Lunar New Year is just around the corner at Darling Harbour, and 2024 is all about the Dragon, manifesting power, honour, luck and success. From Saturday 10 February until Sunday 25 February, Darling Harbour will host a line up of exciting events including dragon boat races, jet pack water shows, Chinese zodiac readings and a Twilight Garden Party at the Chinese Garden of Friendship. Darling Harbour is your go-to destination for an unforgettable Lunar New Year!
LUNAR FUN BY THE HARBOUR
Cockle Bay’s thrilling dragon boat races, fireworks, jet pack shows and lion dancing are making an epic return, fit to welcome in the year of the Dragon! From Friday 16 February to Sunday 18 February, originating in the rivers in Southern China, witness three days of exciting Free dragon boat races where more than 3,000 paddlers will battle it out on 12m long dragon boats, accompanied by onboard drummers keeping the pace!
Looking for more festive adrenaline-filled fun? Enjoy a spectacular performance with the Jet Pack Water Show featuring entertainers in Lunar New Year themed costumes flying sky high over the water propelled by jet packs. Catch these shows on Saturday 10 and 24 February, at 6pm and 7:30pm, and at 9pm, they’ll be paired with Darling Harbour’s amazing fireworks displays.
Traditional Chinese lion dancing performances, where an ornately decorated lion moves to a vigorous drum beat roaming around Darling Harbour, will kick off on Saturday 10 and 17 February around 6pm at the Convention Centre Forecourt, continuing down Darling Square and Darling Quarter, with a second performance starting at 8:30pm in Cockle Bay Wharf. Lunar New Year Fireworks are set to blaze the precinct on Saturdays 10, 17 and 24 February, and Sundays 11, 18 and 25 February, at 9pm.
GET CULTURED AT THE CHINESE GARDEN OF FRIENDSHIP
Visit the Chinese Garden of Friendship and enjoy its wide range of family-friendly New Year’s activities amidst the glowing lanterns and tranquil nature.
The Garden will be hosting a Twilight Garden Party, for one night only, on Saturday 10 February at 5.30pm – 8.30pm. Unwind with live music by contemporary jazz fusion duo Scarlett Fusion, and watch a master calligrapher at work writing blessings and well wishes for visitors as a special keepsake all while the sun sets at Darling Harbour.
Pop into the Garden anytime from 10am – 5pm on weekends during the Lunar New Year period and enjoy the festivities. Garden admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children under 12, and includes all of the activities.
Other festive activities include:
- Opening Ceremony (Saturday 10 February, 10am) – Ring in the new year with traditional lion dances to bring good luck and fortune!
- The Tea Exchange (Saturday 10 February – Sunday 28 April, at 10am – 5pm) – Enjoy a free, immersive tea art exhibition presented by the Chinese Garden of Friendship and Museum of Chinese in Australia (MOCA). Explore the history and cultural significance of tea through contemporary artworks and discover the importance of tea as a ceremonial cornerstone in Asia and Australia.
- Traditional Tea Ceremony (Saturday 10 February, 11am-2pm) – Watch a traditional Chinese tea ceremony set against the backdrop of the lush Garden.
- Year of the Dragon Private Readings (Saturdays 10, 17, 24 February, 2.30pm – 4.30pm) – Led by classically trained Feng Shui master Mina Zheng, discover what the new year has in store for you with a one-on-one Chinese zodiac reading. The readings are $28 for Friend of the Garden members and $38 for non-members, bookings can be made at the website here.
- Music in the Garden (Saturday and Sunday, 10 – 24 February, 12.30pm – 2.30pm) – Listen to the serene sounds of Chinese musical performances, using traditional instruments. ● Fun creative workshops – To get your creativity flowing, there’ll be two-hour dragon painting workshops and, for the little ones, there’ll be dragon puppet making and lantern decorating, all free with garden entry!
FIRE EATS AT DARLING HARBOUR
Gather your friends and loved ones for a festive feed at one of Darling Harbour’s best Asian restaurants. Some of the best spots to celebrate the year of Dragon include: ● Delicious Cantonese fare, with an innovative twist at XOPP by Golden Century ● Head to Hello Auntie for contemporary Vietnamese fusion and Asian-inspired cocktails ● Holy Basil for Laos and Thai delights exploding with flavour
- Indulge in classic Chinese dishes such as fresh catch of the day and dim sum at MuMian
- Slurp your way through their signature noodle soup menu and into longevity at Doodee Noodle
For more information on Darling Harbour’s Lunar New Year events and activities, visit the website here.