January is the perfect time to be in Sydney. The weather is great (most of the time), and the locals are on their summer holidays, which means the vibrant city is packed with activities, workshops, and family-friendly entertainment. While the kids might not be sick of the beach and Luna Park, don’t miss the chance to expose them to some less common, stimulating entertainment.
The Australian Wildlife Show (January 15th). Australia is known for having some of the most unique wildlife in the world, but they can be a bit hard to spot! Give your kids (and yourself, why not!) the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the unusual animals that call Australia home - get some memorable photos while you’re at it. If you prefer your animals a little less realistic, head down to Vaucluse House for The Jungle Book: The Next Chapter (January 10th - 27th). The interactive show is set several years later, with all the favourite characters from Jungle Book reuniting to embark on some fresh adventures.
If your kids are all about things that go bump in the night, The Howling might be just the ticket. You can choose between the 4-day Short Film Course (January 14th-17th, or 21st -24th), or a single day Scream Class (January 18th or 25th). The course covers scriptwriting, acting, editing, and filming, while the scream class provides tips and tricks from professional thriller actors - including how to handle big emotional scenes, and audition techniques.
Of course, you might prefer something a little more lighthearted. In which case, you might prefer to check out So Frenchy So Chic (January 19th). This year’s lineup is packed with fabulous female artists, and there will, of course, be wine and cheese available. There’ll be plenty of entertainment for the kids, including face painting, drumming classes, lawn games, and bubble artists - and children under 12 enter free.
- Liv Steigrad for Ruby’s Residences.
If you’re going to be in Sydney during January, it’s absolutely essential you check out Sydney Festival. Sydney Festival first ran back in 1977, and has since then developed into a diverse showcase of the incredible local (and international) talent.
The festival will run from January 9th - 27th 2019, and features a little bit of everything; from contemporary music and theatre, free workshops and art installations, comedy, cabaret, and more. This year, the festival honours the 50th anniversary since the moon landing with an underlying lunar theme.
Check out our top picks, and remember to plan ahead - you don’t want to miss out!
There’s a whole lot of family-friendly fun on. Head over to Prince Alfred Square to check out Heliosphere - an aerialist suspended from a giant helium balloon 20 metres above the audience. If you prefer something that’ll help burn some of the kids’ energy, Moon Drops (below) should definitely be on your list. The free, interactive art installation is basically giant water droplets for the kids (and you) to jump and bounce around on - allowing you to feel the weightlessness of zero gravity. There are also flying trapeze workshops and Aerialize workshops for kids as young as 4, including an accessible workshop for kids with disability.
There’s plenty for the adults too. Allow Marcia Hines to transport you to a glamorous Parisian neighbourhood with Pigalle, or lose yourself in South African songstress Nakhane’s emotive, fragile vocals. Carriageworks is also hosting Nick Cave’s immersive installation Nick Cave: Until Later, with various musicians and DJs bringing it to life after hours.
It’s not hard to find ways to pass the time in Sydney in Summer. But what about on Christmas Day? Some things are open, some are closed, some are only open specific times. Christmas Day in Sydney should be relaxing and fun- and with a little planning, it will be.
Of course, there’s the classic option: spend the day at the beach. Grab all the supplies you’ll need beforehand, grill some seafood at home, have a refreshing ocean swim, then head home to enjoy a glass of rosé.
If you’d rather not cook, why not go for a Yum Cha experience in Chinatown - take advantage of it being less crowded than usual. Palace Chinese Restaurant is open from 10:30, and Marigold will be open from 10am.
If you prefer some more Western food, the Sofitel in Darling Harbour hosts sumptuous Christmas day buffet lunches and dinners, and The Sailmaker at Hyatt Regency will have live carving stations and a special visit from Santa.
Public transport will be running all day- why not take the ferry over to Barangaroo and enjoy a modern Turkish lunch at Anason? You’ll also be able to grab a drink at vegan bar and restaurant Alibi in Woolloomooloo, or The Bavarian in Bondi if you prefer not to wander too far from the beach.
You might be content spending your days laying on the beach and sipping on cocktails, but chances are the kids will want a little more action over their holiday.
There are plenty of family-friendly activities available, so read on and get planning!
Christmas Wonderland at Sydney Showground
If you fancy getting the kids out of the hot sun for a day, why not check out the Christmas Wonderland at Sydney Showground? Earlybird tickets are $24 (or $40 afterwards- kids under 3 enter free) and include a 3-hour session with access to a variety of carnival rides, unlimited ice skating, and an Enchanted Christmas Village. Calm down after all the excitement with some relaxing crafts at the Santa’s Workshop, before heading over to catch the unforgettable penguin’s parade.
Christmas Lights At St Mary’s Cathedral
Sydney loves putting on a light show. This one is on every evening from December 5th through December 25th (including Christmas Day) and kicks off with choirs at 7:30 pm. At 8:30, when it’s good and dark, the light show kicks off. First, the grand face of St Mary’s Cathedral will transform into a Christmas-themed kaleidoscope. Next, there’ll be a heartwarming story written and narrated by actor Simon Pryce. Finally, the visuals will shift into more traditional Christmas imagery.
Bar Coco will be providing sweet treats and coffee, but you’re also welcome to bring along your own picnic for the evening (no alcohol allowed).
If you loved that, you can also check out the Christmas Tree in Martin Place. There’ll be choirs from 6 pm - 8 pm and the light show is on the hour every hour from 6pm til midnight (no music though). Satisfy your sweet tooth at the GPO Grand’s Dessert Bar.
The Grounds x Disney's The Nutcracker Christmas
The Grounds Of Alexandra always go the extra mile, and this Christmas is no different. They’ve partnered with Disney to transform their lush venue into a Christmas wonderland complete with artificial snow and Santa. Their laneways have been transformed into the Lands of Snowflakes, Flowers, and Sweets, and some of their special events include dinner table styling, cake decorating masterclasses, and a whole range for the kids including cookie decorating and honey making!
Do you like the idea of a Summery festive season, or are you a fan of the traditional White Christmas?
- Liv Steigrad for Ruby’s Residences.
Liv- Tender L Creative and Deb - a long term resident of Sydney.