Australia will cautiously welcome the new year with historically low crowd numbers expected at fireworks and events across the country.
After a tumultuous 2021, Australians will be among the first in the world to ring in the new year as the clock ticks towards midnight on Friday.
Sydney’s fireworks will take centre stage, with thousands set to flock to vantage points, as celebrations go ahead despite surging COVID-19 infections.
More than 25,000 shooting effects will be fired from Sydney Harbour Bridge, five floating barges will launch 9000 aerial shells, and another 6000 fireworks will shoot from the tops of the Sydney Opera House sails.
The City of Sydney could not predict how many people will turn out for the display, with 17,000 tickets booked, but it’s possible another 87,000 people could attend.
More than a million revellers have visited the city for the display in previous years.
Masks are encouraged, unvaccinated people are asked to stay home and tickets for viewing spots are limited.
Meanwhile, Victoria will swelter through its end of year celebrations with the mercury tipped to reach 38 degrees in Melbourne on New Year’s Eve.
Tens of thousands are still expected to flood the city to celebrate, despite record COVID-19 infections.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said it was undeniable celebrations had taken a hit from the pandemic, but assured those with tickets to event zones, open to the double-vaccinated only, there was still plenty to enjoy.
Many of the CBD’s streets will be closed for outdoor dining, before glitter balls, DJs, dancing and a midnight firework show.
The pandemic’s ongoing impact on freight, logistics and workplaces’ ability to train staff saw the cancellation of a drone swarm at Docklands.
Adelaide will also sweat into the New Year with temperatures set to reach 39 degrees, as the city’s plans have been scaled back due to COVID.
Fireworks will not be held at Elder Park as in previous years, with displays instead planned for 5000 people at Rymill Park and more to be launched in North Adelaide.
Brisbane’s South Bank will see the return of its fireworks after they were cancelled last year, with no crowd limits or tickets required.
Displays will be launched from three barges and two pontoons on the river.
In Perth, where just one new COVID-19 case was recorded on Thursday, nightclubs have been closed and festivals cancelled due to health restrictions.
Fireworks will go ahead in the city, including a 9pm sky show and midnight display.
The Northern Territory will bring in the new year with a music on Darwin Waterfront featuring Amy Shark, The Veronicas and Conrad Sewell, while the kids will be entertained by Bluey and Paw Patrol.
Hobart will host two displays over the middle of the River Derwent with the main viewing point from the ticketed Taste of Summer event.