by The Telegraph
Sydney put on a spectacular 12-minute pyrotechnic display that drew more than 1.5 million people to the Australian city’s harbourside.
In Beijing thousands of people also watched the city’s first official New Year’s Eve countdown.
Not to be outdone, London made sure the Olympic year was welcomed with a bang in a stunning display that saw fireworks launched from Big Ben at midnight.
In a first for the London’s New Year celebrations, the pyrotechnics were fired from the landmark to coincide with each strike of the bell, marking the start of 2012.
There was a distinctly Olympian theme to the display on the River Thames with fireworks launched over the London Eye in the shape and colours of the Olympic rings.