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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 |

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

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

Plants with Bite

icon-location-pin The Calyx, Sydney

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. 

Luna Park Sydney

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).

Taronga Zoo

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.  



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.

Sea Life Sydney Aquarium Penguin Expedition
Photograph: Brett Stevens

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.