As Australians across the country ring in the New Year, there have been some controversial reactions to how people are choosing to bid farewell to 2023.
While New Year's Eve celebrations usually bring to mind images of stunning sequin dresses, free-flowing champagne and an impressive fireworks display, some have pointed out the “sad reality” of the long-awaited holiday.
Read on to find out the latest.
Fireworks at 9pm in Sydney
The first batch of New Year's fireworks exploded over Sydney, with the 9pm display providing a dazzling display of sparkling light and colour.
For British tourist Ben Scammell, the scene was “amazing”.
“It was exactly what we wanted to see,” he told NCA NewsWire after the show.
“Everywhere I looked, there was light everywhere and there were patterns we had never seen before.
“If it's 9pm, we can't wait until 12pm.”
Thousands gathered in Sydney's central business district to attend the famous show, and police warned that all viewing areas in the city and northern Sydney were full.
Ben and his friend Louis arrived at the opera house at 8am and he said the wait was “definitely” worth it.
“We're having a really good time,” he said.
“Surrounded by people, sharing their food. “Vietnamese and Taiwanese people exchange stories.”
The fireworks display lasted for approximately 10 minutes.
“Apocalypse” scenes in Sydney Harbour
As a million people flock to Sydney in anticipation of the New Year, shocking scenes emerging on social media reveal the truth of the matter at these prime fireworks locations.
TikTok user, Ash, said she “regrets” her decision to flock to Circular Quay as she had to wait almost two hours to use the portable toilets.
“I'm really rethinking my choices right now,” she said after posting a clip of the crowd of onlookers waiting for the fireworks.
“I was waiting for the toilet for almost two hours, and I regret it.”
In another clip, she described the crowds as “horrific” and like something out of the Hunger Games.
According to the City of Sydney
Are we officially “done” with fireworks?
More than 8.5 tonnes of fireworks are planned for this year's Sydney fireworks displays at 9pm and 12pm, with a crew of 60 and more than 11km of cable needed for the event.
City of Sydney fireworks manager Fortunato Foti said spectators could expect a slightly different display this year, with displays featuring fireworks in bright white, peach, lemon, silver, gold, violet, yellow, burnt orange, pink and blue.
But as cities and towns across Australia prepare for fireworks displays to welcome 2024, many have spoken out against the tradition because of the environmental impact and devastation the explosives can cause to pets and wildlife.
Celebrity TV vet Dr. Katrina Warren has explained that more pets will go missing on New Year's Eve than any other time of the year.
“It can be terrifying with the pets, the fireworks, the flashes of light and the sound,” she explained in a TikTok video.
“I beg you to keep all pets indoors this evening, and to bring them in before dusk.”
Cats like to roam around when it's dark, and often people can't find them when they need them.
“Bring pets inside, close the curtains, and play some music — classical music is great — to drown out the sound of the fireworks.
“Make sure they are in a cool, well-ventilated, safe and secure place.”
Many expressed frustration with the annual event, with some even wishing fireworks would be banned.
One said: “I had a big fight with Ryde Council two years ago about the overuse of explosives and how much stress it is causing wildlife and pets.”
“My inner tabs are afraid of them and that makes me nervous.”
Another said: “I have a dog that needs therapy during the fireworks because he's so scared.”
“He is shaking and producing a lot of saliva. We have tried everything and medication is the last resort.
“Fireworks should be banned! How about a laser show or something similar?” one suggested.
“What we do to animals every year is so cruel.”
“Can't be bothered”
Sydney's Carla Awad has been praised after she shared what many described as a “very relatable” video in which she detailed her thoughts regarding tonight's New Year's Eve celebrations.
“Doesn't anyone else want to go out on New Year's Eve?” she asked her fans in the TikTok clip.
“I just can't be bothered. Any sequined skirts, dealing with drunk idiots, driving over an hour to get to a place and find parking.
“I looked at all the events in Sydney and there wasn't anything interesting. I don't want to get stuck in crowds, bump into people, push them and generally overstimulate them.
Carla said that while there were some great things happening in other cities around the world, she didn't feel like Sydney was the place to be for New Year's Eve.
“Right now, I'm going to plan a really nice night out,” she said.
“New Year's Eve is so overrated, at least the way it's expected to be celebrated.
“I feel like I just want cold vibes.”
Hundreds applauded and mirrored her reaction, saying they had no desire to leave the house to celebrate the New Year.
“It's not the same anymore,” one said.
“Plus, everyone is broke and over it.”
Another commented: “Having some friends is a step, plus going home is a nightmare plus the crowds.”
“Girl, I'm having a healthy night for the first time, but I'm not feeling it this year,” one TikTok user added.
“No one I know is coming out.”
'Lame': Locals' reaction to fireworks crowd
While many are staying at home, there was no shortage of people waking up in the early hours of the morning to secure the perfect vantage point to watch Sydney's famous fireworks.
Many of the most popular spots were already full by mid-afternoon, and more than a million people were expected to flock to the city today in total.
As revelers formed an incredible sea of people on the ground, many on social media criticized the event and questioned why anyone would care to wait for the fireworks.
One person commented: “Fireworks in Sydney are 100% tourist friendly.”
“I don't know a single Australian who has seen them more than once.”
Another said: “Sydney in New York is the worst experience ever.”
One commented: “I hope it rains and the cloud covers the fireworks.”
“Do they know it's free on TV and you can go to bed right after?” 1 user shared.
“Good luck trying to get home, you'll all be out until four in the morning.”
Another added: “Waiting 15 hours to watch the fireworks is crazy.”
“How lame. I'd rather watch them at home.”
Others disagreed, with some sharing the incredible efforts they went to to secure a good spot.
“I've been at my place since 8am yesterday,” one said.
“What can I say, I really like my fireworks.”
Another added: “This has been on my bucket list for years.”
“I don't care what it takes, I'm just excited to be here.”
There will be up to 1,000 certified staff behind the scenes and 250 volunteers to make sure everything runs smoothly during the festivities. Lord Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney, said many preparations had been made until the evening.
“Our New Year’s Eve team and fireworks experts have been working on tonight’s event for the past 15 months, and it is expected to be bigger and better than ever,” she said.
“We expect a million people around the foreshore tonight, so if you're coming into town, early on public transport, pack food and water, and wear good walking shoes.
“If you are staying at home, listen to our great radio programs on ABC TV and KIIS FM.
“Wherever you are, whatever you're celebrating, there's no doubt that Sydney will be at its best tonight as we count down to the dawn of a new year.”
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