destination NSW

Things to do in Winter in Sydney


Sydney is alive day and night in winter with a packed line-up of exclusive Sydney events, big-city shopping and some of Australia’s best dining experiences. The city is the beautiful backdrop to the much-loved winter festival of lights, music and ideas, Vivid, staged at venues across the city. Enjoy Sydney’s famed creative and seasonal dining, the latest foodie trends, shopping treats and family fun.

Must Do

Vivid Sydney 2012

What’s on in winter in Sydney

Sydney is a very exciting place to be in winter, with fun-filled events, celebrations and festivals to ignite the season. There’s an overall buzz of happiness in the air as people explore this city bursting with things to see and do. Relax and unwind with a short break that’s packed with world-class events, big-city shopping and some of Australia’s best dining experiences.

Sports fans are in their element over winter. Followers of both rugby codes have full-length seasons to look forward to, as well as the State of Origin fixture on 18 June at ANZ Stadium and the Bledisloe Cup Festival in August. The Bingham Cup, Gay Rugby’s World Cup, will see 25 teams compete on world-class ovals in Sydney’s East from 24 to 31 August.

For fans of the round ball game, Italian giants Juventus will play a one-off exhibition game against the A-League All Stars on 10 August at ANZ Stadium. Those who prefer to get more involved in sporting action have the Blackmores Running Festival to look forward to on 21 September. Participants can take part in a race length that suits them, choosing from a family fun, bridge run, or half or full marathon.

The arts are well represented in Sydney over winter too. Vivid Sydney is the much-loved festival of lights, music and ideas and this year runs from 23 May to 9 June. The highlight for many is the Lighting of the Sails at the Sydney Opera House. The Sydney Film Festival showcases some of the best films from Australia and across the world in a 12-day extravaganza starting on 4 June.

Other highly anticipated events include Strictly Ballroom the Musical, directed by Baz Luhrmann and running from 25 March to 1 June, the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on 6 to 10 April, and the Helpmann Awards on 18 August.

Winter is also a good time of the year to enjoy creative and seasonal dining across the city. Dine sumptuously at three-hatted Sydney stars - est., Marque Restaurant, Momofuku Seiobo, Quay, Rockpool on George and Sepia or make your way to a waterfront restaurant in Walsh Bay, Pyrmont, Balmoral, Manly, Bondi Beach and The Rocks. Check out the latest foodie trends at a hip cafe, cool bakery, hot wine bar, funky pub or sleek noodle bar.

Dining at Manly. James Pipino/Destination NSW
Sydney Dining

Diners in Sydney are spoilt for choice with some of the best restaurants in the country, many with stunning water views, an abundance of fresh produce and dynamic chefs keen to impress. Enjoy checking out the latest trends? Check out vegan-friendly dining, small bars on rooftops and stylish high teas.


Where to shop

From beachside and suburban markets, to historic city-centre arcades, boutiques in laneways and hideaway warehouses, Sydney offers a treasure trove of eclectic, stylish and unique designs.  Shopping hotspots include the city centre, Bondi, Paddington, Surry Hills and Darlinghurst, Manly, Mosman and Newtown.


Sydney Opera House Symphony performance. Jamie Williams/Destination NSW
Sydney's Art scene 

Sydney’s arts and cultural scene is diverse, engaging and great value. The city is a stage for local and international, established and emerging talent with art and performances around every corner. Go behind the scenes at some of Sydney’s major art and cultural institutions such as the Sydney Theatre Company, the Australian Museum and Sydney Opera House.


Sydney in Winter - events

Customs House lit up for Vivid Sydney
Vivid Sydney

Vivid Sydney is back from 23 May to 9 June. The annual 18-day event of light, music and ideas has become Sydney’s major festival in winter. See the stunning Lighting of the Sydney Opera House Sails, follow the amazing Light Walk, book tickets to a Vivid LIVE and Vivid MUSIC show, and be inspired by Vivid Ideas. Find out more


Strictly Ballroom The Musical
Strictly Ballroom the Musical

The much-loved Australian film that inspired the world to dance has come to life on stage. This brand new musical production made its global premiere at the Sydney Lyric where it’s now showing until 1 June. Find out more


Qantas Wallabies vs All Blacks 2013 Bledisloe Cup. Steve Christo/Destination NSW
Bledisloe Cup

Don't miss all the action of trans-Tasman sporting rivalry when the Qantas Wallabies take on the All Blacks on home soil at ANZ Stadium on 16 August. After a series blackout in 2013, the  Wallabies will be out to break the 12 year Bledisloe Cup drought. Find out more


Ferrari Racing Days Sydney
Ferrari Racing Days Sydney

Australia’s first Ferrari Racing Days event will be held at Sydney Motorsport Park circuit from 11-13 April. Witness the largest gathering of Ferrari cars Australia has ever seen. Experience the thrill of the Ferrari F1 track and marvel at the latest complete Ferrari line-up. Find out more


A-League All Stars vs Juventus
A-League All Stars vs Juventus

Juventus FC, the most successful club in Italy's history, will bring a full-strength team to Sydney to face the Foxtel A-League All Stars on 10 August. Playing for the All Stars will be former Juventus FC player Alessandro Del Piero - watch him confront the famous club where he spent 19 glorious years. Find out more