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21 things to do between Christmas and NYE

Explore the best of Sydney as you bid farewell to 2016

Photograph: Murray Fredericks

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


Sea Life Sydney Aquarium

Dates open: December 28-30

Price: $0-$42

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 which have travelled all the way from Sea Life Melbourne. You can 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.


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Darling Harbour

Moonlight Cinema

Dates open: December 26-30

Price: $14.50-$35

Spend a summer night under the big screen at Centennial Park’s Moonlight Cinemas. Catch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on December 26, Nocturnal Animals on December 27, The Girl on the Train on December 28, Assassin’s Creed on December 29 and Passengers on December 30.

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Centennial Park , Centennial Park Until Sunday April 2 2017

Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives

Dates open: December 26-30

Price: $0-$27

Pay a mummy a visit at the Powerhouse Museum’s summer exhibition, Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives. The exhibition is an interactive display of six mummies who lived and died in Egypt between 900 BC and AD 40, alongside 200 objects which provide a snapshot of Ancient Egypt life. While you’re there, check out the exhibition, Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital – an exploration into the role of digital manufacture in contemporary art, science, fashion, design and architecture.

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Powerhouse Museum , Ultimo Until Tuesday April 25 2017

Luna Park Sydney

Dates open: December 26-30

Price: $16-$52

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. It’s open until 9pm from Monday December 26 to Thursday December 29 – and until 11pm on Friday December 30, so 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).

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Milsons Point

Spiders Alive and Deadly

Dates open: December 26-30

Price: $0-$22

Visit the Australian Museum’s exhibition Spiders – Alive and Deadly – a dedication to our beloved arthropod friends. Here you’ll learn all there is to know about spiders – their venom and silk, where they live, how they hunt, how they have adapted to changing environments and the critical role they play in our ecosystem. There are over 400 real specimens to see, including 30 alive and deadly spiders such as the funnel web, red back and tarantula.

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Australian Museum , Darlinghurst Until Monday July 17 2017

Demolished Sydney

Dates open: December 26-30

Price: $0-$12

Explore Sydney’s past and present buildings at the Museum of Sydney’s exhibition, Demolished Sydney. The exhibition remembers our city’s lost buildings – from the Garden Palace at the Botanic Gardens to Fort Macquarie that used to stand at Bennelong Point (where you'd now find Sydney Opera House). Uncover how Sydney’s buildings have risen and fallen as technologies have changed, populations moved and industries diversified.

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Museum of Sydney , Sydney Until Monday April 17 2017

Taronga Zoo

Dates open: December 26-30

Price: $32.40-$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 or reptiles, birds or insects, 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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Dates open: December 26-30

Price: $193-$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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The Rocks

It's the biggest night in Sydney

New Year's Eve in Sydney

Sydney's NYE celebrations are world famous, and for good reason. But no one likes crowds. Here's how to have a good time, including knowing where to pee and when to kick-on, on December 31.

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By: Emma Joyce