Looking for something completely different to do this New Year? Do you want a New Year that is children friendly but still a rock star party; is close to home, but set in breathtaking surroundings that are relaxing and inspiring?

Then look no further than the Smoking Dragon New Year’s Festival taking place in the Drakensberg Amphitheatre Backpackers.

It is a mere three-hour drive from Joburg and Durban.

The amphitheatre is surrounded by the majestic Giant’s Castle and the venue has a river running through it.

In terms of entertainment the festival mixes hippie stuff with cool rock ’n’ roll.

For those who love live music there is the ever-popular Madala Kunene whose music is perfect for the mountainous settings.

Other headline acts include the incomparable Josie Field with her deep voice, guitarist and vocalist John Ellis and his new-found rebellion and the dirty sexy rock of all-girl trio, Cortina Whiplash.

Other artists include The Skabengas, The Brother Moves On and Gangs of Ballet.

The line-up also includes a New Year’s fire show by Lunatic Fridge which apparently is something not to be missed.

DJs will complement the artists and keep the party going until the early hours.

There will be a food market and the multicultural vibe and child-friendly day activities will make this a unique New Year’s Eve experience.

There is a choice of camping or chalets on site. Numbers are limited to 2 000.

The festival takes place from December 30 to January 1.

For more information on prices and directions go to www.smokingdragon.co.za. Kids aged under 12 enter free.

lArt and music lovers will be delighted to know that The Johannesburg Carnival will happen at Newtown District, 56A Jeppe Street, Newtown, (across Newtown Square).

The gig starts at noon and admission is free. For further details call 011 833 6323.

lIf you are looking for a more club-like setting then Burlesque Movida New Year’s Eve party at Movida, (Rivonia Crossing, cnr Rivonia and Witkoppen roads, Sunninghill) should do the trick. R150 gets you in and 011 234 8000 gets you clarity.

l Christian music lovers will be ecstatic to know the Christ Rock Music Festival with South Africa’s top Christian bands will be at Stone Rock Cafe, 438 Northumberland Road, North Riding. Gig starts at 6.30pm and admission is R120.

lChris Chameleon performs in Verkykerskop, R722, Verkykerskop. The town is 40km from Harrismith, just off the N3. Doors open at 6pm, dinner is served at 7pm and Chris performs at 8pm. The price of R175 includes dinner and the performance. DJs to take over into the New Year. Tel: 058 625 0071 or 079 873 0470.

lLaser light show at Carnival City, Brakpan (the annual fireworks spectacle will be replaced by a more animal-friendly but equally spectacular laser light show). The show will also be extended to run from Tuesday, December 27 to New Year on Saturday, 31. Bummer if you were expecting the usual menu. Go and see if “lasers” do it for you. Free entry.

lSextravaganza 2012 at SET, Rosebank. Tickets at the door before 10pm: R120, R150 thereafter. SET is dubbed one of South Africa’s most widely known gay clubs and this New Year’s Eve party will apparently culminate in a night of “orgasmic” proportions. See www.clubtherapy.co.za

lIf you are looking for something “much cleaner”, but still sexy, then the Masked Ball New Year’s Eve, Cantare Supper Club (Shop U9, Montecasino, Montecasino Boulevard, Fourways) should do the trick. The show starts at 7pm. R850 gets you in. Tel: 011 511 0505.

lSavanna, the cider, is throwing an Out of Africa New Year’s Eve Experience at Café Vacca Matta, shop no 66, Montecasino, Fourways. R250. “Warming up” for the bash starts at 8pm. Tel: 011 511 0511.

lThen there is the New Year’s Eve Party with Pinise Saul and Bheki Khoza at Lucky Bean, 16, 7th Street, Melville. The performance costs R100 and there is no option without dinner, which is served from 6.30pm. The music starts at 8.30pm. Tel: 011 482 5572.

lIf that’s not your thing perhaps the Monster Energy New Year’s Party at Cool Runnings Fourways (cnr Witkoppen and Riverbend roads, Fourways) could work for you. The gig starts at 5pm and R130 gets you in. Tel: 011 704 0987.

lNew Year’s Eve at Brightwater Commons (Republic Road, Randburg) will give you the live performance of the Mackenzie Blue band from 8pm. R30 gets you in.

lCapricorn FM will throw a Woza Ayoba 2012 bash with Shugasmaxx, Proverb, DJ Choice, Revolution, Thebe, JR, DJ Qness, Bambo and other DJs at Polokwane Showgrounds, Polokwane.

You know you really do not want to miss this one. The gig starts at 4pm and the admission fee is R50. Tel: 086 720 6164 for more information.