Get the party started
Christmas in Oz can feel a little strange. You’re a million miles from home and the decorations are dazzling in the blistering sunshine rather than by the light of a cosy fire. But there’s no point sitting around waiting for a freak snowstorm to get you feeling festive. Instead, plan an epic celebration to launch you into 2010. One thing Australians excel at is bringing in the New Year in style.

The classic, not to mention cheap, way to spend New Year’s Eve is in Sydney watching the harbour fireworks. Chances are you’ve seen them on the telly at home but that’s no substitute for the real thing. They are world famous for a very good reason. Visit to check out the best vantage points and also where will let you BYO alcohol (try to avoid taking glass) – you really don’t want to be drinkless when the clock strikes 12. Remember to arrive extra early. The entertainment starts at 5pm with an indigenous smoking ceremony. After that, there’s the family fireworks teaser at 9pm before the main event at, well, you can probably guess when. Some viewing areas do charge for entry, such as Dudley Page Reserve near Bondi Beach. Tix are $18 at

Or, if the fireworks alone don’t provide enough mayhem for you, try the Harbour Party at Luna Park. With music from the likes of Pendulum in the background, watching the midnight show from the big wheel is spectacular. Just be careful you don’t get too drunk and throw up on the people in the cart below. The few tix left are $165.40 from

Another popular option is Shore Thing! at Bondi Beach. Superstar DJs Carl Cox, Danny Tenaglia and Roger Sanchez will be providing the tunes at this massive outdoor party. Expect drinking, dancing and snogging strangers. Tix cost $139.20 and are available

For a touch of class and high-up views, check out Sydney Tower’s Sky Lounge. Tix are $250, with food and drinks included. See

If one night of revelry simply isn’t enough, head to the Space Ibiza event in the Entertainment Quarter on New Year’s Day. Expect stunning visuals, stilt-walkers, acrobats and palm trees to make you feel like you’re actually in the legendary Ibiza nightclub. DJs include Pete Tong and other Space residents. Tix are $126.90 from

It’s not just Sydney that puts on amazing firework displays. Federation Square is Melbourne’s answer to the Sydney Harbour bonanza. This year’s theme is World Carnivale, which means in addition to the annual pyrotechnics there will be energetic entertainment from the Melbourne Ska Orchestra, circus artists and a swing and jazz band. Check

If you’d rather get down on the dance floor then Sensation at Etihad Stadium is probably the best option. The dress code is all white and there are expected to be around 40,000 party-goers at this 10-hour event. Tix are $171.55 from or to find out more.

Make the most of having a hot New Year’s and get tickets for the Sunset People Carnivale at the Alumbra, a South American-themed party complete with a Brazilian floorshow of costumed dancers and fire twirlers. The music is a blend of house, retro and Latin. Tickets are a steal at $70 including a cocktail on arrival and a gourmet BBQ. Tix at

For a night of old-fashioned decadence, get dressed up in your most glamorous ensemble and shimmy on down to the Roaring Twenties Burlesque at the Royal Melbourne Hotel. There will be loads of burlesque performances including nipple-tasselled fan dancers and a turn by Baroness Mischa, the world’s only contorting female sword swallower. Visit www.houseofburlesque.comfor more info. Tix cost $85.

Brisbane’s South Bank Parklands is the place to catch the obligatory NYE firework display. Celebrations kick off from 3pm and include a fairground, dance party, live music and free films.

If your New Year’s resolution is to get as drunk as physically possible then the Wicked Club Crawl is a great way to start as you mean to go on. Join the merry gang of 2,000 like-minded partygoers on a tour of the five best clubs in Surfers Paradise. Tix are from $100, available

Perth’s Northbridge hosts a giant free street party every year. Entertainment comedy, burlesque dancers, circus acts 
and aerial performers. Info at

If Perth’s NYE offering is a little tame for your tastes then make Club Paradiso on January 1 the main event. This dance music party features performances from Australian and international DJs and vocalists, all overlooking the Swan River. Tix $125 from

Sullivans Cove is the best place to enjoy the waterfront fireworks. There’s also set to be music and roving entertainers to keep you amused.

Hobart’s Taste of Tasmania Festival runs from December 28 to January 3 and hosts a special night on NYE featuring Bollywood dancers and Tasmanian DJ/VJ act Acumen (tix $40). There will be over 70 stalls of Tassie food for you to feast on and, if you’re not too full, live music for you to dance to. It’s not unknown for some of the acts in town for the Falls Festival to drop by for a surprise gig during the week.

Darwin’s Wharf Precinct is your destination if you find yourself in the Northern Territory over New Year. The fireworks take off from Stokes Hill Wharf at 9pm and again at midnight. In between the displays take in the live music and street theatre or have a drink or 12 at one of the local bars.

Adelaide’s Elder Park is the biggest NYE celebration in SA. There’s music, dancing, entertainers and multicultural food on offer and at midnight you can watch the fireworks whiz, bang and sparkle over Victoria Bridge.
Info at

On New Year’s Day you have until noon to nurse your hangover. Then the party starts all over again at Summadayze dance music festival. There’s an awesome line-up of DJs including dance floor legends Carl Cox, Roger Sanchez and Ian Carey. It’s at Adelaide’s Rymill Park and tickets are still available for $104.85 from

The fireworks in Canberra go off over Lake Burley Griffin and can be viewed throughout the city. If you’re feeling civilised there’s a concert in Civic Square. See for more info. Alternatively head to Garema Place for the free Bass in the Place dance party.

Christmas unwrapped
Don’t waste your day missing your family when you could be making the most of being away from them. Enjoy a non-traditional festive celebration at Sunburnt Christmas in Sydney’s Bondi Beach. It’s a huge one-day dance festival and the premier destination for backpackers in NSW. Headline acts include The Potbelleez and tickets cost from $59. 
Visit for more info.

If you’re pining a northern hemisphere roast, have no fear. 
Heaps of pubs, like The Gaff on Sydney’s Oxford Street, will happily oblige. Alternatively, do as the Aussies do and head to the beach for a barbie. Just remember most bottle shops close on Christmas Day and drinking is forbidden on some beaches, such as Bondi. Win your Christmas spending back at Randwick Races on Boxing Day. Take along your passport as non-Aussies get in free.