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Fill up on delicious cuisine at an innovative pop-up food festival or fine dining restaurant, or watch a giant dragon boat race on the harbour, as Sydney celebrates Chinese New Year in style.

By Ellie Schneider  

Sydney is home to the largest Lunar New Year festival outside of Asia. Over the course of two weeks, more than 80 events feature in the city, entertaining more than 600,000 people. Festivities are scattered around Sydney, from Chinatown and Darling Harbour in the centre, to the northern suburb of Chatswood, and Cabramatta in Sydney’s south west. Here are the highlights.


  • Where: Sydney
  • When: 16 February - 4 March 2018
  • Price: $

Sydney Chinese New Year highlights


See the largest dragon boat racing competition

The tradition of dragon boat racing is more than 2,000 years old, and this is the biggest dragon boat race regatta in the Southern Hemisphere, with more than 3,000 paddlers racing in ornate vessels to the pounding of drums. The two day regatta includes more than 100 races, running every ten minutes, and brings together sports clubs, charities and corporate teams. Take in all the action from the 90 metre (295 foot) viewing pontoon at Cockle Bay Wharf in Darling Harbour.

Dine at top sydney restaurants

More than 40 Sydney restaurants will offer set menus as part of the City of Sydney’s Lunar eats. The program caters to all tastes and price points, from quick snacks (such as sushi and ramen) to decadent Chinese New Year-inspired banquets.  

Admire the Lunar Lanterns

Around Circular Quay you'll find 12 giant animal lanterns from the zodiac, illuminiating a path from The Rocks to the Sydney Opera House. They measure an impressive 13 metres high, and will be exhibited from 16 to 25 February. 2018 is the year of the Dog (Song Ling), representing honesty and loyalty, so be sure to check out the vibrant sculpture at the Opera House.  

Kensington Street Lunar New Year party 

Chippendale's creative and dining precinct, Kensington street, is hosting a party to celebrate the year of the dog on February 17. In partnership with Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, the street will come alive with food and wine stalls, yoga classes and music that you and even your pooch will enjoy. 


Your Chinese New Year celebrations would not be complete without a visit to the picturesque Chinese Garden of Friendship at Darling Harbour. The garden recreates the harmony of a traditional Chinese garden, with waterfalls, exotic plants and hidden pathways, as well as a teahouse serving Chinese tea and dim sum. The garden was built as a symbol of friendship between Sydney and Guangzhou in the province of Guangdong, China.


The main festivities occur in the city centre, which is easily reached via public transport. Catch the train to Town Hall station, which is a 10 minute walk to Darling Harbour or 15 minute walk to Pyrmont Bay Park. Central Station is a five minute walk to Chinatown.