Sydney Festivals and Events

australian festivals

Sydney Festivals and Events

There are many Sydney Festivals worthy of a visit. No stay in our city is complete without taking part in some of the major events that happen in the city.

Australia Day

Australia celebrates Australia Day on January 26 every year with a packed harbour and ferry races. Beaches around our city are full of swimmers, surfers and sunbathers. Parks fill with people barbecuing and picnicking. Backyard parties abound often around a barbeque and people celebrate. It is the Sydney event that celebrates Australia for all Australians.

Chinese New Year

Due to our city’s large Chinese population, Chinese New Year is now one of the most popular outside of China. Within the greater city limits there are about 6 suburbs where one can visit and just speak Chinese. Thus, dragon boat races, lion dances, Chinese lanterns, statues of the Chinese zodiac all come alive during this event. Whilst the main celebrations focus around China Town in the city’s centre they are also in many other non-Chinese related areas such as Darling Harbour and Circular Quay.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Festival

The Gay and Lesbian Festival closes down the city for a day every February. Gender confusion abounds in this very colourful festival. Moreover, people come from around the world to experience it. The festival completely takes over Oxford St and as it finishes, takes over the whole city.

Royal Easter Show

The Royal Easter show started out as an agricultural show. Whilst it is still an agricultural show, it is much much more. The show has rides to thrill any age group, shows that include motorcycle and car trick driving and of course fireworks. Retail brand names show off their wares and kids queue up to buy their favourite showbags. It is indeed a centrepiece show of our city. It is the largest of the Sydney festivals for the year.

Anzac Day

In April, the country celebrates Anzac Day to commemorate the contribution that the ANZACs made to the country. It is celebrated with street parades and by playing “Two Up”. Two up is a gambling game whereby people bet on heads or tails, once played on the fields of battle. Moreover, it is legal for this one day of the year and can be seen in certain pubs and clubs around the country.

Australian Fashion Week

Fashion Week is a week where retail buyers come to buy forthcoming spring/summer collections directly from designers and manufacturers. It is an opportunity for new and upcoming designers to get noticed. It is a big event and draws in people from all around the world.


Vivid is an annual celebration of light and music that takes place in May. It includes large sometimes interactive outdoor light installations and projections, musical performances. Furthermore, it offers creativity, innovation and technology, transforming the city for 23 days and nights. It melds art, innovation and technology in collaboration with boundary-pushing artists, thinkers and musicians to bring together a wonderful display of light and music. It is fast becoming one of the more attended of the Sydney festivals.

Cherry Blossom Festival

In August every year, Cherry Blossom Festival brings to life the Auburn Botanical Gardens with beautiful hues of white, pink and red. The gardens, apart from the Cherry Blossom trees, the Japanese food and Japanese shows, have a small section of Australian animals.

Manly Jazz Festival

The Manly Jazz Festival takes over Manly for the October long weekend each year. It is Australia’s longest running jazz festival. Jazz performers come from far and wide to perform at various temporary stages and on the street. The atmosphere comes alive with jazz music in every corner.

Sculptures by the Sea

Sculptures by the Sea is an event to showcase sculptures that are displayed outdoors between Coogee and Bondi Beach every October. Sculpture by the Sea is an annual event at the Bondi to Tamarama Beach coastal walk. It is the world’s largest free to the public sculpture exhibition. The spectacular coastal walk is transformed into a 2km long sculpture park over three weeks featuring 100 sculptures by artists from Australia and across the world.

Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

Every December, our harbour comes alive as the annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race takes place. In rough weather, boats and lives are lost. However, this is what also makes for race celebrations. It is a difficult race and under bad weather, a number of boats and lives are often lost. A regatta of small boats swarm the harbour to see off our adventurer sailors and wish them well on this difficult race.

NYE Fireworks

With fireworks that rival those in every major city in the world, our city’s show is a world class event. People fill every conceivable part of the shoreline and boats fill the harbour to experience this once a year event. Space around the shoreline is at a premium and people come to claim their small area of turf sometimes a day or more in advance.

Other Australian Festivals and Events not in Sydney

  • Australian Tennis Open
  • Elvis Festival
  • Summernats
  • Tamworth Country Music Festival
  • Adelaide Fringe Festival
  • Australian Grand Prix
  • Byron Bay Bluesfest
  • Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
  • Moomba Festival March
  • Melbourne Comedy Festival
  • Rip Curl Pro Surfing
  • Lions International Camel Cup
  • Darwin Beer Can Regatta
  • Henly-On-Todd Regatta
  • Birdsville Races
  • Melbourne Cup
  • Floriade

Other Links

You may also be interested in the following links:

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Television (Australian)

Musicians (Australian)

Australian Slang

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