On or near the water was the place to be in Port Stephens as temperatures hit the high 30s on Australia Day.
While people swarmed to the Nelson Bay waterfront and beaches, hundreds more took advantage of free entry and activities at the Port's three aquatic centres.
The pool parties in Salamander Bay, Mallabula and Raymond Terrace this year replaced the community events that traditionally take place in Riverside Park, Neil Carroll Park at Fly Point and Henderson Park in Lemon Tree Passage due to COVID-19 health concerns and restrictions.
Karuah RSL hosted its community Australia Day event as usual, but with the COVID-Safe requirements.
The Tomaree, Tilligerry and Lakeside pools were each turned into a mini market on Tuesday, January 26 with food and community stalls dotting the fence lines under the shade of trees or pergolas.
Blow up pool slides were popular with children, as were the temporary tattoos and sausage sizzles supplied by the Port's Rotary and Lions clubs.
The change in event locations did not appear to phase members of the public with several commenting to the Examiner that the water was the best place to get some relief from the sweltering hot conditions on Australia Day.
The official proceedings of Australia Day, the citizenship ceremony and presentation of the Port Stephens Annual Awards, was held in Medowie instead of Raymond Terrace.
The invite-only event was held at Medowie Social. It was the first event to be staged at the facility since operators were appointed in November.