Crowds crammed vantage points for Sydney Harbour’s world-renowned pyrotechnics as revellers around the nation saw in the new leap year with traditional glee.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said this year’s fireworks were bigger and better than ever before.
“Last night’s event really demonstrated why the Sydney celebrations are heralded as one of, if not the best New Year’s parties on the planet,” she said.
The display over the harbour featured 36,000 shooting effects including comets, mines and crossettes, and white and gold pyrotechnics as a special nod to commemorate the Sydney Opera House’s 50th anniversary.
Victorians partied hard as more than half a million people packed into the Melbourne CBD to usher in a new year.
Police arrested 33 people and responded to 64 fireworks-related incidents, several of which resulted in serious injuries and fires.
In Tootgarook on the Mornington Peninsula, a 57-year-old woman was hospitalised after her house went up in flames which is believed to have started after fireworks and flares were set off in the street.
An explosion at a Mill Park house left 11 people hospitalised, one with life-threatening injuries.
The fire is not being treated as suspicious.
A 48-year-old Altona woman may lose an eye after an illegal firework struck her face at Altona Beach.
“We saw some serious injuries tonight,” Victorian Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Grainger said.
“If you’re prepared to play with illegal fireworks, be prepared for the consequences of that.”
But Mr Grainger said most of the public had an overwhelmingly safe and enjoyable evening.
“We saw great crowd behaviour at suburban and regional community celebrations, with people taking responsibility for their own behaviour and looking out for their friends,” he said.
“There were only a small number of people who did the wrong thing, but they were dealt with swiftly by police, so the atmosphere was in no way spoiled.”
Celebrations in Queensland were dampened by the weather, with smaller crowds than expected turning out in Brisbane.
On the Gold Coast, a boat carrying more than 100 people ran aground in the broadwater, police said.
The skipper of the boat was charged with drink driving and was expected to appear in court on Monday.
“We had to get the volunteer marine rescue and the police water boats to evacuate all those people to safety in the marina,” Superintendent Andrew Pilotto said.
South Australian police made 65 arrests across the state with offences ranging from possession of drugs, possessing or consuming alcohol in a dry zone and behavioural offences
In Adelaide, 15 people were arrested for various behavioural offences with 33 removed from two declared public precincts in the CBD and at beachside Glenelg.
It was a mostly incident-free night in Tasmania as thousands of revellers flocked to vantage points around the island to celebrate the new year.
Police made 25 arrests for public disorder, abusive language, drink driving and family violence matters.
“Overall behaviour was pleasing and patrons celebrated safely,” Acting Inspector Adrian Leary said.