The best free fireworks lookouts

For some people, New Year’s Eve is overhyped and overrated. For others, it’s the best night of their year. Regardless of where you stand in the debate, it’s good to know where the centre of the party will be in each capital city, so you can either get involved or get away.

With more than a million people expected to head to Sydney’s foreshore on New Year’s Eve, the harbour will be the heart of the party – to no-one’s surprise. The fireworks display will be focused around the Harbour Bridge. While there are a number of ticketed events, to find the best free vantage point for you, check out Finder’s top recommendations.

At 9.30pm, you’ll be able to enjoy family friendly fireworks either at Yarra or Footscray Parks. At midnight, fireworks will take place along the river. You can try to snag yourself a vantage point along Birrarung Marr, Alexandra Gardens or the reserve lining the Yarra River. Check out Finder’s recommendations for other great free vantage points.

The fireworks display will happen along the snaking Brisbane River. The river’s shape allows for a number of potential vantage points. The top picks for lookout locations are at South Bank, Clem Jones Promenade, Street Beach and River Quay. At Eagle Street Pier, you can see fireworks over the Story Bridge from a quieter viewpoint on the water. Portside Wharf, where you can find food, entertainment and an earlier display of fireworks at 8.30pm, is perfect for families. And Howard Smith Wharves has a prime view of the fireworks, with food and live music kicking off at midday.

Beautiful Perth has a number of potential lookouts. Northbridge has family friendly activities starting at 4.30pm and building up to the 12am fireworks display. Mandurah and Rockingham, at the foreshore in Churchill Park, host family friendly events and have fireworks at both 9pm and midnight. Rottnest Island, Crown and Cannington will all be hosting events, although some may be ticketed.

The Elder Park area is the place to be, with an early family friendly fireworks display just before 9pm, and then another one at midnight to see out the year. The park has food, drink, live music and performances beginning at 6pm. You’ll get a good view of the fireworks from in front of the Festival Centre. There will also be celebrations at Glenelg and Port Adelaide, with family friendly carnivals throughout the day and night.

If you’re escorting grandkids or are after a vibrant but alcohol-free environment, you can check out Civic Square from 6pm, where a family friendly concert will pause for the fireworks at 9pm and 12am. If you’re after a more secluded lookout spot, try to find yourself a spot around Lake Burley Griffin. From Commonwealth Park and Kings Park you should be able to get a good view of the fireworks while still being away from the parties.

You’ll be able to see the fireworks display over the Hobart waterfront from the walkways, wharves and Salamanca. If you’re in the mood for a hike, you’ll be able to see the full view from high up on Mount Wellington. The Mount Nelson lookout, in a reserve a little south of the city, has clear views of the harbour and the city.

If you’re looking for a free land-based option, the Darwin Waterfront is a must. You can enjoy food stalls and family friendly entertainment from 4pm and the first round of fireworks at 9pm. You can bring your own food, if you feel like packing a basket, although you won’t be able to bring glass or alcohol.

For more New Year’s Eve events across Australia, visit

What are your plans for the big night?

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Written by Liv Gardiner

Writer and editor with interests in travel, lifestyle, health, wellbeing, astrology and the enivornment.

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