- Destination NSW
Aerial view of Royal Botanic Gardens and Sydney Harbour.
Views of Bronte beach, Sydney
Sydney city skyline lit up during Vivid Sydney 2013. View from Circular Quay.

Summer Events in Sydney

  • Australia Day, Sydney Harbour
  • Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi


Sydney’s calendar of summer events is packed with world-class performances of dance, drama and musicals, ground-breaking art exhibitions and up-to-the minute fashion and live music events.

Must Do

Summer in The Domain, Sydney

From October to May, the Sydney International Art Series brings two of the world's most outstanding exhibitions exclusively to Sydney. The first is The Great Masterpieces of Western Art from the National Galleries of Scotland showing at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. With works spanning more than 400 years, it includes paintings and sculptures from some of the European masters, including da Vinci, Velázquez, Monet, Rembrandt, Botticelli and Cézanne. In late October, don’t miss Sculpture by the Sea, where you can see over 100 site-specific contemporary sculptures and artworks spread along the stunning Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk.

From December to May, the MCA’s exhibition of British artist Grayson Perry’s work will be on display. Perry was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize in 2003 and his works are humorous, reflective and quirky, and this will be his first exhibition in the Southern Hemisphere.

It’s no secret that Sydney is the place to celebrate New Year’s Eve, when visitors and locals count down to midnight and spectacular fireworks light up Sydney Harbour in a phenomenal display. There are also 8.30pm fireworks most Saturdays in Darling Harbour, which is great for families with small children.

In January, from the city to Parramatta, Sydney Festival takes over the city’s venues, public spaces and performance hubs for a month-long program of music, comedy, dance and drama performances.

Don’t miss Twilight at Taronga, when Taronga Zoo’s harbour-side amphitheater will play host to a star lineup of musical artists in a series of evening shows from Thursday 28 January through Saturday 12 March. Set against the picturesque backdrop of Sydney Harbour, the event marks Taronga Zoo’s centennial year, with the likes of Missy Higgins and Ladysmith Black Mambazo performing.

In February, celebrate the Lunar New Year at the Chinese New Year Festival, which includes night markets and cultural events. And Sydney Mardi Gras is a spectacular celebration of LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex) pride, attracting over 20,000 interstate and international visitors each year. Don’t miss the Mardi Gras Parade on Saturday March 5, a fantastic and welcoming spectacle that’s all about pride and diversity.

  • Matilda The Musical, Sydney Lyric Theatre

    Matilda The Musical

    It has received rave reviews around the globe and now the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Matilda The Musical is making its mark in Australia opening at the Sydney Lyric Theatre in July. Based on the novel by acclaimed author Roald Dahl, the elaborate stage show tells the story of an extraordinary young girl who dreams of changing her own story for a better life.

  • Twilight at Taronga, Sydney

    Twilight at Taronga

    Taronga Zoo’s series of summer concerts kicks off in January, with the likes of Josh Pyke, John Butler Trio, The Waifs, Birds of Tokyo, Missy Higgins and the Violent Femmes performing. With stunning Sydney Harbour views, it’s the perfect way to spend a laid-back summer evening. All tickets include free return ferry from Circular Quay from 5:15pm and half price same day entry to the Zoo.

  • Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: Turandot

    Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: Turandot

    A setting such as Sydney Harbour demands a spectacular opera, so prepare for a performance of huge proportions. An exotic fantasy of a death-marked love told with the city skyline reflected across the magnificent Sydney Harbour and featuring the famous aria 'Nessum Dorma'.  Join us for this special event set under the stars.