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21 things to do between Christmas and NYE

Savour the best of Sydney as you bid farewell to 2018
People dancing on a boat.
Photograph: Supplied
By Time Out editors |
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The five days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve are an awkward time for everyone. Most places have closed shop for the summer, while others have new holiday hours that are tricky to wrap your head around, which is why we’ve compiled a list of the best things to do and places to go between December 25-31. Make the most of your time off!

Things to do between Xmas and NYE

1
Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition
Museums, Science

Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition

icon-location-pin Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo
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Dates open: December 26-31

Price: $23-$36

Have you ever wondered which Star Wars character you most resemble? In this new exhibition you’ll be invited to journey to a galaxy far, far away to create your own Star Wars identity, using interative technology and rooms of Star Wars costumes, models, props and artwork. Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum has secured the Australian premiere of the expo, which includes 200 objects from the movie series, including 12 new items to the exhibition.

2
People inside exhibition at Plants with bite Calyx royal botanic
Things to do, Exhibitions

Plants with Bite

icon-location-pin The Calyx, Sydney
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Dates open: December 25-31

Price: Free

Budding horticulturalists who like plants with attitude should head to the Royal Botanical Gardens these holidays for a free exhibition of carnivorous greenery. The Calyx will be filled with 25,000 of the world’s hungriest, most clever plants. The kids will love watching as the venus fly trap lures unsuspecting insects with nectar and snaps them up in its jaws, where they’ll spend their final days being slowly digested. 

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3
Luna Park Sydney
Museums

Luna Park Sydney

icon-location-pin Milsons Point

Dates open: December 26-30

Price: $23-$51

Whether you’re trying to keep the kids entertained or you just want to relive the excitement of going down a roller coaster, Luna Park is the perfect amusement park for all ages. There’s plenty of time for repeat rides on the Wild Mouse, soaking up history in Coney Island or spinning on the Rotor until you vomit (although we don’t recommend ending your night that way).

4
A wide shot of the crowd sitting down in front of the large scre
Photograph: Moonlight Cinema
Film, Outdoor cinema

Moonlight Cinema

icon-location-pin Centennial Park, Centennial Park
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Dates open: December 25-31

Price: $14.59-$30

There's nothing quite like a film under the stars in the beautiful surrounds at Centennial Park. Settle back with friends and family for a movie and as always, the Moonlight Cinema food truck and bar can supply you with comestibles, but you're welcome to BYO food and drinks, too. This summer's programming has the usual mix of acclaimed Oscar hopefuls, kids' favourites and retro screenings to satisfy the nostalgic urges. 

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5
Taronga Zoo
Museums

Taronga Zoo

icon-location-pin Mosman

Dates open: December 26-30

Price: $23.40-$46

Taronga Zoo is open every day for the rest of the year, so why not head to Mosman for a day amongst the animals? Whether you’re a lover of mammals, reptiles or birds, there’s plenty to see, do and learn. Hang out with zebras at African Safari, or spend your time in a dark cave with snakes and crocodiles at Reptile World. Head to the free-flight bird show or sign up for an animal encounter with a koala, giraffe, penguin or owl.  

6
People look at a preserved human specimen.
Photograph: Kate Gilbert
Things to do, Exhibitions

Body Worlds Vital

icon-location-pin Sydney Town Hall, Sydney
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Dates open: Demeber 27-31

Price: $18-$32

In September, Sydney waved an awkward farewell to the wildly popular but controversial Real Bodies exhibition, as 20 perfectly preserved human cadavers and 200 anatomical specimens were packed away. Now, fans of human biology will get another entrancing, disturbing and educational exhibition with Body Worlds Vital. This separate exhibit, created by Gunther von Hagens in 1995, has toured more than 130 countries worldwide. 

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7
Whales swimming in the water, Tohora
Museums, Natural history

Whales | Tohora

icon-location-pin Australian Museum, Darlinghurst
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Dates open: December 26-31

Price: $0-$27

In an exhibition created by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, you can size up to the skeleton of an 18-metre bull sperm whale, walk through the heart of a blue whale and familiarise yourself with the whale-riding stories of Māori culture. The exhibition combines science, storytelling and technology to help us learn more about our relationship to these marvellous mammals. 

8
BridgeClimb
Museums

BridgeClimb

icon-location-pin The Rocks

Dates open: December 25-30

Price: $138-$383

If you’re a Sydneysider and you’re yet to climb the Harbour Bridge, now is as good a time as ever. Climbs are pricier during this season but, if you happen to have a bit of spare cash left over from Christmas, we can’t think of a better way to spend it. Stand atop the Harbour Bridge and view Sydney like never before – observe the iconic white sails of the Opera House, the silhouette of the Blue Mountains and the endless ocean that flows beyond the east.

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9
Sea Life Sydney Aquarium Penguin Expedition
Photograph: Brett Stevens
Museums

Sea Life Sydney Aquarium

icon-location-pin Darling Harbour

Dates open: December 25-31

Price: $35-$51

Head to Sea Life Sydney Aquarium’s newest exhibition Penguin Expedition. Museumgoers can board a raft that takes them through the exhibition where they’ll witness a bunch of adorable King and Gentoo penguins. You'll see the penguins as they swim in the pool and, if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of the little fellas being fed. There are, of course, a bunch of other animals to see at the aquarium including dugongs, sharks and rays.

10
Person with flowers at Kings Cross Market
Photograph: Gilbert Walden
Shopping, Markets

Kings Cross Flower Market

icon-location-pin Fitzroy Gardens, Elizabeth Bay
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Dates open: December 30

Price: Free

You can't start a new year without fresh flowers, so the Kings Cross Flower Markets will offer Sydneysiders an accessible place to purchase fresh-cut blooms. They’ll open from 9.30am-2.30pm on Sunday, meaning you can still get competitive petals without losing your weekend sleep-in. The floral factory will set up around the Alamein Fountain, offering indoor plants, garden varieties, cacti, succulents, herbs and glorious bouquets.

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11
La Boheme 2017 Opera Australia production still feat cast photographer credit Prudence Upton
Photograph: Prudence Upton
Theatre

La bohème

icon-location-pin Sydney Opera House, Sydney
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Dates: Decmeber 31

Price: $47-$361

Powerhouse combo director Gale Edwards and designer Brian Thomson created this production for Opera Australia's 2011 season, and it proved such a popular hit it's back for NYE. Some love La bohème, some loathe it – but there's no doubt that there's plenty of those Puccini earworms, romance, sex, tragedy and comedy, plus the sizzle of Weimar Germany (cue topless club girls, red-curtained cabarets, bedazzling frocks, and boho threads). 

It's the biggest night in Sydney

Aerial shot of Sydney Harbour as the fireworks go off on New Year's Eve
Photograph: Destination NSW
Things to do, Fireworks

New Year's Eve in Sydney

Sydney's NYE celebrations are world famous, and for good reason. Here's how to have a good time, including hot tips for finding the most devine public bathrooms.

More to explore

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