The City of Melbourne is expecting more than half a million people to flock to the city to welcome in 2013.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle says they have moved the focus away from the CBD this year to encourage people to spread around the city.
There will be three official live sites featuring entertainment at Flagstaff Gardens, Treasury Gardens and Docklands.
An early family-oriented fireworks display will kick off at 9.30pm (AEDT) at Yarra Park, enabling families to enjoy the celebrations early and leave before the midnight rush.
At midnight, fireworks will be launched from 22 sites across the city - 18 from buildings.
"That's more sites than we've ever used before," Mr Doyle told reporters on Friday.
"So the message is, if you can see the city skyline, then you will see the fireworks on New Year's Eve."
A 10-minute music track has been commissioned to accompany the fireworks.
Public transport will be free from 6pm until the first normal services on New Year's Day and will run through the night.
But revellers are being warned to be patient as they leave the city after midnight.
City loop stations will be closed before midnight, so all passengers must board at Flinders Street or Southern Cross stations.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Andrew Crisp said more than 500 officers would be working on the night, including the air wing and water police.
Protective Services Officers (PSOs) will also patrol the public transport network for the first time, he said.
Last New Year's Eve police locked up more than 200 people across the state for drunkenness, and nabbed more than 60 drink drivers.
"In the city itself we locked up 34 people for drunkenness and when you consider last year we had close to 500,000 people in the city itself, that's a really good effort," he said.
"The key message for us is about people having a good time, about staying safe and being safe throughout the night."
Police will also be issuing on-the-spot fines for being drunk and disorderly.
Ambulance Victoria is putting on an extra 60 paramedics and bike units in the city.