New Year’s Eve in Melbourne: Where to celebrate, how to travel and what’s open

New Year’s Eve in Melbourne: Where to celebrate, how to travel and what’s open

A year ago, Victorians brought in the new year amid a devastating Omicron COVID-19 wave. Two years ago, Melburnians went without fireworks during the height of pandemic restrictions. Three years ago, Australians huddled on a beach in Mallacoota as a raging bushfire approached.

This year, thousands of revellers across Melbourne will ring in 2023 in the city without masks or gathering restrictions and with hopes of better things to come.

Youngsters Eva (left) and Naomi Cranenburgh watch the family-friendly fireworks on New Year’s Eve last year.Credit:Joe Armao

The Age has compiled a guide to help you pick where to be when the fireworks kick off in Melbourne on a forecast warm Saturday night, as well as how to get there and what’s open on January 1.

When will fireworks start?

The first fireworks display in the city will be held at the family-friendly time of 9.30pm, before the major display at midnight lights up the sky.

Where can I watch fireworks from?

Melbourne’s CBD will be home to four different celebration zones on New Year’s Eve, with food trucks, light installations and performances to help you herald in 2023.

The four zones are in Docklands, Flagstaff Gardens, Kings Domain and Treasury Gardens. Entertainment kicks off at 6pm and will finish at 1am on Sunday.

But for those not keen to head into the city, there will be fireworks at locations including Footscray Park, Dandenong Park, Geelong Waterfront and Portarlington.

If you’re looking for a unique perspective, there are plenty of NYE parties which will give you a beautiful view of the skyline come midnight.

Docklands lights up for the start of 2022.Credit:Joe Armao

The Melbourne Aquarium will host a Dancing in the Deep party, where you can stroll among the sea life before watching fireworks. Melbourne Skydeck’s NYE event might provide the city’s best views, or you could watch the action from the water aboard the Lady Cutler.

Alternatively, Marvel Stadium is opening the Victory Room and external balcony for the public for free, with pop-up bars and live entertainment until 12.30am.

Can I take public transport?

Trains, trams and buses on December 31 will run to a normal Saturday timetable, with some additional services on the night.

Melburnians at Docklands watch the fireworks that brought in 2022.Credit:Joe Armao

All public transport will be free from 6pm until 6am on January 1.

Southern Cross and Flinders Street stations will be open all night, while City Loop stations close at 11.45pm. There will be no trams between the Anzac Station stop on St Kilda Road to Melbourne Central stop on Swanston Street.

On New Year’s Day, trains will run to a public holiday timetable, while V/Line services will run to a normal Saturday timetable.

What else is on?

If fireworks aren’t your thing, there are other events in Melbourne on the last weekend of the year.

Alex Turner, of Arctic Monkeys, who headlines Falls Downtown in Melbourne this week.Credit:Getty Images

Music lovers will converge on the Sidney Myer Music Bowl for Falls Festival, from December 29 to December 31. The festival has relocated from Lorne this year and is headlined by Arctic Monkeys, Little Nas X and Australian favourite G Flip.

John Foreman’s 60-piece Australian Pops Orchestra will take over Hamer Hall for the New Year’s Eve Gala Concert, with special guests Marina Prior and tenor Mark Vincent. The Arts Centre will also host a balcony fireworks party after the 8pm show.

Some of Melbourne’s favourite bars and restaurants are throwing ticketed events, including a red party at buzzy venue Her, a sumptuous set menu at Aru and a rooftop pizza party at Johnny’s Green Room in Carlton.

Corey Holman and Katerina Borisova at Chadstone shopping centre last week.Credit:Joe Armao

Which roads will be closed?

As revellers converge on the Melbourne CBD, many city streets will be blocked off, including parts of major thoroughfares like Swanston Street, Flinders Street and Birdwood Avenue. You can read a full list of road closures here.

Which shops will be open on New Year’s Day?

Many of the major supermarkets will be open, and most Woolworths and Coles stores open from 8am on January 1.

If you’re looking for a little retail therapy to tide in the new year, major shopping centres Chadstone, Melbourne Central, Highpoint and Doncaster will open at 10am.

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