19 Last Minute NYE Ideas (That Don’t Suck)

Whether you want to catch the fireworks, dance all night or keep it low key, we've got you sorted.

new years eve
Image: iStock

There’s no doubt that New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest nights of the year. It’s a time to celebrate the fact that you made through another year (woohoo!) and get ready for a fresh start. But if you ask me, it can also be one of the most stressful nights of the year. Who are you going to spend it with? What are you going to do? And most importantly, will there be food? Sometimes, it all becomes too daunting and we leave planning anything to the very last minute. But often, that leaves us sitting on the lounge watching the fireworks on TV with our cat, experiencing serious FOMO as we scroll through our Facebook feeds. But if you haven’t planned anything yet, don’t stress. No matter where you live in Australia, there are plenty of fun, last minute things to do on NYE that won’t break the bank. Whether you want to watch the fireworks, dance the night away or keep it low key, we’ve got you sorted with our top picks.

Sydney

NYE at Coogee Bay Hotel

coogeebay
Image: businessinsider.com.au

Head to this free event at the Coogee Bay Hotel for some beachside beats and to catch the 9 pm fireworks. International DJs Bag Raiders will be spinning tracks, as well as plenty of up-and-comers.

Find out more here.

Blackwattle Bay Park

blackwattle
Image: weekendnotes.com

Want to watch the spectacular Sydney fireworks but don’t feel like being shoved around by crowds? You won’t be able to see the Harbour Bridge from this Glebe vantage point, but you will be able to actually get a spot to watch the dazzling pyrotechnics! A pretty good trade-off, we think.

Find out more here.

Melbourne

Yarra Park

melbourne
Image: weekendnotes.com

Like Sydney, Melbourne gets crazy on New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, unless you live in a  high-rise city apartment (we wish!) finding a good spot to watch the midnight fireworks is mission impossible. However, the festivities and 9.30 fireworks at Yarra Park are a lot more bearable!

Find out more here.

‘For The Love Of Gold’ Party At The Curtin

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Image: johncurtinhotel.com

On NYE, this historic pub will transform into a multi-level club. DJS will pump disco and funk tunes all night, making it the perfect place to go if you don’t feel like braving the crowds for the fireworks.

Find out more here.

Brisbane

Portside Wharf

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Image: bmag.com.au

Lucky Brisbanites! The city boasts a phenomenal fireworks display, but the crowds aren’t quite as huge as Melbourne or Sydney. The riverside precinct of Portside Wharf is one of the best places to catch either the 8.30 or midnight fireworks.

Find out more here.

Brewhouse Brisbane Garden Party

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Image: brewhouse.com.au

Want your New Year’s Eve to involve champagne and oysters? Then head down to the Garden Party at the Brisbane Brewhouse. Entry will cost you $45, but you’ll get 6 tapas plates, access to the champagne bar and a batch of their ‘New Year’s Lager.’

Find out more here.

Perth

Rottnest Island

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Image: katierebekah.com.au

Not only is Rottnest Island an amazing spot for a day trip, it’s also a great place to spend your NYE! There will be a food village, DJS, a silent disco and even a 9 pm fireworks show. It’ll cost you $55 for the return trip from Perth and the last ferry leaves at 12.40 am.

Find out more here.

‘Escape to the Jungle’ Party

escape
Image: librarynightclub.com.au

Want an excuse to rock a costume this NYE? Then pull out your finest animal print and head to the Escape To The Jungle party at Library Nightclub in Northbridge! You can buy a $20 pre-sale ticket or pay $25 on the door.

Find out more here.

Adelaide

 Elder Park

adelaide
Image: weekendnotes.com.au

Fireworks, food and DJS — this free event has it all! The festivities will kick off at 6 pm and there will be two fireworks shows, at 9 pm and midnight.

Find out more here.

90s Rn’B Party at The Stag Hotel

90s
Image: girlsaskguys.com

Is there a better way to ring in the new year than with 90s Rn’B? We don’t think so. This NYE party at The Stag Hotel will set you back $99, but you’ll get unlimited drinks, canapes and 5 hours of old school beats. Alternatively, you can pay $49 and buy your own drinks at the bar.

Find out more here.

Darwin

Darwin Waterfront

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Image: northernterritory.com

Darwin is home to one of the most underrated waterfronts in Australia, if you ask me. This also happens to be where they have their NYE fireworks (at 9 pm and midnight). There’s also a free outdoor concert, so it’s the perfect place to bring some snacks and roll out a picnic rug!

Illumination NYE party

faders
Image: blitz.arc.unsw.edu.au

Want to dance your a** off and watch the fireworks on NYE? Then you can’t go wrong with the ‘Illumination’ party at SKYCITY Darwin. Sydney DJ Duo The Faders will be headlining the evening and you’ll be able to catch the midnight fireworks over the gorgeous Mindil Beach.

Find out more here.

Canberra

Civic Square

canberra
Image: abc.net.au

One of the best places to watch the show-stopping fireworks in Canberra is undoubtedly Civic Square. There’s also a free concert with acts like The Potbelleez to keep you entertained while you wait for the midnight fireworks.

Find out more here.

Bass In The Place

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Image: events.act.gov.au

Whether you’re into hip-hop, Rn’B, dance or mash-ups, we guarantee you’ll have an awesome NYE at Bass In The Place. Best of all, the event at Garema Place is totally free. It’s an alcohol-free event, so it is a great choice if you’re trying to avoid booze this New Year’s.

Find out more here.

Hobart

The Taste of Tasmania Festival

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Image: themercury.com.au

Whether you’re spending this NYE with friends, family or your partner, this waterfront festival is a great option. You’ll be able to sample some of the best food, art and culture Tassie has to offer and have an amazing view of the midnight fireworks.

Find out more here.

Mount Nelson Lookout

hobart
Image: genkin.org

Looking for a place to watch the fireworks without dealing with the crowds? This lookout point is just a 10-minute drive from Hobart and has spectacular panoramic views. Take a picnic for the ultimate low-key New Year’s Eve.

Find out more here.

Don’t feel like heading into the city? Here are some chilled-out NYE ideas you can do anywhere in Australia.

1. Get into nature

Image: iStock

If you really can’t be bothered dealing with people (other than the ones you’re with) this NYE, camping is an awesome option. It’s also the cheapest way to go on a holiday! There are so many beautiful spots to camp all around Australia but be warned, most powered spots do get very busy at this time of year. For some hidden gems, check out this article.

2. Host a dinner party

Image: iStock

Some of my most memorable NYEs have involved going absolutely nowhere. If you’re with the right people, all you need is food, some tunes and possibly a few cocktails to have a great time! For some tips on hosting a stress-free dinner party, read this.

3. Go to a music festival

Image: tonedeaf.com.au

Keen on the camping idea but want to add a bit more excitement to your NYE? It’s not to late to grab tickets to some of Australia’s many New Year’s festivals. There’s Beyond The Valley in Victoria and Origin NYE in Perth. You’ll want to get in quick though — they’re sure to sell out very soon.

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Emma Norris
A true believer in balance, Emma is just as passionate about pizza as she is about pull-ups. When she’s not writing, she loves strength training, visiting new cafes and trying out new fitness classes. Having lived in Ireland and Canada, Emma was bitten by the travel bug at a young age. She loves nothing more than visiting new destinations and experiencing different cultures. Emma grew up (and currently lives) near the beautiful Coogee Beach and is happiest when she’s near a body of water. She started her career in magazines and has recently made the exciting transition to the digital world.