SYDNEY - Sydney promised an unprecedented fireworks spectacular to kick off global new year celebrations on Tuesday, the first in a wave of pyrotechnics to usher in 2014 from Hong Kong to world record-chasing Dubai.
Tons of explosives will light up Australia's harbour city with fireworks shooting off the Opera House for the first time in more than 10 years as part of the December 31 extravaganza, centred on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore said the A$6 million show (S$6.77 million), themed "Shine", was expected to attract 1.6 million spectators to the city's harbourfront, with thousands of visitors already camped out under blue skies early Tuesday to secure a front-row seat.
"We are ready to host the world's best New Year's Eve on the world's most beautiful harbour," Moore told reporters.
There will be a record three fireworks displays at 9pm, 10.30pm and midnight, with Moore promising the spectacle - biodegradable and using recycled water - would be "bigger than ever."
German tourists Lena Winkels and Nine Doerr made certain of a prime waterfront position despite the queues.
"This was the last space in the first row so we were very lucky," she said after getting up at 4am so as not to miss out.