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Australia

Countdown to 2018 is On

The skies have cleared as thousands of revellers pour in to popular vantage points across the country to ring in the new year.

With an estimated worldwide audience of 1 billion people the Sydney fireworks spectacular is set to wow the crowds who have jostled around the harbour.

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The ‘love’ theme for the Sydney fireworks suits this American couple – Jayson and EJ got engaged on the Harbour Bridge yesterday!  @abcnews

About 1.6 million people are expected to attend the fireworks around the edge of Sydney Harbour tonight.

Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore said it will reinforce the city’s position as the New Year’s Eve capital of the world.

“The most technologically advanced fireworks display I’m told,” he said.

“It’ll promote Sydney to the world. There’ll be a billion viewers out there watching.”

Melbourne is putting on its biggest show of the year tonight in the CBD, with 14 tonnes of fireworks set to be launched from the top of 22 city buildings for New Year’s Eve festivities.

Pyrotechnician Rusty Johnston said Melbourne will put on a bigger show than Sydney.

“We’ve got a higher tonnage because we have so many firing sites where Sydney is a smallish area,” he said.

A spectator waits for the annual new year fireworks as part of celebrations on Sydney Harbour, AustraliaDespite the heightened security presence, which includes the deployment of more than 2,000 police officers, at least 500,000 people are still expected to ring in the new year in Victoria’s capital.

The biggest night of the year is nearly here! Get ready for our all-star New Year’s Eve countdown, hosted by @charliepick 🎆  

In the two biggest cities alone, more than 2 million people will gather for festivities.

Security has also been beefed up in Sydney with police officers on patrol on the ground, in the air and on the water.

In Brisbane, despite earlier storms crowds have gathered at some of the best vantage points across the city to view the fireworks at South Bank and Kangaroo Point.

Thousands of revellers are expected to swarm in to Elder Park, which is again the centrepiece of New Year’s Eve celebrations in Adelaide.

In Perth, which will be the last state to reach midnight, more than a thousand police officers are patrolling the streets.

But the fireworks extravaganza for Perth will be saved for Australia Day.

Thousands have descended on Hobart’swaterfront to enjoy the Taste of Tasmania, with a number of live music acts set to bring in the new year, such as Aussie rock legends, the Whitlam’s.

Yachts still docked at Hobart waterfront from Sydney to Hobart as new year festivities kick off

Festival director Brooke Webb said the vibe was great.

“We’ve been welcoming people in and everyone’s had a big grin on their faces,” she said.

“It’s a beautiful night and it’s really exciting there’s a real hum and people have really got into the theme [of] a Midsummer Night’s Eve.”

New Year's Eve in Hobart with Taste of Tasmania volunteer

Police said they will be out in force across the state and will be targeting anti-social behaviour off the back of two reports of sexual assault at Falls Festival at Marion Bay.

A massive fireworks display will be launched from Sullivans Cove in Hobart — with about $65,000 worth of pyrotechnics expected to be fired from a barge across two shows.

In Canberra, more than 30,000 fireworks will be launched from City Hill as Art Vs Science rings in the New Year.

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