New Year's Eve parties lasted well into the night around Australia, as one of the first countries in the world to enter 2023 welcomed the new year with a bang.
It was the first end-of-year celebration in three years without Covid-19 restrictions, including no limitations on tourists travelling interstate or overseas.
An estimated one million-plus people flocked around Sydney's centre to watch a breathtaking show along the harbour, with many taking to social media to share videos of the "chaotic" scenes as people tried to leave the city.
Just before midnight, large crowds surged towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge resulting in significant police resources being deployed to the area for crowd management, NSW police said.
While police were largely happy with the behaviour of crowds, there were multiple arrests across the CBD and Sydney Harbour foreshore.
According to police, 83 arrests were made and 25 charges laid for various offences overnight, including assault of police, assault, prohibited drug related offences and offensive behaviour. Over 200 traffic and railway infringement notices were also issued.
"Once again, Sydney welcomed the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display, and the vast majority of revellers enjoyed their night safely," Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.
"It was still disappointing to see some people being reckless and disregarding the rules, with police giving move-on directions and making arrests on multiple occasions.
"For those continuing celebrations into the morning and across New Year’s Day, our officers will maintain a highly-visible presence across the state to ensure all revellers do so safely," Commissioner Cooke said.
It was also an incredibly busy night for NSW Ambulance with more than 2,200 Triple 0 calls received for assistance between 4pm New Year’s Eve and 5am this morning – which amounts to about one call every 20 seconds.
"Today will be another very busy day for us and we are forecasting in excess of 5,000 calls on New Year’s Day. We urge those still celebrating to take special care - you don’t want to start 2023 in an ambulance or a hospital," Acting Assistant Commissioner Paul Tonge said.
'So happy with my decision to stay home'
The city's reputation for hosting one of the best New Year's Eve parties on earth lived up to the hype as more than eight tonnes of fireworks were launched from landmarks. But for some people, the videos populating social media where precisely why they avoided the city.
"A big reason I don’t go to the city for new year," one person commented on TikTok.
"Same every year. If you’re out you gotta stay out 'till next morning," another said, while many agreed they were pleased with their decision to stay away from the city.
"So happy with my decision to stay home," one person reacted to videos circulating on TikTok of crowds trying to leave the CBD.
People from all over Australia and overseas flocked to watch colourful explosions light up the Opera House and rooftops, while rainbow sparks cascaded down from the Harbour Bridge as the city prepares to host WorldPride 2023 in February.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said Sydney had shown once again why it is the best place in the world to celebrate New Year's Eve.
"After the challenges of the last few years, last night's unforgettable show not only rung in a New Year it signalled to the world that Sydney is well and truly back," she said.
In Melbourne, an estimated 450,000 revellers went into the CBD to watch a firework display set off from a record 30 rooftops, in what was the biggest celebration since the outbreak of the pandemic.
People packed into the city, riverside spots, bridges and celebration zones to watch a spectacular show costing about $4 million.
Queensland grandmother Louise Arthy had travelled from Caboolture all the way to Victoria to spend New Year's Eve with her family and said the atmosphere was "pumping".
"Fireworks, family, food, good times celebrating the new year. Hopefully a better year ahead," she told AAP.
For the first time, family friendly fireworks were set off in Perth before the main event along the Swan River as the clock struck twelve.
Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart also welcomed in the new year with two dazzling fireworks displays, but public celebrations and fireworks in Darwin had to be cancelled for safety reasons due to a monsoon.
The weather remained dry and in the low 20s at midnight in most capital cities, however rising floodwaters overshadowed events in Western Australia's central Kimberley region and in Menindee in far west NSW.
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