Australia and New Zealand has welcomed 2019 with millions gathering to watch spectacular firework displays in Sydney and Auckland.

The party atmosphere is now set to sweep across major cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas as the world celebrates a new year.

A thunderstorm drenched tens of thousands of people as they gathered for Sydney’s traditional spectacular fireworks display, creating a show of its own with dozens of lightning strikes.

Police estimated that more than a million people would crowd Sydney Harbor to view the glittering fireworks. People began gathering early in the day at popular vantage points, including the Opera House and the ends of the Harbor Bridge.

The show was to feature more than 100,000 pyrotechnic effects accompanied by music culminating at midnight with “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” made famous by Aretha Franklin, who died in August.

Police said they were taking precautions to prevent any terrorist attack, but assured revelers there was no specific threat.

“We put obstacles between those large crowds and vehicles to ensure people can get in and out safely and enjoy their night in safety,” police Acting Deputy Commissioner Mark Walton said.

More than 1 billion people around the world were expected to watch the fireworks on television.

SYDNEY: The Sydney fireworks show featured more than 100,000 pyrotechnic effects accompanied by music

In Melbourne, 14 tons of fireworks deployed on the ground and on roofs of 22 buildings produced special effects including flying dragons.

In Brisbane, an estimated 85,000 people watched as fireworks exploded from five barges moored on the Brisbane River.

Earlier, Australia’s neighbour New Zealand produced a dazzling display of fireworks that lit up Auckland’s skyline.

AUCKLAND: The New Zealand harbour town was the first major city in the world to see in 2019
AUCKLAND: The New Zealand harbour town was the first major city in the world to see in 2019 (AP)

In Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, tens of thousands gathered around Sky Tower as fireworks exploded from the top of the 328-meter (1,076-foot) structure. Across the southern hemisphere nation, thousands took to beaches and streets, becoming among the first in the world to usher in 2019.

Fireworks boomed and crackled above city centers and harbors.

Source: AP & Channel News Asia

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