GALLERY: Hunter celebrates New Year's Eve 

. Stockton Foreshore . Caitlin Barber of Holmesville . her family has camped on Stockton foreshore to get top spot for the fireworks  on New Year's Eve.  Picture Anita Jones
. Stockton Foreshore . Caitlin Barber of Holmesville . her family has camped on Stockton foreshore to get top spot for the fireworks on New Year's Eve. Picture Anita Jones
New years eve preparations . Stockton Foreshore . Mandy Elkovich with David Penman and Pete Elkovich all of Holmesville . Along with extended family, they have camped on Stockton foreshore to get top spot for the fireworks 31st   Picture:  Anita Jones

New years eve preparations . Stockton Foreshore . Mandy Elkovich with David Penman and Pete Elkovich all of Holmesville . Along with extended family, they have camped on Stockton foreshore to get top spot for the fireworks 31st Picture: Anita Jones

Lee-Anne McDougall and Nell Lamb with Bai Lee the dog all of Mayfield east In their Vintage Van . They are camped on Stockton foreshore to get top spot for the fireworks. Picture ANITA JONES

Lee-Anne McDougall and Nell Lamb with Bai Lee the dog all of Mayfield east In their Vintage Van . They are camped on Stockton foreshore to get top spot for the fireworks. Picture ANITA JONES

Foreshore Vans and motor homes camped on Stockton foreshore to get top spot for New Year's Eve fireworks. Picture Anita Jones

Foreshore Vans and motor homes camped on Stockton foreshore to get top spot for New Year's Eve fireworks. Picture Anita Jones

People were out  enjoying Lake Macquarie during the day on New Year's Eve. From left, Ryan Loveday of Wallsend, Mark Maloney of Valentine, Ryan Vogelzang of Cooks Hill, Allira Bull of Valentine, Bec Lun  Picture: Max Mason Hubers

People were out enjoying Lake Macquarie during the day on New Year's Eve. From left, Ryan Loveday of Wallsend, Mark Maloney of Valentine, Ryan Vogelzang of Cooks Hill, Allira Bull of Valentine, Bec Lun Picture: Max Mason Hubers

At Lake Macquarie having a picnic during the afternoon on New Year's Eve were, from left, Jessica Bentley of Wallsend, Rachel Ward of Maryland,  Ashleigh Pankhurst of Maryland.  Picture: Max Mason Hubers

At Lake Macquarie having a picnic during the afternoon on New Year's Eve were, from left, Jessica Bentley of Wallsend, Rachel Ward of Maryland, Ashleigh Pankhurst of Maryland. Picture: Max Mason Hubers

AHOY: Peter and Tricia Richardson of New Lambton with friends on their catamaran moored at Wang Workers Club on New Year's Eve. From left, Julie and Tony Drinnan  of Cameron Park,  and Tricia and Peter Richardson, of New Lambton. Picture PETER STOOP

AHOY: Peter and Tricia Richardson of New Lambton with friends on their catamaran moored at Wang Workers Club on New Year's Eve. From left, Julie and Tony Drinnan of Cameron Park, and Tricia and Peter Richardson, of New Lambton. Picture PETER STOOP

 New Years Eve Wangi - shows Aunty Cherie Coleman [Brisbane ] with neices Meleia O'Mealy 5yrs on left and Siahri O'Mealy 4yrs on right [from Cessnock] on the foreshore at Wangi Wangi - 31st Dec 2012 Pic by PETER STOOP

New Years Eve Wangi - shows Aunty Cherie Coleman [Brisbane ] with neices Meleia O'Mealy 5yrs on left and Siahri O'Mealy 4yrs on right [from Cessnock] on the foreshore at Wangi Wangi - 31st Dec 2012 Pic by PETER STOOP

 Russell and Barb Spencer, of Woodrising. Picture PETER STOOP

Russell and Barb Spencer, of Woodrising. Picture PETER STOOP

 New Years Eve Wangi - shows Dean Gooren with son Kai Gooren and partner Mel Scwarze and Delilah Marchione [all Melbourne] on the foreshore at Wangi Wangi - 31st Dec 2012 Pic by PETER STOOP

New Years Eve Wangi - shows Dean Gooren with son Kai Gooren and partner Mel Scwarze and Delilah Marchione [all Melbourne] on the foreshore at Wangi Wangi - 31st Dec 2012 Pic by PETER STOOP

 Daughter and mum Bree Jones and Leslie Gazzard, of Whitebridge. Picture PETER STOOP

Daughter and mum Bree Jones and Leslie Gazzard, of Whitebridge. Picture PETER STOOP

 Nicquelle and Nathan Franks, of Toronto, with Daylin, 4, and Logan, 2. Picture PETER STOOP

Nicquelle and Nathan Franks, of Toronto, with Daylin, 4, and Logan, 2. Picture PETER STOOP

 Connor Grimes, 8, of Wangi, Bede Garnett, 7, of Wangi, Miniko Blake, 11, of Charlestown and Bailey Clark, 9, of Stockton.  Picture PETER STOOP

Connor Grimes, 8, of Wangi, Bede Garnett, 7, of Wangi, Miniko Blake, 11, of Charlestown and Bailey Clark, 9, of Stockton. Picture PETER STOOP

 The Smith sisters of Cooranbong, from left, Monique, 11, Shakaya, 9, and Alana, 9.Picture: PETER STOOP

The Smith sisters of Cooranbong, from left, Monique, 11, Shakaya, 9, and Alana, 9.Picture: PETER STOOP

 New Years Eve at Nelson Bay foreshore / d'Albora Marina. Pic shows Olivia Mayne of Corlette (2nd from right) with her kids Brandon Johnstone, 15, Hamish Mayne, 9, and Ayva Mayne, 7. Monday 31st December 2012. NCH Newcastle. Pic MAX MASON-HUBERS

New Years Eve at Nelson Bay foreshore / d'Albora Marina. Pic shows Olivia Mayne of Corlette (2nd from right) with her kids Brandon Johnstone, 15, Hamish Mayne, 9, and Ayva Mayne, 7. Monday 31st December 2012. NCH Newcastle. Pic MAX MASON-HUBERS

 New Years Eve at Nelson Bay foreshore / d'Albora Marina. Pictured L-R Sanjaya Thapa of Nelson Bay, Lucy Grace of Corlette, and Jasmine Meagher of Anna Bay wait for the fireworks. Monday 31st December 2012. NCH Newcastle. Pic MAX MASON-HUBERS

New Years Eve at Nelson Bay foreshore / d'Albora Marina. Pictured L-R Sanjaya Thapa of Nelson Bay, Lucy Grace of Corlette, and Jasmine Meagher of Anna Bay wait for the fireworks. Monday 31st December 2012. NCH Newcastle. Pic MAX MASON-HUBERS

 New Years Eve social pix at Honeysuckle. From left to right, Ashley Hilton, Hamilton, Steve Thapirate, Cooks Hill, Lacey Turner, Redhead, Stacey Dewey, Cooks Hill. 31st December 2012 Newcastle NCH NEWS PIC JONATHAN CARROLL

New Years Eve social pix at Honeysuckle. From left to right, Ashley Hilton, Hamilton, Steve Thapirate, Cooks Hill, Lacey Turner, Redhead, Stacey Dewey, Cooks Hill. 31st December 2012 Newcastle NCH NEWS PIC JONATHAN CARROLL

 New Years Eve social pix at Honeysuckle. From left to right, Alena Tey, Russia, Christian Munro, Newcastle, and Daniela Quintlhan, Brazil. 31st December 2012 Newcastle NCH NEWS PIC JONATHAN CARROLL

New Years Eve social pix at Honeysuckle. From left to right, Alena Tey, Russia, Christian Munro, Newcastle, and Daniela Quintlhan, Brazil. 31st December 2012 Newcastle NCH NEWS PIC JONATHAN CARROLL

  New Years Eve social pix at Honeysuckle. From left to right, Ryan Peace Out, with Katherine Newton Northern Beaches. 31st December 2012 Newcastle NCH NEWS PIC JONATHAN CARROLL

New Years Eve social pix at Honeysuckle. From left to right, Ryan Peace Out, with Katherine Newton Northern Beaches. 31st December 2012 Newcastle NCH NEWS PIC JONATHAN CARROLL

 New Years Eve social pix at Honeysuckle. From left to right, Courtney and Rob Towner, Merewether. 31st December 2012 Newcastle NCH NEWS PIC JONATHAN CARROLL

New Years Eve social pix at Honeysuckle. From left to right, Courtney and Rob Towner, Merewether. 31st December 2012 Newcastle NCH NEWS PIC JONATHAN CARROLL

 New Years Eve social pix at Honeysuckle. From left to right, Nicole Minter, Newcastle East, Tyne Dailly, Sydney, Luke Bidaud-Cole, Newcastle, Grace Palmer, Merewether, Lauren Latimore, Hamilton. 31st December 2012 Newcastle NCH NEWS PIC JONATHAN CARROLL

New Years Eve social pix at Honeysuckle. From left to right, Nicole Minter, Newcastle East, Tyne Dailly, Sydney, Luke Bidaud-Cole, Newcastle, Grace Palmer, Merewether, Lauren Latimore, Hamilton. 31st December 2012 Newcastle NCH NEWS PIC JONATHAN CARROLL

 New Years Eve at Nelson Bay foreshore / d'Albora Marina. Pic shows Ryan Harm of Sydney taking a photo of his wife and kids Taylan, 4, Meral, and Dilara, 6. Monday 31st December 2012. NCH Newcastle. Pic MAX MASON-HUBERS

New Years Eve at Nelson Bay foreshore / d'Albora Marina. Pic shows Ryan Harm of Sydney taking a photo of his wife and kids Taylan, 4, Meral, and Dilara, 6. Monday 31st December 2012. NCH Newcastle. Pic MAX MASON-HUBERS

 New Years Eve at Nelson Bay foreshore / d'Albora Marina. Pic shows Lillian Plowman, 6, of Bensville getting her face painted. Monday 31st December 2012. NCH Newcastle. Pic MAX MASON-HUBERS

New Years Eve at Nelson Bay foreshore / d'Albora Marina. Pic shows Lillian Plowman, 6, of Bensville getting her face painted. Monday 31st December 2012. NCH Newcastle. Pic MAX MASON-HUBERS

 ew Years Eve at Nelson Bay foreshore / d'Albora Marina. Pic shows kids in the water enjoying the last of the sun. Monday 31st December 2012. NCH Newcastle. Pic MAX MASON-HUBERS

ew Years Eve at Nelson Bay foreshore / d'Albora Marina. Pic shows kids in the water enjoying the last of the sun. Monday 31st December 2012. NCH Newcastle. Pic MAX MASON-HUBERS

 New Years Eve at Nelson Bay foreshore / d'Albora Marina. Pic shows parents watching as their kids play on a shark shaped jumping castle. Monday 31st December 2012. NCH Newcastle. Pic MAX MASON-HUBERS

New Years Eve at Nelson Bay foreshore / d'Albora Marina. Pic shows parents watching as their kids play on a shark shaped jumping castle. Monday 31st December 2012. NCH Newcastle. Pic MAX MASON-HUBERS

 New Years Eve at Nelson Bay foreshore / d'Albora Marina. Pic shows 7yo Summer Gillespie and 4yo Nate Gillespie, from Orange. Monday 31st December 2012. NCH Newcastle. Pic MAX MASON-HUBERS

New Years Eve at Nelson Bay foreshore / d'Albora Marina. Pic shows 7yo Summer Gillespie and 4yo Nate Gillespie, from Orange. Monday 31st December 2012. NCH Newcastle. Pic MAX MASON-HUBERS

 New Years Eve at Nelson Bay foreshore / d'Albora Marina. Pic shows Jamie Culver of Salt Ash with his son Ryan and friend Justin Harvey of Lemon Tree Passage with their pork spit roast. Monday 31st December 2012. NCH Newcastle. Pic MAX MASON-HUBERS

New Years Eve at Nelson Bay foreshore / d'Albora Marina. Pic shows Jamie Culver of Salt Ash with his son Ryan and friend Justin Harvey of Lemon Tree Passage with their pork spit roast. Monday 31st December 2012. NCH Newcastle. Pic MAX MASON-HUBERS

  New Years Eve Maitland - shows Alana Stephenson [Moree] and Margaret Pond of Aberglasslyn at Maitland - 31st Dec 2012 Pic by PETER STOOP

New Years Eve Maitland - shows Alana Stephenson [Moree] and Margaret Pond of Aberglasslyn at Maitland - 31st Dec 2012 Pic by PETER STOOP

 New Years Eve Maitland - shows Bree Lockrin and Emma Radnidge [both east Maitland ] at Maitland - 31st Dec 2012 Pic by PETER STOOP

New Years Eve Maitland - shows Bree Lockrin and Emma Radnidge [both east Maitland ] at Maitland - 31st Dec 2012 Pic by PETER STOOP

  NCH NEWS - New Years Eve Maitland - shows Mel Campbell of Ashtonfield with daughters Olivia 3yrs [left] and Gabby 4yrs [centre] with Jodie Robinson of Thornton with son Charlie 4yrs at Maitland - 31st Dec 2012 Pic by PETER STOOP

NCH NEWS - New Years Eve Maitland - shows Mel Campbell of Ashtonfield with daughters Olivia 3yrs [left] and Gabby 4yrs [centre] with Jodie Robinson of Thornton with son Charlie 4yrs at Maitland - 31st Dec 2012 Pic by PETER STOOP

 New Years Eve Maitland - shows Jenna Blackbird [Maitland] , Laura Ellem [Largs] , Piper Innaimo [Thornton] and Jasmine Dickson [Maitland ] at Maitland - 31st Dec 2012 Pic by PETER STOOP

New Years Eve Maitland - shows Jenna Blackbird [Maitland] , Laura Ellem [Largs] , Piper Innaimo [Thornton] and Jasmine Dickson [Maitland ] at Maitland - 31st Dec 2012 Pic by PETER STOOP

 New Years Eve Maitland - shows Amy Murray [19mths] of North Rothbury at Maitland - 31st Dec 2012 Pic by PETER STOOP

New Years Eve Maitland - shows Amy Murray [19mths] of North Rothbury at Maitland - 31st Dec 2012 Pic by PETER STOOP

 New Years Eve Maitland - shows Kristy Hickey , Amy Varley , Rachel Morgan , Jessica Lyon and Jayde Watson [all from Rutherford ] at Maitland - 31st Dec 2012 Pic by PETER STOOP

New Years Eve Maitland - shows Kristy Hickey , Amy Varley , Rachel Morgan , Jessica Lyon and Jayde Watson [all from Rutherford ] at Maitland - 31st Dec 2012 Pic by PETER STOOP

NEWCASTLE

NOVOCASTRIANS arrived early to celebrate the arrival of a new year on Monday night, and to secure the  best views for fireworks displays at 9pm and midnight.

Mandy Elkovich from Holmesville and her extended family set up at the Pitt Street Reserve at Stockton, directly across from Nobbys, on Sunday night.

‘‘You’ve got to get here early to get a good spot,’’ Ms Elkovich said. ‘‘We come every year and the kids just have a ball.’’

Over at the Ballast Ground, Nell Lamb and Lee-Anne McDougall were among dozens of van owners who took advantage of the quieter camping spot.

‘‘We’ll walk down to see the fireworks,’’ Ms Lamb said.

Over on the city side of the harbour, Newcastle’s Kayalah McElevey and her friend Ashlee Rushton, both 19, were off to Queens Wharf Brewery for a Brazilian-style carnavale on the water. 

‘‘We’ve had a good day now we’re preparing for a good night and a good new year,’’ Ms McElevey said.

LAKE MACQUARIE

WANGI Wangi was the centre of the party in Lake Macquarie on New Year's Eve, as thousands congregated in boats and on shore to see the lake’s only fireworks display.

Boats gathered outside the fireworks exclusion zone, across from Wangi RSL, from  early in the afternoon to secure the best vantage points.

With fireworks at Warners Bay and Swansea cancelled due to a lack of money, other Lake Macquarie residents headed into Newcastle, went to parties or stayed home.

At Warners Bay there was disappointment  the fireworks had been cancelled.

Ashliegh Pankhurst, 20, of Maryland, and her friends had spent New Year’s Eve at Warners Bay since they were children.

But with no fireworks they decided instead to have a picnic at Warners Bay in the day and go to a house party at night.

Johley Bird, of Belmont North, said it was a shame because Warners Bay was ‘‘a better location than Newcastle’’.

The pair said Warners Bay was more family-oriented with ‘‘less drunks’’.

MAITLAND

CROWDS at Maitland’s riverside on New Year's Eve were treated to live music, DJs and family activities before a fireworks spectacular at 9pm and midnight.

The younger crowd were kept busy with amusement rides and a kids’ disco while parents were able to enjoy a few drinks, with alcohol restrictions once again lifted.

Adam Akers and his wife Kristy celebrated with family and friends and were glad they could enjoy the fireworks with a few  beers.

‘‘This is our second year coming here and it’s nice to bring the children down,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s just like at home but we’re able to see the fireworks with the children but still have a few beers to celebrate.’’

Event manager Rachel MacLucas said the allowance of alcohol was aimed to ensure the adults had the chance to enjoy a casual drink but still take their family to see the fireworks display.

PORT STEPHENS

FAMILIES and groups of young revellers filled the  Nelson Bay shoreline on Monday afternoon to soak up the last rays of sun and settle down for the fireworks extravaganza.

Among the throng  were Lucy Grace, of Corlette, and a bunch of her friends, who arrived about 4.30pm to take advantage of the warm weather and go for a swim.

The 21-year-old said the group had been heading to the Nelson Bay show for the past four years.

‘‘It’s always a good night here and it’s just about spending time with good friends,’’ she said.

Olivia Mayne took her three children, Branton, Hamish and Ava,  and said the bay was a perfect setting for young families.

‘‘It’s really casual and you can bring a picnic down and the kids can go for a swim,’’ she said. 

D’Albora Marina’s Nelson Bay event manager Deborah Stretton said the commercial hub was entering its 15th year running the region’s family-friendly fireworks.