Chinese New year is the biggest annual celebration in China, where millions of people make the trip back to their hometown to spend the new year with their families. In China, this is usually celebrated with large family banquets, followed by chatting and gathering together to watch the evening gala show, and fireworks and firecrackers although these are less used now due to their polluting nature.
Outside of Asia, Sydney has the largest Chinese New Year celebrations. Chinese New Year can occur on any date between end of January to end of February.
This year, starting from the 27th of January until the 12th of February, Sydney is celebrating with fireworks and free large outdoor lantern displays at Darling Harbour and Circular Quay.
The lanterns displays are in the shape of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals. Here are a selection:
MiceCause mice are cute and rats are not. Although these ones were a bit of a head turner…
Clifford the Big Red Dog, is that you?
2017 is the year of the Chicken (Rooster, hen or chick? The Chinese name 鸡 is technically just ‘chicken’) so of course it has to be the biggest and grandest one of all.
These 2 colourful dancing roosters are located under the Sydney Opera House. The lanterns are installed along the 1.8km esplanade surrounding the harbour at Circular Quay, stretching from the Opera House to The Rocks at Hicksons Road. During the day the lanterns are colourful art installations and at night they light up and become colourful lanterns.
The lanterns are all created by artists, their names and a short description is available on the information panel near each lantern display.
To celebrate, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay train station have red light projected onto them, the red colour is supposedly a lucky colour for the Chinese and is especially popular during the new year.
There is an outdoor bar with lounge chair seats, great for a place to sit and relax, and gives a great view of the harbour bridge and water.
Nearby there is an outdoor sandpit but with all the lanterns, I trust you’d rather spend the time looking at the lanterns instead.
Free maintained public toilets are available at Circular Quay Station.
Free public drinking fountains near the wharf.
Fast food restaurants near the train station.
Outdoor permanent seating available
Location: Circular Quay
Take a bus or train to Circular Quay, and you will see lanterns on either side of the wharf. Lanterns are scattered along both sides of the wharf. From Circular Quay station, the roosters and the Sydney Opera House are located about 600m away along the right hand side of the harbour.
Always check http://www.transportnsw.info/ for up to date travel options, be aware that train service may be affected on weekends.
On the other side of the harbour (Museum of Contemporary Arts side) are the rabbits, horse and monkey.
Click here for the official website and a map of the locations of the lanterns.
Click here for a short video.
Click here to see more beautiful pictures of the lanterns and Sydney harbour at night!
Tip: Get here super duper late and miss the crowd!
For more things to do in Sydney, check out my other posts here.
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