Credit: Destination NSW

Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks show is viewed by over one billion people worldwide and is arguably one of the greatest pyrotechnic displays on Earth.

Australian and founder of Swain Destinations, Ian Swain, reminisces about highlights from his first New Year’s in this coastal metropolis. “As soon as I landed in Sydney, I felt the energy of the city,” Swain says. “I looked out the plane window and saw the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Knowing I would soon be seeing the world’s most spectacular fireworks display had my adrenaline surging.”

New Year’s Eve in Sydney is so momentous, travelers really have to experience it firsthand to fully grasp it. One million people flock from around the globe to watch the event from the city’s parks, boats, and the Sydney Opera House every year. With so many people pouring in, Sydney does get crowded, and Swain suggests getting your bearings before the evening festivities begin. “After checking in to my hotel, I walked to Circular Quay and viewed the myriad of people from all over the planet enjoying the sunshine and warm weather,” he says. “Everyone was happy and asking where I was going to watch the show.”

After a stroll and many a g’day, it was finally time for Swain to prepare for the night’s events. He had booked a luxury cruise in Sydney Harbour well ahead of time, knowing it would offer him the best views of the fireworks. He dressed casually and set out for the dock where a 100-foot yacht awaited revelers. “The DJ had the music going, the champagne was flowing, and the appetizers were delicious,” Swain says. “We were all trying to decide where to be at 9 p.m. for the first round of fireworks.” After two hours of ogling the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House from the water, the skipper steered the yacht into an ideal spot. “We were right in the center, surrounded by hundreds of other vessels, and we were all shrieking with delight as the fireworks started,” Swain says.

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After the first round of fireworks, Swain enjoyed a tantalizing dinner in the yacht’s main saloon. In the meantime, the skipper edged his way to the front of the pack for the best views of the Harbour Lights Parade, when illuminated vessels glide across Sydney Harbour.

Finally, it was time for the big event—and the reason Swain had journeyed almost 600 miles from Brisbane in the first place. Swain and the entire yacht were rewarded with unobstructed views of the world-famous fireworks at midnight. “Like the earlier fireworks display, they were fantastic,” Swain says. “The second round lasted much longer and the finale could not be put into words.”

As the founder of Swain Destinations, a leading curator of personalized travel experiences, Swain has a few words of advice for first-timers wanting to get in on Sydney’s epic New Year’s celebration. “Book early,” he says. “Then, be prepared for a busy couple of days and be in the moment.” If travelers want to truly soak up the full Sydney experience, Swain advises booking one of Swain Destination’s luxury custom tours. “Come and join us this New Year’s and experience all this for yourself. It will be one of those events you’ll remember for a lifetime.”