GALLERY: Wollongong crowds welcome 2014

Wollongong said goodbye to 2013 in style last night, with thousands of people lining the harbour foreshore to welcome the new year.

Crowds steadily built up along the shoreline during a pleasant Wollongong afternoon.

Some families made a day of the celebrations, getting in early to secure the best vantage points ahead of the 9pm fireworks display, many enjoying a swim, game of cricket, ice cream, and fish and chips by the beach.

Among those who arrived early were the Carroll family of Unanderra, who claimed their spot at 8am.

Craig Carroll said it was his 10th year at the Wollongong fireworks.

"It is so special for us," Mr Carroll said, the day doubling as a birthday celebration for his brother-in-law, Ray.

"We have a great spot to sit, we look out over the harbour and then straight up to see the fireworks ... it has such a great atmosphere."

Nearby Judith and Barry Johns wandered down to the harbour from their Smith Street home about lunchtime, to spend the afternoon and evening with their children and great-grandchildren.

"It is beautiful down here," Mr Johns said, pointing across the boats in the harbour to the lighthouses.

"Better than sitting at home watching TV."

At the northern end of Brighton Beach, perched above the sand with their card table, were Rene and Jeff Chelton, who were enjoying a game of Scrabble as they waited for the fireworks.

"We came last year and loved it," Mrs Chelton said, as she checked her husband's word "zobu" (a cross-breed between a yak and a cow).

"We enjoyed it here as much as Sydney," she said using the u in zobu to deliver a killer blow with "fountain".

"It takes the time away doing something you enjoy," Mr Chelton said.

Elsewhere across the Illawarra, fireworks lit up the sky at the Shellharbour Club and Kiama harbour. Further south Berry, Huskisson, Ulladulla and the Shoalhaven City Turf Club also hosted fireworks displays.

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