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.
- 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.
- Samoa (an independent country) and Tokelau (a dependency of New Zealand), since 2012. Together with Samoa, 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. Tokelau moved from UTC-10 to UTC+14. Samoa moved from UTC-11 to UTC+13 and introduced daylight savings time at that point, so on the new year (which falls during the summer) it is at UTC+14.
- Tonga, since 2017. The base timezone of Tonga is UTC+13, but Tonga introduced DST in 2016.
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).