The best Sydney hotels for New Years Eve fireworks are hotels with harbour views. As the usual fireworks vantage points are closed to the public due to COVID-19, a hotel room with harbour vistas is your best bet for watching the Sydney NYE 2020 Fireworks and a hotel booking will give you entry to the Sydney CBD and green zones for fireworks views.
For many Sydneysiders, watching the spectacular Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks by the harbourside with loved-ones is an annual ritual. I’m Sydney-born and bred, so I can imagine the disappointment of so many Sydney locals who won’t be allowed to access the best New Year’s Eve fireworks vantage points this year, which will be closed due to the recent wave of COVID-19 cases in Sydney.
The midnight Sydney NYE 2020 fireworks have not been cancelled as many thought they might have been – only the 9pm fireworks have been cancelled – however, access to the best spots to watch the Sydney fireworks has been restricted to avoid the spectacle becoming a super-spreader of massive proportions.
As a result, entry after 5pm New Year’s Eve to Sydney CBD and many harbourside parks, gardens and beaches, in what are being called ‘green zones’, will be restricted to only residents, residential guests, people who work in the zone, people attending a company New Years Eve event in a building in the green zone – and those who have confirmed bookings at hotels, restaurants and bars in the green zone.
As restaurants and bars will have social distancing restrictions in place, that makes hotels, and the comfort of your own hotel room, the safest and best place to see the Sydney New Years Eve fireworks – obviously, hotels with harbour views, and even better, hotel rooms with harbour views.
Sadly, many Sydneysiders are following stay-at-home orders and will be watching the fireworks on television, although they will be able to have visitors from the same areas gather at their home for New Years Eve only. See the restrictions at the end of this post, but note that these can change day by day and it’s best to check the NSW Government site (link below) or ABC site for the latest coronavirus updates before making bookings.
Best Sydney Hotels for New Years Eve Fireworks – Hotels with Harbour Views
The best Sydney hotels for New Years Eve fireworks with harbour views don’t come cheap at any time of year, but especially on New Years Eve, which makes booking a few rooms with family or close friends and sharing the cost a brilliant idea. You could book a more expensive harbour view suite for your cocktails, in-room dining and bubbly during the fireworks, and some more affordable rooms for sleeping. Split the total bill and toss on who gets to bunk down in the harbour view suite.
If the harbour view rooms are beyond your budget then book a hotel with Sydney harbour views from the rooftop bar, restaurant or rooftop pool. However, note that if the hotel is holding New Years Eve events at those venues you’ll most likely have an additional expense that may make the harbour view room more affordable – especially if you self-cater!
After you make your hotel booking, you will still need to apply for a permit to enter the green zone, which you’ll have to show to gain access. You can get more information about applying for permits, along with restrictions and rules, on the NSW Government website. As things seem to be in a constant state of flux in the state, I’d advise checking these daily between now and New Year’s Eve.
These are the best Sydney hotels for New Years Eve fireworks with harbour views that still have availability at the time of publishing this post on Tuesday afternoon.
Best Sydney Hotels for New Years Eve Fireworks
The Park Hyatt Sydney was fully booked at the time of publication so we’ve excluded it from the list, however, the rest of the best Sydney hotels for New Years Eve fireworks with harbour views below still had availability at the time of publishing this guide. We’ve listed hotels from the most expensive to most affordable, however, obviously the price correlates to the views and level of luxury and service.
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney
Located on George Street, Circular Quay, Sydney’s opulent Four Seasons Hotel is easily the best of the best Sydney hotels for New Years Eve fireworks with harbour views. The breathtaking vista of Sydney harbour, above, overlooking Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, was taken from our One-Bedroom Opera Suite at the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney on one of our last work trips home. It ended up as the opening double-page spread for one of the magazine stories on Sydney that we did. As you’d expect, rooms with views like those are selling very fast from the look of things, however, they are not cheap. To get that view or something similar you’ll need to book one of the Full Harbour Room or Suites (the pick of the bunch), Opera Suites or Rooms, or Harbour Room, Harbour View, or even Partial Harbour room categories. You will not have that vista or anything close to it in a City View room. As you’d expect from a Four Seasons, rooms are plush and spacious, and superbly equipped; there’s a lobby, spa and swimming pool; and staff are outstanding. Note, however, that the executive lounge, where we had cocktails and canapés each evening, did not have great views.
Book Four Seasons Hotel Sydney online with our booking partner Booking.com.
Shangri-La Hotel Sydney
Situated nearby in The Rocks area, the sophisticated Shangri-La Hotel Sydney is another of the best Sydney hotels for New Years Eve fireworks with harbour views – and it has spectacular views to rival that of the Four Seasons Sydney. Of the categories currently available, the Executive Sydney Harbour suite has the most jaw-dropping vistas with 270-degree views across all rooms (including the bathroom and bath!) of Sydney Harbour, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. The Horizon Opera House also has similarly stunning views. The Executive Opera House views focus more on Circular Quay and the Opera House. The Executive Darling Harbour rooms look over Walsh Bay, Balmain Bay, Pyrmont Bay, and Darling Harbour so you will be disappointed if you want to see the Opera House and Harbour Bridge itself, however, as Sydney’s fireworks also illuminate the Western Sydney of the harbour, you’ll still get to see a great show from the comfort of your room. Plus the Shangri-La Hotel also has a restaurant, bar and club lounge with stupendous harbour views so it’s worth finding out what New Years Eve events they have planned.
Book Shangri-La Hotel Sydney online with our booking partner Booking.com.
Pier One Sydney Harbour
Located beside Sydney Harbour Bridge on Hickson Road in The Rocks, Pier One Sydney Harbour is another of the best Sydney hotels for New Years Eve fireworks with harbour views. It’s a special location, too, right on the water in an historic wharf, with unique views – at times you will feel that the fireworks are showering down upon you. This is about as close as it gets! You’ll want to book a Bridge View Room or Water View King Room but note that as it’s a heritage building, windows vary dramatically in size – from floor to ceiling to very small – so read the details carefully and look at the room photos online before you make a booking. Note that the Heritage Rooms only offer city views, however, this might suit you if you’re planning to spend the evening at the restaurant, bar and lounge, which have water views. There’s also a function room with views beneath the bridge that may play host to a New Year’s Eve event; best to check with the hotel as to what New Years Eve events are scheduled. Room rates are about a third to half that of the Shangri-La Hotel and Four Seasons, however, you don’t have the high panoramic vistas that those hotels boast.
Book Pier One Sydney Harbour online with our booking partner Booking.com
The Langham Sydney
Also located in the historic Rocks precinct on the Western Sydney of the harbour, The Langham is easily another of the best Sydney hotels for New Years Eve fireworks with harbour views, however, those views vary remarkably from room to room. Any of the rooms with ‘Harbour View’ in their title boast water views – the elegant Langham Suite with Harbour View is the pick of the bunch – but the views are of the Western Harbour. So while you’ll still get to see a spectacular show, you won’t get to see the Sydney Opera House or Circular Quay. Some rooms overlook the charming historic terraces in The Rocks and The Observatory on the grassy hill and these have sweeping views of the sky from their balcony and will offer gobsmacking views of Sydney’s fireworks. There’s a stunning indoor pool and tennis courts, and you can take a leisurely (socially-distanced!) stroll around waterfront Barangaroo Reserve the next day.
Book The Langham Sydney online with our booking partner Booking.com
Sydney Harbour YHA
The Sydney Harbour YHA probably has the most breathtaking views of any youth hostel in the world from its sprawling rooftop terrace, which gets it on this list of the best Sydney hotels for New Years Eve fireworks with harbour views. Overlooking The Rocks and Circular Quay, the sweeping rooftop vistas stretch from the city across the Quay to the Sydney Opera House and over to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There would be few better spots to watch the fireworks, however, the views from the rooms, while good if you get an Opera House view, are not nearly as impressive. Plus, this is still a hostel after all, with very basic rooms – which is why I’m finding the New Year’s Eve rates, which are on par with the luxury hotels above, just as breathtaking as the Four Seasons and Shangri-La views. Perhaps keep this as a back-up in case you can’t get a room elsewhere.
Book Sydney Harbour YHA online with our booking partner Booking.com.
Who Can Watch the Sydney NYE Fireworks from a Hotel on New Year’s Eve?
Note: this information is current as at 29 December 2021. As things can change from day to day, depending on the rise or drop in cases, it’s best to check the NSW Government website for the latest updates on restrictions and rules.
Sadly, not people from the Northern Beaches North Zone. They will have to watch the Sydney NYE fireworks on television, as they’re in lockdown at the time of publishing this post and required to stay at home until 9 January 2021. They can only leave home to seek medical care, exercise, go shopping for goods and services, and travel for work or education that can’t be done at home. They will be allowed to have five people (including children) gather at home for New Year’s Eve, however, those visitors must be from the Northern Beaches North Zone. As restaurants, cafes, pubs, and clubs are not allowed to open except for takeaway, residents are being encouraged to order at-home dining to support local businesses.
Northern Beaches South Zone residents will also be watching the fireworks on TV. They’re also required to stay at home but only until 2 January 2020. There will be a ‘temporary easing’ of restrictions for New Year’s Eve, with ten* people from the same zone allowed to gather at one home. Restaurants, cafes, pubs, and clubs also cannot open on 31 December, except for takeaway.
*Update 30 December 2020: the number of people allowed to gather at a home on NYE was changed from ten to five people and now applies to the whole of Greater Sydney, including Wollongong, Central Coast and Blue Mountains. See the Premier’s latest update (30/12/20).
Green Zone and Yellow Zone
Sydney residents of the CBD and inner-city Sydney are luckier. In the Sydney CBD, inner-city areas, and city foreshores there will be two zones designated from 5pm on 31 December.
The green zone will include Circular Quay, The Rocks, Botanic Gardens, and vantage points at Cremorne Point, Kurraba Point, Milsons Point, Lavender Bay, and McMahons Point.
The green zone is off limits to everyone except for residents, their guests, and people who have bookings at hotels, restaurants and bars in that zone.
The yellow zone includes the rest of the CBD not in the green zone, along with Kings Cross, Balmain East, parts of North Sydney, Waverton and Kirribilli.
You do not need to apply for a permit to be in that zone, but you are not permitted to gather in large groups and police have the authority to break groups on.
How to Apply for a Sydney New Years Eve Fireworks Pass
When you make a booking you will be given a registration code and can then apply for a New Years Eve pass through Service NSW. If you don’t have a permit, you cannot be in the zone.
If you’re planning on watching the Sydney fireworks from a hotel we’d love to know what you think are the best Sydney hotels for New Years Eve fireworks views.