14 Things to Do in Sydney for the Chinese New Year for Tourists

Sydney goes all-out for Chinese New Year, it’s the world’s largest celebration of the Chinese New Year outside of Asia; so there are tons of things to do in Sydney for Chinese New Year for tourists and locals alike–making it a fun and exciting time to visit the city.

Sydney’s vibrant Lunar New Year celebration features 80 special events across the city. Festivities include dazzling special events, art exhibits, cultural activities, exhilarating shows, spectacular markets, delicious Asian foods, and more.

Festivities include paid events, but most activities are free. See attractions available with your Sydney Explorer Pass. Stroll through charming Chinatown and the –Haymarket. Don’t miss the Asian lanterns and the great Dragon.

When: Friday, February 16th to Sunday, March 4th, 2018.

Save on Admission

Pick up The Sydney Pass and save off combined admission to some of the attractions included in this list vs paying at the gate.

Remember, the Chinese New Year events in Sydney are just a few of many ways to experience the city.

The Sydney Pass gives you the flexibility to create your own itinerary, so you can choose from dozens of top attractions and create a vacation tailored to your interests.

14 Things to Do in Sydney for the Chinese New Year for Tourists

The Lunar New Year celebration is shared by people of many Asian cultures in our Sydney communities. The city of Sydney hosts no less than 80 special events in celebration of this traditional international holiday.

Events across the city include art exhibits, cultural activities, entertainment and delectable Asian holiday foods, making it the world’s largest celebration of the Chinese New Year outside of Asia.

We’ve selected some of the holiday highlights of the fun and interesting 2018 festivities that we’re sure you will enjoy during the Sydney Chinese New Year celebration. These include festivals, free events, paid events, and attractions you can save on with the Sydney Explorer Pass.

1. Sydney Chinese New Year Festival – Chinatown And Haymarket

When: Friday, February 16-Sunday, March 4, 2018

This is the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration main event.

Packed with exciting events, the City of Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival features more than 80 vibrant cultural events, including theatre performances and other entertainment events and Asian art exhibitions.

The festival will also feature colorful markets and an endless array of the world’s most amazing Asian foods and much more. Most activities are free. Don’t miss the mesmerizing lantern spectacles and the exhilarating Dragon Boat Races.

Getting in: See the Sydney Chinese New Year information website for details.

2. Frameshift

When: Friday, February 16 to Sunday, February 18, 2018

Frameshift is a stunning aerial theatre performance, combining unimaginable vertical acrobatics, with contemporary and b-boy (break-dancing and other hip hop styles) dance movements, all enhanced with interactive technology.

The great Korean dance ensembles Drifterzcrew and Creative Dandi perform along scaffolding and use urban building structures as their arena for an incomparable exhibition of dance tricks in a sophisticated set, including a complex combination of aerial and climbing equipment.

Getting in: See show information featured on the city of Sydney website.

3. Harbour Bridge Electric Bike Tour by BlueBananas

Bike the Sydney Harbour Bridge on a Guided Tour

See Sydney’s other side, on a 1.5-hour guided electric bike tour. See parts of Sydney the locals know, that you wouldn’t  see by car, bus tour, or even by foot. Visit Sydney’s beautiful parks, key landmarks, amazing lookout points for views of the city.

Dress comfortably, wear closed-toe shoes, bring a day-pack and a water bottle. Don’t forget your camera.

The tour is recommended for ages 12 and over. (Height requirement 140 cm and a maximum weight of 100 kg.)

Getting in: The Harbour Bridge Electric Bike Tour by BlueBananas is an included attraction choice on the Sydney Explorer Pass.

4. Short and Sweet Theatre Sydney

When: February – April 2018

Short and Sweet is an entertainment extravaganza, featuring an array of ten-minute theatrical performances.

This is the world’s broadest ranging collection of short theatre pieces. Every year, the troupe featuring a staggering 130 plays over an 8-week schedule. This season, performances are at Sydney’s Tom Mann Theatre. just a few minutes walking distance from Central Station, near the Chinese New Year Festival in Chinatown.

Getting in: Visit the organization’s website for more information.

5. Chinatown Night Market

When: Friday, February 9, 2018, and weekly

Chinatown’s Dixon Street in Sydney is alive with colorful market booths selling vibrant electronic toys and much more. Sample the area’s best and widest variety of Asian street foods.

Complete your night in Chinatown at the Dixon Mall, singing karaoke at Dynast. And, eat where the local chefs prefer to dine late, at Golden Century.

Getting in: See Chinatown events at the city of Sydney website.

6. 4A Art and Congee Breakfast Tour

When: Friday, February 16, 2018

The refreshing way to start off your weekend of Lunar New Year festivities is with a traditional Taiwanese congee breakfast and art tour hosted by the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.

Let yourself relax and be guided through Sydney’s historic Chinatown area. Enjoy the Chinatown enclave’s fabulous art exhibits and scrumptious cuisine.

This amazing morning tour features a private tour of the 4A exhibition Equal Area.

Getting in: See the tour management’s website for details of this fun and informative morning event.

7. Blue Mountains Explorer Bus: Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Tour the Blue Mountains on the Hop Off Hop On Bus

Take a brief excursion away from the Lunar New Year holiday festivities with a tour through the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area–one of the top things to do in Sydney.

See Echo Point, Katoomba Falls, the Leura Cascades, Leura Village, and more stunning rural sights. The tour includes the optional shuttle to the dazzling Wentworth Falls.

Take the entire one-hour tour without hopping off, or hop off for as many of the 30 tour stops as you wish. Receive a great orientation to the area’s special points of interest and natural wonders from your expert guide and narrator.

Busses stop every 30 minutes, so you can hop back on quickly to move on to the next destination.

Getting in: the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour tickets are an included attraction choice on the Sydney Explorer Pass.

8. Chinese New Year Dragon Boat Races

When:  Friday, February 9, 2018

Visit Darling Harbor’s Cockle Bay to witness thousands of boats with paddlers competing in more than 100 races, starting every 10 minutes over a two-day race event.

The boats each carry a team of 22 rowers and a drummer pounding out the rowing cadence. The ornate vessels are quite a sight to behold as they cut through the water. The 12-meter long boats are carved into dragon shapes and painted with splendid dragon designs.

Getting in: Find details of this event on the Sydney website this event.

9. Lunar Lanterns

When: Friday, February 16, 2018

This is a hypnotically beautiful display of gigantic animal lanterns representing the symbols of the zodiac lining the harbor at Circular Quay.

Visitors are absorbed in the wonder of these unique designs by one of our great Asian-Australian artists. Some of these striking lanterns are up to ten meters in height.

Tip: The best view of the lanterns is after dark, while they’re lit and can be seen in the fullness of their rich colors.

Getting in: See the city of Sydney website for the page featuring information on this amazing event.

10. Gapu-Monuk Saltwater Exhibit at the Australian National Maritime Museum

Aerial View of Australian National Maritime Museum

The Gapu-Monuk Saltwater Journey to Sea Country exhibition reflects the stunning saga of the northeast Arnhem Land’s indigenous Yolŋu people and their struggle for recognition and sea rights.

The exhibit features Yirrkala Bark Paintings of Sea Country, also called the Saltwater Collection. These historic tree bark paintings were produced by Yolŋu artists and are said to reveal sacred patterns. This exhibit explores how these bark paintings were used in the case for Indigenous sea rights – it’s a fascinating exhibit and a must-see for anyone visiting Australia.

Getting in: Australia National Maritime Museum tickets are an included attraction choice on the Sydney Explorer Pass.

11. Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures

Lookout at the Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventure

Make your way from the festivities to the forest for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you are surrounded by the lush treetops of the Australian rainforest. An elevated steel walkway extends across 500 meters of jungle, at a height of 20-30 meters above the forest floor.

Incomparable views of the landscape are provided at lookout points along the treetop walkway. On clear days, the famous Knights Tower, looming 45 meters above ground, affords visitors a view of the Tasman Sea. Two swaying bridges add to the excitement. (No trees were cut down to create the trail.)

Getting in: Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures tickets are an included attraction choice on the Sydney Explorer Pass.

12. Single Asian Female

When: Friday, February 16 to Sunday, March 25, 2018

This contemporary play exposes Australian domestic life from a fresh and hilarious perspective.

Set on the Sunshine Coast, in a Chinese restaurant, after closing time, the witty family of Wong women tackles issues of cultural identity. This hit show offers an upbeat take on a group of average Asian-Australian women’s look at life comes to Sydney during the Chinese New Year festivities, directly from its run at La Boite.

Getting in: See the city of Sydney’s website page featuring details for this performance.

13. Magistic Cruisemart 2-Hour Harbour Sightseeing Cruise

Magistic Sydney Harbour Cruise complimentary beverage

Temporarily soar away from the new year celebration for a 2-hour sightseeing cruise around Sydney Harbour in a luxury catamaran. Float past Harbour Bridge, Sydney’s world-famous Opera House and many more major attractions.

Enjoy a complimentary glass of bubbles or beer as you take in the unique views of the Sydney skyline only possible to see from the water. Learn about Sydney’s history and culture and waterfront sights from your tour narrator.

Getting in: Magistic Cruisemart 2-Hour Harbour Sightseeing Cruise tickets are an included attraction choice on the Sydney Explorer Pass.

14. The Carriageworks Night Market

When:  Friday, February 9, 2018

Some of the Sydney metro area’s greatest chefs and winemakers come together for an unparalleled evening of dining and drinking that is not to be missed by those who demand the Lunar New Year celebration’s best in Asian delicacies.

Kylie Kwong, Market Curator, has arranged a celebration of traditional native ingredients this year. Expect to enjoy such unique bush foods as quandong, saltbush, karkalla, warrigal greens, desert fruits and more, blended into the most delicious and creative dishes and food preparation demonstrations you will experience anywhere.

Getting in: Go to the Carriageworks website for details on this event.

Don’t Forget to Save

As you’re planning the perfect Chinese New Year in Sydney celebration, don’t forget to look for ways to save on all your adventures. The Sydney Pass can save you up to 45% on combined admission to these and other top Sydney attractions. Pick one up for your next trip!

See details of all attractions and tours that you can enjoy using your Sidney Explorer Pass. Your Explorer pass is the best choice for traveling with the greatest convenience, flexibility, and savings on multi-attraction packages and exciting tours in Sidney and throughout the surrounding region.


The information contained in this post, to the best of the author's knowledge, was accurate at time of publishing. We do our best to ensure and maintain the accuracy of this information.