The Chinese New Year Festival 2017 officially kicked off in Sydney last night, and with a traditional eye-dotting ceremony, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge being lit red and a spectacular fireworks display, it’s safe to say that this year’s festivities got off to a cracking start.

We headed down to have a good ol’ nosy around to figure out everything you need to know, everything you need to see and everything you need to eat.

Spoiler alert: It’s all amazing.


The Chinese New Year Festival runs from January 27 to February 12; 2017 is the year of the rooster, which is why you’ll spy two magnificent rooster sculptures outside the front of the Sydney Opera House.


If you’re born under the Rooster sign (2005, 1993, 1981, 1969 and 1957), Chinese astrology sees you as charming, frank, bright resourceful and confident.

You’re also one of the most colourful signs of the Chinese zodiac, which means you should be all over Sydney’s most recognisable landmarks turning red – to banish bad fortune – for the festivities.

Fun fact: Sydney runs the largest Lunar New Year celebrations outside Asia, which means there’s PLENTY to do.


There are dozens of events running across the city over the course of the festival – and they’re all fantastic – but we’ve narrowed down our top three picks, just in case you’re pressed for time.

1. The Lunar Lanterns


Trust us when we say that you won’t want to miss out on these gorgeous installations. Dotted around Circular Quay, the 12, light-up lanterns have each been designed with their own meanings, own quirks, and own beautiful detailing.

Discover your birth-sign by starting at the roosters at about 7pm, and winding your way around the Quay; don’t forget to make a special stop at Rat lantern, which we’re presenting this year!

2. The Wall Of Fortune

Welcome to the 21st century, folks! Thanks to the Wall of Fortune, you can get your very own fortune at any time of the day or night, as long as you have your phone on you.


With 300 fortunes flashing across the screen, all you have to do is point your camera at the installation and snap a picture; whatever fortune you’ve managed to capture is yours!

3. The Dragon Boat Races

Sydney hosts the biggest Dragon Boat Race meet in the southern hemisphere – go Sydney – which means you definitely won’t want to miss this. It’s fun, fast-paced and watching those 12-metre long Dragon Boats go head-to-head is bound to get your heart pounding.

This year’s races are taking place over the weekend of February 11 and 12, so pick a day and head down to Cockle Bay Wharf for a 9am start.


Whatever events you manage to take in this year, you’re going to need to keep your energy up, right? Luckily there are plenty of incredible food stops for you to make this Chinese New Year.


1. The Carriageworks

You might have to hustle a little for this one, but Kylie Kwong is curating a one-off night market at the Carriageworks this year, and it’s going to be AMAZING. It takes place Saturday January 28, from 5pm to 10pm.

2. The Lunar Markets

Pyrmont is the home of this year’s Lunar Markets, which run from Friday January 27 to Sunday February 5. There’ll be plenty of fun pop-ups offering a a whole host of mouthwatering Asian cuisine, with some live music to keep you entertained.


3. The Lunar Lantern Hub

There’s an incredible food extravaganza happening right in the CBD, too, at the Lunar Lantern Hub in Martin Place. Taylor’s have a pop-up bar to keep your whistle whetted, Bao Stop have their infamous Peking duck fries on offer and the absolute geniuses over at Gelato Messina have been busy creating a selection of new flavours just for the Lunar New Year.

But there really is so, SO much more on offer; click here to check out absolutely every way Sydney is planning to usher in the Chinese New Year.

And whatever you end up doing, don’t forget to check out the #CNYSYD on social media.

Have fun!

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