Australia will likely nurse a massive hangover with memories of the spectacular fireworks and thumping music that accompanied New Year celebrations.
The nation’s standout event of New Year’s Eve – a fireworks display on Sydney Harbour – didn’t disappoint the estimated 1.5 million who gathered on the foreshore to see the 12-minute midnight show of multi-coloured, swirling, wheeling and comet-like crackers.
More than half a million turned out in Melbourne’s city centre to see 7.5 tonnes of fireworks launched into the night sky from 22 locations.
Police in Sydney and Melbourne reported no major incidents, with no one injured when more than 100 revellers had to be helped to shore when two boats took on water in Sydney harbour.
An 18-year-old man was left in a critical condition at Sydney’s St Vincent’s hospital and a 25-year-old man arrested in what police are calling a serious assault in King’s Cross.
NSW Ambulance said in a statement paramedics responded to a number of incidents across Sydney, the majority related to alcohol or to people under the influence of drugs.
Paramedics have praised the general conduct of crowds, with a lower than expected number during the night.
Further north, Brisbanites braved the threat of rain to witness the river city lit up by 30,000 pyrotechnic effects.
South Australia rang in 2014 with fireworks and music from local bands in Adelaide’s Elder Park, while thousands packed into Canberra’s Civic square to see fireworks launched form City Hall.
Tasmania did it with food, with tens of thousands converging on the waterfront and Salamanca for the annual gastronomic festival, Taste.
Crowds streamed into central Melbourne to enjoy a fireworks spectacular to mark the start of 2014.
More than 500,000 partygoers were expected to make their way into the city on Tuesday evening, where a 7.5-tonne, 10-minute fireworks display was set to be blasted from 22 locations at midnight (AEDT).
An early, family-orientated fireworks display was set for 9.30pm at Yarra Park, enabling families to enjoy the celebrations early.
Thousands of families packed the park to enjoy entertainment and a carnival atmosphere ahead of the family friendly fireworks.
On a mild Melbourne night, the mood at the family event was relaxed, with lots of kids, babies, mums and dads stretched on blankets with picnics waiting for the fireworks to begin.
New mum Nicola Sutcliffe said she was enjoying the music, but not the long queues for food.
“This is the first time we have been out with a child for New Year’s Eve and it’s good that there is something like this event,” she said.
Melanie Barclay was also enjoying the night with her family that included three sons, aged three to six.
“It’s lovely weather and lots of people enjoying themselves,” she said.
Police have warned they would be out in force on the night at celebration hot spots.
Those found drunk in a public place face a $577 fine and $722 for drunk and disorderly behaviour.