We have scoured the Sunshine State for the hottest spots to count down to 2016. Whatever your style – fireworks to glamping with a glass of vino to black tie or fun and free with the family – we have wrapped up the hottest spots and the coolest New Year’s events in @Queensland. #yourewelcome
1. Fireworks Frenzy: If ‘free’ and ‘family-friendly’ floats your boat, head to Brisbane’s South Bank Parklands and catch a free movie in the Cultural Forecourt before the 8:30pm and midnight firework shows. Not to be outdone, the Sunshine Coast’s Mooloolaba Esplanade will showcase two fireworks sessions at similar times. (You can then detox on January 1 by lacing up your trainers for a refreshing sunrise run with Noosa Running Tours).
Fireworks will dot the Gold Coast skies from Coomera to Coolangatta, so plonk your esky beachside for the freebie show or dress to impress – think James Bond – and enjoy bird’s eye views from the SkyPoint Observation Deck. This year’s theme is Casino Royale and includes entertainment, drinks, canapés and dessert for $195 per person. Cairns will light their fireworks at 9pm and midnight and ring in the New Year with a free concert including headline act, James Fox Higgins.
2. While this year’s Great Barrier Reefsleep in the Whitsundays is a sell-out, the good news is you’ve got 365+ days to plan 2016’s ultimate celebration reef-side.
3. What can we say, expect a state of euphoria at Woodfordia! Join in the fun and frivolity of the 30th Woodford Folk Festival in the Brisbane hinterland. Aussie indie pop band, San Cisco will join a line-up that also includes Courtney Barnett, late night cabarets, comedy sessions, street theatres and markets galore.
4. Prefer fine wine and fresh country air? Then head to Alure Stanthorpe in Queensland’s Granite Belt and try glamping – it’s just like camping but with a spa and kitchen/bathroom amenities – whilst sipping on a glass of Granite Belt vino. Kick up your heels with Jondaryan Woolshed’s family-friendly New Year’s Bush Dance or ring in your no-frills New Year with big skies and great country hospitality at the Nindigully Pub.
5. Prefer your New Year’s Eve au naturale? You won’t find fireworks on World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, but Mother Nature turns on quite a show in the night sky. Choose from any of the beach campsites or head to the pubs at Eurong Beach or Orchid Beach.
6. Forget kissing a cop, kiss a cowboy instead! Forty of the nation’s top bull riders will converge on the outback gold mining town of Charters Towers for the annual New Year’s PBR Rodeo. The action in the arena will be nothing short of incredi-BULL.
7. Bid farewell to 2015 in Australia’s first-ever five-star glam-packers resort, The Rambutan Townsville, in the heart of the CBD. Forget painting the town red, they’re painting it white with an all-white rooftop pool party.
8. For a more refined countdown, frock up for an evening of classical music at theQueensland Pops Orchestra: New Year’s Eve Gala Concert at QPAC, Brisbane.
9. For a boat-load of fun head over to the Fitzroy Island New Year’s Eve Party in the tropics. In Brisbane, Sail Australia are running a flotilla of boat parties. Brisbane-based Riverlife will be cranking things up river side with cocktails and a pretty unbeatable view.
10. Where else can you time travel and spend your New Year’s Eve in three Aussie time zones – Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales? If you’re headed outback, the place to party is Cameron’s Corner. If three’s a crowd, double up at the twin towns of Coolangatta and Tweed Heads.