I’m not gonna lie… Christmas Day in Sydney is a bit weird. Honestly it is.
When you’ve grown up knowing Christmas to be all about the cold weather, sitting next to the fire, watching the Coca Cola Christmas ad pop on TV and hoping for snow to fall… it’s just bizarre to be in the heat. And it’s super hot at this time of the year in Sydney.
No matter how many years I’ve spent Christmas in Australia, it never feels right (you can read more about our thoughts here).
But I’ll tell ya what… your first Sydney Christmas is a proper novelty. Seeing Santa wearing shorts is something you won’t be able to accept. But, you’ll get carried away with it being both Summer and Christmas at once which basically equates to a double celebration.
So if you’re a backpacker reading this, or if you’ve just moved over to Sydney and wondering how you should spend Christmas, or if you’re just looking to for something different to do this Christmas in Sydney, here’s some of our favourite things to do on Christmas Day in Sydney.
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Party on a boat on Sydney Harbour
If you’re travelling around Sydney, the best thing to do on Christmas Day is have fun on a Sydney harbour cruise! There’s a few to choose from so here’s our top picks!
A fun cruise with a DJ on board
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If you’re looking for more of a cheesy party atmosphere whilst you dig into your Christmas lunch, we love this cruise by Sydney Pearl Cruises. Whilst they offer up a 3 hour cruise with a gourmet buffet lunch, you’ll need to pay for drinks separately.
They’ve also got a DJ on board spinning loads of old favourites including the Macarena. Doesn’t get more random for Christmas but we love it!
Prefer a Christmas Day dinner cruise in Sydney with DJ instead?
Prefer to go on a dinner cruise instead? They also offer up a Christmas evening cruise which departs at 6pm from Darling Harbour. You can find out more about it here.
If you’re looking for a relaxed Christmas cruise on Sydney Harbour, then I suggest going through Vagabond Cruise. This 3 hour cruise will have you eating everything n offer from traditional Christmas roasts to Aussie seafood lunch. You’ll just need to pay for any alcoholic drinks.
An Aussie traditional Seafood Christmas lunch cruise
If you’re just as confused as I still am about they whole seafood Christmas lunch in Australia, why not go the whole hog and book yourself a proper Aussie seafood Christmas lunch cruise with Oz Whale Watching!
Please note, you won’t be going whale watching on this cruise as the whale migration takes place between June – November along the East Coast of Australia!
2. Go to Taronga Zoo
Looking for something a bit more low key? Taronga Zoo is actually open on Christmas Day between 9:30-5:00pm. This is a brilliant time to wonder around without the crowds. It’s also a perfect activity for everyone!
Pick your Taronga Zoo pass below!
Bring your swimmers with you as well and go for a swim in the secluded Sirius Cove Beach next door to Taronga Zoo and follow the path all the way back to Kirribilli. It’s honestly beautiful. We lived in Kurraba Point a few years back and I used to run all along the harbour around to Cremorne.
Make sure you visit Sirius Cove after you’ve been to the zoo!
Not forgetting, just before you get to Cremorne Point (which has fantastic harbour views) look for the secret Lex & Ruby Gardens, it’s awesome (you can read about it here).
3. Do the Sydney Bridge Climb on Christmas Day!
Image via: bridgeclimb.com
When your friends and family ask you what you did on Christmas Day in Sydney, how cool would it be to say, ‘oh you know, I just climbed to the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge’.
Unbelievably the Sydney Bridge Climb is open year round so you’ll be able to book a climb either in the morning, twilight or night time on Christmas Day!
Pick a Sydney Bridge Climb Tour below!
4. Visit Sydney Aquarium without the crowds
Image via Rydges.com
Sydney Aquarium will be open from 10am-6pm on Christmas Day. As a huge highlight when visiting Sydney, this is an awesome thing to do in Sydney on Christmas Day that you’ll be able to experience without the crowds!
5. Pop next door to the Wild Life Sydney Zoo
Wild Life Sydney Zoo is a hugely popular Sydney tourist attraction where you’ll get to see loads of the famous Australian wildlife right in the heart of the city.
Luckily Wild Life Sydney Zoo is also open on Christmas Day between 10am-4pm.
Pick the right Sydney pass for you below!
6. Catch a movie before everyone else
The cinema is so popular during Summer in Sydney because most people flock there when it’s too hot. The aircon will become your sanctuary – trust me!
Although many people opt to go to the cinema as a traditionally Boxing Day or New Years Day event, get the cinema to yourself on Christmas Day instead!
Hoyts, Events and Palace Cinemas will all be open.
7. Go for an Asian Christmas lunch in Sydney
Want to try something a bit different instead of a traditional Christmas lunch? Head over to China Town to one of the best yum cha’s in Sydney to Marigold for Christmas lunch!
8. Christmas lunch in Sydney Tower
If you’d prefer to have a more traditional Christmas lunch with knock out views over Sydney, head over to Sydney Tower. Here you’ll get access to over 55 dishes. Make sure you wear stretchy pants for this one!
9. Go for a swanky lunch with unlimited champers
Image via bestrestaurants.com
If you’re wondering where to have Christmas lunch in Sydney with excellent views of Sydney Harbour, Q Dining in Sydney are offering up a four course Christmas lunch WITH free flowing champers for $299 per adult. Find out more here.
10. Head over to Bondi Beach and celebrate!
On Christmas Day it’s a tradition to see backpackers come together to take over Bondi Beach. If you’re happy to be amongst the crowds for a party atmosphere then you can’t go wrong.
If you’re looking for other beaches to head to nearby which don’t require a car to get there, check out our favourite Sydney beaches here.
11. Check out the secret gardens in Sydney for free!
We love the hidden gems around Sydney that even the locals don’t even know about! If you’re looking to find some of them, check out our favourite secret gardens in Sydney!
Best of all, you can get to them by public transport and they won’t cost you a thing to get into. These are some of the awesome free things to do in Sydney!
12. Head up to Blue Mountains and go on a hike
You can still get up to the Blue Mountains on the train on Christmas Day so plan your own adventure by checking out our guides to some of the best hikes in Sydney!
Click on the images below to read our posts
13. Go to the Figure 8 Pools
If you wanted to get out of Sydney for the day, head down to The Royal National Park – the second oldest national park in THE WORLD which is just 1 hour away from Sydney. You can catch the train down and then start your hike from there!
14. Tackle the Bundeena to Big Marley hike
Looking to do a different hike in Sydney? You can catch the train down to Cronulla, then the boat over to Bundeena to hike to Wedding Cake Rock and onto Big Marley Beach. It’s a stunning walk and should be on every single person’s must do list when visiting Sydney!
15. Volunteer on Christmas Day in Sydney
Image via The Exodus Foundation.
There seriously isn’t a better thing to do than opting for some Christmas volunteering in Sydney.
The Exodus Foundation are currently looking for Christmas Day volunteers to help feed homeless people. Find out more about how you can help here.
The Wayside Chapel put on a church service and a street party for all to join on Highes Street in Potts Point. They feed 800 people on Christmas Day and you can even drop by with a plate or donate $25 to feed someone else.
Want to volunteer for the Oz Harvest? You’ll need to attend a session before you volunteer, but it will be oh so worth it. Find out more here.
If you want to help out but not on Christmas Day itself, The Smith Family are looking for volunteers to help pack and deliver toys and books for kids here.
Wondering what to do on Boxing Day in Sydney?
If you’re looking for a few things to do on Boxing Day then there’s two things you should definitely consider.
Sydney to Hobart Cruise
Image via: Bach Yachting
The Sydney to Hobart race is a legendary annual event which sees all of Sydney come together to watch hundreds of boats set sail for the race of the year down to Hobart.
There’s no better way to witness the race than to be on a boat on Sydney Harbour
Fantasea Cruising are offering up a 3 hour cruise which departs from Darling Harbour at 11:30am and includes light refreshments. Check availability and find out more here >
If you fancy going all out, Sydney Tall Ships (our favourite Sydney cruise) are offering up a seafood & steak lunch, with a live band for their 4 hour cruise! Check availability and find out more here >
See a performance at Sydney Opera House
If you fancy splashing out on Boxing Day, get yourself to Sydney Opera House and check out with their 5pm or 7:30pm performances.
What about New Years Eve in Sydney?
We got your back.
Check out our favourite things to do this New Years Eve in and out of Sydney which includes Sydney Harbour vantage points only locals know about and much much more!