, AUCKLAND, Dec 31 – Islands across the Pacific were the first to welcome in the New Year, with celebrations to mark the start of 2010 beginning in the tiny nation of Kiribati at 10am GMT, followed by the Chatham Islands, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand and Australia.
In Suva, the capital of Fiji, hundreds of people counted down the last 10 seconds of 2009 from Albert Park during the country\’s annual New Year\’s Eve Street Party.
In Auckland, as thousands poured onto the streets to ring in the New Year, police warned partygoers to "have fun by all means but obey the rules and everyone will have a good time".
But well before the clock struck midnight, thousands of revellers gathered on Sydney harbour in order to save a spot with a good view of the annual Harbour Bridge fireworks.
More than 5000 kilograms of explosive devices, including about 11,000 shells, 25,000 shooting comets and 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects, are to be detonated during the Sydney fireworks display, themed "Awaken the Spirit".
Almost 1.5 million people were expected to cram into the city centre and foreshore areas, despite rainy and overcast conditions.
Among them was British backpacker Lisa Carey, 23, who had convinced friends Lauren Nagy and George Andrews that they needed the secure their spot in a harbourside park by 6am.
The trio decided to party through the night of the 30th and arrive early to get the best patch of grass under the Harbour Bridge.
"Everybody told us we had to be here at seven or eight o\’clock so we were here at six," Ms Carey told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"George is hungover so he\’s been sleeping."
As well as a lot of celebration across the world, New Year\’s Eve will see two unusual stargazing events and one is so rare it occurs only once in a blue moon.
While revellers see out the first decade of the 21st century, astronomers will enjoy witnessing the 13th moon of the year.
Most years have twelve full moons, with one every four weeks – indeed the word \’month\’ comes from \’Moon.\’
However, each solar calendar year is around eleven days longer than a lunar year. This means that nearly every three years there is an extra full moon – also known as a \’Blue Moon.\’
Party goers in Europe and Asia will also be lucky enough to spot a partial lunar eclipse on the same evening.