Where to celebrate Christmas in July in Sydney
If December feels too far away, there’s always these Christmas in July and Yuletide events to look forward to in Sydney.
Christmas in July. It’s a thing.
It also means Sydney-siders can experience Christmas in winter, just like in the Northern Hemisphere. Yes, this includes snowfall, ice rinks, Christmas feats, glühwein (a.k.a. mulled wine) and more.
So if you feel like singing a few Christmas carols and walking in a winter wonderland while wearing that signature Christmas jumper of yours, these are the Sydney events bringing Christmas in July to life.
Top Christmas in July events
1. Cool Yule | 2-17 July 2016
Cool Yule is one of Sydney’s most beloved winter events and brings the magic of winter to the heart of Darling Harbour. Family-friendly activities abound and include an ice-skating rink, snow pit, a Frosty Fiction and Fun storytelling corner and icy blue themed Frosty Fireworks between 8:30pm and 8:45pm on Saturdays.
For the older crowd, there’s a selfie station (when is there not these days?) and a romantic 7-metre high, 20-metre long Frozen Forest installation where fairy lights shine and dazzle atop tree sculptures. Get amongst it.
Where: Darling Harbour, Sydney CBD
When: Daily, 2-17 July
For more info: Cool Yule Festival
2. Christmas in July cruise | 2 & 23 July 2016
Go against the grain this year and book a spot in this extra special Christmas in July cruise by Vagabond cruises.
There are two sailings available (2 July and 23 July) and each includes a 3-hour cruise through Sydney Harbour, a buffet seafood and carvery Christmas buffet lunch, bonbons on every table and live Christmas music.
Oh, and don't forget your ugly Christmas sweater? That's a mandatory. Well, only if you want to be in the running for the ugliest sweater competition.
PS - you want to be in the running.
Where: Leaves from King Street Wharf 7, Darling Harbour
When: 2 July 2016 and 23 July 2016. Ship departs at 12:30pm
For more info: Christmas in July cruise
3. Yulefest | 1 June - 31 August 2016
The Blue Mountains is perhaps the closest you can get to real snow on a day trip, and every winter the region hosts Yulefest the winter months. It’s less of an event festival and more of a “Christmas atmosphere” deal here, with many venues offering Christmas-style meals and hospitality.
Expect log fires to be lit, Christmas carols to be sung and that mouthwatering Christmas turkey to be featured at the centre of the table.
Where: Blue Mountains
For more info: Blue Mountains Yulefest
4. Winter Festival | 30 June - 17 July 2016
Australia’s travelling Winter Festival finds its home in the forecourt of St Mary’s Cathedral in the first couple of weeks of July. Reminiscent of European winter markets, the festival revolves around an outdoor ice skating rink (which you can book tickets for online) and food stalls brimming with winter delights.
When you’re off the ice, live musical performances and the return of the gorgeously lit Winter Forest will entertain the adults. There’s also winter activities, such as a giant slide, powder pit and toboggan ride, to keep the kids occupied.
Where: St Mary’s Cathedral forecourt, Sydney CBD
When: 30 June-17 July 2016
For more info: Winter Festival
5. Winterlight | 30 June - 17 July 2016
Set in Parramatta Park, Winterlight has grown to be a favourite amongst locals and families throughout Sydney. It could be the fact that it boasts Sydney’s biggest outdoor ice skating rink. It could be the fact that it offers Sydney’s only ice slide and Dream Wheel.
Then again, it could be the theme nights (FYI, 7 July is onesie night), kids’ workshops (hands up if you want to learn how to do circus tricks!) and roving carnival entertainment that wins everyone over.
Yeah, we know. It’s all of the above.
Where: Prince Alfred Square, Parramatta
When: 30 June-17 July 2016
For more info: Winterlight
6. Christmas in July at Thredbo | 23-24 July 2016
Naturally the place to get your true snow fix in July is the snows. On top of its many wintery and snow-packed lineup of activities, Thredbo hosts a Christmas in July event in the heart of the season. You know the drill: snap up a Thredbo deal and hightail it to the slopes.
On the agenda this weekend is powder white snow, live entertainment, yuletide feasts and a visit by the cool skiing Santa.
When: 23-24 July 2016
For more info: Christmas in July at Thredbo
7. Bondi Winter Magic | 1-17 July 2016
Bondi Winter Magic has got to be one of the coolest concepts on the Australian coast. It features Australia’s only beachside ice-skating rink and is possibly the only place you can dip in the ocean before hitting the ice.
Want to make the day that much more surreal? Between 19-30 July this year, Bondi Beach will also play host to Camels on the Beach. Yes, this is exactly what you think it is: camel rides on Bondi Beach. We’re going to stop chatting now, you have a lot of bookings to make.
Where: Bondi Beach, Sydney
When (ice skating): 1-17 July 2016, daily 10am-9pm
When (camel riding): 19-30 July 2016, weekends 10am-5pm
For more info: Bondi Winter Magic
8. Bundanoon Winterfest | 1-10 July 2016
Sick of ice-skating rinks and powder pits? The Southern Highlands does Christmas in July differently – promise. Its version of the winter celebration is Bundanoon Winterfest, which is a 10-day street party featuring kid-friendly activities, music and silent movies that brings the local together and draws visitors in from far and wide.
Local accommodations get into the act too, serving up hearty Christmas meals and lighting up their log fires to ensure your stay is as cosy and Yuletide-full as possible.
Stay till the end and catch the Closing Party. It caps all this fun and festivity off with a night of music, food and one massive bonfire.
How’s that for something different?
Where: Anzac Parade, Bundanoon
When: 1-10 July 2016
For more info: Bundanoon Winterfest