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It happened. This Aussie finally did a New Year’s Eve in Sydney. The city’s fireworks are Australia’s version of New York City’s Ball Drop, so it’s a pretty big deal. My friend and I decided if we were going to do a celebration in Sydney, it would be best to buy tickets to one of the many events around Sydney Harbour. We had the “if we only do this once, we want it to be good” mentality. There were many to choose from, that range from free to ridiculously expensive. Taronga Zoo, the Sydney Opera House and the Botanical Gardens all host events. After looking at prices and what was on offer, we chose to spend our New Year’s Eve at Luna Park Sydney.
LUNA PARK SYDNEY
Luna Park is located very close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and you can look diagonally across the harbour to the Opera House. We chose Luna Park for its under $150 price tag, plus the fact we could actually spend our night going on rides and enjoying ourselves, instead of simply sitting in a park waiting for the fireworks. Here is what my friend and I thought of New Year’s Eve in Luna Park: the good, the bad and the ugly (there was just a teensy, little bit of ugly).
♥ Luna Park is a fun venue and the perfect place to welcome in a New Year. I had never been before but there were plenty of rides to keep us entertained until midnight. The best thing we did was go on most of the rides before the 9pm fireworks. We didn’t have to wait long at the beginning of the night. We also timed our ferris wheel moment to coincide with just after the sunset, so the views were spectacular. There was also a couple of indoor venues with DJs playing throughout the night, but the guy outside was doing a stellar job with his setlist. If you want a fun New Year’s Eve, you can’t go wrong with Luna Park Sydney.
♥ My friend, a born-and-bred Sydneysider thought the event was super organised, which she described as “very un-Sydney like.” We thought the crowd was a good size without being so packed we couldn’t move. I don’t know how many tickets they sold, but it was a spot on number. There were also plenty of bars and food outlets. As the time inched closer to midnight, the lines did get longer, but we only waited about 15 minutes for a drink, so it wasn’t too painful.
• I have to mention the fact we waited 75 minutes for one ride. Yes it was fun when we finally got on and the Backstreet Boys were playing as we moved, but the time it took to get people on the ride was an arduous process. In the end it passed the time between fireworks, but I was a tad exacerbated by the end. The ride was the Tango Train if you wanted to know — hit that bad boy first, guys.
• Unfortunately, the penultimate event. You see, growing up watching these fireworks on TV every year, you know they are an amazing spectacle. So you think being there would be even crazier spectacle, right? The fireworks were good, don’t get me wrong. They just unfortunately underwhelmed me. Kate and I definitely think being on the Opera House side of the Harbour Bridge gives you a much better view, as the Bridge fireworks are only on that side. We did get a great view of the barge fireworks, but the Bridge was a letdown.
There were a bunch of guys behind us who thought the Bridge was having technical difficulties because it wasn’t constantly exploding. We thought the same thing. What we did see was awesome, but I think our expectations might have been too high. Or we were on the wrong side of the action. During the 9pm fireworks, a girl sitting at our table actually cried. It seemed to be because she didn’t realise the fireworks would be so loud. Or she was just overwhelmed by their beauty?
… The epic failure that was the attempted crowd management. Instead of staying a little later, we decided to leave Luna Park Sydney at 12:30am. But when we did, there were signs telling us that the Milsons Point Train Station, a mere five minute walk from Luna Park, was closed due to overcrowding. So everyone was told to walk about 15 minutes up the road to North Sydney Station. Can you guess what happened next? Thousands of people stuck on the street trying to get into North Sydney Station. Standing in the middle of a sea of people with literally no way out is not good for the easily anxious, let me tell you. There were actual stampede images going through my head.
The annoying thing was, when we were stuck in the mass we were told Milsons Point was open again. Ah, hello, how do you expect us to get back there? DO YOU SEE THIS CROWD? That is what I call an epic fail, guys. I knew it wasn’t going to be a pleasant journey home, but that was something else entirely. The stuff of nightmares, I tell you.
LUNA PARK SYDNEY: THE VERDICT
If you want a fun way to bring in the New Year in Sydney, choose Luna Park. If you want an epic view of the fireworks, look at the Opera House side of Sydney Harbour. And if you want to keep your sanity in the first few hours of the New Year, wait an hour to attempt to get the train. You heard it hear first.