Bringing in the New Year in style – by Ben Warner.

NYE 2014 Southbank, Melbourne
NYE 2014 Southbank, Melbourne

I love this time of the year. With the various corners of the globe ushering in the New Year in their own unique ways, there is a sense of starting afresh; whether it be trying to stick to a set of resolutions or to stop and reflect where one may be in their lives to see if they should stay the course or shake things up a bit. It is a time of reflection and celebration. Another new year has arrived with a new set of challenges and opportunities. It’s also an excuse to let loose and party for one big night!

Five years ago, Shirl and I had the good fortune of witnessing the fireworks spectacular in Sydney Harbour during New Year’s Eve festivities in 2009. We flew in around 3pm in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve, went straight for the Harbour Bridge and were fortunate enough to secure a spot very close to the Bridge. It was a long wait, but eventually we saw a spectacular fireworks show at midnight which we captured on video (see below). Once it was done, we hung around in the city until dawn and then caught the 7.30am flight back (finally dozing off on the plane). It was an amazing evening!

Fireworks from Eureka, NYE 2014

For New Year’s Eve 2014, we stayed in Melbourne and witnessed the rooftop fireworks from a vantage point in Southbank just outside Crown Casino. The fireworks show that brought in 2015 was huge, covering the entire Melbourne CBD in a glitter of light and sound that seems to get bigger and bigger with each passing year.

Having spent a number of New Year’s Eve celebrations in Melbourne, I’ve always been impressed with the way the crowds have behaved. Everyone seems to get along and be courteous. There are always a few revelers, but with such a strong police presence, you couldn’t help but feel safe. A big shout out goes to the tireless workers in the hospitality and cleaning industries; the former for providing us a service that enables us to enjoy our time on such a festive night, and the latter for being so professional and efficient in cleaning up after the huge messes we create on the night. Despite penalty rates they may receive, I’m sure they’d enjoy being in amongst the fun as opposed to working.

Having said all of this, we should also pause to remember those people who are less fortunate than us, who do not have the luxury of indulging in this time of celebration, whether through sadness and/or suffering, who are struggling each day to live a peaceful, healthy life. There are many individuals and places around the world who either find this time difficult, are not aware or are indifferent to it. To those people we can only hope that 2015 can usher in better times.

Happy New Year to all of you. I hope you have a very fun-filled and productive 2015. Let’s see where the year will take us!