Paradise NYE – New Years on Sydney Harbour

Since the year 2000, Sydney has slowly grown a reputation as one of the best places in the world to spend New Years Eve. With up to 2 million people flocking to vantage points around the city’s harbour it is a worth while investment to get yourself somewhere with a spectacular view, yet has the throngs of crowds locked out. Enter Paradise NYE. A unique event that promised the best of DJ’s (Aeroplane, Norman Jay MBE) and the best of Chefs – Pete Evans,, of My Kitchen Rules fame, Adam D’sylva and Justin North.

Sydney's Overseas Passenger Terminal

Our venue for the night, Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal

With so many people in Sydney, getting to a venue that’s water front of Circular Quay was never going to be easy. But I really didn’t expect it to take over an hour from Wynyard Station (what is normally a 5 – 10min walk). Pedestrian access to Circular Quay had been blocked by police with one small gate left for ticket holders to venues on the other side. The only issue here is that everyone who didn’t have a ticket also wanted to try their luck at talking the police into letting them into circular quay. When the police said no the “talk” became an argument delaying the line even longer for legitimate ticket holders.  Once passed the crowd was thick of people, no where to move easily, and despite an area kept clear for access to the OPT, we were not allowed to use it. A 40m walk took us over 15 minutes.

Having missed the 9pm fireworks waiting in line, we were keen to get a drink and relax once finally in the venue. Again something that should’ve been simple actually took  20minutes. At $300 a ticket, waiting around in long lines was not what I expected especially when drinks was included in the price. Without cash, change and credit card transactions to deal with,  it really should’ve been quick process to pick up a champagne or beer pre-poured and waiting behind the bar.

Sydney Opera House from our balcony.

Sydney Opera House from our balcony. The calm before the storm

Norman Jay was rocking the decks with a mixed bag of music. I personally was enjoying it, but I found many in the crowd couldn’t get into it, claiming it was a bit too diverse for them.  Not to worry the two outside balconies, one looking onto circular quay and the other the opera house, on a summer night,was a much nicer place to be than inside.

With the countdown to midnight approaching our group decided to get a better view. There was a rooftop balcony reserved for $400 ultra vip ticket holders. Despite not having access to this area, the bouncers let us walk up unopposed. I would be angry if I had paid that $100 extra for that space. But I didn’t so I was happy at our little bonus. The bar up here was still busy, but less so than downstairs and we all got a glass of bubbly for midnight.

The view promised by Paradise NYE

The view promised by Paradise NYE. If you look closely you can see this was actually taken the opposite side of the harbour at Luna Park

The actual view, tall ship and Opera House

The actual view, still pretty impressive

The fireworks were nothing short of sensational, and despite being a Sydney local this was the first time I had seen them from the harbour ever. The balcony faced the opera house, and this year the white sales played a major role, with rockets launching off the curved shape roof in spectacular fashion, while jet-skis with sparks flying off their backs scooted around in front of the icons.  The only problem with this vantage point was it was very difficult to see the bridge. If you stick your head out and looked north you could see the top of it. But we did have an option of using the balcony on the opposite side if the bridge was important to us.

Heading back downstairs to get our groove on to Aeroplane, I suddenly realised I was hungry, caught up in the excitement I had forgotten to get some food, then it occurred to me, I hadn’t seen any sign of the food advertised. Considering the lure to eat dishes prepared or at least designed by 3 of Australia’s best chefs, I would’ve thought food would’ve been front and centre. Maybe It was tucked in a corner somewhere and I just missed it?

Burger Slider

One of the menu items promised to guests, but I did not see it.


Overall I had a fantastic night. I put this down to the people I was with and being in such a great spot to see the fireworks.

Enjoying the night with friends old and new.

Enjoying the night with friends old and new.

I am a bit disappointed in  Paradise NYE as a whole though. The lack of food, the long times for drinks and the bathrooms (Something I didn’t mention earlier but it for women it took almost half an hour to go). I really don’t think I got my $300’s worth.  For the Paradise NYE team. I hope they take it on board as a learning experience for next year if they can secure the venue . The concept has some legs, but just needs to be pulled together with more attention paid to the details.

BONUS: Official City of Sydney Fireworks After Movie.




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