New Zealand was one of the first countries to hear the bells, with fireworks erupting from the top of Auckland’s Sky Tower at 11am UK time.
In Australia a phenomenal display over Sydney Harbour Bridge was preceded by a clip of the Queen opening the Opera House 40 years ago.
The colossal array of fireworks burst into life – at one point forming love hearts – to a soundtrack including drum and bass and classical music.
Crowds could be heard giving an Aussie cheer from miles away at 1pm UK time.
Japan celebrated two hours later with thousands praying, ringing bells and tossing coins at shrines, wishing for health, wealth and happiness.
But the world’s most lavish efforts paled in comparison with Dubai, which is expected to claim the record for the biggest ever fireworks show.