More than 10,000 joined in the fun at Glo Festival through the course of New Year's Eve, the Rotorua Lakes Council estimates.
Many people also gathered around in the wider CBD to get close to the fireworks finale.
From when gates opened at 5.30pm, a queue full of festivalgoers in straw hats, jandals and sunnies was backed up to the edge of the Lakefront Reserve.
Joanna Doherty, from the Rotorua Lakes Council's arts and culture team, said the crowd was "brilliantly behaved all night" from her observations, and feedback from security.
"People just came down to have a really good time, so we were thrilled."
She said feedback from attendees was "overwhelmingly positive."
"The whole kaupapa of the Glo Festival is to deliver a safe, fun and family-friendly event."
Families flocked to patches of grass in front of the stage to lay down picnic rugs and deck chairs for the night.
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The evening included six and a half hours of entertainment with a science show, kids' disco, outdoor movie, bands and two fireworks and laser light displays, one at 9.30am for children and the other at midnight.
Entry was free.
Rotorua parents Rehua and Hiria Mihaka were in line at 5.30pm and planned to stay until just after midnight.
"We came with our two daughters. We come almost every year. It is a great whānau event," Rehua said.
He thanked the Rotorua Lakes Council and the sponsors for putting on the night.
Rotorua teen Adam Harvey, 19, went along with his girlfriend Sheen.
He also chose to arrive when the gates opened.
"I wasn't here for the live music last year and I wanted to check that out.
Rotorua grandmother Jennifer Reed set up her seat early.
"I usually come every year because it's such a good event. I love the music and I love the fireworks."
She was joined by her daughter Pauleen Tibble - who grew up in Rotorua but had since moved to Melbourne.
"We are meeting the grandchildren and great-grandchildren here soon. We thought we would pick a place for them," Jennifer said.
Rotorua social enterprise Stone Soup was among the food stalls feeding the growing crowd.
It sells ice cream and frozen yoghurt at Rotorua summer events to give profits back to the community charities.
Manager Carol Fisher said the frozen ingredients online took two hours of preparation before the night.
"We make it as yummy as we can... and the preparation is not as labour-intensive as some of the others here because we have frozen berries that come from Bay of Plenty growers mostly and the icecream comes from Bidfood."
Meanwhile, police said there were no issues reported in Rotorua overnight or in the Bay of Plenty in general, with party goers having a relatively safe New Year in Tauranga and Mount Maunganui also.
"We are pleased with crowd behaviour of the New Year period," a police spokeswoman said this morning.
The enterprise first operated for a short time last summer.
It was then able to give away $3100, mostly to volunteer fire crews in Rotorua and Dementia Lakes.
Te Awamutu sisters Renee Shilton and Lisa Earwaker were at the festival for the first time.
They made the trip over to take their children to the event.
The sisters and five young cousins were all staying in a motel.
"The kids have been looking forward to the rides but I was looking forward to the atmosphere, family time and the fireworks most," Earwaker said.
Chrissy Roigard was from Rotorua but now lived in Auckland.
She makes the trip south with her children every year for the Glo Festival "as it's so family friendly, especially the early fireworks for the kids".
Roigard hoped 2020 would bring "good health and lots of treasured time with friends and whānau."
Event organiser Alia Ryan said: "There was an awesome family vibe right throughout the evening".
"The lasers added a fantastic new element to the night, bringing in the New Year with a bang."