2021 will be going out with a bang. For the first time in two years, the fireworks are returning to Lake Burley Griffin, lighting up the sky with streaks of colour and marking the end of a rubbish year and the beginning of – fingers and toes crossed – a better one.
It will be Canberra’s first major event since lockdown and thousands of locals will take the opportunity to get out of the house and set up their camping chairs and picnics on the shores of the lake to enjoy the show, eat and be eaten by mosquitoes (so don’t forget your insect repellent).
The party gets started at 6 pm when roving entertainment, pop-up vendors, and food trucks zero in on the city and lakeshore.
The first batch of pyrotechnics then goes off at 9 pm, launched from three barges across the Central, East and West basins of Lake Burley Griffin, followed by another salvo at midnight. Each show runs for about approximately 15 minutes.
Those who live nearby may like to put the pets indoors at these times.
Where can I see it?
The beauty of lakes is that they’re flat, so the ACT Government is reminding people that there is no need to all congregate in the National Triangle – you’ll be able to take in the view from a variety of lakeside and mountain-top vantage points across the city. Green spaces around the lake will be open for picnic blankets, chairs and gazebos.
For those thinking of climbing into a kayak for a closer look, the government is strongly advising against trying to get up close and personal with the barges, as lovely as it might sound, to literally have fireworks going off right over your head.
The lake will be closed to regular users from 10 am on 31 December so SES and Police boats can move about unencumbered.
Where can I park?
Several roads and car parks will be closed on the evening, so plan ahead to avoid disappointment and U-turns.
The online map lists all of these in more detail. But in summary, the car parks at Bowen Park, Lennox Gardens, and Rond Terrace will be closed from 5:45 pm (31 December 2021) to 12:30 am (1 January 2022). There will also be a partial closure of the Regatta Point car park, limiting the number of spaces available at those times.
Parking at Black Mountain Peninsula will be monitored and Garryowen Drive will be closed when full. The National Library and large Questacon car park will be closed when they have reached capacity.
National Capital Authority (NCA) parking attendants will be out on the night, so be sure to double-check the parking signs to ensure 2022 doesn’t begin with a lot of money leaving your bank account. Parking on the grass is another no-no.
Many roads around the lake will be 40 km/h per hour zones between 5:45 pm and 12:30 am, including Commonwealth Avenue bridge, Kings Avenue bridge, Bowen Drive, Flynn Drive near Lennox Gardens, and Parkes Way between the Edinburgh Avenue exit and the Kings Avenue intersection.
Where can I eat?
A number of food trucks will be parked around the lake at various locations, but to limit crowds assembling, don’t expect dedicated ‘food hubs’ with lots of trucks or options.
The city’s restaurants, bars, and pubs will also be open late, making the most of the occasion.
Anything else I need to know?
Roving police and security patrols will be on duty to monitor crowd behaviour and alcohol consumption throughout the night. A text alert number will be made available via social media and the Events Canberra website for alerting security and emergency services on the night during the event.
First-aid facilities will be available at Regatta Point, Rond Terrace, Patrick White Lawns, Bowen Park and Lennox Gardens.
The ACT Government encourages everyone to spread out and use the Check In CBR app where QR codes are supplied – and don’t forget a mask is required indoors.
To ensure the health and safety of all attendees, stay home if unwell, maintain physical distancing, and practise healthy hygiene practices, both in the lead up to and at the event.
To stay up to date with any last-minute changes due to you-know-what, visit Events Canberra.