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: 1 - 10 February
- Price: $
Sydney Chinese New Year highlights
Things to do during Chinese New Year
Explore the Lunar Lanterns and discover your birth sign. A spectacular new Pig lantern by Qian Jian Hua will light up the western boardwalk of the Sydney Opera House. Go for a walk around the foreshore to see the 12 other spectacular lanterns that light up Circular Quay. Back by popular demand, the spiral pigs lantern from 2018 will return to the Overseas Passenger Terminal near The Rocks. There are some other new critters to discover this year, including a tower of monkeys, an ox and a flock of electric sheep.
Have a Lunar Festival feast
The Lunar New Year calls for a feast. Eat noodles for longevity, dumplings for wealth and dessert for a sweet year. There are heaps of delicious foodie events to whet your appetite. You might also like to check out a local’s guide to Chinatown for more hot tips about where to eat.
Community performance program
Catch community performances from a wide range of community groups including K-Pop, Japanese drumming, and Chinese, Thai, Indonesian, Korean and Vietnamese dancers. They’ll take to the outdoor stage near the Overseas Passenger Terminal with traditional and contemporary performances.
Dragon Boat Races
Grab a spot harbourside and watch the biggest Dragon Boat Races in the southern hemisphere.
LED Lion Dances
Head to the harbour for lion dances with a sparkling difference. Catch an electrifying lion and dragon dance performance as performers decorated with LEDs light up Circular Quay foreshore.
Pop-up beach by Surf Lifesaving NSW
Why head to the beach when the beach can come to you? Head to First Fleet Park in The Rocks to enjoy the pop-up beach by our charity partner Surf Lifesaving NSW. It’ll be a buzzing with activity, full of volunteer surf lifesavers, games, activities, prizes, a blow up ball pit and loads of giveaways. There will also be beach chairs and umbrellas for those looking for a place to relax.
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.
How to get there
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.