Happy new year, friends! By now, everyone has rung in 2018 all around the world, with spectacular fireworks displays from the usual suspects in Sydney and London being captured on phones by millions of spectators never to be looked at again, and with Dubai showing everyone up by opting for a nek-level LED light show from the 828-metre Burj Khalifa, AKA the world’s tallest building.
People celebrated everywhere from log cabins secluded in the mountains to surge-priced 5-star hotel suites with the best view of the city fireworks, as well as from sweaty bars full of people anxiously looking around each other assessing the material at hand for the ever-elusive New Year's kiss. The last ones to yell "HAPPY NEW YEAR" at each other were people in Hawaii and a few small outlying US islands, almost a full 24 hours after the very first countdowns to 2018 that took place in Tonga and New Zealand.
And speaking of which, one group of friends from New Zealand have made headlines after their crafty efforts to have a good time on the last night of 2017. Rather than opting to watch the fireworks from Auckland's Sky Tower in the city, this group celebrated on the coast to party at the beach, as most Kiwis do seeing as it's summer and all over there right now.
Their dream was to get veritably hammered while gazing out across the water and feeling the sand between their toes, seagulls squawking endearingly overhead. Doesn't sound too shabby, does it? Well, unfortunately for them, some very inconvenient alcohol bans in the seaside town of Coromandel in New Zealand's North Island put a halt to their plans. But only momentarily...
Determined to sink their cans with waves lapping at their feet, the group needed to get creative to dodge the ban put in place each year over the New Year period, which restricts alcohol in public places, including beaches. A holidaymaker in the area told Stuff that he saw the small group start their mission early, heading to the Tairua Estuary at low tide on Sunday early in the afternoon.
They started building what looked like a sandcastle at first, until it grew bigger and bigger and they eventually plonked a big wooden picnic table and what was described as a "chilly bin" – pronounced "chully bun" and translated as a cooler box – on top, and it became apparent that they'd intentionally gone to build their very own island.
The tide went out and the group settled on their little island haven, cracking open beers to quench their hard-earned thirst and start the celebrations for the New Year. They told onlookers that they were in "international waters", rendering themselves safe from the liquor ban. Take a look at their handiwork here:
Local police official inspector John Kelly told Stuff that authorities didn't know of the makeshift island-goers, which explains their undisturbed party that saw them drink into the night and watch the fireworks from their little table. But even if police did know about it, it seems they wouldn't have punished the punters' ingenuity.
"That’s creative thinking,” an obviously impressed Kelly said. "If I had known that I probably would have joined them."
Well, I know where I'm heading for New Year's next year.