The Pacific islands, New Zealand and Australia have greeted 2012 with much excitement and splendid fireworks.

New Zealand’s Auckland welcomed the New Year at 1 pm Eastern European Time / 12 am CET, while Australia’s Sydney enjoyed tremendous fireworks over the world-famous opera house two hours later.

The New Year’s Eve parties started a whole day early on the South Pacific island nation of Samoa, after a hop across the international date line transported the country 24 hours into the future — making it the first in the world to ring in the new year, the Time magazine reported.