New Year’s Eve Destinations

New Year’s Eve Destinations: Do you make special plans for this holiday? Do you like to just stay home and relax? Have you ever traveled to a unique location?

When discussing New Year’s Eve festivities, there are usually two types of people: Those that love an exciting New Year’s Eve complete with party hats and streamers and those who might enjoy a quiet dinner with friends. I fall somewhere in between. How do you feel about it? I love the idea of celebrating the prior year’s accomplishments and cherishing those memories.  Additionally, I find ringing in the New Year with optimism and hope equally as important.

While contemplating your New Year’s Eve festivities, do you ever feel like everyone else has a better plan than you do? I do sometimes. Our plans have varied from going to the movies, eating a casual dinner, attending an intimate party or taking a ski trip.  For many years when the kids were young, we just celebrated at home, ordered pizza and watched the ball drop!

Do you try to make extra special plans at this time of year? Have you ever traveled to Times Square in New York, or to Paris, New Orleans, Pasadena or some other iconic location to celebrate New Year’s Eve? After 28 years of marriage Craig and I went to Sydney, Australia for our best New Year’s Eve EVER!

Fireworks above the Sydney Opera House!

Year after year we always watched the infamous ball drop in Times Square with Dick Clark on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve television show. I always enjoyed how the program would cut away to other New Year celebrations around the world. Sydney Australia was always the earliest of the celebrations due to their time zone. I marveled at the glorious fireworks bursting directly above the Sydney Opera House.

I knew one day I just had to experience this once in a lifetime New Year’s Eve celebration. After waiting for the most opportune time for this Australian vacation, we finally scheduled the trip and I could hardly contain my enthusiasm.

We had just landed and been awake for countless hours, but we dropped our bags and walked to the harbor!

The long distance from Los Angeles to Sydney was part of the reason we didn’t jump at the chance to visit. I never thought I could sit, stuck and cramped on a plane for 14 hours, but I would do it again if it took twice that many hours.  Sydney is vibrant, friendly, historically interesting, beautiful and boasts some of the most spectacular architecture anywhere in the world.

Have you been? I believe without a doubt, it is one of the most wonderful places I have ever visited. If someone asks me about it, I tend to enthusiastically share every single detail without taking a breath! Sydney is very similar to where I live now, in Southern California, as it is filled with friendly people, has superior weather and glorious beaches. However, no offense to my friends here, So Cal doesn’t hold a candle to Sydney.

We landed on December 28th (my husband’s birthday) and stayed in Sydney through January 2. We could only be away in Australia for two weeks and it was challenging to try to see this enormous country in such a short period of time. After our New Year’s celebration in Sydney, we traveled to the magnificent Great Barrier Reef and the fun loving city of Brisbane. Spending three weeks or more in Australia is better option, but you do what you can! At that time of year, it is summer in Australia and it was outrageously HOT! However we didn’t care, Sydney offers so much to see and experience, the hot, humid weather did not deter us at all.

Celebrating New Year’s Eve watching the fireworks above the Sydney Opera House was breathtaking and a true highlight of my life. It was a “bucket list” item for me and was glorious, magical and exhilarating. New Year’s Eve is celebrated in spectacular fashion in Sydney. Thousands upon thousands of residents, as well as tourists, arrive with their picnic baskets in hand to wait for the momentous occasion.

Since we live on the other side of the world, it was quite strange to be experiencing such sultry weather at the end of the year! Summer in December? I have always associated Christmastime and the New Year with sitting by the fire sipping hot chocolate.  At home we would be wearing coats and scarves, watching football games and the evenings are chilly.  We experienced the polar opposite in Sydney ~ we loved it!

At the harbor’s edge, people are stacked like sardines waiting for the fireworks. This photo was taken in the early afternoon.There were many hours to go!
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Fireworks blast off from the city buildings too!
Most ships in the harbor are decorated with lights.

We had purposely planned to stay at the Park Hyatt Sydney , a spectacular hotel, which is located directly across the harbor from the Sydney Opera House. The Hyatt offered the perfect location to see the fireworks display above the city, the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge. After an exquisite gourmet meal at the hotel, we casually walked outside with our champagne glass on to the hotels’s private dock to watch the spectacular fireworks! It was absolutely out of this world wonderful!!

The view of the hotel from the end of the dock.
My handsome husband Craig with the iconic Sydney Opera in the distance.
The gorgeous bathroom at the Park Hyatt. Notice the rain shower shares a glass room with the enormous bathtub.          Super cool!


The spectacular view of the city and harbor from our hotel bedroom . Unbelievable!

This year we have chosen to go to a movie and share a quiet dinner, just the two of us. The memories of our New Year’s Eve trip to Sydney are still so vivid. I’ve enjoyed reliving our experience by sharing it with you!

What do you have planned?  We would love to hear about it!

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26 thoughts on “New Year’s Eve Destinations”

    • Tam – I totally understand how you feel. People can be so stupid! NYE can also be really fun if planned correctly with just the right participants!

  1. Wow, swanky digs, love the views from the room…this is special seeing all the fireworks and lit up boats. I’ll definitely put this on my bucket list for New Years, thanks for sharing!

  2. I too fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum on preferences for New Year’s celebrations. There is often too much hype and expectation around the parties and I can be content with a quiet night at home, especially if close friends or family are with me. That being said, I would love to spend a New Year’s Eve in Sydney and see the fireworks over the Opera House. I have been to Sydney at a different time of year and loved the city.

    • Donna: You said it perfectly – expectation. Planning for New Year’s Eve can be disappointing if you try too hard! I am certain that Sydney is amazing any time of year, however they do New Year’s Eve like no other city!

  3. Looks like New Year’s Eve was incredible in Sydney but in my mind there is nothing wrong- and in fact it’s very enjoyable when there are two people, a great dinner and a glass or two of wine. We usually eat in, drink wine, watch a movie and head out skiing on New Year’s Day – hoping for a quiet drive on the way up.

    • Irene: I know what you mean – but you travel a great deal. You don’t have to travel at such a busy time of year! You can stay home and relax. 🙂

  4. Wow! What a room in Sydney! I never really thought of traveling there, but I think you sold me! Love the pictures. I would love to go to the Great Barrier Reef also. Living in Pasadena, fairly close to the “craziness” that is Colorado Blvd., right now, I’m feeling like a quiet night at home eating an amazing steak and wine, followed by a good movie is really hitting the spot right now for New Years! However, it is raining right now, so maybe that’s why I feel the instinct to stay home and cozy up! 🙂

    • Kim – You guys should you really plan a trip – Australia is my all time favorite place ~ ever. Check out my other posts about it – click on Travel in the header. I love the excitement of Pasadena at New Years! I will be there next year! I can’t wait!

  5. What a stunning hotel room you had … envy oozing out of me … I’ve never been to Sydney for the fireworks but you’ve made me want to put it on my bucket list 🙂

  6. The whole country of Australia itself is on our bucket list with Sydney at the top. It looks like you had the perfect view as well a luxurious abode to enjoy your New Year celebration!
    This will be our 3rd New Years on the road and we haven’t made plans for the night yet since we just landed in Cartagena, Colombia. But, like every other Latin American country we’ve been in, we’re sure there will be fireworks and fiestas galore!

    • Anita, you must go to Australia! I have written several posts about it and I know it will get your travel juices going! My friend just returned from Cartagena and I saw her photos. It looked lovely!


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