Summer Sydney is legendary
From the long weekend at the start of October until the lights come on after the last party of the Mardi Gras weekend in March, the city becomes a place of magic, with festivals, shows, celebrations, and long, languid days on the beaches and waterways. Here’s just a taste of what you can do.
Sculptures By The Sea
This started as a unique Sydney experience that has now been exported to Perth and Denmark. Every year the headland walk between Bondi and Tamarama beaches is lined with the most inventive and whimsical sculptures guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and a fresh appreciation of the sculptor’s craft. The show extends to the park on the headland and even down to the sands of Tamarama Beach.
Good Food Month
Good Food Month happens every October. It’s a celebration of food and beverages and everything that surrounds them. Its most visible manifestation is when Sydney’s Hyde Park is taken over by the Night Noodle Markets for two weeks.
There are cooking classes, deals in restaurants, growers’ markets, seminars, special dining events, the ultimate high tea and even a Ramen Rave.
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
If you’re not still partying after Christmas, consider heading harbourside to watch the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. It happens the day after Christmas Day (called Boxing Day in Australia). It is a spectacular sight as yachts of every size up to maxi yachts jostle for position as the starter’s gun fires and they head down the harbour to huge crowds of onlookers on the water and the shore. If you’re lucky the right wind direction will mean that the yachts break out their colourful spinnakers before they leave the Heads for the trip south.
New Year’s Eve
It’s world famous, and when you see it you’ll realise why. One of the most spectacular fireworks displays in the world in one of the most amazing settings – right over Sydney Harbour. Buildings in the city and around the harbour become part of it, and the Harbour Bridge always plays a starring role. It’s one heck of a celebration. One of our favourite places to party is far above the madding crowd at the Celebration NYE event put on by our friends at Points of Difference Events. But there is a multitude of things happening, as you would expect.
Kicking off in the week following New Year’s Eve, the Sydney Festival runs until Australia Day on January 26. It is a huge cultural celebration of art, theatre and ideas. It can feature everything from burlesque and circus to theatre, music and dance. There’s over 360 performances from which to choose. Many are free, and if you’re willing to try your luck you may often be able to grab tickets on the day of performance to events not yet sold out for only $25 at the Tix for Next to Nix booth in Hyde Park in the centre of the city.
There’s also the famous free concerts in The Domain, with huge attendances for Carols in the Domain, the world music of Summer Sounds, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and jazz. As they say in the promotions, Sydney Festival defines Sydney’s personality. Over the years it has featured names Björk, Brian Wilson, Grace Jones, Elvis Costello, Sir Ian McKellen and David Byrne.
Sydney in January
Nothing happens in Sydney in January (well, at least work-wise). That’s because everyone is on holidays, making the most of the long, lazy month when summer Sydney is at its best. Days on the beach, by the pool or on the harbour, long lunches with fresh summer food, balmy evenings enjoying the Festival of Sydney events or just going for a cooling night stroll. We have our favourite secret places to do that. We may tell you if you ask nicely!
There are outdoor cinemas all over the world in summer, including all over Sydney, but perhaps none could rival the spectacular position where the Open Air Cinema is in Sydney. Situated at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair near the First Fleet steps, the view back towards the city, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge will be sure to distract you from the movie. Be there when the big screen rises up from the harbour!
January 26 is the national Australia Day holiday. Again the city and harbour come alive with activities. Two of the more unusual involve racing – firstly the Ferrython, where Sydney’s ferries race each other, and then the Tall Ships have their own event. There’s parades, ceremonies and more fireworks. This year four of the P&O line’s most impressive ships gather together in the harbour, and that in itself will be awe-inspiring.
If you’d like to see it all from the harbour, our partners Gay4Play have a Gay Armada package where you can spend the day on a luxury yacht on the harbour and brunch, lunch, drink and swim while seeing all the activities up close.
Chinese New Year Festival
Sydney has a large population of people from a Chinese background, so naturally Chinese New Year is a big thing in Sydney. Centered around Chinatown and culminating in a big, noisy parade through the city, this festival is full of lots of things to see and do. The celebration of culture happens in 2016 from 6-14 February.
Then as if all that isn’t enough, summer Sydney ends with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. That will be the subject of our next article.
Talk to Planetdwellers and we’ll organise an itinerary for you.