Charter boat companies are offering Sydneysiders a last-minute option to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks from the harbour if they are willing to splash some cash.
Industry insiders have revealed private Sydney Harbour cruises have had to drop prices heavily due to COVID-19 restrictions and a lack of international travellers, leaving plenty of vessels still available.
Groups of partygoers willing to drop between $6000 and $19,000 can hire out a boat with charter companies such as Any Boat or One Ocean Sailing.
With most pick-up locations in the Yellow Zone, such as Darling Harbour and Balmain, guests do not need to apply for a Service NSW permit. Permits are required to enter Sydney’s Green Zone from 5pm on Thursday.
Boats are also treated as hospitality venues and therefore not restricted to a maximum of 10 people providing the one person per 4sq m rule is followed.
The option was made even more appealing after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday announced a further tightening of restrictions.
Any Boat is one of Sydney’s biggest charter boat companies and still has seven boats available for revellers to ring in the New Year.
The company’s cheapest available private boat costs $6000 for 17 passengers bringing their own food and drinks. The most expensive boat, the 19m My Enigma, can fit 27 passengers under COVID-19 restrictions for a cost of $19,000 – or $704 per person.
The company, which is comparable to Airbnb but for boats, also has ticketed, 5.5-hour cruises that are fully catered but not private.
Any Boat founder and managing director Daniel Da Silva said cruises were a desirable option for Sydneysiders to mingle with more than the five people allowed inside homes.
“I think charter boats are a great idea as an 11th-hour option to watch the fireworks on the harbour,” Mr Da Silva told NCA NewsWire.
“It’s often referred to as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because our boats are often booked out by international tourists and they are expensive, but this gives Sydneysiders a chance to be on the harbour for New Year’s Eve at a price that is historically low.”
One Ocean is offering up their catamaran for $7000 for a maximum of 20 guests – or $350 per person – with a Darling Harbour pick-up.
“We anchor in an absolute prime firework viewing location in the CBD and are fully registered as a COVID-safe outdoor venue,” said One Ocean owner Lily Barlow.