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Fireworks explode over the Selamat Datang Monument in downtown Jakarta on January 1, 2018 during New Year celebrations. / AFP PHOTO / BAY ISMOYO — AFP or licensors

In pictures: Sydney extravaganza kicks off New Year celebrations worldwide

Stricter security has been a key focus amid fears that crowds could be targets for vehicle and other terror attacks.
Updated Jan 01, 2018 12:46pm

Hong Kong saw 2018 in spectacular style as the southern Chinese city staged a stunning fireworks display over its famous Victoria Harbour. Thousands thronged the harbourside to see the show illuminate the famous skyline as revellers danced to Auld Lang Syne.

In the Indonesian capital Jakarta, hundreds of couples attended a free mass wedding provided free by the authorities.

Three hours earlier Australia rang in the New Year with a spectacular display of rainbow-coloured fireworks cascading from Sydney Harbour Bridge, as partygoers marked the nation's legalisation of gay marriage amid tight security. Thousands turned out earlier in New Zealand's largest city Auckland for the annual New Year's Eve street party, marked by a major fireworks display from the Sky Tower.

Celebrations then moved to Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and finally the Americas, with dazzling light shows bidding farewell to 2017. Stricter security has been a key focus amid fears that crowds could be targets for vehicle and other terror attacks.

Children from a slum area play as the sun sets for the last time in 2017, on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, —AP
Children from a slum area play as the sun sets for the last time in 2017, on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, —AP

A Pakistani man dances on a street next to fireworks as he celebrates the new year during in the port city of Karachi. — AFP
A Pakistani man dances on a street next to fireworks as he celebrates the new year during in the port city of Karachi. — AFP

Pakistani people prepare to release lanterns as they gather to celebrate the new year in Lahore. — AFP
Pakistani people prepare to release lanterns as they gather to celebrate the new year in Lahore. — AFP

A woman applies coloured powder to a "rangoli", a Hindu ritual design, to usher in the New Year in front of a home in Hyderabad on January 1, 2018. Rangolis are drawn in front of homes early in the morning to welcome relatives and friends to mark the New Year. — AFP
A woman applies coloured powder to a "rangoli", a Hindu ritual design, to usher in the New Year in front of a home in Hyderabad on January 1, 2018. Rangolis are drawn in front of homes early in the morning to welcome relatives and friends to mark the New Year. — AFP

Residents in fox makeup participate in the Oji Fox parade to thank the outgoing and welcome the incoming year in Tokyo, Japan.—AFP
Residents in fox makeup participate in the Oji Fox parade to thank the outgoing and welcome the incoming year in Tokyo, Japan.—AFP

Residents in fox makeup participate in the Oji Fox parade to thank the outgoing and welcome the incoming year in Tokyo.—AFP
Residents in fox makeup participate in the Oji Fox parade to thank the outgoing and welcome the incoming year in Tokyo.—AFP

Fireworks illuminate the skyline as the clock strikes midnight during New Year's Eve celebrations in Singapore.—AFP
Fireworks illuminate the skyline as the clock strikes midnight during New Year's Eve celebrations in Singapore.—AFP

Fireworks explode over Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong.— AFP
Fireworks explode over Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong.— AFP

A bride and groom react to their marriage documents during a mass wedding held in celebration of the New Year in Jakarta, Indonesia.—AP
A bride and groom react to their marriage documents during a mass wedding held in celebration of the New Year in Jakarta, Indonesia.—AP

Fireworks explode over Sydney Harbour during New Year's Eve celebrations in Sydney, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. (David Moir/AAP Image via AP)
Fireworks explode over Sydney Harbour during New Year's Eve celebrations in Sydney, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. (David Moir/AAP Image via AP)

A runner dressed as a skeleton poses for a photo prior to the start of the Sao Silvestre race in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on New Year's Eve.—AP
A runner dressed as a skeleton poses for a photo prior to the start of the Sao Silvestre race in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on New Year's Eve.—AP

Guests stand near a decorative light tree as they attend a mass wedding held in celebration of the New Year in Jakarta, Indonesia.—AP
Guests stand near a decorative light tree as they attend a mass wedding held in celebration of the New Year in Jakarta, Indonesia.—AP

Buddhists light candles during New Year celebrations at Jogyesa Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea.—AP
Buddhists light candles during New Year celebrations at Jogyesa Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea.—AP

Buddhists place candles during New Year celebrations at Jogyesa Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea.—AP
Buddhists place candles during New Year celebrations at Jogyesa Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea.—AP

This picture from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) taken and released on January 1, 2018 shows fireworks ushering in the New Year in Pyongyang. — AFP
This picture from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) taken and released on January 1, 2018 shows fireworks ushering in the New Year in Pyongyang. — AFP

This illustration taken with a long time exposure and with zoom effect in Budapest, Hungary, shows the year "2018". —AFP
This illustration taken with a long time exposure and with zoom effect in Budapest, Hungary, shows the year "2018". —AFP

Policemen stand guard at a countdown event marking the arrival of the New Year in Beijing, China.—AFP
Policemen stand guard at a countdown event marking the arrival of the New Year in Beijing, China.—AFP

Fireworks explode with slogan reading "Happiness and Good Condition Together" on the Taipei 101 building during the New Year's celebrations in Taipei, Taiwan.—AP
Fireworks explode with slogan reading "Happiness and Good Condition Together" on the Taipei 101 building during the New Year's celebrations in Taipei, Taiwan.—AP

Fireworks explode around the London Eye during New Year's celebrations in central London just after midnight. — AFP
Fireworks explode around the London Eye during New Year's celebrations in central London just after midnight. — AFP

Fireworks light up the sky over the London Eye in central London during the New Year celebrations. — AFP
Fireworks light up the sky over the London Eye in central London during the New Year celebrations. — AFP

Fireworks illuminate the sky in Santiago, Chile during New Year's celebrations. — AFP
Fireworks illuminate the sky in Santiago, Chile during New Year's celebrations. — AFP

Two women smile during New Year's Eve celebrations in Montreal, Canada, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. — AP
Two women smile during New Year's Eve celebrations in Montreal, Canada, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. — AP