Docklands set to host “largest ever” drone show for New Year’s Eve

Docklands set to host “largest ever” drone show for New Year’s Eve

By Brendan Rees

Docklands is set ring in the New Year in style with Australia’s “largest ever” drone show to light up the night sky over Victoria Harbour.  

The seven-minute show will see audiences wowed by 350 drones illuminating the sky – the first of its scale to ever take place in the Southern Hemisphere. 

The unique aerial display is developed by drone art company Celestial, which delivered Edinburgh’s 2020 New Year drone display, as well as a drone art creation for Amnesty International’s 60th anniversary. 

The drone swarm will take place across Victoria Harbour on New Year’s Eve, before the 9.30pm fireworks and again at midnight. It will also run twice a night from January 3 to January 30. 

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the Docklands drone swarm would “celebrate our love for Melbourne and help reignite the city”.

“For the best view, make your way to Victoria Harbour and support our wonderful venues and local workers,” she said.

“Fireworks, street feasts and live music will add to the buzz, and we’re thrilled to entice people in to celebrate with us in a safe way.”     

Celestial co-founder and CEO Tony Martin said his team was thrilled to be designing a “show-stopping” event for the Melbourne New Year.

“Working with celebrated local talent, our aim is to tell a story that takes the audience on a journey from the troubles of a difficult year and into a greener, healthier, happier future,” he said.

Docklands Chamber of Commerce executive officer Shane Wylie said, “we can’t be any more excited about the Celestial drone show coming to Docklands twice nightly for all of January”.

“The Chamber has continually been pressing for long-term activation of the harbour and this is a perfect example of the type of buzz that can create,” he said.

“We love that this isn’t a sugar fix – it’s not a one-off event that draws thousands in and they go home. This will instead draw thousands in every night for January.”

Mr Wylie said stakeholders and the public would see the event as a way of “moving forward” after the Docklands precinct was one of the hardest hit areas in Australia by the pandemic.

“This is exactly the type of thing that Docklands needs to re-invent itself,” he said.


We’re so thankful to the City of Melbourne in this instance, but also to Development Victoria for identifying Docklands as a priority to activate post-COVID. We know better than anyone how much our businesses have hurt and that an activation like this will mean the world to them.


“We’re hoping that this nightly drone show highlights just how successful a permanent activation of some sort would be on the Harbour.”

Four ticketed celebration zones will be set up at Docklands, Flagstaff Gardens, Alexandra Gardens and Treasury Gardens to help manage crowds and adhere to health and safety requirements. 

Revellers can also enjoy fireworks and plenty of entertainment to celebrate the New Year with performances throughout the night •

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