By PAMELA OWEN
Australia welcomes in the New Year with its spectacular firework display by the Sydney Opera House. This year's theme was 'Time to Dream' and Harbour Bridge was the main focal point.
More than 1million people gathered to watch the display which saw a series of colourful lights beamed into the centre of the bridge forming an endless rainbow. The first country to see in the new year was Samoa after the island hopped over the dateline. They are usually the last.
Spectacular fireworks have lit up the night skies as countries across the globe celebrate the New Year, including Australia, Singapore and Japan.
More than a million people gathered at mass at vantage points along the harbour to watch the pyrotechnics display in Sydney, Australia, which featured the arch of the bridge as its focal point.
This year's theme was 'Time to Dream' and it is hoped it will help inspire those who have had a particularly bad 2011 to look forward to the year ahead.
Some of the fireworks exploded into shapes of clouds - because every one has a silver lining - and a series of colourful lights were beamed into the centre of the bridge forming an 'endless rainbow'.
Spectacular scenes could be seen from across the city as fireworks exploded over Marina Bay during the New Year celebrations in Singapore
Indian students in Ahmadabad show off placards as they prepare to welcome in the New Year
Some 3,000 police officers will be on duty overnight to deal with the crowds expected to descend on the capital, not only on the banks of the Thames to watch the fireworks but also in Trafalgar Square.
Some will be stationed on podiums to give them a bird's-eye view of any troublemakers in the crowds.
Chief Superintendent Julia Pendry, of Scotland Yard, said: 'New Year's Eve is a special time of the year and we want people to enjoy it to the full.
'Make sure you look after yourself and those around you. Officers will be out and about to deter criminals and keep crowds safe.
'New Year's Eve in central London is extremely busy so do come prepared and wrap up warm, as you may have to wait to prevent overcrowding. The viewing area does fill up really quickly and each area will be closed off by the organisers once it reaches its capacity.'
She urged people to consider watching the fireworks on TV instead, as sometimes the viewing area fills up as early as 8pm.