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Top 5 New Year's Eve party spots

Published December 23rd, 2013

Psst. Wanna know where to be when the clock ticks over to midnight? If you want to be one of the first to stumble into 2014, head to Christmas Island, Kiribati or Samoa. Or if you don’t mind waiting until the rest of the world has let off fireworks and exchanged drunken kisses at midnight, the ickle islands of Baker and Howland between Hawaii and Australia will be the last to see in the New Year, but as these US atolls are pretty uninhabited, not to mention remote, probably not where the New Year's Eve party’s at!

 

 

Instead, here’s our top picks for places to partay around the world for NYE 2014.

 

 

Edinburgh –  The Non-Stop Party

 

You’ve heard of Hogmanay, right? The historic capital of Scotland provides a stunning wintry backdrop to the legendary NYE pagan celebrations known as Hogmanay. There’s a procession of people holding torches through the cities before marching en masse up to Capitol Hill on December 30. The next day, the Hogmanay Festival Fair kicks off followed by The Street Party – this year featuring Scots synth-poppers Chvrches. You won’t miss the Princes Street fireworks at midnight, and rest assured, the party don’t stop here ‘til the wee hours at the pumping clubs. But wait, there’s more. In true Scots style, there’s a Hogmanay After Party on January 1 plus the Loony Dook – a midwinter dip in the River Forth, so keep those whiskey flacons filled and you won’t even care that you can’t feel your toes! Auld Lang Syne!

 

 

New York City – The Classic Choice

 

You’ve seen it on TV and Hollywood movies, now go and experience it in person. There’s parties going off all over New York but where you’ll want to be is at the live Time Square Ball Drop. Brave the cold and huddle with 1 million of your new BFFs in Midtown to watch the ball drop from the flagtop atop One Times Square. By 3pm on December 31, the ‘Bow Tie of Times Square’ is closed to traffic and the ball is lit at 6pm and ascends the flagpole with pyrotechnic effects. Then the Time Square Alliance sanitation crew distribute all the party favours (think hats, sunnies and whistles) to the revellers in the streets. From 8pm, the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve will see Jason Derulo, Jennifer Hudson and Robin Thicke take to the stage. At midnight, cue confetti, colourful fireworks and mayhem as the ball descends, and then kick on after the countdown.

 

 

Sydney – The Scenic Show

 

Ah Australia. It’s mid-summer and we’re still punch-drunk from Chrissy and in holiday mode, and Sydney Harbour is undoubtedly one of the best places around the world to see in the New Year and that famous fireworks display. There’s over 65 vantage points around the harbour if you’re keen to camp out  and get the party started early – Rushcutters Bay, Sydney Opera House and The Rocks being obvious faves – but most are alcohol-prohibited, FYI. If you’ve got a boat or a water view, you’re set too! The 9pm Family Fireworks are a taster of the main event with an 8-minute display then there’s the Harbour of Light Parade, a flotilla of boats lit with motifs of NYE 2014’s theme – Shine. When the clock strikes 12, the light and sound Midnight Fireworks Display goes off with the secret Sydney Harbour Bridge Effect revealed at the end.

 

 

 

Barcelona – The Hedonist’s Fave

 

Anywhere where NYE celebrations involve the wearing of red knickers for luck (or to get lucky) is OK by us. As Spain’s party central, it’s a given that Barcelona is one of the hotspots for Fin de Año (end of year) revelry. This is a city where the night starts late anyway, but in the lead up to midnight Barcelona is taken over with street parties on Las Ramblas, Playa Catalunya and Plaza Reial and mucho singing, cava popping and the countdown (in Spanish, of course: ‘Diez, nueve, ocho…’). There’s a midnight fireworks display plus a 15-metre sculpture representing the city – private nightclub parties will also have their own pyrotechnics going on. One NYE tradition you’ll need to know is the practise of eating 12 grapes in the 12 seconds to midnight for good luck – you’ll even find cans with exactly 12 grapes on sale for this purpose!

 

 

Honolulu – Beach Party A-Go-Go

 

Sitting just shy of the international dateline, Hawaii is one of the last major places to see in the New Year. Think a beach party in a tropical paradise while the countdown gets underway and of course you’ll want to be here! Over 100,000 people hit Waikiki Beach to see a fireworks display from an offshore barge from 11:55pm with palm trees, coconut trees and other unique effects going on.  Another cheap event to check out is the massive Party of the Year at Kakaako Waterfront Park, which coincides with pro surfers partying at the Official Vans Triple Crown Wrap-Up Party. There’s 7 areas of entertainment with a pyrotechnics show starting at 9pm and continuing on the hour until midnight, live bands, DJs, food trucks, rides and VIP party cabanas.

 

Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.