We still have a few months to go until we’re counting down on New Year’s Eve, but those last months of the year will be gone before we know it, so it’s time to start deciding how we’re going to bring the curtain down on 2017.
With everything from non-stop partying to quiet retreats in mind, we’ve put together a list of fun options to help you celebrate, with some trips making the absolute most of a few days off work, and some shorter options for those who just want to get to breaking their New Year’s resolutions already.
From a perfect few days of music, to a quiet weekend away, here are some of the best ways to spend your New Year’s Eve this year.
A massive lineup of music at Beyond The Valley
As far as New Year’s options for music lovers go, Beyond The Valley has got to be our favourite way to send off the year that was – a boutique festival with a huge list of bands, all set in a beautiful lakeside nook in Victoria.
This year’s lineup is possibly the best yet, too, with two of the biggest names in hip hop in Schoolboy Q and Stormzy, some massive electronic acts like Mura Masa, Little Dragon, The Presets, Stephan Bodzin and 2manydjs, and a string of other great local and international names including Matt Corby, DMA’S, Cut Copy, Skegss, Crooked Colours, Meg Mac, San Cisco, The Belligerents, Sampa The Great, The Preatures… the list goes on.
If you just want to head out for NYE you can grab a pass for the day/night, or if you want to take it easy for a few days you can pick up a 2, 3 or 4-day camping ticket and get stuck into some great music and food. There are buses in and out of Melbourne as well, so if you’d rather not drive home on New Year’s Day, you’ll be all sweet.
Not much of a camper? There’s lux VIP camping available if you want to treat yourself, and if you and your mates want to deck out your campsite with a massive stereo and a bunch of lasers, you can grab a powered campsite and set up your own mini club.
Eat and drink your way across Hobart
Just in time for the buzz of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, the Tassie capital fills up with foodies for the annual Taste of Tasmania festival, which packs the city with market stalls, food tastings, and plenty of alcohol, of course. You won’t miss out on a party either, with live music and fireworks lighting up the harbour too.
If you still want to let the hair down and the belt buckle out a little without starting the New Year off with an all-night bender, it might be time to take a trip to the Apple Isle, which has fast become one of Australia’s biggest tourism hot spots, and for good reason.
A quiet island getaway
Okay, we usually associate New Year’s Eve with packing into a crowded and extremely drunken city, but if you’re looking for a bit more breathing room, maybe it’s time to strike out to one of Australia’s many island getaways and have a quieter celebration?
It doesn’t mean you’ll need to miss out on all the NYE fun though – Thompson Bay on WA’s Rottnest Island will be filled with entertainment and live music all day and parties all night, plus a fireworks display from 9pm, meaning you don’t even have to make it to midnight if you’d rather just turn in.
Lord Howe Island in NSW is another gorgeous spot to be, and is less than two hours from Sydney. Aside from being home to a stack of activities like snorkelling, kayaking and scuba diving, it also only has room for 400 people to stay on the island, meaning you’ll be about as far from the city crowds as you can get when you watch the sunrise on New Year’s Day.
Get lost at Woodford Folk Festival
Rather than your usual music festival, Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland does things a little differently, packing in everything from art, crafts, cabaret, and comedy, to a huge range of music of all genres, as well as all ceremonies and celebrations of first nations people, and talks from a range of respected speakers.
Running for over three decades, it really has morphed into an eclectic and all-encompassing cultural festival, now running from December 27 – January 1 and involving over 2000 performers and more than 400 events across 30+ stages.
If you want to get lost for a few days and wander through all sorts of different enlightening experiences and lose track of time for a little while, a trip to northern Queensland might just be in order.
See the first sunrise of 2018
Whether you’re one of those people who comments ‘first’ on YouTube videos, or you just enjoy an amazing sunrise, Cape Byron in Byron Bay could be the spot for you: as the easternmost point of mainland Australia, you’ll be able to catch the very first sunrise of the new year before the rest of us do. It even has a special event each year named ‘First Sun’, with yoga, meditation, and a bunch of other wholesome activities to start your 2018 off on the right foot.
It’s also just a lovely part of the country to visit, and is fun for friends or families, with NYE parties on the beach and in the bars, as well as markets, stalls, carnival rides and more. Throw in some live music and 9pm fireworks, and you’ve got a heavenly spot to take it easy.
Escape to New Zealand for a winery tour
Australia has plenty of great wineries, sure, but why not do something a little bit more special this New Year’s and make the trip to New Zealand, which is also home to some of the best wine regions in the world.
The oldest winery in New Zealand is a great place to start: Nestled on the North Island, Mission Estate started all the way back in 1851, so it’s brought in its fair share of new years by now, and knows how to throw one hell of a dinner party where you can sample some of the best wines in the region.
Take a trip to the zoo… no, really!
Seriously – while everyone thinks of cruises on Sydney Harbour when it comes time to see the fireworks on NYE, Taronga Zoo is actually one of the most relaxing spots to catch the view from, allowing you to picnic with the family on the zoo grounds in the evening, or even head to the zoo’s cocktail party for something a bit more upbeat.
The best part is that proceeds from ticket sales go towards helping out a bunch of species that are in critical danger, so if your New Year’s resolution was to help make the world a better place, you’ll already be off to a pretty great start.