During winter, Docklands bursts alight with a free Friday night fireworks in July and August. It’s a popular family event and here are my tips to make the most of your nighttime adventure.
Pick a vantage point
The best, and thus most popular, vantage point is at the end of Newquay. Most of the street performers congregate there, kids will love climbing all over Monument Park and it has the largest selection of eateries.
You are still able to see the fireworks if you’re on the other two sides of the harbour – along Harbour Esplanade and Victoria Harbour Promenade/Library at the Dock. Library at the Dock is open until 7pm on Fridays if you need to hide indoors for a bit and there is a small but very cool playground outside at Buluk Park.
A little bit further afield is the south bank of Docklands where you’ll find Point Park at Yarra’s Edge. There are no eateries there but Point Park has the advantage of having an amazing playground Harmony Gardens. Note no public toilets!
2. Pick your parking option
There is not much free parking around Docklands. Harbour Town has parking $10 and the Care Park has two outdoor carparks around Caravel Lane. Just be careful with paid, timed parking – we got a parking ticket when we were late!
- Etihad Stadium – Gates 5 and 6 via La Trobe Street, or Gates 1, 2 and 3 via Bourke Street
- NewQuay – Docklands Drive
- Watergate – corner Batman’s Hill Drive and Bourke Street
- Docklands parking
- Bourke Street
- Collins Street
- Digital Harbour
- Southern Cross Station
- Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
The biggest gripe people seem to have about the Docklands fireworks is the wait to exit the carpark afterwards. We parked at Care Park and while there was a small wait it wasn’t the hour that other people experienced.
To avoid the crowds you have two options – leave just before the last boom (or right on it) or enjoy the atmosphere and entertainment until 8:30pm.
3. Or take public transport
Avoid parking hassles by taking public transport. Catch the free City Circle Tram or take one of the following:
- NewQuay and Waterfront City – tram 30 via La Trobe Street, tram 70 via Flinders Street or tram 86 via Bourke Street.
- Victoria Harbour – tram 48 or 11 via Collins Street.
4. Arrive early
It’s a good idea to get there by 5:30pm as parking starts to fill up by then. The timing’s also perfect for an early family-friendly dinner.
We cheated and got UberEATS delivered to Docklands as we had relatives staying in the area. (Use my referral code eats-cnoub and get $20 off your first order.)
6. Get your camera ready
The fireworks start at 7:30pm and go for approximately 15 minutes. It’s really a spectacular performance so you’ll want to have your camera prepared and set up and to take a couple of practice shots if you can. Turn off your flash! How to photograph fireworks.
7. Rug up
Naturally it’s cold outside so be comfortable and have your hat, scarf and gloves ready. Kids may find the noise too loud so ear muffs/beanie that covers the ears are a good option.
8. Wet/bad weather option
Before heading out check social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) for info on any last minute cancellations due to weather. If you’re not keen on wind or cold then you can always watch the fireworks from the Melbourne Star!
If you’re already on site and the fireworks are cancelled you can always try the free snow play dome at Harbour Town, open 4-8pm on Fridays until 26 August.
Friday 1 July 2016- Friday 26 August 2016, every Friday night except de to inclement weather.
Free entertainment starts 6:30pm with the fireworks display from 7:30pm.