15 epic things to do on Boxing Day in Sydney
From escaping to the Blue Mountains to taking a cruise, here's what's open on 26 December.
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Don't retreat back under the doona this Boxing Day. We've crowdsourced 16 hangover-bashing ideas to make this the absolute best Boxing Day yet.
Now that the big day is over, we have a few ideas on how you can say goodbye to that Christmas food coma come 26 December.
Things to Do on Boxing day
1. Get the adrenaline pumping
If you've been waiting for the perfect time to get that adventure in, why not on Boxing Day?
From getting out onto the water to heading to the skies, it's the perfect way to kick off the last week of the year.
Jet Boat Sydney Jet Blast
Manly Fliteboard Lesson
Black Ops Helicopter Flight Mission
2. Escape to the Blue Mountains
Hankering to escape the city and breathe some fresh (blue-tinged) air? Hop in the car and escape to the Blue Mountains this Boxing Day. Super close to Sydney and almost otherworldly in appearance (the blue mist that hovers overhead is bordering on fairytale-like), the Blue Mountains is prime "mini break" territory for Sydneysiders.
Burn off excess Christmas calories with a hike in Wentworth Falls, meander Mount Wilson's gardens or relax in a kooky Katoomba cafe.Book a Blue Mountains escape here or a day trip from Sydney here.
Blue Mountains Scenic Flight
Megalong Valley Winery Shuttle Bus from the Blue Mountains
3. Don't cook: Go out for lunch
After a tiring Christmas, there is nothing nicer than a slap-up Boxing Day feast – especially when you don't have to lift a finger.
From sticky dim sum dumplings in Chinatown to proper pub grub at your local, just make sure you book a table.
Otto Ristorante Six Course Seafood Degustation
Five-Course Tasting Menu by the Harbour with Wine
Signature Steak with Wine or Beer by the Harbour
4. Go to the cinema
Boxing Day is a very big deal for film buffs. That's because it's when you can catch some of the biggest summer releases.
Whether you're off to watch a romantic comedy or want to take the family to the next big kids flick, not much beats settling into a comfy armchair, munching on popcorn and fixing your eyes on that super-sized screen.
With Christmas in Sydney being a summer affair and all, outdoor movie experiences are all the rage on Boxing Day.
5. Spend the day on the water
We may not have a white Christmas Down Under but we do get to make the most of those warm December temperatures. Boxing Day provides the perfect opportunity to get out onto the water. Escape the crowds on Sydney's main beaches and hire your own kayak, paddleboard or even a boat for the day.
Double Kayak Hire in Manly
Stand Up Paddle Board Rental
6. Take a harbour cruise
Not a picnic and park kind of person? No worries. Why not take to the water with a Boxing Day cruise. Sit back and relax as you watch the waves pass you by with your choice of day cruises.
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Entry from RedBalloon
7. TV binge
OK, let's be honest. While everything on this list sounds tempting, this one wins the award for most realistic.
You have more than a few binge menu items to choose from. Here's our handy streaming hub for everything you need to know.
8. Harbour Bridge climb
We were surprised to find out that you can do this on Boxing Day, but we were mighty happy that you can.
Picture this: You're looking down on speck-like city buildings from a 52,000-ton steel frame while sparkling slate-tinged water simmers below and morning sunbeams warm your shoulders. Goodbye post-Christmas blues!
9. Take a leap of faith with a tandem skydive
The ultimate bucket list item – but how often does it actually get ticked off?
We think there's no better time than Boxing Day. Stay with us here, we're very serious. Here's why:
- You're not at work.
- It's the height of summer.
- You probably need a rude awakening from a post-Christmas slump.
- You don't have to go far to tick this one off as you can skydive in Wollongong, Newcastle and Hunter Valley.
Skydive at Sydney Wollongong
Skydive at Sydney Newcastle
Skydive at Hunter Valley
10. Go for an outdoor swim
From Insta-perfect local creeks to sprawling, wave-battered ocean pools, Sydney has no shortage of sweet swim spots. Get a head start on those healthy New Year's resolutions and start Boxing Day with a cooling dip.
Our personal favourites include these great spots:
- Queenscliff ocean pool (followed by an ice-cream cone on Manly Beach, naturally)
- Isolated Gledhill Falls for adventure and rugged bush surrounds
- Maccallum Pool for harbour and bridge views
Need somewhere good for small children? Quaint and quiet Little Manly Beach has a child-friendly swimming net, relatively calm waters and a cute kiosk serving snacks.
11. Visit a museum or art gallery
Culture vultures and art addicts can get their fix on Boxing Day, too. A lot of the city's art galleries and museums stay open for most of the day. Here's where you can go:
- Australian Museum - 10am - 5pm
- Australian Maritime Museum - 10.30am-4pm
- Museum of Sydney - 10am-5pm
- Powerhouse Museum - 10am-5pm
- Art Gallery of NSW - 10am-5pm
- MCA - 10am-5pm
- State Library of NSW - 10am-5pm
Volunteering around Christmas is a great way to embrace the festive spirit – and Boxing Day isn't too late. Give the gift of your time and help out a worthy cause.
There are loads of causes around Sydney, such as children's charities, St Vinnie's and soup kitchens, that would love your help.
Here's a great guide to figuring out what you can do if you don't know where to start.
13. Go to the theatre
Treat yourself to an arts or cultural experience and get tickets to the latest opera/theatre/musical production (strike out whichever isn't relevant).
Playing in Sydney on Boxing Day are Frozen at the Capitol Theatre and Pippin at Sydney Lyric. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.
14. Watch the cricket
Join an Aussie Boxing Day tradition and watch the 26 December cricket test match.
Either watch from home or find a fun sports bar and meet some friends.
Options include the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel and Churchills Sports Bar in Kingsford.
15. Stay at home on the sofa and hit the (online) sales
We have one question: Do you really want to spend the day after Christmas trying to tackle the Boxing Day crowd? Nope, neither do we.
Boxing Day is a very important event in any shopaholic's calendar, but it also turns shopping into a migraine-inducing, elbow-bashing, bargain hunter’s jungle.
Trust us when we say this: be a truly savvy shopper and stay at home. You can bag brilliant bargains on fashion, furniture, electronics, toys and travel all from the comfort of your sofa.
You’ll even find online-only promo codes for extra savings that you wouldn’t get in-store. To navigate the online sales like a pro, check out our full guide of all the Boxing Day sales you need to know about.
What's open on Boxing Day in Sydney
Want to browse in-store? Keep up to date with all the Boxing Day sales in Sydney.
Attractions open on Boxing Day in Sydney
|Attraction||Boxing Day trading hours||Where to book|
|Taronga Zoo||9:30am to 5pm||Redballoon|
|SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium||9:30am to 5pm||Adrenaline|
|Luna Park||10:30am to 4pm and 5pm to 10:30pm||Luna Park|
|Sydney Opera House||All day||Adrenaline|
|Sydney Tower Eye||10am to 8pm||Adrenaline|
|WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo||9:30am to 5pm||Adrenaline|
|Chinese Garden of Friendship||9:30am to 5pm||Adrenaline|
|Madame Tussauds||9:30am to 5pm||Adrenaline|
|Raging Waters Sydney||10am to 8pm||Raging Waters Sydney|
|Jenolan Caves||9am to 5pm||Adrenaline|
|Featherdale Wildlife Park||9am to 4pm||Adrenaline|
|ANZ Stadium||9am to 5pm||Adrenaline|
Restaurants, bars and cafes open on Boxing Day in Sydney
|Venue||Boxing Day trading hours||Where to book|
|The Little Snail||11:30 am to 8pm||Groupon|
|The Spice Lounge Indian Cuisine||12:30pm to 8pm||Groupon|
|Garçon||2pm to 5:30 pm||Groupon|
|Blackbird & Co Cafe||10:30 am to 2:30 pm||Groupon|
|BB's Breakfast Bar and BBQ||5:30 pm to 8:30 pm||Groupon|
|Six Po Hot Pot||12pm to 6:30 pm||Groupon|
|Biang Biang||12pm to 3:00 pm||Groupon|
|Via Alta||6pm to 7:30 pm||Groupon|
|Sydney Pearl Cruises||10:45am to 2:15pm or 6pm to 9pm||Scoopon|
|Bitton Alexandria||6pm to 9pm||RedBalloon|
|Deep Groove Bar||12pm to 5 pm||Groupon|
|The Century Bar||Until 7pm||Groupon|
|Umami Stone Pot||12pm to 5:30pm||Groupon|
|Cicchetti Restaurant & Wine Bar||10am to 1pm||Groupon|
|The Farm Cafe||12pm to 8pm||Groupon|
|Iceberg Dining Room and Bar||Lunch from 12pm and dinner from 6:30pm|
|Sharon Kwan Kitchen||11:30am to 8:30pm|
|Sydney Cebu Lechon||11:30am to 3:30pm and 5pm to 9pm|
|Ho Jiak||11am to 10pm|
|Harajuku Gyoza Beer Stadium||12pm to 8pm|
|Red Pepper Bistro||11am to 1:30am|
|The Amalfi Way||12pm to late|
|Cafe Sydney||12pm to 12am|
|Bathers' Pavilion||8:30am to 11:30pm|
|Jang Ta Bal||5pm to 12am|
|Ho Jiak Town Hall||11:30am to 10pm|
|Chiswick||12pm to 2:45pm and 5:30pm to 9pm|
|North Bondi Fish||12pm to 2:45pm and 5:30pm to 9pm|
|Eastside Kitchen||12pm to late|
|Marigold||10am to 3pm and 5:30pm to late|
|Gyusha||12pm to 10pm|
|Alberto's Lounge||12pm to 12am|
|Totti's||12pm to 10pm|
|The Collaroy Hotel||12pm to 3am|
|Opera Bar||11:30am to 12am|
|One Drop Brewing||11am to 10pm|
|Nomad Brewing Co.||11am to 8pm|
|The Golden Sheaf Hotel||10am to 2pm|
|Darlo Bar||12pm to 10pm|
|Jackalberry||3pm to 11pm|
|The Dolphin Hotel||12pm to 10pm|
|Bondi Beach Public Bar||10am to 1am|
|Shuk||6am to 5pm|
|Shuk Bakery||7am to 3pm|
|Gelato Messina Darlinghurst||12pm to 11:30pm|
|Gelato Messina Bondi||12pm to 11:30pm|
|Mayflower||7am to 3:30pm|
|X23 Asian Fusion Cafe||9am to 3pm|
|Cuckoo Callay Surry Hills||8am to 4pm|