Travel Log: New Year’s Eve at South Bank, Brisbane

1 Jan

Cal, Chris, Emmilly, and I had initially planned on going to South Bank for the day in order to get a good spot for fireworks that evening, but we correctly predicted that it was going to be too crowded for any of our enjoyment. We switched the plan to arrive at night instead, hoping we’d find a car park and a spot where we could see the fireworks, even if it wasn’t front and center.

We packed a picnic earlier in the day–recommended, considering the prices the food vendors were asking were ridiculous ($5.50 for a standard ice cream cone!). We arrived at South Bank around 7:30 in the evening and parked in the giant parking lot by the library. I was astounded by how empty it was–it seemed like no one had thought to park there, or perhaps they all thought they wouldn’t be able to find a spot and took public transport instead!

As predicted, South Bank was packed. We spent about twenty minutes trying to get from the car park to a place just beyond the wheel, elbowing through the crowd that had amassed in front of the river. With all those people breaking into my introvert-bubble, the only consolation I had was that all the children running amok would be leaving with their parents after the 8:30 fireworks. I hoped that the midnight fireworks would be less crowded.

We ended up finding a spot with Chris’s parents opposite the Rain Forest Walk (which was closed off for the event). They had a little corner between a bench and a ledge, so we squeezed in and ate our picnic there.

The 8:30 fireworks didn’t last very long, and I laughed so hard afterwards because the show was rather lackluster in comparison to 4th of July fireworks in my hometown of 2000 people. I couldn’t help but wondering, “That’s it?” But the children present thought it was brilliant, and that’s what matters. When the fireworks ended there was a huge surge of people, and I was glad we were in a corner away from the push and shove of the crowd. As we were directly across from the ferry terminal, it was a bit more crowded than usual as the lines for the ferry formed.

Note: do NOT take the ferry to a big event like this and expect to be out soon! There were families with small children in line for hours waiting to get on a ferry. The poor kids were passing out, they were so exhausted. I’m not sure how the other forms of public transport fared, but after witnessing that, I’m definitely not going to be taking a ferry to any major event any time soon!

Then we had just over three hours to wait for 2013. We kind of wished we had brought a deck of cards or something to play, but people-watching was fun too. Despite the alcohol ban, there was a huge number of people stumbling about. A large handful of security officers positioned themselves at the ferry terminal, too, so we caught them running after a few of those stumbling folks, and the result was funny to watch. The music playing from speakers stationed around the river was some reprieve from boredom, too.

Then at long last we were invited to count down to midnight. Numbers appeared on the buildings on the opposite side of the river, and everyone shouted 10… 9… 8…

The Brisbane fireworks redeemed themselves with a spectacular display at midnight. All different sorts of fireworks in different colors, reds and greens and gold and blue. Fireworks that looked like flowers, fireworks that curled, big bursts and little bursts. I cheered along with everyone else. It was a lengthy display, and I’m glad I went!

Getting back to the car was another adventure trying to elbow through people and shuffling along at a snail pace. After we got back to the parking lot, it took another half hour to get onto a street, but once we got out traffic wasn’t an issue.

Happy 2013, everyone. I’m hoping to make this year a good one!

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2 Responses to “Travel Log: New Year’s Eve at South Bank, Brisbane”

  1. Brisbane Kids November 28, 2013 at 10:58 pm #

    Having experienced New Years Eve at South Bank i would say you have given a very accurate description n what the night s like. The first set f fireworks are a taster for what is to come. The main display is fantastic . I must admit it is quite an experience to see a whole city am paced celebrating the new year.

    • inkhearted November 28, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

      Thanks for commenting! I was surprised to see Brisbane Kids–love your website and the links you post on Facebook (I’m a nanny and the heads-up about various kid-related events has been very much appreciated!).

      Can’t wait for this year’s fireworks display–just over a month away now!

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