I’ve never been one for crowds and hectic New Year’s Eve celebrations. However I still do love ringing in the New Year with my loved ones, recapping our memories of the last year and planning the next year’s resolutions. Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to watch the fireworks or planning a midnight feast, here’s a few alternative ways to celebrate the new year in style and beat the crowds while you’re at it.
Cool off on one of Melbourne’s Rooftops
When it gets hot and crowded in Melbourne’s city streets on New Year’s Eve, there’s no better place to escape than one of the city’s spectacular rooftop bars. Here you can enjoy a cocktail or two with your mates and cool off as the sun goes down. Melbourne has one of the most spectacular skylines in the world, so it’s only fair that it has a plethora of trendy bars both in the CBD and in the suburbs to ogle at the view from above. The midnight fireworks display will be fired from the rooftops of 22 of Melbourne’s buildings, enabling a long-distance vantage point for people across the city and in far-reaching surrounding suburbs.
Pack the perfect beach picnic
One of my favourite things to do on New Year’s Eve is to escape to the ocean with a beach picnic. There are plenty of beaches in Melbourne to escape the crowds, or if you’re feeling like getting away further afield, the Mornington Peninsula is a gorgeous spot with beautiful secluded beaches around every corner. Some local beaches also do fireworks so that’s an added bonus. Try to pack as much finger food as possible to avoid the need for cutlery. Think fruit, finger sandwiches, chips and dips and maybe some naughty brownies or cookies for dessert. Or just take away some fish and chips! If it’s hot make sure to bring an esky and a beach umbrella for extra shelter. If you’re going with your children or a large group of friends, pack some beach friendly games like beach cricket and a frisbee for some added fun.
Go camping and get off the grid
Switch off entirely with a special New Year celebration off the grid in the outdoors. Think camping (or, for a bit more luxury, glamping), romantic bonfires and exploring the outdoors in all its glory. Camping is an easy and affordable way to celebrate the New Year and reconnect with both nature and your loved ones. There are plenty of gorgeous camp grounds just out of the CBD in Melbourne, or for something extra convenient, why not just camp with your friends in your own backyard? If you’re booking a camping spot, make sure you get organised and book well in advance to get a prime spot.
Host a House Party with an epic grazing platter
I love a good grazing platter, especially for New Year celebrations! There is nothing better than gathering your family and besties to feast the night away in the comfort of your own home. But what makes the perfect cheese platter? Depending on the size of your party the French have a tradition to serve only odd numbers of cheeses: three, five or seven. It’s also recommended to take the cheese out of the fridge at least five minutes before serving since most cheeses are best served at room temperature.
Here’s my tips of how to plan the perfect platter below:
- Cheese is a must – try to include a variety of textures and flavours, ideally one from each group. Aged (cheddar, comte), soft (camembert, brie), firm (manchego, parmesan) and blue (gorgonzola, stilton)
- Fruits – grapes, slices of apple and dried stone fruit like dates and raisins
- Crackers, panaforte and thin slices of a fresh baguette
- Cured meats including prosciutto
- Condiments including honey, chutney, quince
- Nuts including peanuts, almonds, whole walnuts for cracking or hazelnuts
Make sure to keep the flavours balanced too and don’t complicate it! And by the time you finish it, it will be time to watch the midnight fireworks on tv, or your rooftop if you can see the skyline.
Plan a Progressive Dinner
To take the burden off doing all the cooking yourself, plan a progressive dinner with your besties living in a similar area to you. Whether you want to plan an elaborate Master Chef style cooking challenge or just a simple soiree, progressive dinners are great fun to plan. Make sure the dinner stays on schedule and designate ‘people movers’ to keep the party on track. Progressive dinners are typically divided into three stages, entrees, mains and desserts. Finish the evening with dessert and sparklers in the backyard to create your own fireworks and bring plenty of board games to continue the celebrations well into the evening. I know which part of the dinner I will be planning…