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For a Happ'nin' New Years

by Max Moose

New Years Eve listing

New Years Eve is undoubtedly the most anticipated party of year, and this year is obviously no exception. It is the one night that just about everybody plans for and celebrates. However, it is the excessive anticipation that usually makes it a disappointing evening. Very few parties can meet the expectations.

Having tried most of the New Years Eve options, I thought MAX MOOSE readers might appreciate my run-down on the ways to celebrate New Years. Of course, it all depends on what you enjoy in a party. Some people will love the masses of people at a place like Sorrento, some would prefer a quiet gathering at home, others will stick to their favourite nightclub. Whatever you do, however, do it with friends, because that is the key to any good celebration.

I have to confess that I am not a big fan of nightclubs' New Years party. You can do that any week of the year, and whilst some nightclubs put on a great party, many are quieter than the are on an average week. There are a couple that are always good, including Bobby McGees, but that's about it. The problem is that there are so many parties competing with clubs for a crowd.

However, a good nightclub party is good fun, especially if you are a regular at a club, and know a lot of the people that go there. I have had a couple of okay New Years Eves at clubs where I have been working.

The other time they are good is when you pick the right nightclub. Some clubs are offering special offers like $60 all you can drink and so on. You can guarantee that five or six of those will be good nights, and the others will be good for the regulars.

Many of the people that wind-up at nightclub parties started with the intention of being part of the big city party. This was looking like the party to be at this year. Jeff was going to put on one of the greatest fireworks displays in history, and had planned all sorts of other entertainment like bands and so on. Unfortunately, Jeff is no longer, and Bracks has scaled the party right down. It will be smaller than last year.

However, it is still an option, because there will be some entertainment. The city tends to be a bit of a family and couples party, mainly because it is a dry zone. Alcohol bans tend to deter younger people, who end up going to the nightclubs parties instead. The other problem is getting home from the city.

You can save yourself the getting home problem by going to one of the parties along the coast and staying there. The four biggest ones are Lorne, Sorrento, Phillip Island and Inverloch, but there are others. These are great places for the singles out there, but the trick to these is to go with a large group of friends.

Sorrento is a fair bit of fun, but it is huge, and almost too big. My crew were down there for the start of 1998. A friend's family had rented a holiday house for a fortnight, and invited myself and a couple of friends down. A few friends were in Rosebud, so by the time they arrived, there were about thirty of us. That was a big gathering in itself, but nothing compared to the thousands at the Sorrento bay beach. It was like walking through a packed nightclub. You had to push your way through a crowd that would have covered a few square kilometres. It was huge, and one of the best New Years we had.

Bands, DJs, food vans, and thousands of people. There was hardly any trouble (although we found out later that someone was killed in a car accident), but the police were outnumbered, and the dry zone was saturated. It was great fun. However, the crowd was fairly young; most were aged 17-20.

Phillip Island has a mixed reputation. It tends to get out of control, so the cops have really tried to slow it down. Nowadays, if you don't have a place to stay, don't bother, because they will ask you where you are staying when you arrive at the Newhaven bridge, and if you cannot answer, you are turned away. My mates headed down there, without me, in 1997. It rained and they had a very ordinary night. They ended up sleeping in a ute under the tarpaulin. It is always a big party, but tends to be the yobbo party, especially in the main street. I am told they very strictly enforce the dry area laws, which makes Phillip Island a little more dull than some areas.

Last year some of my mates headed to Inverloch, with mixed responses. Half of them loved it, half of them hated it. A collection of excellent coverbands, a large number of people, and relaxed policing made for a pretty fair night, depending on who you were there with. Most people seemed to think it was good entertainment, with plenty of people they knew from the outer south eastern suburbs. Finding accommodation was the tricky part, and caused a lot of frustration for some.

The rest of my crew were down at Waratah Bay. It was a fantastic place to spend a week (great bodyboarding and beach cricket), but New Years was pretty dull. Being a family type of place, everyone was in bed by about 12.30. We might have been better off at Sandy Point, although they have had trouble there in the past. The Prom is apparently similar to Waratah, but with more people, so more willing to party later. I suspect Lakes Entrance is similar.

Lorne is perceived as a family spot, and it is, but New Years is one hell of a party. Young people flock to the Falls Festival (featuring Violent Femmes this year) making it one of the places to be. It is full of 18-25s, obviously being attractive to the alternative-fans out there. It probably has the biggest reputation of all the coastal spots, but is a very long way away from here, and you definitely want to be into camping and travel.

If you are not, home parties are often an excellent way to go, but you want to have a lot of friends together, and you want to plan it well. The year my mates went to the Island, my plans fell through thanks to the weather, so I had a shocker at a mates place. There were only four of us, and we regretted it, because it was like any other night of the year.

However, the best New Years Party we ever had was at a friends place. Because we were in Melbourne, I actually went to three parties on the night, arriving at Chris' at 11.55. Remarkably, despite there only being fifteen of us, we all had the best night. Just good friends, having a good time around a bonfire, with a pool, beer, and entertaining neighbours nearby. We were still going very hard at daybreak. It was the ultimate proof that it does not matter where you are, only who you are there with. No hassles finding a place to stay or a way to get home, just a good time.

To have a great New Years party, decide what you are going to do early, and get as many good friends together as possible. If you like catching up with friends, a home party is the way to go. If you are single and desperate to pick-up, try a nightclub, or one of the coastal resorts. If you are half of a couple, or have kids, the city might be your go.

To guarantee a good night, take lots of friends, and behave yourself. Don't be full of regret on New Years day by being pregnant, arrested, severely injured, or responsible for any of those things happening to someone else. Those things make for a night worse than that party of four. Have fun!

New Years Eve 2002 listing
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