The New Year is almost upon us! If you want to ring in 2024 in style, where you know your needs will be accommodated, here’s an overview of accessible New Year’s Eve events around Australia.
New Year’s Eve in Sydney, NSW
New Year’s Eve in Sydney is an iconic event, watched around the world. There are plenty of ways to access the spectacular fireworks, and the City of Sydney has put together comprehensive information on their website.
Most of the designated accessible viewing areas (Pirrama Park, Observatory Hill Park, Barangaroo, Royal Botanic Garden and Domain, Sydney Opera House, and Cahill Expressway) are now booked out. However, the City of Sydney has provided a helpful vantage point map that marks general public viewing areas with accessible features, if you’re making last minute plans. The tailored Accessibility Map also includes details on bathrooms, barriers, stairs, and inclines around the CBD.
A Changing Places facility – with adult-size adjustable change table, ceiling hoists, and space for circulation and assistance – will be available at Abraham Mott Hall (15A Argyle Place, Millers Point), from 10AM on New Year’s Eve to 1AM on New Year’s Day.
Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) offers accessible taxis for transport, booked in advance (phone 13 900). You can also get there and get home via accessible public transport, or use one of the accessible pick-up/drop-off zones (Shakespeare Place at Macquarie Street, and Argyle Street between Kent and Lower Fort streets).
If you’d prefer to tune in from home, ABC Radio will broadcast a live audio description of the midnight fireworks (via the ABC Listen app, or on television channel 25). You can watch the event on ABC and ABC iView with closed captions available.
New Year’s Eve in Brisbane, QLD
The Lord Mayor’s New Year’s Eve fireworks in Brisbane is a great all-ages alcohol-free event for revellers looking for a low-key accessible way to ring in the new year. Access is free, so it’s budget-friendly, too!
There are two spectacular fireworks shows planned: an early event at 8:30PM, and another for night owls at midnight.
The location – South Bank Parklands – has good accessibility, though you’ll want to make sure you get there early, as there are no bookings or reservations for New Year’s Eve. You can make your way there using accessible public transport, as it’s convenient to many stops and stations, or you can park in one of the accessible bays (close to lifts) at South Bank’s underground car park on Little Stanley Street.
You can find standard accessible bathrooms at South Bank Piazza and Stanley Street Plaza. A larger facility, with a shower, ceiling hoist (BYO sling and loop attachments) and a change table is located behind the Central Cafe. These locations are highlighted on the South Bank Map, along with paved pedestrian paths and other features.
New Year’s Eve in Melbourne, VIC
You’re spoiled for choice with Celebration Zones to celebrate the new year in Melbourne. You can safely enjoy the shows (a family-friendly display at 9:30PM, and a Midnight Moment spectacle at midnight) from any one of the four zones across the city, with different features to suit your needs at each.
Celebration Zones located at Docklands, Flagstaff Gardens, Kings Domain and Treasury Gardens offer the best inner city views of fireworks and lasers, as well as some fun activities, food trucks, music and performances – with no bookings required. There’s a comprehensive guide to the events in each zone, transport directions, and area maps available via the NYE Melbourne website. You can find accessible drop-off zones at Bourke Street (Docklands), St Kilda Road (Kings Domain), Wellington Parade (Treasury Gardens) and La Trobe Street (Flagstaff Gardens), or travel to each zone via accessible public transport.
The organisers have will also provide support for people with hidden disabilities and sensory sensitivities. They have partnered with the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme, so you can pop on your lanyard if you think you might need assistance from trained staff. You can also access comprehensive Social Stories via the Accessibility page on the NYE Melbourne website.
Important notes: The Celebration Zones at Flagstaff Gardens, Treasury Gardens and Alexandra Gardens are predominantly grassy areas with some inclines, though there are adjacent paths for accessibility. Registered service and companion animals are permitted at the Celebration Zones, though handlers are asked to be aware and prepared for disruption from fireworks noise.
New Year’s Eve in Mandurah, WA
A few hours after the East Coast celebrations have ended, there will be parties and festivals all around Western Australia ringing in the New Year. Our pick of the accessible options is the New Year’s Eve fireworks on the Mandurah Foreshore.
Mandurah was this year’s Top Tourism Town, and they have award-winning accessibility programs in place. On New Year’s Eve, they’ll be putting on two amazing fireworks displays (at 9PM and midnight, local time). There are multiple viewing spots around the town to take it all in: the Eastern Foreshore, Stingray Point, Henry Sutton Grove, and the Mandurah Bridge pedestrian walkway.
There will be several road and car park closures in place, but you can still find accessible parking at the Visitors Centre car park off Mandurah Terrace (Eastern Foreshore). It’s an easy walk or wheel on paved paths from there to find your ideal spot to take in the show. There are also accessible public bathrooms and change rooms available near the Visitors Centre.
More Accessible New Year’s Eve Events Around Australia
If you’re not near any of these cities on New Year’s Eve this year, don’t worry! There’s sure to be an accessible option closer to you. Check these out:
- New Year’s Eve at Elder Park in Adelaide, SA
- Taste Of Summer community day in Hobart, TAS
- Liquid Lights New Year’s Eve Festival in Darwin, NT
- Fireworks and movie night in Cairns, QLD
- New Year’s Eve at Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra, ACT
- New Year’s Eve Street Party in Alice Springs, NT
- New Year’s Eve Dance Party in Broome, WA
- New Year’s Eve at the Newcastle Foreshore, NSW