Broadcast around the world as one of the first places to ring in the new year, Sydney sets the bar high for New Year’s Eve parties with around $7 million worth of fireworks exploding off barges and the Harbour Bridge yearly.
Not only is it one of the first cities in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve, it’s also one of the largest. Last year, over one million lined the harbour foreshore for a view of the sparklers. Many people camp out the night before to ensure they get their place, and harbour cruises sell out months in advance.
The event has become so big that there's now an app which shows you how full each vantage point is.
What better place to ring in the new year than in the city that doesn’t sleep? Surrounded by the bright lights of Broadway, the biggest names in music and entertainment and over one million people, Times Square in New York City is the place to be on New Year’s Eve.
The special guest performers have yet to be revealed but last year we saw the likes of BTW, Nick Jonas, Shawn Mendes and Kelly Clarkson wind up the crowd before the ball drops at midnight.
That famous "ball" is made from 2,699 Waterford crystals and weighs in at about 5,400kg.
For a splash of fireworks behind some of England’s most notable buildings, London is the place to be. More than half a million people attend the eight-minute fireworks display along the Thames each year.
That's a lot of people along one riverbank and because of the growing popularity of this vantage point, the city has now made its New Year's Eve fireworks a ticketed event.
On the positive, tickets will only set you back £10 each and guarantees you prime position on the riverbank. While some areas have sold out, others are still available to book a space in. See here for details.
In true Brazilian fashion, New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro is one big party on the beach.
Crowds dress in white to bring good luck to the new year and flock to Copacabana Beach for a massive waterfront party celebrating reveillon (New Year’s Eve).
The mid-summer festivities along the four kilometre stretch of sand are filled with samba music, sprays of champagne and a massive 20-minute fireworks display enjoyed by two-million revellers on the beach and on cruise ships.
Awash with culture and dressed in architectural wonders, the capital of Austria is beautiful to visit whatever time of year.
For New Year's Eve, the Old City transforms into a street party complete with gala events, dancing and, in true Viennese fashion, operas and operettas.
The entertainment runs from 2pm to 2am with the highlight being the fireworks at the City Hall Square as well as the Prater at the stroke of midnight.
Not only does the city know how to party by night, it also knows how to recover by day, featuring a brunch and performance by the Vienna Philharmonic on New Year's Day. This is displayed on a big screen in front of City Hall at the bleary-eyed time of 11.15am on 1 January.
New Year's Eve Gala in Vienna City Hall's Grand Ballroom
Kiribati is a tiny nation that consists of 33 atolls and islands. It's scattered across 3.5 million square kilometres of the South Pacific and is home to less than 100,000 people. Just west of the International Date Line, the Line Islands and Kiritimati are the first places in the world to celebrate the new year.
It’s not an easy place to get to, so don’t arrive expecting big-city parties. You’ll be spending the first day of the new year surrounded by sandy beaches, blue lagoons and swaying palms.
If you'd like somewhere a bit more on the beaten path, Samoa switched to the same time zone as Kiribati in 2011.
Had a good year and want to savour every last moment? Then American Samoa is the place to do just that.
Not to be confused with Samoa, which is 80km away on the other side of the International Date Line, American Samoa is one of the last places to celebrate the new year, 23 hours after Samoa.
American Samoa has roughly half the population of Kiribati, and only about 3,500 people living in its capital Pago Pago. It’s not somewhere you come expecting a huge party and epic fireworks displays. Instead, start the new year on a peaceful, lush and tropical island.
There are no official celebrations or fireworks displays for the new year in Reykjavik, but the locals don't care. On the eve of the new year, hundreds of thousands of revellers create their own explosion and light up over 500 tonnes of fireworks.
Don't expect to saunter out at a minute to midnight to catch them, either. Icelanders aren't too fussed about time and light up the night sky from around 9pm onward - so get out early to check them out. The best bit? You won't have to push through throngs of crowds to nab the best seat in the house.
Bangkok presents a more local celebration for those who wish to ring in the new year outside of Australia but don't wish to venture far or overspend during the holidays.
Each district offers a different atmosphere of live entertainment and street parties. The biggest is undeniably at Bangkok Central Square where musicians play all night alongside light shows, a beer garden and projection screens to help you keep and eye on the countdown.
If you thought Vegas already had an anything-goes vibe, wait until New Year’s Eve.
The Strip is closed to traffic, hundreds of thousands of people party in the streets and fireworks make the sky shimmer from just about every angle. About half a dozen hotels host the shows that see about 80,000 fireworks light up the sky.
If partying in a club on New Year’s Eve is more your thing, Vegas has plenty of options. Most hotels along The Strip have venues that pump all night long, including Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace and the Palms.
Tokyo isn't on this list because of its millions of residents, huge party scene and a knack for late nights.
The Japanese do New Year’s Eve a little bit different. Locals partake in hatsumode, which is the first visit of the new year to shrines and temples. Temple bells ring and food stalls are set up at the city’s most popular shrines, including Meiji Shrine and Sensoji Temple.
If it’s bright lights and the big city that you’re after, head to the Shibuya crossing for the midnight countdown or find a spot along Tokyo Bay for the annual fireworks display.
Save on snorkelling tours, Waterbom entry, whitewater rafting, Mount Batur hiking tours especially on holidays like Christmas, New Year's and more. Sample discount is for a day tour in Bali. T&Cs apply.
Up to 60% off activities, experiences and things to do
Valid on select dates including holidays like Christmas season, New Year's and more depending on the destination. Destinations are Hong Kong, Singapore, Osaka, Taipei, Dubai, Sydney, Melbourne, London, Paris, New York and more. T&Cs apply.
Alex Keshen is the global travel publisher at Finder and has been living, breathing and, of course, writing about all things travel for more than 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada and has appeared in Travel Weekly and the Huffington Post. A master of maximising her annual leave and finding the best bargains around, she can’t remember the last time her backpack weighed more than 10kg and is happy to share her tips and tricks to help you travel better.
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