GALLERY: New Year's Eve in the Gong

The crowd watches the fireworks at Belmore Basin. Picture: WARREN KEELAN
The crowd watches the fireworks at Belmore Basin. Picture: WARREN KEELAN
The Belmore Basin lighthouse is illuminated last night. Picture: WARREN KEELAN

The Belmore Basin lighthouse is illuminated last night. Picture: WARREN KEELAN

Revellers from Cliff Road apartment block The Belmore take full advantage of their prime position ahead of the NYE fireworks.

Revellers from Cliff Road apartment block The Belmore take full advantage of their prime position ahead of the NYE fireworks.

NYE in the Gong, 2012.

NYE in the Gong, 2012.

Fireworks illuminate the night sky as revellers farewell 2012 in Wollongong.

Fireworks illuminate the night sky as revellers farewell 2012 in Wollongong.

Fireworks light up the sky over Belmore Basin.

Fireworks light up the sky over Belmore Basin.

The smaller of Wollongong's two lighthouses is illuminated by pink light as fireworks erupt over Belmore Basin.

The smaller of Wollongong's two lighthouses is illuminated by pink light as fireworks erupt over Belmore Basin.

An image is projected on to the Little Lighthouse during a pre-fireworks light show at Belmore Basin.

An image is projected on to the Little Lighthouse during a pre-fireworks light show at Belmore Basin.

Welcoming in the new year: Youssef Chaounne, Makee Chaounne and Jayden Russell of Horsley.

Welcoming in the new year: Youssef Chaounne, Makee Chaounne and Jayden Russell of Horsley.

New Year's Eve fireworks light up the sky. Picture: WARREN KEELAN

New Year's Eve fireworks light up the sky. Picture: WARREN KEELAN

L-R: Sibylle and Peter Schultz from Blackbutt with grandkids Sheree, 10 and Loren, 7, and their daughter Sandra Marsh.

L-R: Sibylle and Peter Schultz from Blackbutt with grandkids Sheree, 10 and Loren, 7, and their daughter Sandra Marsh.

Oak Flats couple Sheena and Michael with children Allira, 3, and Charlie, 2.

Oak Flats couple Sheena and Michael with children Allira, 3, and Charlie, 2.

Bowral's Margaret and Patrick Wilson with daughter Chloe, 10.

Bowral's Margaret and Patrick Wilson with daughter Chloe, 10.

Tamara Howard of Fairy Meadow and Kate Mallon of Dapto.

Tamara Howard of Fairy Meadow and Kate Mallon of Dapto.

Albert Birt, 2, of Austinmer cruises into town with dad Edward.

Albert Birt, 2, of Austinmer cruises into town with dad Edward.

Early-birds set up camp ahead of the New Year's Eve fireworks.

Early-birds set up camp ahead of the New Year's Eve fireworks.

Is that 2013 or 1983? Nicole Holden, Aaron Lane, Dave Freeman, Chris Redman, Aaron Chhua and Lyndsay Andrew ham it up in their fluro outfits.

Is that 2013 or 1983? Nicole Holden, Aaron Lane, Dave Freeman, Chris Redman, Aaron Chhua and Lyndsay Andrew ham it up in their fluro outfits.

Georgina Manios, 14, Ocean Christie, 13 and Keeley Fabian, 14 enjoy the sun ahead of the 9.30pm fireworks.

Georgina Manios, 14, Ocean Christie, 13 and Keeley Fabian, 14 enjoy the sun ahead of the 9.30pm fireworks.

Marcus Liackman, 5, from Woonona.

Marcus Liackman, 5, from Woonona.

Kristina and Daniel Judge from Oak Flats with children Ryder, 4, and Mikey, 7.

Kristina and Daniel Judge from Oak Flats with children Ryder, 4, and Mikey, 7.

People flock to Belmore Basin ahead of the NYE fireworks.

People flock to Belmore Basin ahead of the NYE fireworks.

Wollongong revellers farewelled 2012 in spectacular fashion last night, with thousands lining the harbour foreshore to ring in the new year.

Yesterday's festivities kicked off mid-afternoon at Belmore Basin with crowds enjoying live music, amusement rides and tucking into fish and chips and Dagwood dogs by the beach.

Crowds began to build up along the shoreline from late afternoon as families got in early to secure the best vantage points ahead of the 9.30pm fireworks display.

Among those who arrived early were West Wollongong’s Kristina and Daniel Judge, who set up their picnic rugs on the foreshore grass at 4pm to ensure they got a good view of the fireworks.

Mrs Judge said the duo had bought their children for the fireworks last year and enjoyed it so much they decided to invite the rest of the family this year.

‘‘There’s 10 of us coming altogether,’’ she said.

‘‘In previous years we just hung around at home for New Year’s and had dinner with the family but we decided to come out here and make a day of it this year.

‘‘The kids are really loving it.’’

Bowral couple Patrick and Margaret Wilson also arrived in time to set themselves up in a prime spot on the beach.

‘‘It’s the third year we’ve come [to Wollongong] for New Year’s Eve; we’ve made in into a bit of a family tradition now,’’ Mrs Wilson said.

‘‘For us it’s too difficult to get to Sydney and it’s way too busy in there anywhere.

‘‘It only takes us an hour to get home from here so we can be home in time to watch the midnight fireworks on TV.’’

Goulburn mother Amy Tapper also ruled out travelling in to Sydney for the fireworks, instead choosing to mark her 10-month-old daughter Ava’s first New Year’s Eve with a trip to Wollongong.

‘‘It took us about two hours to get here but we’re staying overnight,’’ she said.

Elsewhere across the Illawarra fireworks lit up the sky over Shellharbour and Kiama.

Further south, Ulladulla, Huskisson and Berry also hosted fireworks displays.

Settled in: Peter Lockhart, Irene Melaisis, Rachel Maher, Jess Hupalo, Shane Urban, Tameka Den, 3, and Renata Belanyi.

Settled in: Peter Lockhart, Irene Melaisis, Rachel Maher, Jess Hupalo, Shane Urban, Tameka Den, 3, and Renata Belanyi.

The calm before the storm: A man takes some time out before the fireworks begin at Belmore Basin.

The calm before the storm: A man takes some time out before the fireworks begin at Belmore Basin.

Claudia Hodge, Lauren Wolfe and Bronte Yarro gear up for a night of celebration.

Claudia Hodge, Lauren Wolfe and Bronte Yarro gear up for a night of celebration.

Glen Henderson, Amanda and Matt Skora, Jessie Pill and Robert Churchin prepare to welcome in the new year.

Glen Henderson, Amanda and Matt Skora, Jessie Pill and Robert Churchin prepare to welcome in the new year.

Stephanie Mason-Fyfe, James Finlay Debbie Fisher, Deklan Finlay , Colleen Commane and James Fisher.

Stephanie Mason-Fyfe, James Finlay Debbie Fisher, Deklan Finlay , Colleen Commane and James Fisher.

People flock to Belmore Basin ahead of the 9.30pm fireworks.

People flock to Belmore Basin ahead of the 9.30pm fireworks.

Girl's night out: Paula Sheridan-Moules, Amy Khan, Louise Harpley and Laura Sheridan.

Girl's night out: Paula Sheridan-Moules, Amy Khan, Louise Harpley and Laura Sheridan.

Hats on to a bright 2013: Madyson, Charlotte and Georgia Jewel.

Hats on to a bright 2013: Madyson, Charlotte and Georgia Jewel.

Not much of the green stuff left to be seen as crowds build ahead of the 9.30pm fireworks at Belmore Basin.

Not much of the green stuff left to be seen as crowds build ahead of the 9.30pm fireworks at Belmore Basin.

Let me entertain you: Jenni Webster, Libby Bloxham, Josie Bonaz and Shiho Sparkle-Hooper getting ready to wow the crowd at Belmore Basin.

Let me entertain you: Jenni Webster, Libby Bloxham, Josie Bonaz and Shiho Sparkle-Hooper getting ready to wow the crowd at Belmore Basin.

Performer Shiho Sparkle-Hooper entertains the crowd ahead of the 9.30pm fireworks.

Performer Shiho Sparkle-Hooper entertains the crowd ahead of the 9.30pm fireworks.

Welcome to summer in Wollongong.

Welcome to summer in Wollongong.

Pictures: Andy Zakeli