Sydney welcomes New Year with fireworks spectacular
A record crowd of up to 1.5 million people kicked off global New Year celebrations with a fireworks extravaganza over Sydney's iconic harbour and Opera House Thursday.
Never-before-seen lightning, thunder and rain effects topped the multimillion dollar pyrotechnics show, traditionally centred on the city's world-famous Harbour Bridge.
"It's probably 30 percent bigger on the bridge alone than what it's been in previous years," said fireworks director Fortunato Foti. "Personally, I don't think you can have too many fireworks. The more the better."
With almost double the bang of last year, the show cost an estimated five million dollars (3.43 million US).
More than two thousand officers were on duty, with police warning against alcohol abuse and loutish behaviour in a nation famed for its drinking culture.
Revellers were treated to a preview of the main fireworks event in a 9.00pm show for families with young children.
"They were really good, probably the best fireworks I have ever seen and the atmosphere was really lovely," said Dani Rogers, 26, visiting from Brisbane.
"Coming from overseas you've kind of got to do the whole Sydney and fireworks thing," she said. "It was a great experience."