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Say I wanted to be the first to celebrate the New Year: what place or places are the first to cross the into the New Year and how do I get there? I think I remember this may be some South Pacific island or in Australia but not sure.

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For the change of millennium some of the tiny pacific countries tried and maybe succeeded to get the date line rearranged so they could be the first! –  hippietrail Dec 31 '11 at 12:36
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Should point out that the International Date Line doesn't actually move, so no countries 'cross' it as such. However it's now 2012 in New Zealand, party on! –  Mark Mayo Dec 31 '11 at 15:00
    
Are you asking in which places it reaches midnight first? Or are you asking for travel routes that some how cross the international date line? Your question is worded in a confusing way, that makes it sound like either places, or the international date line, move. Of course places are stationary; and so is the international date line. –  Flimzy Jan 1 '12 at 9:38
    
I don't know which places were the first to cross the date line, but Samoa and Tokelau are the most recent places to do so, according to Wikipedia! –  Andrew Grimm Jan 1 '12 at 10:15

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

You can see this in the Wikipedia list or on any map with the International Date Line. The first place to see a new day is the Line Islands, more precisely the part that belongs to Kiribati (formerly known as the Gilbert Islands). The Line Islands are in the UTC+14 timezone, and the rest of the country is in UTC+13. This has been the case since 1995; before that, the country straddled the date line. The Line Islands saw some first-to-new-millennium tourism in 2000.

Since today, 31 December 2011, there is another territory in the UTC+14 timezone: Tokelau, a dependency of New Zealand. Together with the independent country of Samoa (UTC+13), Tokelau skipped 2011-12-30 to move from the western hemisphere to the eastern hemisphere, in order to match weekdays with the other countries in Oceania.

There is one more country at UTC+13: Tonga. Most other Pacific nations are in UTC+10 to UTC+12.

And if you want to be the last to cross the line, there are formally a few places at UTC-12, but they are uninhabited US Minor Outlying Islands. In UTC-11 are more US Minor Outlying Islands, American Samoa and the New Zealand dependency of Niue (as long as it doesn't follow Tokelau's example).

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Of the bigger countries, New Zealand is the first to celebrate New Year. But there are a few island territories that are one hour ahead, namely Samoa and Tokelau

timeanddate.com has a countdown page to New Years

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