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Best places to enjoy New Year’s Eve

Throw out those resolutions and get ready to welcome in 2013 with parties, fireworks – or shortbread!  Here’s our pick of the top fun spots, different ceremonies and fireworks displays to ring in the New Year.

Party places

Times Square, New York City


NYC_Broadway_lights Best places to enjoy New Year's Eve

Discover New York City’s lights on New Year’s Eve

Join thousands of others in Times Square this New Year’s Eve to countdown to the beginning of 2013 and cheer in the New Year.  Watch the famous Ball Drop, join in the countdown with thousands of others, and have fun in the party atmosphere in the most famous of all New Year’s spots.  There’s plenty of confetti, balloons and streamers to help you celebrate too!


New Year’s Eve on Sydney’s stunning harbour is always spectacular, and we think its one of the best in the world!  With crowds of almost 1.5 million people, Sydney has one of the largest and most fun New Year’s celebrations worldwide.

There are many places along the foreshore to watch the wonderful fireworks, featuring the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, and Harbour Lights Parade of small boats decked in twinkling party lights. Party the night away at Circular Quay, Darling Harbour or one of the many nightspots around The Rocks.


Copacabana Beach, Rio De Janeiro

New Year’s Eve at Copacabana beach at Rio De Janeiro is one of the worlds biggest parties!  Every year millions visit Rio just for this event.  The central part of the celebrations is the 30-minute fireworks display of light showers, roman candles and sparkling fizzing light displays.  Celebrate late into the night with dancing, singing, eating and drinking – you’ll have the best time!  All of the restaurants and kiosks along the beach are open, and the apartments and hotels are brightly lit with spectacular light displays.

Copacabana_Rio1 Best places to enjoy New Year's Eve

Take it the sun, sand and electric energy of Copacabana Beach, Rio De Janiero during NYE celebrations

Check out the list of parties for New Year’s Eve http://gobrazil.about.com/od/riodejaneiro/ss/riotravelguide_9.htm

See it first

Where does New Year’s begin?

In the South Pacific, the tiny Polynesian country of Tokelau, accessible only by boat from Samoa, will be the first place in the world to cross over into 2013.  From this tiny, unspoiled atoll in the Pacific, you can be the first in the world to watch the sun come up on the New Year.

Or, if you’re really up for a party, celebrate the New Year in Samoa and then head to American Samoa, (about a 45-minute plane ride) and do it all over again the next night!  Samoa is a Polynesian paradise with magical natural wonders—technicolor reefs, the jungle’s Afu Aau Falls, waterfalls and crater lakes like Lake Lanoto’o—as well as fascinating markets and long beaches with crystalline waters.

Or if you want to stay closer to home, head to Byron Bay and be the first on the Australian mainland to see the sun come up.  But book early, and take care as there are strict regulations on beach drinking and rowdy partying.


One of the best-known images of New Year’s Eve is Big Ben and its Clock Tower in Westminster, London, counting down to the end of the old year. The beginning of the New Year is marked by the first chimes of Big Ben, which are broadcast live on radio and TV, followed by a spectacular fireworks display.

Most of the display is centered on the London Eye – so if you go, make sure you can see the Eye from wherever you are.  Best places for viewing are Victoria Embankment, the South Bank of the Thames, Westminster Bridge and Waterloo Bridge.  Make sure you go early, as many of these places have quotas and once they are full you may not get in.

Or, you could splurge and book a boat on the Thames to watch the fireworks!

For more information about New Year’s Eve London, visit www.london.gov.au/newyearseve

Ceremonies with a Difference

Hogmanay, Scotland

New Year’s Eve in Scotland is known by the ancient name of Hogmanay and it’s the biggest and longest party in Scotland.  Visit the beautiful ancient city of Edinburgh to experience this season in all its authentic Scottish glory.

Edinburghians make sure to pay off all old debts, clean their houses, and take out the ashes before the old year finishes, to start off the year with a clean slate.  The New Year is welcomed with a cheering countdown and singing the traditional Auld Lang Syne.

On New Year’s Day, the First Footer ceremony takes place, where, to ensure good luck for the year, the first person to visit the house must be dark-haired, (believed to be from ancient Viking days when a blond stranger meant trouble!) They should bring symbolic coal, shortbread, salt, black bun and whisky (although these days, just shortbread and whisky will do!)

To find out more about Hogmanay, visit www.hogmanay.net/

Other posts on the OTI Blog:

What you need to know before visiting London
Top destinations for 2013
Travel for Men - Some Great Guy Trips!
Weird Theme Parks Around The World!