Australia sees in new year with a bang

MORE than a million people celebrated the New Year in Sydney for what was hailed as the biggest New Year's Eve fireworks display.

Earlier, thousands of revellers took to the streets in New Zealand – the first major country to see in 2011. The tiny Pacific nation of Kiribati was the first to welcome in the new year at 10am GMT. The religious island nation marked the event with church and village services.

In Sydney, about 1.5 million people came out with blankets and camping equipment ahead of the seven-tonne fireworks display above the Harbour Bridge.

Crowds began arriving more than 12 hours before the main display. Marcio Motta, a 26-year-old spectator from Brazil, said: "We know how to party on new year back home, but Sydney is a bigger and better party than anywhere else."