Steer clear of the CBD, where you'll find huge crowds and expensive entry prices. Instead, aim for these top free sites to watch the fireworks and cheers to the year that was in (relative) peace. There might not always be a readily available source of booze or food – or even a modern wiz palace – but the lack of lines and ample dancing room is well worth the mild inconvenience.
Save your dosh for higher-priced wild abandon at these New Year's Day parties in Sydney.
RECOMMENDED: Sydney's best parks.
Free places to watch the New Year's Eve fireworks
Open from 5.30pm-12.20am
Get as far from the CBD as possible. You can only catch a glimpse of the bridge but still have an awesome view of the pretty explosions across the Harbour. The site fits 2,000 people, but leave the booze behind – it’s strictly no alcohol. You'll probably need to drive to make the trek, so keep in mind parking fees range from $3 per hour to a $20 per day fee.
Open from 2pm-1am
If you want to cling to the foreshore, you can stay relatively central and still nab a free firework-viewing seat at Pirrama Park. It offers glorious views over Blackwattle Bay, can accommodate 15,000 party-goers and will be offering food and drinks on the night. We recommend calling dibs on a picnic spot in the arvo, but buy your booze, don't bring it.
Open from noon-12.30am
The city is almost a speck in the distance, but it’s a near panoramic speck with the top of the Coathanger peaking over the trees at this Watsons Bay spot. Robertson Park is an unmanaged alcohol-free site that holds 500 but often doesn't reach capacity – make the most of it when the countdown rolls around.
Open from 10am-1.30am
It's busy here, but not squishy, with the reserve on the northeastern tip holding around 300 people for the fireworks. As with many a Balmain foreshore, it has an uninterrupted view of the bridge, but no alcohol is allowed, and there are no toilets (you’ll have to pop round to another of the nearby parks for those).
Open from 10am-12.30am
Yes, Sydney's most picture-perfect picnic spot will be a NYE hotspot, but with free entry, booze and snacks for sale and those gosh darn spectacular views, you can understand why. Luckily, the area can contain 13,500 New Year's Eve revellers, and opens in the AM so you can call dibs on a seat early. If you're travelling here via public transport (probably the most sensible option), St James station is your closest rail stop.
Open from 1pm-1am
You may have to peak through a few gums to see the NYE fireworks from this Sydney Harbour peninsula, but it'll still be quite the show as the lights shoot into the night sky. You'll get to see the view that the giraffes at Taronga Zoo get to gawk at every year, and also enjoy the food and drinks available at the sight that can accommodate up to 7,000 party-goers.
Open from 3pm-1.30am
If you're a harbour-loving puppy owner, you'll know that this dog-friendly foreshore has incredible sightlines out towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge. But it's going to be all about the views here: the secluded spot in Rose Bay will be an alcohol-free zone on NYE and there won't be any snacks being sold. But if you've been fed and watered elsewhere, being one of the 250 NYE party people here will be delightful.