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Sydney Diaries - New Years Eve 2016

Sydney is famous for its New Year’s Eve celebration. This can be easily gauged from the fact that tourists from all over Australia and the world come there to witness the impressive fireworks every year. I also had seen the fireworks and celebrations many times on TV or social media. This time I would get to see it live. It was going to be the highlight of our visit to Sydney.

The Sydney harbour is a deep natural harbour whose shores are connected by the majestic Sydney Harbour Bridge. The New Year’s Eve fireworks take place on the Bridge and the harbour area nearby Sydney Opera House. Being a large harbour, there are numerous vantage points from where the fireworks can be easily seen. Some of these vantage points offer combined views to both the Bridge and the Opera house.

Opera House and the Harbour Bridge as seen from Mrs Macquarie's Chair.
Then there are the categories of vantage points where entry is free and where it is paid. The free ones are usually taken up by people very early on the day who set up their base well in advance so enjoy an uninterrupted view of the fireworks. Some points like Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and Kirribilli are very good and popular as well. This year I had heard people had started occupying their places on these places as soon as early morning.
People already taking up spaces everywhere to witness the fireworks.
The paid vantage points have a booking fee depending on the additional offerings there. It is a good way to enjoy the New Year's Eve if one is not interesting in getting through crowds and chaos. Also the bookings for the famous points are done well in advance so one needs to plan for it well.

The government also plans very well in advance to let everyone about the transportation and other plans about the celebrations. They even have a dedicated website for this - http://www.sydneynewyearseve.com/. The public transport becomes free after the midnight fireworks finish to quickly take people home and clear the crowds.
Luna Park as seen from Hickson Road Reserve, where we stood.
Keeping in mind that we had to be early to see the celebrations, we started for the city in the afternoon. We reached the Circular Quay station and saw humongous crowds everywhere. It was a revelation in itself to see such a large number of people gathered for the celebrations. As the time was getting past more and more people were dropping in to the city to view the spectacular events which were to unfold.


We walked towards George Street and then towards Hickson Road to find a place to see the fireworks. It was a tedious walk amidst a huge crowd. After checking on the Sydney NYE website, we finally decided to set base on Hickson Road Reserve. There was some space to stand and over our left shoulders we could see the Harbour Bridge and to the right side we could see the Opera House.
Colourful displays on the bridge pillars. It featured many languages and Australia's historical moments.
I felt ourselves to be lucky to get such an uninterrupted view of the landmarks where the fireworks would take place. The crowds were still pouring in and at one stage the security staff closed off the cordons to enter the area. No more people could enter the area. We were enjoying chatting to the people around us who also were waiting for the celebrations.
Illuminated boats doing rounds in the harbour.
I found out that people had come from very far places to visit the city and witness the world famous celebrations. I talked to people from Ireland, Bolivia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It was startling to learn that this whole event was so popular in the world. Everyone had been in the country for sightseeing and this was going to be the highlight of their stay in Sydney.
Family fireworks at 9 PM.
The planning for the event is done in such a high detail that vantage points are marked appropriately if they are family friendly and would serve alcohol or not. Ours was not serving alcohol but there were food and drinks available. Still some miscreants were present who were totally drunk and causing a nuisance. The police were taking ample care of these people.
Another capture of the family fireworks.
At 6 PM a dare devil pilot presented an aerial display which was awesome and took a lot of cheer from the crowd. Afterwards there were some boats lighted appropriately and were entering the harbour. It was a great sight and even better when the dusk rose. The bridge’s pillars were lighted and were having display of Australian culture and trivia in various languages. I saw a display in Hindi as well.
The countdown to year 2016 had begun.
At 9 PM the family fireworks took place, especially for the people with kids and who wanted to leave early. It was an awesome display of fireworks. I had never seen such a kind of display before. It lasted for 8-10 minutes and gave us all a glimpse of what to expect for the midnight fireworks. The lighted boats kept moving in the harbour showcasing the Australian culture and their icons.
NYE fireworks.
Meanwhile, some miscreants tried to barge in our places and had a verbal scuffle with one of the ladies present there. They were drunk and verbally abused the lady in Punjabi, which I could understand. I was ashamed of that incident as they were Indians. Nevertheless they were taken away by the police when someone behind us called the police.

Carrying on we waited for the midnight fireworks like everyone else present there. The weather was getting cooler as the night was progressing. We had brought some eatables which helped us, otherwise it would have been difficult to leave the place and get something to eat. I share it with the fellow people present there who also enjoyed it.
NYE fireworks.
Just before the stroke of midnight, the countdown started with numbers getting displayed on the bridge pillars. As soon as year 2016 approached, the fireworks started from all the directions. Right in front of opera House there was an awesome display and similarly another breath taking display was going on the bridge. It was a dream come true for me to see it all live at that place.

I couldn’t realise when the 12 minutes of fireworks ended. Initially I took some pictures but then I stopped after deciding to enjoy the fireworks live instead of clicking pictures. It was an awesome experience to be there and witness the whole celebration. I could easily see the excitement culminate in people’s eyes.
NYE fireworks.
As soon as the celebration finished everyone started walking in beelines towards the public transport hubs. We were also a part of one of the beelines and reached Circular Quay station. The ticketing barricades were open for all and staff was helping people into the trains. It was an easy train ride home from there.

The whole experience was unmatched and one I would remember for a long time to come.

Links for Sydney NYE 2016 fireworks official video:-

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