Auckland in New Zealand is next, with new year arriving there a full 11 hours ahead of GMT. The city’s Sky Tower is the focus of the display, and homesick Kiwis can watch the fireworks via a Facebook livestream on the night.
Next up is Sydney, which uses its spectacular harbour as a backdrop for its display. City authorities reckon that more than a million people turn out to watch along the harbour foreshore.
From Sydney, the focus moves to the northern hemisphere as Tokyo and Seoul take up the baton. In Tokyo, the new year officially starts for many with hatsumode, a visit to the temple, where the bell is rung 108 times. While there are individual fireworks displays, there isn’t an official citywide event - it’s the South Korean capital Seoul that has the biggest show in this time zone.
As in Tokyo, Seoul’s new year officially begins with temple bells – the Bosingak Bell is the focus here - but for many South Koreans, the new year begins at a sunrise festival, such as the one at Pohang beach, the most easterly point in the country.
Over the next two hours, the Asian powerhouse cities of Beijing, Hong Kong, Manila and Singapore celebrate, followed by Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi and Phnom Penh, with Yangon and Mandalay in Myanmar half an hour later.
Beijing isn’t the place to go for fireworks, however – those are saved for the lunar new year, which is February 16 in 2018. Head instead for Hong Kong, where fireworks will light up the city’s harbour and backdrop of glittering skyscrapers. In Singapore, which has a large guest worker population, the fireworks are centred around the Marina Bay development.
Manila, the capital of the Philippines, has been acclaimed for the most spectacular display, with a video capturing the sight of every corner of the city seemingly exploding into sparkling fountains of fire as it greeted 2015.