View Comments
Hot time in the old town
The West Australian

The heat failed to stop the enthusiasm of partygoers around the metropolitan area last night as they saw in the new year.

Thousands of people flocked to Fremantle and Northbridge, while many families opted for an earlier night on Cottesloe and Scarborough beaches.

In Northbridge, bars and kebab shops geared up for their busiest night of the year.

Live acts in the Piazza and Perth Cultural Centre provided a carnival atmosphere that had children dancing in the street.

But Turkish Prestige Kebab House worker Hasan Mulla knew the family-friendly atmosphere would not last all night.

"We've been looking forward to this," he said. "It's our busiest night of the year.

"We have a full complement of staff and we'll be open until 6am."

One police officer had already issued several move-on notices by 9pm, which he said was no more than a typical Friday or Saturday night in Northbridge.

Carnival drummers Wasamba drew a healthy audience to Fremantle's Little Creatures Brewery when they struck up the beat just after 8pm. Musical director Ben Bowtell said the response had been excellent.

"We even had the kids dancing along, when they're usually a bit taken aback by the noise," he said.

The city's fleet of pedal cab rickshaws was also doing a roaring trade. French driver Julien Dubois said it would be a busy night.

"People are a lot less shy when they're drunk, some people are too shy to ask for a ride when they're sober," he said.

Perched on the cappucino strip, busker Josh said the heat had been driving away business.

"It's nice to have a busy night, Freo and Northbridge have been dead this summer," he said.

Fremantle police were kept busy by numerous street drinkers, with one woman loaded into a police van after she became aggressive.

But no other major incidents were reported.

Festivities kicked off quietly, with soaring temperatures making daytime partying difficult.

Families flocked to Perth beaches to escape the 42C scorcher and started celebrating early.

While some revellers looked to be settling in for a long night, others simply wanted to cool off.

Frances Sumich and Brad O'Beirne said they had an early night planned with young son William as they enjoyed fish and chips at Cottesloe beach. "One doesn't stay up much with a child, we'll be asleep by 9pm," Ms Sumich said.

The night's most exclusive party was the Hopman Cup Ball.

Frenchwoman Mathilde Johansson chose a dress by Perth designer Aurelio Costarella to attend the party. She and playing partner, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, were joined by other players and many Perth identities to ring in the new year.

About 1.5 million people poured into Sydney to watch the $6.6 million fireworks display light up the sky - twice - from the harbour foreshore, at Darling Harbour and other vantage points with the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge playing a major part. Pop princess Kylie Minogue, the event's creative ambassador who chose the theme of Embrace for the celebrations, started the midnight show with the press of a button.

A giant set of red lips in the middle of the harbour bridge counted down to midnight, before the fireworks blasted off.

A one-of-a-kind sparkling semiquaver - to honour Kylie's 25 years in music - was one of 100,000 individual pyrotechnic creations, including brand new koala, octopus and hand images.

Across the rest of the country, other major cities hosted their own fireworks displays and parties.