With a calendar packed with cultural events, new gallery openings and vibrant arts festivals, now’s the time to book your bucket list trip to New South Wales.
From Vivid Sydney, Australia’s largest annual festival of light, music and ideas, to the epic new Sydney Modern Project, and a plethora of indigenous culture trails, there are so many unique ways to learn more about this incredibly diverse corner of the earth.
Arts and Culture Events
Vivid Sydney 2023 illuminates the city, 26 May – 17 June
Celebrating its 13th year in 2023, Vivid Sydney returns this month to light up the city fusing art, innovation, and technology in collaboration with some of the most boundary-pushing artists, thinkers, and musicians of our time.
Every evening from 26 May – 17 June, Sydney will be illuminated by dazzling outdoor immersive light installations and projections across iconic buildings and attractions created by local and international artists and creatives.
From drone shows and night walks to huge music performances, an all new Vivid Food lineup, and a special celebrity appearance from White Lotus stars Mike White and Jennifer Coolidge, this year’s programme promises to be the biggest and most culturally relevant to date. Set to return in 2024, it is one of the most unmissable events the city has to offer.
Sydney Opera House celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2023, Sydney
The World Heritage listed Sydney Opera House is an iconic symbol of modern Australia that, from conception to completion, has challenged the limits of construction engineering and design.
To celebrate Australia’s favourite buildings past, present and future, the Opera House is hosting an incredible year long festival of over 230 events celebrating five decades of creativity.
Throughout 2023 the 50th anniversary celebrations will highlight the very best of Australian culture and artists including free projections, outdoor concerts and family friendly performances by The Australian Ballet and Sydney Symphony orchestra.
National Indigenous Art Fair, Sydney – 1-2 July
Head to the National Indigenous Art Fair for an incredible weekend celebrating indigenous art, performances, panel discussions, bush food and craft workshops.
Located in one of Sydney’s most popular neighbourhoods, the Overseas Passenger Terminal in the Rocks will host more than 50 stallholders from art centres across New South Wales and Sydney’s Blak Market where you can purchase indigenous art, delicate handmade jewellery, homewares, food and more.
All proceeds from the event will go directly back to the artist and First Nation communities.
New Art and Culture Experiences
Visit the Sydney Modern Project, Sydney
An exciting new era in the cultural life of Australia began in December 2022, as the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ new building was finally unveiled.
The new standalone building – designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA – is the centrepiece of the expansion, the most significant cultural development to open in Sydney in nearly half a century.
The completion of the project creates a new art museum campus comprising two buildings connected by a public art garden on Gadigal Country overlooking Sydney Harbour.
Girri Girra, Central Coast
Girri Girra is a 100% Aboriginal-owned business operating on the beautiful NSW Central Coast that, through various scenic walking tours, teaches people about Aboriginal society and culture.
Girra Girra offers retreats for visitors seeking to disconnect from the world and reconnect with nature with an incredible overnight bush camp experience in the Ourimbah State forest.
Your stay will begin with a sunset smoking ceremony, followed by a night of Indigenous dancing and storytelling under a canopy of stars.
The next day, you will be led through the bush on an in-depth guided tour as well as participating in the ancient art of body painting.
Qtopia Museum, Sydney
Often referred to as the queer capital of the world, Sydney’s LGBTQIA+ scene is constantly expanding.
Having opened for Sydney WorldPride back in February, Qtopia is a new LGBTQIA+ hub which shines a light on queer heritage, culture and history.
A not-for-profit queer museum, Qtopia occupies the old Darlinghurst Police Station and aims to encourage, educate and inspire both visitors and locals to celebrate queer culture.
This unique space will be home to exciting new LGBTQIA+ exhibitions, education programmes and community engagement activities telling the story of Sydney’s inspirational queer history.
Bucket list cultural adventures
Cultural Sand Dune Adventures, Port Stephens
Sand Dune Adventures offers an exclusive cultural quad bike experience like no other.
Visitors will glide across the majestic and traditional landscape of the Worimi Sand Dunes, recorded as the largest coastal moving sand mass in the Southern Hemisphere.
Riding safely from bush to beach on a 400cc quad bike, visitors will be able to take in breathtaking views of the sweeping coastline whilst receiving introductions to authentic Aboriginal culture and history from an experienced Aboriginal guide.
The tour will take visitors to ancient campsites and teach them about local bush food, medicines and the secrets of finding fresh water.
See Sydney from a whole new point of view when you scale one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks with an Indigenous storyteller.
The Burrawa Indigenous Climb Experience offers a unique opportunity to take in the breathtaking views of glistening water from the Sydney Harbour Bridge whilst learning about Sydney’s rich Aboriginal heritage.
Learn about ancient botanists, relics, and aboriginal language teachers whilst embarking on a three-hour journey to the peak of ‘The Coathanger’ (as the bridge is known to locals) traversing 1,332 steps and taking you 134 metres above sea level.
Mutawintji Heritage Tours, Broken Hill
Pay a visit to Mutawintji National Park in the New South Wales outback, one of the state’s most breathtaking National Parks boasting beautifully rugged landscape, with an Aboriginal history dating back thousands of years.
Mutawintji Heritage Tours company, alongside New South Wales National Parks, run cultural guided tours in the park which aim to share cultural values, heritage, history and sacred places on half or full day walking tours.
Visitors will be shown unique Aboriginal stencils and engravings along creeks and dramatic cliff walks as well as learning about native flora and fauna from experienced guides with unique indigenous knowledge.
Embark on an incredible two-hour indigenous Stand Up Paddle (SUP) tour and learn about local Indigenous dreaming stories told by local Dharwal woman Jodi Edwards.
Your tour will begin with a Wayapa Wuurrk, an earth connection practice that encompasses mindfulness, narrative meditation, a series of physical movements and taking action to look after the planet.
Jodi will teach the group the skills required for stand up paddle boarding before you embark on your adventure along the stunning Minnamurra River with various stops along the way.
NSW brought to life in London, Outernet, Tottenham Court Road
Visit the Tottenham Court Road’s Outernet London on 2 – 3 June and be transported Down Under with a new spectacular installation coinciding with the launch of Vivid Sydney.
Free to the public, the immersive installation will feature exclusive footage of this year’s event and the wider New South Wales region, with guests able to scan a QR code to discover the vibrant state in all its glory and win prizes in partnership with Travelbag.
The exhibition can be viewed in the Now Trending room at Outernet, London’s most immersive entertainment district, which boasts the “world’s largest LED screen deployment”.
For more information, visit sydney.com @sydney #FeelNewSydney