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Australia is waking up to a very different New Years celebration


Sydneysiders marked the beginning of 2021 with an early morning swim on the city's most famous beach after a night of festivities.

On Friday morning, after the city rang the bell with shortened fireworks in a vacated port on January 1, the night owls splashed into the New Year on Bondi Beach in the eastern suburbs.

Beachgoers stripped off their underwear and stormed the famous golden sand before leaning on the cool water.

Two women pose out of the water on Bondi Beach in Sydney in the early hours of New Year's Day

Three women run into the water on Bondi Beach after taking off their underwear in the early hours of the New Year

Three women run into the water on Bondi Beach after taking off their underwear in the early hours of the New Year

A man covers himself in seaweed after undressing in his birthday suit for a swim on Bondi Beach

A man covers himself in seaweed after undressing in his birthday suit for a swim on Bondi Beach

The New Year celebrations continued for groups of night owls who descended on Sydney's most famous beach on Friday morning

The New Year celebrations continued for groups of night owls who descended on Sydney's most famous beach on Friday morning

The group were not impressed by the brisk morning conditions and instead were full of smiles as they played in the waves and danced on the shore.

Couples hugged in the water and in the sand, and some marked the beginning of the day with a sweet kiss.

Sydney largely banned the crowds for its world-famous pyrotechnic display on New Year's Eve, while Melbourne's fireworks display was canceled weeks ago.

Canberra, Brisbane and Adelaide have also canceled their fireworks.

The restrictions ensured the Sydney foreshore, including popular lookout points like the Opera House and The Rocks, was deserted Thursday night and no night owls or fireworks watchers were in sight.

The lively seven-minute midnight fireworks display highlighted themes such as love and solidarity amid COVID-19 that has killed 909 Australians to date.

A couple will dance until 2021 after starting the morning with a brisk ocean swim on Bondi Beach in Sydney

A couple embraces during an early morning dance

A couple will dance until 2021 after starting the morning with a brisk ocean swim on Bondi Beach in Sydney

A group of friends are sitting on the beach in their New Year's Eve outfits, and a night owl is still wearing her party hat

A group of friends are sitting on the beach in their New Year's Eve outfits, and a night owl is still wearing her party hat

A couple kiss sweetly on Bondi Beach after Sydney rang the bell on Friday in early 2021

A couple kiss sweetly on Bondi Beach after Sydney rang the bell on Friday in early 2021

Two friends hug as they watch the waves crash on Bondi Beach on the morning of the New Year

Two friends hug as they watch the waves crash on Bondi Beach on the morning of the New Year

A woman in a bright pink bikini throws her arm in the air for the camera as she splashes in the water with a man in Australian underwear

A woman in a bright pink bikini throws her arm in the air for the camera as she splashes in the water with a man in Australian underwear

A couple hold on to each other as they watch the waves roll on Bondi Beach in Sydney on New Years Day

A couple hold on to each other as they watch the waves roll on Bondi Beach in Sydney on New Years Day

Fireworks in the shape of a heart went off at midnight.

Sydneysiders watched the ad mostly on television, with a CBD approval system in place only for those with pre-existing hospitality bookings.

Boats were allowed in Sydney Harbor according to strict guidelines, while the kid-friendly fireworks at 9 p.m. did not take place.

Greater Sydney residents, including Wollongong, the Central Coast, and the Blue Mountains, were only allowed to accept five visitors, including children, in their homes. The limit for outdoor gatherings has been reduced to 30.

Central Melbourne was also largely vacated on Thursday evening, with a few people in restaurants but parks and public spaces abandoned.

The Victorian government urged people not to go to Melbourne's business district on Thursday night unless they have a hospitality booking.

A woman jumps and throws her arms in the air as she splashes with friends on Bondi Beach on New Years Day

A woman jumps and throws her arms in the air as she splashes with friends on Bondi Beach on New Years Day

A man and woman, along with their friends, were dancing on the sand as they marked January 1, 2021

A man and woman, along with their friends, were dancing on the sand as they marked January 1, 2021

A man holds his arms out in front of the camera after going into the water with two friends on Friday morning

A man holds his arms out in front of the camera after going into the water with two friends on Friday morning

A woman in a white swimming costume runs across the sand into the water at Bondi Beach in Sydney

A woman in a white swimming costume runs across the sand into the water at Bondi Beach in Sydney

A couple embraces as they splash around in the water on Bondi Beach on Friday morning after ringing in the new year

A couple embraces as they splash around in the water on Bondi Beach on Friday morning after ringing in the new year

A couple celebrates the New Year with a kiss while standing in the sand on Sydney's most famous beach

A couple celebrates the New Year with a kiss while standing in the sand on Sydney's most famous beach

The new outbreak of the city with eight people caused the authorities to reduce the indoor gatherings from 30 to 15 people on New Year's Eve from 5 p.m.

South Australians were not allowed to celebrate more than 50 people in their home – inside or outside – on New Year's Eve. A maximum of 200 people were allowed in private outdoor gatherings.

Fireworks were held in Hobart, but like Sydney, people were told not to gather by the water. Darwin residents were required to register and wear armbands to attend the city's two fireworks displays.

In stark contrast to the rest of the country, Perth planned almost normal celebrations with two fireworks.

A large gathering of police patrols near an abandoned Circular Quay in Sydney's business district to watch the annual fireworks display

A large gathering of police patrols near an abandoned Circular Quay in Sydney's business district to watch the annual fireworks display

Federation Square was much livelier on New Years Eve when Melbourne residents said goodbye to a year out of hell

Federation Square was much livelier on New Years Eve when Melbourne residents said goodbye to a year out of hell

In style from 2021: A young couple shares an intimate kiss as they greet the New Year in Federation Square in Melbourne

In style from 2021: A young couple shares an intimate kiss as they greet the New Year in Federation Square in Melbourne

With residents excluded from the foreshore around Sydney Harbor Bridge under government restrictions, the city's celebrations pale in comparison to those of the Melburnians, who lived under much more relaxed rules.

Large crowds made up of hundreds of revelers partied all night in Federation Square – punctuated by a beloved couple enjoying a passionate kiss to see them in the New Year.

One leopard print woman was enjoying the St. Kilda party in style as she treated the sidewalk like her cat walk, while others forgot a year packing along the foreshore.

At a party event in the suburbs by the bay, the revelers were shoulder to shoulder as they danced all night, with the pain of the locks that seemingly destroyed the city for miles this year.

Large crowds dance on St. Kilda Beach as Melbournians celebrate the New Year in St. Kilda

Large crowds dance on St. Kilda Beach as Melbournians celebrate the New Year in St. Kilda

A large group, all dressed in white, have a midnight spascha and bring the New Year to Baxter At Pontoon in St. Kilda

A large group, all dressed in white, have a midnight spascha and bring the New Year to Baxter At Pontoon in St. Kilda

In Sydney, groups of friends dressed to impress as they walked to Circular Quay in sombreros and hats for Happy New Year.

Young women were seen walking into port in sky-high heels while the men took the opportunity to show off their best suits.

The CBD, on the other hand, was eerily quiet compared to previous years, as countless police officers patrolled the streets to make sure everyone in town had a permit.

Only residents and people with existing bookings in restaurants and pubs were allowed into the restricted area with a permit, but the venues were affected by mass cancellations.

Lookout points over the harbor were closed to the public with fences and signage that turned away potential visitors for the first time.

During the New Year's Eve celebrations, a security guard patrols an almost empty forecourt of the Sydney Opera House

During the New Year's Eve celebrations, a security guard patrols an almost empty forecourt of the Sydney Opera House

Friends with prime views of Sydney Harbor Bridge prepare to say goodbye in 2020 and watch the seven-minute fireworks display

Friends with prime views of Sydney Harbor Bridge prepare to say goodbye in 2020 and watch the seven-minute fireworks display

A Sydney woman was a little too excited to ring in the new year and was captured with a safety cone over her head

Hats off to her! The young woman obviously enjoyed bringing 2021 with a witch hat over her head

A Sydney woman was a little too excited to ring in the new year and was captured with a safety cone over her head