Fireworks explode over and around the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House during new year celebrations. REUTERS/David Gray
It's the party that starts the world's New Year celebrations
and Sydney didn't disappoint yet again.
As one of the first major cities in the world to welcome in
2013, Sydney has set the standard. Just ask the millions who
watched the spectacular display both in person and on the
On a warm summer night, an estimated 1.5 million people
poured into the city to watch the $6.6 million fireworks
display light up the sky - twice - from the harbour
foreshore, at Darling Harbour and other vantage points with
the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge playing a major part.
Pop princess Kylie Minogue, the event's creative ambassador
who chose the theme of Embrace for the celebrations, started
the midnight show with the press of a button.
A giant set of red lips in the middle of the harbour bridge
counted down to midnight, before the fireworks set off.
A one-of-a-kind sparkling semiquaver - to honour Kylie's 25
years in music - was one of 100,000 individual pyrotechnic
creations this year, including brand new koala, octopus and
hand images up in lights.
Sydney's skyline exploded in gold, pink, green and blue first
at 9pm for the family-oriented curtain raiser and again at
Colours streamed from four barges situated around the
harbour, with gold flashes cascading like tinsel as a gold
butterfly-like design lit up the bridge.
"It was all great, amazing," said Lee Whittaker, from
Denistone, who brought her kids Mel and Leon with her.
And there are plenty of tourists who come especially for the
American Melissa Sjostedt said she had wanted to see the
fireworks on the bridge since reading about it in National
Geographic 10 years ago.
"Ever since that I've always wanted to see this for real,
live, in person," the 30-year-old from Florida told AAP from
Dawes Point Reserve.
Mathieu Herman, 30, from New York City, said he'd made the
trip to Australia specifically for New Year's Eve.
"I saw it last year on TV and it looked fabulous. I said to
myself 'it's something I've just got to do'."
Across the rest of the country, other major cities hosted
their own fireworks displays and parties.
More than half a million people filled the Melbourne city
centre with live sites at Treasury Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens
and the Docklands.
Throughout the evening, free concert at Federation Square had
tens of thousands dancing away the remaining hours of 2012.
Irish sisters Emma and Sophie O'Dowd said they couldn't
resist the lure of the New Year's lights and sounds, stopping
at Yarra Park to see the fireworks light up the MCG on their
way to a dance party.
"It's what it's all about. What a beautiful stage you've got
here," Sophie, 22, said.
Surfers Paradise hosted one of Queensland's biggest New
Year's Eve fireworks displays, with thousands catching a
preview at the 9pm (AEST) show.
Organisers went with a superheroes theme for this year's
family party, hoping to encourage children to attend as their
favourite superhero and several little Spidermen and Supermen
could be seen among the crowd.
In Brisbane, crowds were slightly down at South Bank, but
there was still plenty of cheer as revellers waited to
welcome in midnight.
Perth is partying through a heatwave, while Adelaide tried to
encourage less alcohol and more family-friendly events.
Hobart hosted thousands in town for the Sydney to Hobart
yacht race and Tasmania's biggest event, The Taste Festival
near Salamanca Place.