Summer in Sydney may very well be the most exciting time of year to visit the harbour city. Long, leisurely days at the beach, afternoons browsing bustling street markets and warm evenings spent dancing the night away in glittering clubs can fill your summer calendar while bursts of festival fun are ideal for punctuating those otherwise-lazy summer days. The Sydney festival is a nearly month-long celebration of everything Sydney, everything art and everything summer. As one of the world’s top holiday destinations, Sydney has a great deal to offer its residents and visitors, from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanic Garden and the Sydney Harbour. Stroll the harbour foreshore, explore The Rocks, picnic in the park or swim in the sea pools. No matter what you do, you are sure to find it richly rewarding.

Bondi Icebergs Pool, Bondi, NSW
Bondi Icebergs Pool, Bondi, NSW (photo courtesy of Tourism Australia)

Sydney Festival, which takes place every year through January, was originally created by the government of New South Wales, the City of Sydney and the Sydney Committee to attract visitors to the city’s centre during the holiday season. The first Sydney Festival took place in 1977, and since then, it has developed into one of the world’s top cultural celebrations with some of the country’s top productions, including Smoke & Mirrors, and some of the world’s top artists and groups, such as Theatre du Soliel, Ian McKellen and the National Theatre of Scotland. The festival includes talks, music, dance, theatre, musical theatre, family productions, installations and visual arts.

This year’s Sydney Festival is being held at venues throughout the city with events taking place in Darling Harbour, Hyde Park, the Sydney Opera House, the Parramatta CBD and the Art Gallery of NSW. More than 90 events featuring 750 artists will take place over the course of the month and include not just serious intellectual productions but also fun and quirky art demonstrations, such as the giant rubber duck that will be bobbing along Darling Harbour. Soul music, painter Francis Bacon, a treadmill marathon and a fiery Latino circus will all make appearances as well.

Circular Quay, Sydney
Circular Quay, Sydney (photo courtesy of Tourism Australia)

Tickets can be purchased online or by phone through the Sydney Festival Box office or in person at the Riverside Theatre. Tickets vary in cost based on the event. Some events cost as little as $30 while others are $50. Certain programs or events are free. Festival Multipacks can help you save on your admission. When you buy tickets to three or four events, you can save 10 percent while buying tickets to five or more events can allow you to save 15 percent.

Transportation options to Sydney Festival include water taxis and ferries or Sydney’s extensive bus or train network. The weather tends to be warm during the summer months with average temperatures ranging between 19 and 26 °C. The summer months tend to be the wettest of the year, but they also tend to average as many as eight hours of sunshine a day, which means sunblock is essential for festival goers and anyone who intends to be outdoors for any period of time.