Natalie Di Paola

Chinese New Year celebrations have begun around Sydney to herald in the Year of the Dog. Sydney Observer has put together a list of top spots to visit during the new year festivities.

Luna Park
Kick off the New Year celebrations at Luna Park.. From 16 -18 February, the park is offering a range of activities in addition to their traditional rides to suit the whole family.

Activities include lion dance performances, a Chinese calligrapher and a firecracker display. There will also be a Chinese New Year Dumpling Tent, which will offer different Asian foods such as spring rolls and pork gyoza.

Also, any Unlimited Rides Pass holders will receive a fortune cookie with prizes inside.

The famed hot spot in Sydney will also be partaking in the festivities with a firecracker show. Every Friday to Sunday from 16 February to 4 March, firecrackers will be set off in the heart of Chinatown and will be accompanied by lion dancing. Catch all the action on Dixon St, Haymarket.

Visit Chatswood Mall and the Concourse for one of the biggest new year celebrations in Sydney. The Willoughby City Council and the Chinese Cultural Centre NSW have teamed up to provide a one day festival on 24 February to celebrate the Year of the Dog.

The day, beginning at 10am and ending at 5pm, will feature dragon, lion and Kung Fu performances. There will also be folk dances, opera and ensemble performances, magic shows and acrobatics.

The celebrations wouldn’t be complete without colourful decorations and market stalls featuring Chinese food, arts and crafts.

To see a full schedule of the day, visit

Chatswood Westfield is also offering activities for kids every weekend from 17 February until 4 March. Kids will be treated to a lion dance, lantern making and face painting.

Darling Harbour
Darling Harbour is also offering a variety of activities to celebrate the New Year.

The Chinese Garden of Friendship is offering workshops, performances, tours and demonstrations from 17 February to 4 March. These include tai chi classes, acrobatic lion dancing, Chinese brush painting, tea ceremonies and tastings, calligraphy, fan demonstrations and lantern making.

From 23-25 February, the Chinese New Year Lantern Festival will also be held at Tumbalong Park. The festival will include food stalls, fire performances and an amazing display of 3,000 lights joining seven lanterns around the park.

Cockle Bay will also be getting into the spirit by putting on the largest dragon boat racing festival in the southern hemisphere. Get involved in the action from 24-24 February by watching as the 12-metre long boats race to the pounding of drums. The event will open with an Eye Dotting Ceremony, where red paint is dabbed onto the eyes of each boat’s figurehead and the waters are blessed.

For a full list of activities and times, see

Circular Quay
The Year of the Dog festivities open at Circular Quay on 16 February with a fireworks display at 8.15pm where the Sydney Harbour Bridge will also be bathed in a red glow.

There will be a Frameshift performance, which is an aerial theatre show combining contemporary dance, vertical performance and b-boy dancing. The Guide Dogs NSW/ACT graduation ceremony will also take place.

In addition, there will be a Lunar Lanterns display until 25 February. Designed by Australian artists, this display features giant depictions of the Chinese Zodiac animals.

For further details of what’s happening in Circular Quay, visit