The year of 2020 has been challenging for Australians in unimaginable ways.
Bushfires continued to destroy homes and wildlife, burning through 170,000 square kilometres of land, while the unforeseen coronavirus pandemic killed hundreds and kept the entire population in lockdown for much of the year.
Saying goodbye to 2020 will be high on many people’s agendas, but what is planned in your state and how can you celebrate with current restrictions in place?
Keep reading to find out what each capital has in store, or jump to see what’s happening in your city:
And remember, if you’re ringing in the new year from the comfort of your living room, you can watch the Sydney NYE fireworks live on iview or YouTube.
Sydney’s iconic midnight fireworks display has been modified to run for less time than in normal years, but will go ahead.
The 9pm fireworks display for families with young children has, however, been cancelled.
Earlier in the year, the New South Wales Government allocated spots along the city harbour foreshore for frontline healthcare workers, so they could enjoy the show in front-row seats.
But on Monday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the city’s COVID-19 outbreak had led to the cancellation of those plans, with authorities thinking “it’s too much of a health risk” having people from broader regional areas congregate in the CBD.
Due to the outbreak, the Government has banned crowds watching the fireworks from normally packed foreshores around Sydney.
People will be allowed to celebrate at hospitality venues in the CBD, as long as those venues have COVID-safe plans in place and adhere to the one person per 4-square-metre rule.
Restrictions introduced after December 19 in response to the northern beaches outbreak will remain in place on New Year’s Eve.
This includes people in Greater Sydney only having up to 10 household visitors.
Around 400,000 people normally cram into Melbourne’s CBD to enjoy fireworks bringing in the new year.
But after the tough year endured by all Victorians, the Melbourne City Council has decided to scrap its traditional fireworks displays.
The city will instead hold a New Year Street Feast, a two-day event in the heart of the CBD from December 31 to January 1.
The festivities will include street parties in specially designated areas — but the only catch is you have to book.
Fifty venues are taking part at 11 precincts across the city, with tickets on sale since November 23.
Musical acts will provide entertainment throughout the city with Client Liaison and Cut Copy to headline.
Getting to and from the event will be free of charge on all modes of public transport between 6:00pm December 31 and 6:00am January 1. Additional public transport services will be run between midnight and 6:00am.
Last year, concerns were raised about holding large-scale fireworks displays while bushfires were still burning in East Gippsland.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the council was looking at alternatives to fireworks for the future, including making a move to the use of laser technology when crowds can again be welcomed back into the CBD.
“We do hope we can come back to New Year’s Eve celebrations where lots of people can be welcomed into the city to enjoy themselves and feel that fantastic sense of community,” she said in November.
Pop-up musical performances have been held across Canberra in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, in place of the traditional fireworks and concert.
For the second year in a row there will be no fireworks display in the ACT to mark the new year.
Last year they were cancelled due to the looming bushfire threat, and this year the ACT Government is spreading out the festivities to the suburbs to avoid large crowds due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the event, dubbed New Year’s Eve across the City, some buildings, including the Royal Australian Mint and the National Carillon, will be lit up and local musicians will play on Canberra streets.
Canberrans are also being encouraged to dine out in the town centres to support local hospitality venues.
In what will be a slightly different New Year’s Eve celebration for the people of Hobart, fireworks will still be on the program.
The River Derwent will be lit up in spectacular colours at 9:30pm and midnight, but residents have been told to avoid gathering on the waterfront.
Fireworks will reach a higher altitude this year, a move to allow the light show to be visible from more vantage points around the city.
The annual Taste of Tasmania has been cancelled, as has the Sydney to Hobart yacht race and race village.
Fireworks celebrations right across Adelaide have been put on hold as the effects of COVID-19 take hold.
The events at Glenelg and Brighton usually attract a crowd of 60,000 people, with displays at Elder Park and Semaphore being equally as popular.
Instead, people are being encouraged to bring in the new year at restaurants or bars across the state and to support local businesses.
Adelaide Oval will once again host a Big Bash game with the Adelaide Strikers taking on the Perth Scorchers from 6:45pm.
An increased crowd of between 30,000 and 35,000 people will be able to fill the stands with social distancing and COVID-safe measure put in place.
South Australia’s display was set to take on a different look this year after the Adelaide City Council voted to phase out the use of fireworks.
The capital city was to be treated to a laser, drone and water feature show on the banks on the Torrens River at Elder Park.
The change in display came after much criticism of the 2019/20 event after the city council proceeded with fireworks during the catastrophic bushfires.
Brisbane’s main New Year’s Eve fireworks are another victim of COVID-19, but people are still encouraged to celebrate the start of 2021 in the city.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said locals were welcome to visit the city’s 2,000 parks.
“All of our parks will remain open, including South Bank and Roma Street Parklands over New Year’s so people can still enjoy a barbecue and celebrate the end of 2020 in the outdoors,” he said.
Venues are hosting their own NYE celebrations at places like Howard Smith Wharves, Eagle Street Pier, Portside Wharf and South Bank.
Several restaurants and bars are also hosting their own fireworks shows, including The Boundary Hotel in West End and Ling Ling’s in Fortitude Valley — but you need to buy tickets.
Fireworks at the Gold Coast have also been cancelled, with authorities concerned they would be unable to enforce social distancing amongst revellers.
Queensland’s regional centres are also modifying their New Year’s Eve celebrations this year.
Revellers in the NT capital can watch fireworks at the Darwin Waterfront, with two 10-minute shows scheduled — one at 9pm and a second at midnight.
Due to coronavirus restrictions, attendees to the family-friendly event will need to register online first and wear a wristband on the day. Organisers warn there will be no door sales.
Tickets cost $20 per adult and are free for kids under five accompanied by a ticket-holding adult.
There will be limited standing room available for those keen to be close to the action and places to sit for those wanting to spread out with a picnic blanket.
Paw Patrol will entertain crowds from about 5pm, with ARIA award-winning artist Tones and I to take the stage at 8pm, Sheppard at 9:30pm and DJ Kay from 10:45pm.
Food stalls will run from 4pm until 10pm, and there will be an outdoor bar for thirsty attendees. Patrons are not allowed to bring outside food or drinks into the venue, although exceptions will be made for baby food.
Parking will be limited, but free buses will be available on New Year’s Eve from the Darwin, Casuarina and Palmerston interchanges. The NT Government has published detailed information on the public transport plan.
While some people in other states and around the world will be restricted to harsh CIVD-19 restrictions this year, West Australians will be fortunate enough to have a somewhat normal New Year’s Eve.
The City of Perth will host street performances and entertainment including circus performers, buskers, carnival rides and markets in Northbridge from 6pm to midnight.
Families will also be able to visit the WA Museum Boola Bardip which will feature kids’ workshops, Aboriginal dance and performances.
Stroll down to Perth Cultural Centre and you’ll find it lit with colourful projections and LED photo opportunities as well as several food vendors and a silent disco.
For those looking forward to seeing the night sky lit up, the city will have a fireworks display at 9pm for families and a five-minute display at midnight, with a countdown on the Digital Tower at Yagan Square.
For the best views, the city recommends heading to James Street, William Street, Yagan Square or Perth Cultural Centre.
People are still being urged to register their details on the SafeWA app at events, keep 1.5 metres apart and use hand sanitiser.