Best Chinese New Year celebrations in Australia

These destinations are renowned for going all out for Chinese New Year.

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Whether you call it Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is the biggest day on the Asian calendar – and this year, it falls on Friday 12 February.

Street parties, lion dances and decadent banquets will be held in the lead-up to and during Chinese New Year around the world.

While arguably the biggest celebrations will be hosted in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and, of course, China, Australia celebrates quite a bit, too.

Here are our picks of the best local Chinese New Year celebrations you can attend in 2021.

Top three Chinese New Year in Australia celebrations for 2021

Ox Lanterns on Dixon Street in Haymarket, Sydney.

1. Chinese New Year in Sydney

Sydney's Lunar New Year festival runs from 12-21 February 2021 and features dozens of events and activities across the city.

As with every year, lunar lanterns will be scattered throughout the city in the shape of the zodiac signs in honour of the beginning of the Year of the Ox.

Chinese New Year events in Sydney

Of the official events, highlights include the Rocks Lunar Markets where market stalls will call to you with their tasty morsels of Asian fare from Friday to Sunday and dance, music and theatre performances at Sydney Town Hall.

Workshops and talks to the tune of calligraphy demonstrations, folk dance demonstrations and a lion dance workshops are also being held at various venues throughout the city.

Chinese New Year banquets and meals in Sydney

Chinese New Year is the time for families to get together and banquets are always part of the celebrations. Stacks of restaurants across Sydney are also getting in on the action with themed dishes and drinks. Head to Chat Thai where 20 lucky meals to bring in the new year will be offered while Nick's Seafood Restaurant is hosting a bespoke CNY menu of seafood delights.

Luke Nguyen Lunch Menu with Wine at Botanic House
Luke Nguyen Lunch Menu with Wine at Botanic House

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Indulgent Seafood Dining Experience by the Harbour
Indulgent Seafood Dining Experience by the Harbour

RedBalloon

Chinese New Year Sydney activities

Steering away from the crowds this year? Skip the official events and spend your day learning more about Asian culture with a Chinese cooking class, calligraphy workshop or Chinese music lesson.

Incense Making Class: Handmade Stick Incense
Incense Making Class: Handmade Stick Incense

Classbento


2. Chinese New Year in Melbourne

Melbourne's Chinatown is the place to be over Chinese New Year with festivities running over 15 days from 29 January to 14 February 2021.

Oxen shall moo in celebration as decorations and light installations brighten up Chinatown Square and Little Bourke Street. Naturally, food stalls and restaurants will be open to fill your bellies with all the good stuff.

Chinese New Year Melbourne events

The place to be to celebrate this year is Melbourne's Chinatown from 11-14 February. On New Year's Eve (11 February), there will be Chinese lion dancing and cultural performances during the day and by night mahjong and Chinese chess games will be hosted. An outdoor cinema, competitions and a countdown at 9pm for kids and midnight for adults will also take place.

On 12 and 13 February, there will be air badminton games, tea culture ceremonies and more art and craft demonstrations. On 14 February, a "love" themed event will take place to coincide with Valentine's Day celebrations.

On 13 February, the Melbourne Sydney Orchestra is also showcasing Chinese-Australian musical talent at Hamer Hall. Tickets are available at Live At The Bowl.

Chinese New Year banquets in Melbourne

Where to celebrate over a good meal on Lunar New Year.

Chinese New Year activities

Feeling arty? The QV Melbourne is showcasing Mark Chu's artworks on display over Lunar New Year, and while you're there, you can pop by Artemis Lane for some Japanese ramen, Korean grilled meats or cocktails at China Blue.

Have little ones? Scurry over to SEA LIFE Melbourne where you can see underwater dragons swimming, witness a submerged dragon dance and make a New Year's wish in the wishing well.


3. Chinese New Year in Brisbane

For one day and one day only, Chinatown Mall in Fortitude Valley will be overrun with luck and joy. It celebrates the Year of the Ox on 13 February with roving lion and dragon dancers, traditional music and cultural performances.

Throughout Chinatown, Bakery Lane, California Lane, Cathedral Village and Central Brunswick, you can witness stilt performers, Japanese drumming, cooking classes, sketch performances and Indonesian face masks. Runs from 6-9pm on Saturday.

Chinese New Year Brisbane events

Although the main event is in Chinatown, Fortitude Valley, several other locations are having their own events to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Newmarket is having a Technicolour Chinese New Year Night Market on Saturday 13 February from 4-9pm and Moreton Bay is celebrating with traditional music, dance, food, workshops and fireworks on the same day.

Chinese New Year banquets in Brisbane

It wouldn't be a celebration without food. Naturally, the place to be is Brisbane's Chinatown Mall for authentic cuisine. However, if you're feeling adventurous, you can have your taste of Asia over the weekend at these joints instead.

Three-course Chinese Meal with a Glass of Wine
Three-course Chinese Meal with a Glass of Wine

Groupon

Chinese New Year Brisbane activities

Be inspired to learn more about Asian cultures with an activity that's a little outside-of-the-box. It could be a dumpling cooking class or a dragon dance lesson. You decide.

The best of the rest

Every major city in Australia hosts a Lunar New Year festival of some shape and kind. Here's what's going on in the rest of the country:

Chinese New Year in Perth

Perth has two annual events to ring in the Lunar New Year. The first is the Chinese New Year Fair at Perth Cultural Centre and New WA Museum Boola Bardip on 14 February where there will be street food, lion and dragon dances and a multicultural concert from noon until 9pm. For the little ones, there will be stacks of arts and crafts and games running throughout the day.

The second is at Brookfield Place where a full suite of events runs from 12-13 February. Think lion dancing, colourful red lanterns outside Tower 1, and in Heritage Square, art installations including a life-sized ox decal and fortune cookies for those feeling ultra-lucky.


Chinese New Year in Adelaide

Adelaide's big event is its annual street party on Gouger Street. Held on Saturday 20 February, multicultural arts will take the stage throughout the day and stalls will line the streets selling traditional decorations and dishes.

Other events throughout the city include a Chinese New Year concert at Dunston Playhouse on 13 February where local musicians will play their take of modern music using traditional Chinese instruments and an evening of traditional music, food and demonstrations of Tibetan dance and Chinese kung-fu fans at West Torrens Auditorium Gallery.


Chinese New Year in Canberra

The Aussie capital may be one of the smaller cities on the map, but it still knows how to celebrate in a big way. Make a beeline to Canberra Centre on 13 February where the local Canberra Dragon Dance troupe will perform a family-friendly show and hand out free lucky money to the kids.

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