For Jeff Thurling, a Woonona ex-pat of 20 years, spending New Year’s Eve at Wollongong Harbour was a trip down memory lane.
For his three-year-old grandson Vincent, it was all about playing with his oversized ball.
The Thurling family was among a throng of locals and visitors who shrugged off the dreary and at times inclement weather to welcome in the new year at Wollongong Harbour on Sunday night.
Crowds flocked to Wollongong Central in the morning for last minute bargains at the Boxing Day sales before migrating to the foreshore, where most of the prime positions were snapped up by 5pm.
Spectators were treated to more than 7500 individual fireworks during the colourful and spectacular 12-minute-long pyrotechnics show at 9pm, which was produced by pyrotechnicians at Howard & Sons.
Meantime, the traditional Summer dress of thongs and singlets was largely replaced by jackets and jeans as north-easterly winds contributed to cooler-than average temperatures.
However, the weather did not dampen the festive spirits of the King family, who travelled from Penrith on the recommendation of friends.
“It’s our first time watching the fireworks down here but they say they love it,” she said.
For more pictures, see pages 14, 15.