FAMILIES flocked to coastal resorts in their thousands to see out 2012 and see in the new year.
Parties popped up on beaches along the Surf Coast, Mornington Peninsula, and on Phillip Island, the Herald Sun reports.
In true Aussie style, Lilydale's Grant Morris, 21, celebrated at Phillip Island's Woolamai Beach with his girlfriend and mates, kicking off celebrations with beach cricket in the surf.
"I just love being at the beach - it is a great way to celebrate," he said.
In Lorne, a group of Frankston men started their celebrations well before midday, chilling in a blow-up pool in the front yard.
Geelong's Stacey Scannell and Kara Wilson stopped by to join the fun.
"We just met these guys. They invited us over for a drink when we were walking down to get some food - it's fun to meet new people," Ms Scannell said.
The pair were later part of the 16,000-strong crowd who toasted the New Year at the Falls Festival.
Hilltop Hoods, Coolio and Two Door Cinema Club were among the big names to play the last night of the sell-out event, which was celebrating its 20th year.While for many it was a time for partying, others were happy spending quieter time with loved ones.
Kate Thomas, of South Yarra, hosted a dinner and cocktail party at her family's Lorne holiday house before she and a few friends headed to the pub.
The 22-year-old said New Year's Eve was a time of celebration, but also a time for reflection.
"It sounds a bit sentimental, but I think it's the start of new opportunities, new exciting adventures," Ms Thomas said.
Beachgoer Jason Bank, 25, of Toorak, said he picked Phillip Island because it was quiet.
"We booked at the last minute and it has really worked out. We are spending all our time at the beach," he said.
In Cowes, the streets were packed with families. But many were upset the local council had banned a fireworks ceremony for a second year in a row.
Father of two Jason Farrugia, 41, said the hoons had stopped coming to Cowes, and called for more night-time entertainment.
"We have been coming here for 35 years," he said.
'It is sad because my kids are missing out. The hoons don't come here any more.
"It is calmer and more family oriented," he said.
Father Steve Boutros, 36, another regular at Cowes, echoed the call for the return of new year celebrations.
"We are regulars here for a few years now. It is great, because there are lots of different kids and families," he said.
Youths set off illegal fireworks on the Cowes foreshore last night..
Witnesses say they have seen at least five bursts of fireworks set off in crowds.
Up to 4000 youths have packed the area as police patrol, emptying alcohol containers and handing out fines for public drinking.
Costal police at Lorne said it was unfortunate a few people had ruined the celebrations for others. Three people, including a security guard, were assaulted.
Lorne Sergeant Dave Cooper said the guard was struck by a youth on the Lorne foreshore earlier in the night.
“It was an assault on a security officer, who received minor injuries, and an investigation is underway,” Sgt Cooper said.
“We’ve got a description and we have a fair idea of who it is.”
The assault in Lorne followed on from another in Apollo Bay, in which a 20-year-old man received injuries to the head, after being attacked on the Great Ocean Road about 5pm.
Apollo Bay Police had last night identified an offender, an 18-year-old man, but were yet to make an arrest.
The victim went to Lorne Hospital in a stable condition.
A 55-year-old Northcote man was assaulted by a friend in Anderson's Caravan Park at Indented Head, about 9.30pm tonight.
Sgt David Magher said the man had pointed an unregistered rifle at his friend, who reacted by hitting him in the face.
"He had a sawn-off 22 firearm in his possession. We've located the firearm in the caravan,'' Sgt Magher said.
The Northcote man is expected to be charged on summons for possession of an unregistered firearm.
Sgt Cooper said police had been well prepared for the festivities.
Officers travelled from Geelong and Colac to help boost police numbers in Lorne, with the major operation starting about 9pm to coincide with the start of a family-oriented concert.
“There’s been major saturation of the foreshore, the beach areas and Mountjoy Parade,” Sgt Cooper said.
“We’re really interested in early intervention. It’s about getting police out there early, building a rapport with people that are here for New Year’s Eve.”
People found drinking on the street would be find $125, Sgt Cooper said.
Falls organisers declared the festival another huge success, despite a few minor lighting problems and reports of some excessive drinking.
They had earlier issued warnings about drug use after several festival-goers approached paramedics suffering from some bad side-effects.
Falls founder Simon Daly said the incidents had been minimal and the crowd amazing.
"It's been amazing and another really smooth one. We've enjoyed 20 years now of no serious incidents," Mr Daly said.
Thousands also enjoyed Phillip Island's Pyramid Rock Festival, with acts including Australian hip hop artists 360 and Pez.
Read more at the Herald Sun.