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Your guide to Sydney and Wollongong New Years Eve celebrations

AS we approach the Christmas and New Year holiday period, police are encouraging the public to plan ahead for their New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Unprecedented numbers are expected in and around Sydney’s CBD to welcome-in the New Year, and revellers are reminded to ensure they check venue information, particularly food and beverage availability, as there will be more family-friendly, alcohol-prohibited vantage points and designated alcohol-free zones than ever before.

Major Events and Incidents Group Commander, Assistant Commissioner Alan Clarke, said this is a busy time of year, but people need to take the time to make plans so they can safely enjoy the start of 2013.

“There are less than two weeks until the big night, but we hope that over the Christmas break, people discuss their plans with family and friends to ensure they factor in possible delays; venue details; alcohol-prohibited zones, and changes in weather conditions,” said Assistant Commissioner Clarke.

“We are working closely with the City of Sydney, event organisers and government agencies to ensure New Year’s Eve in Sydney is one to remember – and for all the good reasons.

“Crowd numbers at all fireworks vantage points will be closely monitored and will be closed to the public as soon as they are full, to prevent overcrowding.

“The best way to avoid disappointment is to plan ahead. Choose your venue, arrive early and secure a spot.

“And if it’s a hot day, take plenty of water and sunscreen so you make it to midnight.”

Assistant Commissioner Clarke added that there will be road closures and changes to traffic conditions across the CBD and Metropolitan areas.

“There won’t be much to celebrate if you spend your New Year’s Eve stuck in traffic. Leave the car at home and catch a train, bus, or ferry.

“But remember, consuming alcohol on public transport is not permitted and the Police Transport Command will be all over the network, so your travelling companion could be a police officer,” Assistant Commissioner Clarke said.

A full New Year’s Eve transport guide is available on the events page at: www.131500.com.au or call 131 500 to plan your trip.

More information about road closures and special event clearways in the Sydney CBD, harbour foreshore and various council areas are available at livetraffic.com

For anyone heading out onto the water, exclusion zones and movement times apply. Please visit www.rms.nsw.gov.au and follow the links to Maritime for details.

For event details, road closures and information on venues and alcohol-free zones, visit the City of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve event page: www.sydneynewyearseve.com

Tips to ensure you have a safe NYE:
• Check event websites and guides for details on venue access and alcohol-prohibited zones
• Plan your trip to and from the event – plan to catch public transport
• Check relevant websites for all traffic information
• Factor in possible delays and be patient
• Plan for possible changes to weather conditions and pack appropriate attire
• Pack water in case of hot weather
• Ensure you have contact details for friends and relatives in case of an emergency

Meanwhile more than 15,000 people are expected to gather around Wollongong City’s forshore from 5pm on Monday December 31 to see in 2013.

The family-friendly, alcohol free New Year Eve event includes live music from the City of Wollongong Brass Band and jazz group The Cats O’ Plenty, amusement rides and a wide selection of food stands. There’ll also be face-painting, show bags and stalls selling a range of glow-in-the-dark knickknacks.

The highlight of the night is a spectacular fireworks display at 9.30pm. The fireworks are sponsored by Bulli-based manufacturing company Vesuvius Australia.

Before the fireworks, there’ll be a special laser show that’ll be focused on and around the old lighthouse at Belmore Basin.

Wollongong City Council’s New Year’s Eve celebrations are always a highlight for Illawarra families. Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said.

“Our New Year’s Eve event offers a little something for everyone – great food, rides and live entertainment, as well as the chance to come and support the local basketball team who are doing the city proud at the moment. Factor in some top fireworks and that you can be home in time to watch Sydney’s midnight fireworks on television and it’s the perfect night out I think,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

Members of the Wollongong Hawks will drop into the festivities to sign autographs and meet fans following their match against the Melbourne Tigers at the Wollongong Entertainment Centre. Tip-off is at 6.30pm.

The amusement rides in Lang Park will also be open on New Year’s Day.

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.

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