Unique ways to celebrate Chinese New Year at The Rocks

With Chinese Spring celebrations taking over between mid-February and the first few days of March, it makes sense to take advantage of all the lunar new year festivities and really embrace this extra chance at a fresh start – so make your way over to The Rocks to eat, shop and pamper yourself.


What’s a celebration without a festive meal and a few drinks? Once you’ve enjoyed a walk, you’ll have worked up an appetite.

High Tea at the Shangri-La

Stave off hunger before you start your night with a luxe Chinese High Tea at the Shangri-La Lobby Lounge. A mix of Chinese flavours and Aussie traditions make for a wonderfully varied afternoon of tiny treats – but make sure you book!

Craving an Asian feast?

Try Wild Ginger – it’s not your neighbourhood Thai joint, fusing modern Aussie food philosophy with beautifully balanced Thai flavours (and you can get four oysters and a glass of wine for $20). Neil Perry’s super-elegant Japanese concept Sake has dining options from private rooms to a cheeky seat at the sushi bar, and is open til the wee hours. Or pop into the Holiday Inn Old Sydney lobby bar for their limited-time-only dim sum deal: just $15 for six dumplings and a BBQ pork bun.

Classic modern dining

For the extra-hungry and the meat-eaters in your party, there’s the glammed-up steakhouse atmosphere of The Cut Bar and Grill, Scarlett’s classic take on modern Australian, or the Brooklyn-industrial vibes of Pony Lounge and Dining.



Before or after dinner, you can order the freshest local craft beer at Endeavour Tap Room, an even fresher spritz cocktail at The Observer or the cosy Push, or enjoy a wine with a 360-degree view at The Glenmore.

And why not follow it up with a cone from Gelatissimo… and perhaps a walk back around the water, just for luck.


Whether you’ve got a little extra gift money to spend or want to treat a loved one, The Rocks is the ideal place to grab something on-trend and personal.

If you need some extra inspiration, go for something red, the traditional colour of Chinese New Year; something sparkling or light-focused, like a candle, as a nod to the firecrackers and lanterns; or buy eight of something, for extra good fortune!

Pro tip: If you have friends or family in town for the celebrations, head to TDFS Galleria for duty-free shopping.


Drop into Jason Ree Jewellery or AHW Studio for unique accessories and jewellery – perfect for finding something truly personal.

If you’re shopping on a weekend, make time to swing by The Rocks Markets for local artisanal creations for all budgets.

…and arts!

The first weekend of Chinese New Year season overlaps with your last chance to see Pipilotti Rist’s blockbuster exhibition Sip My Ocean at the Museum Of Contemporary Art.

While you’re at the MCA, you can check out their in-house store that specialises in beautiful design. The MCA Store has art books, accessories, witty tea towels and Aussie design that leaves the usual tourist tat in the dust.

Still stuck?

Family-run boutique Shab & Shadi is full of pretty homewares, gifts for baby, and luxurious clothes; L’Occitane’s classic French body care and fragrances for both men and women are always welcome; and Joe Bananas specialises in bright, quality menswear and bespoke experiences.

Special New Year activities

The Karaoke Climb

Karaoke on the Harbour Bridge, anyone? This special karaoke edition of the Mandarin-language Bridgeclimb, where you can capture an eight-second video of yourself rocking a Chinese or K-pop hit atop the Bridge, is back thanks to popular demand.

Chi, The Spa

Treat yourself to a massage, facial or body treatment at Chi, The Spa – inspired by traditional Asian wellness, Aussie ingredients and the natural elements – to re-align your personal energies for the New Year. Try a restorative body treatment with Himalayan salt scrub, green tea and a mandarin-geranium wrap.

The Argyle Oracle

Who doesn’t want a little insight into what their future holds? Stop by The Argyle Oracle on George from February 16 until March 4 for Chinese astrology and palmistry readings.

Sydney Observatory

Apart from having one of the best views of the city as well as the night sky, Sydney Observatory runs a 90-minute Mandarin-language tour with a special emphasis on Chinese astronomy every Sunday.

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