better, staying at Pullman Bali Legian Beach also means you have the sand of the Indian Ocean at your doorstep, and spas, pools, restaurants and elegant rooms with hints of Balinese style at your disposal.

Where can you watch NYE fireworks in Bali?

An easy walk along the sand will have you at Kuta Beach for the island’s biggest New Year’s Eve fireworks come midnight, then you can choose to stay and party or retreat back to the comfort of the Pullman and its beachfront infinity pool.

Pullman Bali Legian Beach

8.4 Very good (2335 reviews)
Excellent Service 8.8 / 10
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Welcome in the new year on your own Fiji island

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Get into real Island Time at Shangri La’s Fijian Resort off the coast of Viti Levu. Situated on its own little island, this resort gives you and your family privacy, safety, relaxed luxury and the perfect getaway for the end of the year and the beginning of the next.

When the party is over and January 1st comes around, you’ll have the warmth of Fijian hospitality to come home to. Shangri La’s Fijian Resort has five different concept restaurants to choose from, a nine-hole golf course, fishing, spa and a waterpark just off the island’s white sandy beaches.

Where to watch the fireworks in Fiji:

Come December 31, you can either get comfy and enjoy the fireworks amongst the palm trees and pools on Shangri La’s Yanuca Island, or head to the cities in the mainland for traditional street parties in Nadi and Suva.

Shangri La's Fijian Resort

7.9 Good (2676 reviews)
Very good Breakfast 8.3 / 10
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Say aloha to January and hula into the new year

Andrea Izzotti / Fotolia

New Year’s Eve is already an exciting celebration but imagine cheering in the new year from one of the world’s most famous beaches. Waikiki Beach, on the spectacular island of Honolulu, Hawaii is under 10 hours from Sydney, but a world away in terms of romance and fun.

Ideal for couples and families, this exotic volcanic island offers so much. In terms of celebrating the new year, Waikiki Beach is easily the most popular fireworks point. You can either watch them from the sand or take a catamaran cruise to enjoy the show from the water. What better way to see in the new year?

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Celebrate the new year and the cultural heritage of Hawaii

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The ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach has an incredible location across well-known Kalakaua Avenue from the sheltered sea-pool of Kuhio Beach in Waikiki Bay. Utterly Instagram-worthy, the hotel’s Swell Pool and cabanas, and its double-level aquarium in the lounge add wonder to this beautiful resort. Rooms are designed to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Hawaii and all have a view of the Pacific.

'Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach

8.2 Very good (7861 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.1 / 10
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Party hard near Waikiki Beach

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A block or two back from Kuhio Beach, the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach offers views over the city and the beach or even the magnificent Diamond Head mountain—a crater of a long-extinct volcano. Being so close to Waikiki Beach, Honolulu Zoo, Kapiolani Park, shopping and dining, you might not even have time to enjoy the hotel’s outdoor pool.

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach

8.2 Very good (6818 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.8 / 10
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See the year’s first sunrise in the Land of the Rising Sun

From a romantic luxury city break to a fun family holiday at this special time of year, Japan’s capital is the perfect NYE destination.

When it comes time to ring in the new year, Tokyo’s Roppongi district is where the party always is, thought the Port of Yokohama has the biggest countdown and fireworks. Lower-key celebrations at various temples around the city add a cultural edge to the fun. Especially the sacred Zojo-ji Temple under the Eiffel-style Tokyo Tower is popular at midnight on December 31st.

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A stylish NYE getaway

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As well as its incredible views out over Tokyo and its superb location in the centre of Shibuya, the Cerulean Tower Tokyu is stylish yet relaxed. With its nine in-house restaurants, indoor pool, beauty salon and designer furnishings, no detail in this hotel has been left out.

Cerulean Tower Tokyu

Top rated
Tokyo, 15.6 km to Ajinomoto Stadium
9.0 Excellent (3889 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
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A family-friendly Tokyo hotel for your New Year's break

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The Hotel Gracery Shinjuku is more family-minded, with its full-size Godzilla model climbing up the building’s eighth floor and peering into some of the rooms. Other rooms have views of the statue while more look down onto it. The hotel itself is ideally located near Seibu Shinjuku Station—the city’s biggest travel hub.

Hotel Gracery Shinjuku

Top rated
Tokyo, 16.1 km to Ajinomoto Stadium
8.8 Excellent (10605 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.2 / 10
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