New Year’s Eve is of course a special time, and you want to celebrate the strike of midnight in a special place. But where is that place? If you’re looking for somewhere cool to pop your champers and kiss complete strangers, here’s some of the top new year’s destinations to do it in.
New Zealand is, time-wise, one of the first places on earth that new year hits. So if you’re really quick, and have a private jet, you could have several midnights all over the world in one go. But seeing as Gisborne has a beach, organised parties with top DJs, live music, and a vineyard at the ‘Rhythm and Vines’ festival, why would you want to go anywhere else?
New Year is so special in Edinburgh that the Scottish had to rename the entire thing. ‘Hogmanay’ in Scotland is so famous that english tv stations insist on a live broadcast from Edinburgh castle every year, with leaping kilted men and bagpipes. There’s street parties, a classical concert on the Royal Mile, and this year, the Pet Shop Boys are playing live.
Enjoy the firework display and a wee dram, and on new year’s day itself take part in the ‘Loony Dook’ where charity-fundraising nutters take a plunge into the freezing River Forth. Bring your waterproof thermal underwear.
Canadians are so nice. With the spectacular Niagara Falls as a backdrop they put on, not just one, but two firework displays. One is at 8.45pm for those who are so excited they can’t wait until midnight, and they don’t just stop there either. Every year at the fall’s Queen Victoria Park there’s a free outdoor concert. Last year Nelly Furtado played there for crikey’s sake, and if it’s good enough for Nelly..
If you walk to the beat of your own drum, and despair of the widespread commercial new year shenanigans then maybe the Peruvian world heritage site of Machu Picchu is for you. Tour the Sacred Valley on new years eve, drop off clothing and food gifts to the local charity project, and celebrate at midnight on the banks of the Vilcanota River, with a shamen offering a blessing to the Pachamama (mother earth).
That surely beats queueing for two freezing hours to get into an overpriced club, and paying a miserable taxi driver twice the usual amount to take you home at 3.30am.
The Irish know how to party. Of course they do. They’ve very successfully exported their own patron saint’s day as far afield as America. March 17th every year, a huge amount of people across the globe become Irish for the day, wear green comedy hats, and drink copious amounts of Guinness. The Irish have even got their own special word for having a good time.. ‘the craic’.
So you know your new year is in good hands anywhere in this country, whether you’re in the street, a local pub, or a cupboard. There’s a ‘Procession of Light’ through the streets of Dublin, entertainers, live acts, fireworks, and above all, Guinness and Irish people. Head for the bars around Merrion Square or Grafton Street.
Serendipity Beach, Sihanoukville, Cambodia. From your vantage point along this stretch of beach bars you can watch the happy revellers stood out on neighbouring Ochheuteal Beach letting off their hand-held fireworks, which start getting set off even before it goes dark. By the time midnight comes about, the sky over Ochheuteal Beach is a canopy of white flare rockets. Team that with the very affordable local beer, some good music, and beautiful warm weather, you have a magical celebration.
The Khmers love a new year that much, that they have three annually. The western one on 31st December, the Chinese one in January/February, and the Khmer one in April that carries on over 4 days. Those crazy new-year-loving Cambodians!
New York has been the set for so many Hollywood films you may feel like you’ve already done it. But surely a ‘bucket-list new year’ is to do it in Times Square. Americans have been dropping the ball over Times Square since 1907, and have really nailed it as far as globally reknowned new year traditions go.
It’s possible to purchase a ‘Balldrop Pass’ which allows you to queue-jump into a number of Times Square party venues all through the night. Travel agent’s tailor-made New York-New Year packages are plentiful if you are looking to join the estimated one million other partying spectators. Be there, or be Times Square.
London’s Trafalgar Square on a new year is where the traditional British ‘stiff upper lip’ gets decidedly unstiffened. If you’re not cold enough already, why not throw yourself in the fountain pool, and have a nice policeman help you off one of the four large marble lion statues at the foot of Nelson’s Column.
A short distance away on the banks of the River Thames is an amazing firework display set to music. If you’d like to do it in style get a ticket for one of the swanky riverside bar/restuarant/clubs, like the London Sky Bar.
It’s not unheard of for vomit to play it’s disgusting part in new year’s festivities, but not normally because of ‘mountain sickness’.
What could be cooler than cracking out the party poppers on the ‘roof of Africa’, the summit of Kilimangiro? It might take you a week, it’s dangerous, you might not even make it to the top, but it will no doubt be a life-affirming experience.
You also get to impress friends and family, raise money for charity, and extensively brag about it, into the bargain.
Unfortunately, a vast majority of us are having to tighten the purse-strings in these frugal times. So if the extortionate ticket price, admission charge, or air fare, is preventing you from going ‘somewhere special’ for your new year, then bring that ‘somewhere special’ to you.
Crack out your glittery frock/best dancing trousers, stock up on party poppers, silly string, silly hats, booze and music, and send the invites out. It’s cheap, it’s fun, and if you ‘over-do it’ you can even go for a lay down until it passes.
Why not make your own living room your favourite new year destination instead!