Auckland, Sydney among first world cities to welcome 2017

AUCKLAND, DEC 31 – Auckland and Sydney became the first major world cities to have welcomed 2017, as New Year celebrations kicked off at Auckland’s Sky Tower and Sydney’s glittering harbour, attracting thousands of spectators to the colourful fireworks displays.

New Year celebrations kicked off in Auckland with spectacular fireworks from the Sky City tower, as New Zealand was among the first countries to have welcomed in 2017.

Thousands gathered there at 11am as multi-coloured fireworks exploded across the city skyline at midnight.

The Sky City – a casino and an event centre in Auckland – has an impressive 328m (1,080ft) tall tower that provided a dramatic backdrop to the annual fireworks, an hour after Samoa welcomed in 2017.

The preparations in different countries are all finalised to welcome 2017, but Australia kicked off a global party ahead of the new year.

Global terror attacks have cast a pall over 2016 but Australia was Saturday defying the threats and ringing in the New Year with bumper crowds gathering to watch a firework extravaganza on Sydney´s glittering harbour.

Some 1.5 million people are packing Australia´s biggest city to watch the midnight fireworks, a larger-than-usual crowd due to the weekend timing and warm weather, as the New South Wales state premier urged “business as usual”.

“My encouragement to everyone is to enjoy New Year´s Eve… in the knowledge that police are doing everything they can to keep us safe,” Premier Mike Baird said.