New Year's Eve fireworks on Sydney Harbour
In Australia the Christmas and New Years Eve period occurs when summer is in full-swing. Festivities abound, including candle-lit carol singing in city parks, thrilling sporting competitions, vibrant New Year’s Eve celebrations and world-class cultural events. All around the country there are a variety of ways to experience the Australian lifestyle and meet the locals as they celebrate throughout Christmas, the New Year and beyond.
New South Wales
For many visitors Christmas Day in Sydney is marked by what has become one of its great traditions Christmas on Bondi Beach. The novelty of spending Christmas at the beach is enjoyed by thousands of people from around the world as they gather together to enjoy a day in the sun while swapping gifts, feasting on fabulous food, swimming and having fun.
Carols in the Domain: 22 December 2012
The annual Woolworths’ Carols in the Domain is one of Australia’s largest Christmas events. Every year, tens of thousands of people come together to celebrate Christmas in the centre of Sydney in the Royal Botanic Gardens, whilst raising funds for The Salvation Army. Carols in the Domain is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2012 and there will be a huge line-up of talented performers for this year’s event, including 2012's X Factor winner Samantha Jade. Previous performers include Hugh Jackman, Human Nature and Katherine Jenkins.
New Year’s Eve on Sydney Harbour: 31 December 2012
Sydney Harbour is one of the most spectacular places to welcome in the New Year. It is one of the largest free public events in the world – usually more than one million people join in the celebrations on and around the harbour. There are many vantage points along the 65 kilometres of foreshore land for people to gather with friends and family. In the final seconds before midnight on 31 December, Sydney becomes the New Year's Eve capital of the world - a billion eyes focus on the natural amphitheatre that is Sydney Harbour and its magnificent centrepiece, the steel arched Sydney Harbour Bridge, as, on the stroke of midnight, a fireworks display like no other heralds in the New Year.
2013 Chinese New Year Festival: 8 February – 24 February 2013
Celebrating the Year of the Snake, the 2013 Chinese New Year Festival runs from 8 February to 24 February 2013. The internationally renowned arts and culture festival will bring Sydney's streets to life with more than 80 events – including annual favourites like the Twilight Parade and Chinese New Year Markets, and exciting new additions such as the Dragon Ball and Lunar Feasts.
Sydney Festival (NSW): 5 - 27 January 2013
The Sydney Festival is a three week celebration of dance, theatre, visual arts, opera and music from the classics to hip hop. Incorporating events and artists from around the world, as well as the much-heralded outdoor program - including the Domain concerts - the Festival presents the very best international and national performing and visual arts.
Vision Australia Carols By Candlelight: 24 December 2012
One of the most spectacular Carols by Candlelight events is held in Melbourne, in the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Christmas Eve. People take picnic baskets to relax on the grass while talented performers from around Australia provide superb entertainment. The iconic event turns 75 years old this year and proceeds go towards children who are blind or have low vision.
Australian Open - The Grand Slam of Asia/Pacific (VIC): 14- 27 January 2013
For two weeks in January, the eyes of the world zone in on Melbourne Park as the best tennis players on the planet fight it out for one of the biggest Grand Slam(R) titles the sport has to offer - the Australian Open.
Melbourne Chinese New Year Festival 2012: 10 February 2013
The Chinese New Year Festival highlights the cultural heritage of Melbourne’s Chinese community and features traditional and contemporary Chinese cultural activities, festivities, dances, Chinese opera and singing, karaoke competition, numerous stalls of culinary delights, arts and crafts, Chinese chess competitions, lion dances, dragon parades, calligraphy and children's events.
Carols in the City: 8 December 2012
A host of activities in Brisbane throughout the Christmas season include Carols in the City, featuring a range of artists on the Brisbane River Stage in the Botanic Gardens.
Summer Solstice Light Spectacle - Capricorn Caves: December 2012 - January 2013
This brilliant spectacle is unique in the southern hemisphere and occurs when a beam of dazzling bright sunlight penetrates through a 14m vertical shaft into the darkened cavern below. This natural phenomenon can be viewed through December and early January but the beam is brightest and longest on 22 December, the Summer Solstice and the longest day of the year. This is a special experience for visitors and a delight for photographers.
Woodford Folk Festival (QLD): 27 December 2012 – 1 January 2013
Featuring more than 2,000 performers and 400 events, the Woodford Folk Festival is a six-day, six-night spectacular set in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. The festival features the cream of Australian performers and an array of special international guests.
Carols by the Bay: TBC
The City of Hobart Carols by Candlelight has in recent years been recognised as one of the State’s biggest community events. Held at Sandown Park, Sandy Bay in Hobart the free event bustles with many families who enjoy setting up for a relaxed evening meal, long before the first performer graces the stage.
The Taste Festival: 28 December 2012 - 3 January 2013
The Taste Festival, Tasmanian’s largest annual event, is celebrating its 24th year. For seven days and nights, Hobart’s waterfront will again be transformed into a display of colour and life as the Taste Festival ignites the historic Sullivans Cove precinct: showcasing the uniqueness and diversity of Tasmania’s produce and gourmet food and wine to approximately 250,000 people.
Cygnet Folk Festival: 11-13 January 2013
The Cygnet Folk Festival is a premier folk and world music event. Cygnet, situated in the beautiful Huon Valley and nestled in the picturesque bay of Port Cygnet, comes alive with music with events the pubs, halls, cafes, parks and streets.
In Western Australia, Perth’s Cottesloe Beach is a favourite destination for a Christmas Day barbeque; or a picnic by the Swan River is a popular choice.
City of Perth Christmas Festival: 16 November 2012 - 6 January 2013
Perth’s Christmas Festival gets underway with the Turning on the Christmas Lights in November and the festival continues with a range of activities including; Friday Night Christmas Concerts, Santa Train, and Christmas Nativity. Enjoy the spectacle and excitement of the traditional Christmas Pageant as it winds it way from St George’s Terrace to Langley Park.
Carols By Candelight: 16 December 2012
Head down to Elder Park on the banks of the River Torrens in Adelaide to be part of the 64th Carols by Candlelight. Light a candle and sing along to your favourite Christmas tunes with some of Australia’s best-known celebrities and performers.
New Year’s Eve at the Bay: 31 December 2012
The popular seaside destination of Holdfast Bay hosts a huge party and celebration on the foreshore and midnight fireworks.
Santos Tour Down Under (SA): 20 - 27 January 2013
The Santos Tour Down Under, staged annually since 1999, brings top professional cycling teams, as seen in the Tour de France, to race on the streets of Adelaide and regional South Australia over six stages. The Santos Tour Down Under is now the first stop in the UCI WorldTour world cycling calendar and the first ever event to be held outside of Europe.
Australian Capital Territory
Lighting the Canberra Christmas Tree: 7 December 2012
Kick off the festive season in Civic, Canberra city, with the official lighting of the giant Canberra Christmas Tree. Christmas cheer will flood Civic Square with fabulous entertainment, a visit by Santa Claus and come nightfall, the crowd will witness Canberra's spectacular 21-metre high Christmas tree being lit. Each of the tree's LED lights will be powered by ActewAGL's Green Choice program.
New Year’s Eve in the City: 31 December 2012
Celebrate the New Year with a giant street party in the heart of Canberra.
Carols by Candlelight: 2 December 2012
This event takes place in the Amphitheatre at the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens. Carols by Candlelight are the pinnacle of the festive season in Darwin. Crowds of up to 6,000 gather to enjoy the event, which brings together talented performers from different cultures and concludes with a fantastic fireworks display.
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race (NSW &TAS): 26 December 2012 – 1 January 2013
The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race starts on 26 December and is conducted on the waters of Sydney Harbour, the Tasman Sea, Storm Bay and the Derwent River. Over the past 65 years, the Rolex Sydney Hobart has become an icon of Australia’s summer sport, ranking in public interest with such national events as the Melbourne Cup horse race, the Davis Cup tennis and the cricket tests between Australia and England.
Across Australia, the Christmas Holiday period is synonymous with cricket. Aussies love nothing better than sitting back on a hot summers day, watching our teams battle it out against the best in the world.
2012-13 Vodafone Test Series - Australia vs Sri Lanka (Around Australia): 14 December 2012 – 28 January 2013
Australia will compete with Sri Lanka in a series of matches in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart and Adelaide as part of the 2012-13 Vodafone Test Series.