A Guide to Free New Year’s Eve in Brisbane

We’ve eaten all the prawns and pavlova and unwrapped the presents for another year but the next cause for celebration is riding St Nick’s coat tails. That’s right - New Year’s Eve will be here in a blink. Plan where to see the fireworks for free with this list of our top new year fireworks vantage points in Brisbane.  

If you’d like to leave the fancy package-price parties for another year and instead opt for an Instagram-worthy grazing plate to enjoy with friends and family, this list is for you. And we’ve got tips for how to get around and how to look after your dog during the fireworks too.  

Let’s get ready to ring in 2020 in style... and we can guarantee this celebration will be the biggest yet! 

Best free places to watch the fireworks in Brisbane

This year will see a whopping nine barges line themselves up along the river – from Northshore to Toowong – and with 50,000 individual effects in this year’s fireworks displays, you don’t want to miss Brisbane's biggest light show ever. (Happy Hint: expect to see a one-kilometre-long firework rainbow stretch across the night sky in the heart of the city). 

There will be two fireworks shows in a number of locations, so there are options for both families and late-night revelers welcoming the New Year with a bang.  

  • South Bank, South Brisbane: 8.30pm and midnight 
  • Eagle Street Pier, Brisbane City: 8.30pm and midnight 
  • Howard Smith Wharves, Brisbane City: 8.30pm and midnight 
  • Portside Wharf, Hamilton: 8.30pm and midnight  
  • The Regatta Hotel, Toowong: midnight only 

Here are our picks for a great, free vantage point.  

Family fun at South Bank 

The majority of festivities will take place at South Bank Parklands, and rumour has it the best views will be Clem Jones Promenade, Streets Beach and River Quay – so get in early to secure your spot! Find more information here

Riverfront fun from Northshore to Toowong 

If you still want a glamorous riverfront view but want to mix it up from South Bank, Eagle Street Pier, Riverside Plaza, Waterfront Place, Howard Smith Wharves, Portside Wharf and Regatta are all on the list for stellar displays.   

Park life with a pop 

After something a little less busy altogether? Brisbane knows how to create a park worth laying out your best picnic blanket, and with more than 2,100 parks across the city we reckon you’ll find a spot with a view to say cheers to the New Year.  

Stay close enough to the action and be prepared to rustle up a cosy spot early in the day at city-adjacent parks like Kangaroo Point Cliffs, Wilson’s Lookout in New Farm, Captain Burke Park along the river at Kangaroo Point, and the City Botanic Gardens

Panorama from Mt Coot-tha 

For a suburban spot, you can’t beat the panoramic cityscape from Mt Coot-tha summit and the magic of seeing the night’s sky lit up with the full river fireworks display.  

Simpler suburban spots  

For a family-friendly viewing that involves is a little less fuss, consider hidden suburban firework-watching gems like Mt Gravatt Outlook ReserveBulimba Riverside Park or Bartley’s Hill Lookout in AscotWest End Riverside Parklands has reopened with a fresh new look, just in time to see the firework show happening in Toowong. 

Celebrate with a picnic or bbq with more than 370 of Brisbane’s best parks having electric bbq facilities perfect for a New Year’s Eve skewer on the barbie - there may not be a great eye-full of fireworks to see from all of them, but you can still have a cracker of a time! 

Stress free New Year’s Eve travel in Brisbane  

If there’s ever a night to leave the car at home, New Year’s Eve is it.  

Visit Council’s website to stay informed of road closures and changed traffic conditions in and around the CBD, including South Brisbane, Kangaroo Point, New Farm and Fortitude Valley, with many changes coming into effect on 30 December.  

Better yet, avoid road closures and parking altogether by jumping aboard a CityCat or one of our inbound shuttle buses instead.  

Best of all, from 7.45pm until 5.30am public transport travel will be free! And you can get home quicker and safer from the city with additional high frequency BUZ bus routes running from 8:40pm until about 1:40am for late-night revelers.  

Take advantage of multiple riverside vantage points on two wheels by hiring a CityCycle for the evening. Ride along the Bicentennial Bikeway, through the City Botanic Gardens, Howard Smith Wharves and on to New Farm for an great new year adventure.  

Be sure to check out translink.com.au to plan your journey. 

Remember your four-legged friends during fireworks 

While New Year’s Eve is a night of celebration, for our furry friends it can be a night of anxiety. Follow some simple steps below and you can rest assured that Fido is calm and collected.  

  • Think about taking your dog for a walk in the afternoon and creating a comfortable space for them inside.  
  • If you’ve got a great playlist, pop it on for them to enjoy while out. It’ll mask the noise of the fireworks and who is to say your dog or cat isn’t a fan of a little TSwift or Lizzo to ring in the New Year?  
  • It is best to keep cats inside in a familiar space.  
  • Contact your vet before the fireworks to ensure their microchip details are up-to-date. This way, if they do make a great escape, they can be returned to you sooner! 
  • Leave plenty of food and water, and don’t tie up dogs as they can be seriously injured if they panic when hearing fireworks or other loud noises  

And when all is said and done we wish you and yours a happy and prosperous New Year! 

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Date posted:
Last updated:20 December 2019
Topics: things to do