A new year’s eve in Sydney by Barnt Masselink & Karien Groeneveld

A new year’s eve in Sydney by Barnt Masselink & Karien Groeneveld



A new year’s eve in Sydney

It was time to pack our backs and see the world. After traveling through some countries in South America and spending Christmas on Fiji we decided to land in Sydney on the 30th of December. This was an easy decision. My girlfriend comes from a real fireworks family. Her grandfather founded a fireworks company a long time ago, and I happen to work for this same company. We both love fireworks.

Fiji was a true paradise for some obvious reasons: Blue oceans, white beaches, great snorkeling, cold beers and… fast WiFi. So, we went online and started reading about NYE in Sydney. Then we read a little more. Then we got worried. It turned out, you can’t just go to Sydney, find a perfect spot and enjoy the fireworks displays. Oh, no. A good strategy would be to get up at 6am, bring food and soda (no alcohol allowed in public places) find a spot and guard it with your life. Don’t even think about going to the toilet. Not our idea of a perfect NYE in Sydney.

So we decided to spend a fortune. We stopped drinking expensive beers on Fiji and said goodbye to a whopping 900 euro’s for two boat tickets. Booking these wasn’t easy. There are hundreds of boats and they all have different sizes and packages. Not all boats are allowed to be in certain area’s which could ruin the view. After reading all sorts of reviews we finally booked our tickets for the Starship.

Our boat left the harbor at 7pm. At 7.30pm we were treated on a small daylight show with colored smoke. Then, at 9pm the so called ‘Family fireworks display’ was on. This originated some years ago as a test for the grand show at midnight. But now it’s an impressive 8-minute show fired from four barges. Our boat stopped about 100 metres from one of these barges and we had a magnificent spot to watch. I was truly impressed by the differents shades of gold, the quality strobe-effects and the overall synchronicity.

Then it was time for the ‘Harbour of light Parade’. Our boat was one of the many vessels that was illuminated and cruised down the harbour in a long traffic jam of boats. Meanwhile we were drinking loads of champagne and waving to the crowds on the shore pretending to be king and queen.

At 10.30pm just another short fireworks show designed by a 13 year old. Lots of happy colors.

And then, finally, the midnight show! This show is centred around the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House but backed up by seven barges far up the river. Theme of this year’s show was ‘Shine’ and this resulted in a lot of extensive glitter, golden falling leaves and silver effects brighter than the sun. I also managed to recognize the sun and moon in some nice shapes. I was impressed by the constant quality and timing of the big shells. For the first time in a decade they actually shot fireworks directly from the roof of the Opera House. These were only a few mines though. The finale was a real big bang, with a nicely timed pause and a beautiful waterfall from the bridge that seemed to touch the water. Unfortunately around this time the sight was a little bit bad due to a lot of smoke and bad winds.


The company that designs and shoots the show is Foti Fireworks. All the fireworks is manufactured in their factory in Marulan, New South Wales, Australia. The three fireworks show cost a total of about 460.000 euro’s. The complete eight-hour show costs the City of Sydney around 4.3 million euro’s. The display contained around 11.000 aerial shells and 25.000 shooting comets. The display means big business for the City of Sydney. Around 1.5 million people were packed in and around the harbour. It’s estimated that over 1 billion people in the world see images of the show. Great city marketing!

For me and my girlfriend this was a fantastic experience. We had no regrets booking the expensive boat tickets and we loved any minute of it. But after getting of the boat at 12:30am, with a bunch of very drunk Australians, walking on the empty and quiet streets, we realized we did miss the typical new years eve feeling we have back home. The smell and sound of fireworks in the streets and building up to 12 o’clock with family, friends and our own fireworks feels a lot more special.

New year’s eve in Sydney: once in a life-time for multiple reasons