20 things to do between Christmas and NYE

Savour the best of Sydney as you bid farewell to 2018
A wide shot of the crowd sitting down in front of the large scre
Photograph: Moonlight Cinema
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: 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
The Illusionists: Direct From Broadway Sydney Opera House 2018
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre, Circuses

The Illusionists: Direct From Broadway

icon-location-pin Sydney Opera House, Sydney
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Dates open: December 26-29

Price: $39-$119

It's become an annual tradition that producer Simon Painter brings one of his flashy, Vegas-style shows to the Opera House for Christmas. Painter's most popular show The Illusionists was born at the House, and has now been seen around the world and had several seasons on Broadway. The appropriately named The Illusionists: Direct From Broadway is now coming our way. Expect big stunts, magical flying, mindreading and all kinds of illusions. 

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5
William Kentridge AGNSW 2018
Photograph: Christopher Snee, AGNSW
Art

William Kentridge: That Which We Do Not Remember

icon-location-pin Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney
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Dates open: December 26-31

Price: Free

Renowned for his arresting stop-motion video installations, William Kentridge is the best-known contemporary artist working in South Africa today. In this exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW, visitors can trace the development of his career, from his interest in opera and early cinema to his preoccupation with the nexus between art, ideology, history and memory as a witness to South Africa’s apartheid era. 

6
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.  

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7
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. 

8
Things to do, Exhibitions

Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones Exhibit

icon-location-pin International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour
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Dates open: December 26-31

Prices: $15-$36.50

This huge exhibition exploring the Rolling Stones’ rise to stardom and their subsequent impact on pop culture, rock’n’roll, fashion and art is an exclusive Sydney event. It will feature more than 500 items from throughout the band’s career, including vintage guitars, lyric books, backstage and touring paraphernalia, album art, and the personal diaries and letters of the Stones themselves.

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9
The Norman Conquests Ensemble 2018
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre, Drama

The Norman Conquests

icon-location-pin Ensemble Theatre, Kirribilli
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Dates open: December 27-30

Price: $35-$73

Ensemble Theatre is bringing long-form production The Norman Conquests to fill your holidays with theatre. Written by Alan Ayckbourn in 1973 in less than a fortnight, the three parallel plays follow the unravelling of the romantic but philandering Norman as he deals with his wife Ruth, her sister Annie and his sister-in-law Sarah over one disastrous summer weekend. 

10
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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11
Art hanging from roof at White Rabbit Gallery Super Natural Exhi
Art, Galleries

Supernatural: Visions of the Future

icon-location-pin White Rabbit, Chippendale
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Dates open: December 27-30

Price: Free

The foyer installation at White Rabbit always sets the tone for each exhibition, but the one that greets visitors to Supernatural is a pretty big statement. Hanging high above the gallery are ten life-like nude figures. They have the body of a man, but from the chest up they’re dragonflies. The rest of the exhibition is about the way our world has transformed over the thousands of years that humans have dominated. A bit of a think piece for the holidays, eh?

12
Aspects of Love Hayes Theatre 2018
Photograph: Chris Parker
Theatre, Musicals

Aspects of Love

icon-location-pin Hayes Theatre Co, Elizabeth Bay
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Dates Open: Decmber 26-30

Price: $79-$89

Aspects of Love is an intimate piece focusing on the relationship between an actress called Rose and a young student Alex, who becomes obsessed with her while travelling through France. It's based on a David Garnett novella of the same name and takes place across 17 years. It also features one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's most best-known songs: 'Love Changes Everything'. 

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13
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.

14
David Goldblatt Museum of Contemporary Art 2018
Image courtesy the artist and Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg © the artist
Art, Photography

David Goldblatt: Photographs 1948–2018

icon-location-pin Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), The Rocks
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Dates open: December 26-31

Price: $24

For the big summer exhibition, the MCA is presenting an exhibition of mostly black-and-white photos by South African photographer David Goldblatt. If you're not part of the visual arts worlds, you probably won't have heard of Goldblatt, whose images have traced the changing face of South Africa from the start of apartheid through to 1991, when it was dismantled. These holidays are your chance to explore hisotry through art. 

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15
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.

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.

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