New Year's Eve celebrations are well under way having kicked off on the other side of the world, with revellers in Australia and New Zealand the first to welcome in 2013.

Thousands of people thronged the streets in Sydney, Australia, to see singer and actress Kylie Monogue set off the city's famous firework display over the iconic Harbour Bridge as midnight struck.

Some 1.5 million people were predicted to watch the fireworks in Sydney, and an estimated one billion people around the world.

The Sydney extravaganza was preceded by an impressive fireworks display from Auckland in New Zealand. Crowds thronged the city cetnre to watch the event at the city''s Sky Tower.

new year celebrations

Spectators watch as fireworks light the Quezon Memorial Circle in Manila, Philippines

The revelry in Australia was soon followed by events in Hong Kong, where AFP reported 100,00 people watched an eight-minute display around Victoria Harbour. Firework shows also took place in Beijing and Shanghai.

For the first time under military rule, Burma enjoyed new year's celebrations with fireworks in the former capital Rangoon, while footage from North Korea showed public celebrations in the capital, Pyongyang.

However, celebrations were muted in India following the death of a woman who was gang-raped earlier this month.

Clubs, politicians and the armed forces called off celebations as a mark of respect for the 23-year-old, who died on Saturday, two weeks after the attack on a bus in Delhi.

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated New Year's Eve vespers by voicing solidarity with the poor and calling on believers to pause to reflect from time to time despite busy lives, AFP reported.

"We have to know how to stop and think. This way our soul can find healing for the inevitable wounds of everyday life," he said.

In spite of the scenes of blue skies, beaches and hot weather, the best place to celebrate New Year's Eve is not the land down under, according to a survey.

Social networking site Badoo.com found most people would like to see out the end of the year with Brazilians, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

In the capital, crowds have been steadily growing in anticipation of the fireworks display centred around the London Eye.

However, the celebrations were marred by the death of a Spanish tourist earlier in the day.

The 48-year-old woman, her daughter and son were all hit by a bus on Sunday afternoon and taken to hospital where she died on Monday, police said.

Her daughter, 18, remains in a serious but stable condition, and her son, 11, is in a stable condition.

The woman's husband was with them at the time of the incident but was uninjured.

Up to 250,000 people are expected along the banks of the Thames to watch the fireworks display organised by Mayor Boris Johnson, which is regarded as one of the highlights of the year in the city. Millions more will watch it on television across the UK and overseas.

Mr Johnson said: "From the Diamond Jubilee to that huge collection of Team GB medals, 2012 has quite literally glimmered with excitement and enthusiasm.

"A fantastic mood of community has percolated the entire population of our city and beyond.

"We are going to make sure we use the success of this year to deliver more jobs, more homes and more regeneration for London and build on that fantastic sense of togetherness and community to ensure a real volunteering legacy. It's been a wonderful year, but believe me, 2013 is going to be every bit as exciting."

A few hours before the UK's festivities, there were incredible scenes from Dubai where the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, was the centrepiece of a stunning fireworks display accompanied by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

Click below to see how people around the globe are bringing in the new year, or send in pictures of your celebrations to ukpicturedesk@huffingtonpost.com.

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  • North Koreans visit giant statues of their late leaders Kim Il Sung, left, and Kim Jong Il at Mansu Hill as they celebrate the New Year in Pyongyang, North Korea, early Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday called for improving the economy and living standards of his impoverished nation with the same urgency that scientists showed in successfully testing a long-range rocket recently. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE

  • A North Korean family has their photo taken in front of fireworks as they celebrate the new year on Tuesday Jan. 1, 2013. North Koreans celebrated the arrival of the new year, marked as “Juche 102” on North Korean calendars. “Juche” means “self reliance,” the North Korean ideology of independence promoted by North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, and modern-day North Korean calendars start with the year of his birth in 1912. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

  • Fireworks explode in the sky to celebrate the New Year at Imjingak in Paju near the border village of the Panmunjom, South Korea, Tuesday, Jan 1, 2013. About 5,000 participents prayed for a peaceful solution to the rising tension over North Korea's nuclear weapons programs and hope for an early reunification of the divided Koreas.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon).

  • South Korean dancers beat drums to celebrate the New Year at Imjingak in Paju near the border village of the Panmunjom, South Korea, Tuesday, Jan 1, 2013. About 5,000 participantss prayed for a peaceful solution to the rising tension over North Korea's nuclear weapons programs and hope for an early reunification of the divided Koreas.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon).

  • People gather to celebrate the New Year at Imjingak in Paju near the border village of the Panmunjom, South Korea, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. About 5,000 participents prayed for a peaceful solution to the rising tension over North Korea's nuclear weapons programs and hope for an early reunification of the divided Koreas.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon).

  • Fireworks explode over Kim Il Sung Square in celebration of the New Year in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday called for improving the economy and living standards of his impoverished nation with the same urgency that scientists showed in successfully testing a long-range rocket recently. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE

  • Fireworks explode over Kim Il Sung Square in celebration of the New Year in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday called for improving the economy and living standards of his impoverished nation with the same urgency that scientists showed in successfully testing a long-range rocket recently. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE

  • Fireworks explode over Kim Il Sung Square in celebration of the New Year in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday called for improving the economy and living standards of his impoverished nation with the same urgency that scientists showed in successfully testing a long-range rocket recently. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE

  • New Year celebrations

    Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle as part of the new year 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland.

  • New Year celebrations

    Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle as part of the new year 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland.

  • New Year celebrations

    Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle as part of the new year 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland.

  • New Year celebrations

    Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle as part of the new year 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland.

  • New Year celebrations

    Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle as part of the new year 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland.

  • New Year celebrations

    Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle as part of the new year 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland.

  • New Year celebrations

    Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle as part of the new year 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland.

  • New Year celebrations

    (left to right) Nadine Pober, Flora Baker, Kirsten Alana and Amanda Williams ahead of bringing in the new year during the 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland.

  • New Year celebrations

    Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle as part of the new year 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland.

  • New Year celebrations

    Party-goers on Princes Street in Edinburgh during part of the new year 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland.

  • New Year celebrations

    Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle as part of the new year 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland.

  • New Year celebrations

    Fireworks mark the new year during the 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland.

  • New Year celebrations

    Fireworks mark the new year during the 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland.

  • New Year celebrations

    Fireworks mark the new year during the 2013 Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland.

  • GERMANY-NEWYEAR-2013

    Fireworks erupt over on the Elbe river in Dresden, eastern Germany on January 1, 2013 during the New Year's celebrations. AFP PHOTO / ROBERT MICHAEL (Photo credit should read ROBERT MICHAEL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LITHUANIA-NEW YEAR

    Fireworks light the sky above the Cathedral square in Vilnius during the New Year celebrations on January 1, 2013. AFP PHOTO / Petras MALUKAS (Photo credit should read PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LITHUANIA-NEW YEAR

    Fireworks light the sky above the Cathedral square in Vilnius during the New Year celebrations on January 1, 2013. AFP PHOTO / Petras MALUKAS (Photo credit should read PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • LITHUANIA-NEW YEAR

    Fireworks light the sky above the Cathedral square in Vilnius during the New Year celebrations on January 1, 2013. AFP PHOTO / Petras MALUKAS (Photo credit should read PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UAE - NEW YEAR

    Revelers watch fireworks over Burj Khalifa in Dubai on January 1, 2013. Thousands of people gathered to celebrate the New Year at midnight. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UAE - NEW YEAR

    Revelers watch fireworks over Burj Khalifa in Dubai on January 1, 2013. Thousands of people gathered to celebrate the New Year at midnight. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UAE - NEW YEAR

    Revelers watch fireworks over Burj Khalifa in Dubai on January 1, 2013. Thousands of people gathered to celebrate the New Year at midnight. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UAE - NEW YEAR

    Revelers watch fireworks over Burj Khalifa in Dubai on January 1, 2013. Thousands of people gathered to celebrate the New Year at midnight. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UAE - NEW YEAR

    Revelers watch fireworks over Burj Khalifa in Dubai on January 1, 2013. Thousands of people gathered to celebrate the New Year at midnight. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

  • GERMANY-NEW-YEAR-FIREWORKS

    Fireworks light up the Dom church on the Rhine river in Cologne , western Germany just after midnight on January 1, 2013. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • GERMANY-NEW-YEAR-FIREWORKS

    Fireworks light up the Dom church on the Rhine river in Cologne , western Germany just after midnight on January 1, 2013. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • GERMANY-NEW-YEAR-FIREWORKS

    Fireworks light up the Dom church on the Rhine river in Cologne , western Germany just after midnight on January 1, 2013. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • GERMANY-NEW-YEAR-FIREWORKS

    Fireworks light up the Dom church on the Rhine river in Cologne , western Germany just after midnight on January 1, 2013. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • GERMANY-NEW-YEAR-FIREWORKS

    Fireworks light up the Dom church on the Rhine river in Cologne , western Germany just after midnight on January 1, 2013. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • ITALY-NEW YEAR

    Fireworks light up the ancient Colisseum in central Rome's via dei Fori just after midnight on January 1, 2013. World cities from Sydney to Dubai rang in the New Year with a spectacular global wave of firework displays. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • GERMANY-NEWYEAR-2013-BRANDENBURG GATE

    Fireworks erupt over the Brandenburg Gate on January 1, 2013 in Berlin as part of the New Year's celebrations. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • GERMANY-NEWYEAR-2013

    Fireworks light up the Dom church on the Rhine river in Cologne , western Germany just after midnight on January 1, 2013 as part of the New Year's celebrations. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • GERMANY-NEWYEAR-2013-BRANDENBURG GATE

    Fireworks erupt over the Brandenburg Gate on January 1, 2013 in Berlin as part of the New Year's celebrations. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • GERMANY-NEWYEAR-2013-BRANDENBURG GATE

    Fireworks erupt over the Brandenburg Gate on January 1, 2013 in Berlin as part of the New Year's celebrations. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • ITALY-NEW YEAR

    Fireworks light up the ancient Colisseum in central Rome's via dei Fori just after midnight on January 1, 2013. World cities from Sydney to Dubai rang in the New Year with a spectacular global wave of firework displays. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • PORTUGAL-NEW YEAR

    A reveller gives a thumbs up as he watches the fireworks above Funchal Bay, Madeira Island, to celebrate the arrival of the New Year on January 1, 2013. World cities from Sydney to Dubai rang in the New Year with a spectacular global wave of firework displays. AFP PHOTO / GREGORIO CUNHA (Photo credit should read GREGORIO CUNHA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • ITALY-NEW YEAR

    Fireworks light up the ancient Colisseum in central Rome's via dei Fori just after midnight on January 1, 2013. World cities from Sydney to Dubai rang in the New Year with a spectacular global wave of firework displays. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • PORTUGAL-NEW YEAR

    Fireworks light up the sky above Funchal Bay, Madeira Island, to celebrate the arrival of the New Year on January 1, 2013. World cities from Sydney to Dubai rang in the New Year with a spectacular global wave of firework displays. AFP PHOTO / GREGORIO CUNHA (Photo credit should read GREGORIO CUNHA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • PHILIPPINES-NEW YEAR

    A man sets off fireworks to usher in New Year's Day in Manila early on January 1, 2013. In the capital Manila, authorities had been bracing for the annual rush of injuries as families celebrated with do-it-yourself firework displays and shot celebratory bullets into the air. AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • PHILIPPINES-NEW YEAR

    A man prepares to set off firecrackers to usher in New Year's Day in Manila early on January 1, 2013. In the capital Manila, authorities had been bracing for the annual rush of injuries as families celebrated with do-it-yourself firework displays and shot celebratory bullets into the air. AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • PAKISTAN-NEW YEAR

    Thousands of Pakistanis watch fireworks at Clifton beach in Karachi to celebrate the New Year early on January 1, 2013. World cities from Sydney and Hong Kong to Dubai and London rang in the New Year with spectacular fireworks, as revelers at Times Square in New York sought to top off the global extravaganza. AFP PHOTO / Asif HASSAN (Photo credit should read ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • PORTUGAL-NEW YEAR

    Fireworks light up the sky above Funchal Bay, Madeira Island, to celebrate the arrival of the New Year on January 1, 2013. World cities from Sydney to Dubai rang in the New Year with a spectacular global wave of firework displays. AFP PHOTO / GREGORIO CUNHA (Photo credit should read GREGORIO CUNHA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • PAKISTAN-NEW YEAR

    Thousands of Pakistanis watch fireworks at Clifton beach in Karachi to celebrate the New Year early on January 1, 2013. World cities from Sydney and Hong Kong to Dubai and London rang in the New Year with spectacular fireworks, as revelers at Times Square in New York sought to top off the global extravaganza. AFP PHOTO / Asif HASSAN (Photo credit should read ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • PAKISTAN-NEW YEAR

    Thousands of Pakistanis watch fireworks at Clifton beach in Karachi to celebrate the New Year early on January 1, 2013. World cities from Sydney and Hong Kong to Dubai and London rang in the New Year with spectacular fireworks, as revelers at Times Square in New York sought to top off the global extravaganza. AFP PHOTO / Asif HASSAN (Photo credit should read ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)