Pop-up winter wonderlands
Break out your warmest jackets and boots and head to Prince Alfred Square in Parramatta. Winterlight offers all kinds of frosty fun, from glowing carnival rides to warming, carb-heavy snacks, plus the all-important ice rink. The frozen set-up has been the largest open-air rink in Sydney for many years and it's a great spot to skate under the dazzling winter sun or twinkly fairy lights.
Skate every day – and late into the night – at an open-air ice rink at the forecourt of St Mary’s Cathedral. During the day you'll skate under the Sydney winter sunshine, but the evenings will be illuminated with a colourful glow. You’ll be able to warm up with a hot chocolate or savoury snack from one of the food vendors throughout your skating session.
Go ice skating under the Ferris wheel before you visit Coney Island when Winterfest arrives at Luna Park. Strap on your skates and slide onto the ice under falling snowflakes at the outdoor ice rink, then sample some of the wintery treats. They haven't got the full line-up of sparkling winter fun confirmed just yet, but there's usually gleeful holiday tunes and a canopy of twinkly lights to make the experience extra charming.
Permanent icy rinks
This man-made frozen lake has been delighting ice skaters in Sydney for more than 30 years. Plans to demolish the beloved rink to make way for a billion-dollar shopping centre refurb were scrapped earlier this year, so hopefully we’ll be getting another few decades of Friday night ice discos, all-day public skating Sundays and cheap skating sessions for a $20 flat rate. There are special kids’ activities in the school holidays and a rink-side café to watch the gliding hordes.
Whether you can do an axel jump in your sleep or stick with clinging to the barrier, you can wear your skates down year round at Ice Zoo. They offer group skating classes that'll help thaw out icy beginners, they’ve got special sessions for toddlers, and cheap tickets for ice twirls on Thursdays and Mondays. Watch ice hockey games if you don’t want to take the icy plunge, or get grooving with the Saturday night DJ if you need music to move to. When you’re not shredding the ice, sip warming brews – and the boozy kind – at the licenced café.
The magic combo of disco, hockey and freestyle skating is going strong at the Canterbury rink. There are open skate sessions every day and a regular Friday night disco which gets extra oomph in the school holidays, with lunchtime glide sessions running Monday to Friday as well. The hockey season runs year round, so you can take a spectator breather, and there’s a heated canteen for skating fuel. This is an accessible venue and also has a free public car park.
The wintery caretakers at the Ice Palace run a tight ship in the school term – there are daily public sessions mixed in with school sporting groups, a Friday night disco, plus broomball (which sounds like a much more relaxed, less fighty version of ice hockey). And there’s also the requisite hockey games to watch. Once the kids knock off for the holidays, the term-time schedule slows down for more happy gliding public skate sessions for all.
When the rink isn’t taken up by figure skating classes, ice hockey training or special skate training, keen skaters can take to the ice inside the LCC Sports Complex. There are freestyle sessions every day and disco skating parties on Friday and Saturday nights plus ice skating training courses for all ages. Commiserate over your bruises and the best ice tumbles at the bistro, café or steakhouse, which are all located at the centre.