Sydney is not the only dazzling harbour that NSW is home to. Why not wrap up 2018 at Coffs Harbour this year? Halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, Coffs Harbour is one of the best kept secrets of NSW - and one of the most romantic beach destinations going around. On New Year’s Eve, the Jetty Foreshores are the place to be, with the famous Jetty Carnival kicking off at 6pm packed with fun for all ages. Stick around for the stunning 9.30pm fireworks display over the harbour. The rest of the night is up to you. Will you join one of the epic countdown parties at the bars? Or will you settle in with bae and watch the celebrations on TV?
Where to stay: Coffs Harbour YHA
Somewhere between Sydney and Coffs Harbour, you’ll stumble across Newcastle, an up-and-coming town which is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in Australia. Get down to Newcastle Harbour with a picnic blanket and esky for a night to a remember. In the Queen’s Wharf precinct, you’ll find live music, a huge range of food and drink stalls and a colourful array of street performers. The fireworks will be shown nice at early at 9pm - last year, the fireworks were the biggest in Newcastle's history, so this year is sure to top it. Join one of the countless 'dos in the pubs or embrace your inner granny and get an early night – the choice is yours!
Where to stay: Newcastle Beach YHA
Kicking off the New Year at the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef? Yes please! This lively city was never gonna let Brisbane have all the fun. Hit Cairns Esplanade to join the party, with plenty of action happening all day. In addition to live music, stalls and rides as far as the eye can see, there will be 9pm and midnight fireworks displays that give Sydney a run for its money. The best part is you won’t be gasping for air in a massive crowd, with plenty of prime viewing space along the Esplanade. Afterwards, join the infamous nightlife or turn in at a decent hour. Perhaps you’d like to spend the first day of 2019 amongst tropical fish...
Where to stay: Cairns Central YHA
Once the schoolies clear out, Surfers Paradise starts prepping for their New Year’s celebrations, which are truly something special. The annual Surfers Paradise Carnival will be in full swing with daily fun from 3pm-9pm. Fireworks are scheduled for both 8pm and midnight which are best viewed at the iconic Surfers Paradise sign. Spend the evening wandering along the beach or perusing the nightlife on Cavill Ave and dance until you drop - there's a reason everyone goes to Surfers when they're looking for a great time. The next day, how about making (and ticking off) a New Year's resolution to learn to surf? Go on, it will only take two hours.
Where to stay: Surfers Paradise YHA
Get out of the city and under the stars. If you’re looking for a truly special and one-of-a-kind New Years’ experience, make the trip to one of Western Australia’s most breathtaking towns. It’s by no means conventional, but conventional is boring. There will no doubt be plenty happening along Broome’s famous Cable Beach with many local revellers taking it all in. Perhaps you'd like to go on a sunset camel ride in the afternoon then wander around looking for the best parties (of which there will be many). Make it up as you go and start the year somewhere none of your Facebook friends did.
Where to stay: Kimberley Travellers Lodge - Broome YHA
Photo: Greg Snell
It really doesn’t get much better than this. Mt Lofty is about 15km east of the Adelaide City Centre and has panoramic views of the entire city. But don't worry - it's a bit of a hidden gem. Make the hike with some snacks and non-alcoholic bevs and see ALL the fireworks displays in Adelaide at once (legal or otherwise)! You never know what you’re going to see or who you'll meet when you're on top of the world. It’s an ultra-romantic (and Instagrammable) venue if you’re travelling with that special someone, or a great spot for a great time with great friends.
Penguins (and fur seals). Is there anything else you need to know? Start your NYE party in the daytime touring the picturesque island. Watch the famous little penguin parade as the sun sets for the last time in 2018. And yeah, they are as adorable in real life as they look in the pictures. Once that’s done, there is likely to be a carnival and fireworks on Cowes Jetty with endless family-friendly fun. Or if you want to party a little harder, make the 35-minute trip to South Gippsland for the NYE on The Hill festival. The lineup includes The Smith Street Band, Last Dinosaurs, Art vs Science and many more. Not too shabby!
Where to stay: Phillip Island YHA
Okay, we know it’s a capital city, but we bet you never thought of Hobart as a killer venue to ring in 2019. Hobart NYEs are so jam-packed with action, it should be on everyone's bucket list. Crowds will flock to Sullivans Cove for two of Tassie’s biggest annual festivals, the Hobart Race Village and Taste of Tasmania. There will also be mega fireworks displays at 9.30pm and midnight. Oh, and don’t forget the massive Falls Festival held at a beautiful farm in Marion Bay less than an hour’s drive east of Hobart. This year's lineup is something else, with Anderson .Paak, Vance Joy, Dizzee Rascal and Amy Shark set to grace the Apple Isle.
Where to stay: Hobart Central YHA