Must-see Winter Festivals in Sydney 2024

By: Dulcie Randall, 12 May 2024

It might seem slightly counterintuitive, but there's something about winter in Sydney that makes you want to get outside and explore! The good news is, you can because our cool city has an enchanting lineup of winter festivals in Sydney and beyond to make the cooler season hot, hot, hot!

From ice-skating spectaculars to snowmen, medieval faires, Christmas in July, and carnival rides galore, there's plenty to see and do at Sydney's lineup of winter festivals 2024. 

Must-see Winter Festivals in Sydney & Beyond

1. VIVID Sydney

VIVID Sydney
VIVID Sydney

One of the world's biggest lights festival returns to Sydney in 2024!

Get ready for a neon-lit wonderland as VIVID Sydney ​​​​​​turns the city into a giant, outdoor gallery of epic proportions. See the iconic Opera House sails plus plenty more locations splashed with mind-bending colours, interactive light installations you can actually walk through, and secret spots around the city glowing up in ways you've never seen.

Winter festivals in Sydney
Lightscape at Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens is one of our favourite family-friendly installations.

VIVID Music lets you serenade your soul with beats and bops from the coolest mix of artists, from underground icons to chart-toppers. And for the thinkers, the dreamers, the doers? VIVID Ideas serves up spicy talks and workshops that'll get those brain juices flowing. 

When:     24 May to 15 June 2024
Where:    Various locations across Sydney
Cost:       FREE

Where to Celebrate Christmas in July in Sydney

2. GLOW at Sydney Zoo

Winter festivals in Sydney
GLOW at Sydney Zoo.

Sydney Zoo is transforming into a dazzling playground this winter when their iconic GLOW festival returns.

GLOW at Sydney Zoo will light up Western Sydney for 37 glowy nights with a mega line-up of events, including illuminated installations, light walks, the famous glowing Ferris wheel, super slides, dodgem cars, an after-dark aquarium, and the list goes on!

Where:    Sydney Zoo, 700 Great Western Hwy, Bungarribee NSW
When:     10 May to 15 June 2024 | Nightly from 5.30 pm to 10 pm
Cost:       Tickets from $29.99

3. Bondi Festival

Bondi Festival
For sand between your toes and a fun family day out, then the Bondi Festival is your ticket!

When the temperature drops, there’s nothing like heading to the seaside to catch a whiff of that icy ocean air. And what better place to do it than on the shores of Sydney’s most iconic beach - Bondi!

Returning to the shores from 5-21 July 2024, the two-week Bondi Festival will run day and night, showcasing all the delights of Sydney’s rich arts scene. The full festival programme drops soon, but if past years are anything to go by we can expect an arts festival for all ages where families can discover live shows including comedy, theatre and music, take a spin on the Ferris wheel and ice rink, plus enjoy circus shows for the whole family!

Where:       Bondi Beach
When:        5-21 July 2024
Cost:          FREE with some paid events.

4. Bastille Festival

Bastille Festival
Watch The Rocks come alive with music, food and fun this winter in Sydney.

Francophiles rejoice because the Bastille Festival is bringing a little taste of France to The Rocks this July - c'est magnifique!

The four-day Bastille Festival runs from 11 to 14 July and is one of the most popular winter festivals in Sydney for the season. Bastille Festival will showcase the very best in French food, wine, entertainment, street stalls, pop-up igloos and even a Christmas Village! Start practising your "ouis" and pull out your favourite beret!

Where (Ou)​​​​​​:      The Rocks
When (Quand): 11-14 July 2024
Cost (Prix):       FREE entry 

5. Chill Fest Campbelltown

Winter festivals in Sydney
Campbelltown's annual winter festival is back - don't miss Chill Fest!

Koshigaya Park in Campbelltown will be bursting with family fun at one of the coolest winter festivals in Sydney - Chill Fest

The magic of winter will be in full swing from 5-21 July with activities and entertainment, including amusement rides, an open-air ice-skating rink, light shows, marshmallow toasting and food trucks.

Where:   Koshigaya Park, Campbelltown
When:    5-21 July 2024
Cost:      FREE entry, tickets for skating, food and rides will all incur a cost.

6. Winterfest Sydney Medieval Fair

Winterfest Sydney Medieval Fair
Winterfest Sydney Medieval Fair

Escape town (and reality!) for one day and go back in time at the Winterfest Sydney Medieval Fair.

Go back to the dark ages and experience a true medieval wonderland with real-life reenactments, jousting, delicious medieval fare, a kids’ corner, live-action role-play, a medieval animal farm, an equestrian area, a pageant theatre, mermaids, and more.

Where:  Hawkesbury Showground, Racecourse Rd, Clarendon
When:   6-7 July 2024
Cost:     From $15 per child over five. 

7. Winter Magic Festival

Winter Magic Katoomba
Magic is coming to Katoomba this winter!

Less than two hours drive outside of Sydney, you’ll find yourself smack bang in the middle of the Blue Mountains’ epicentre - Katoomba.

Katoomba is often regarded as the preferred winter getaway hotspot for Sydneysiders, and now there's even greater reason to bundle up the kids in the car and really get yourself into the spirit of the season. The Winter Magic Festival is just as whimsical as it sounds, with punters encouraged to let the charm of winter take over and dress up!

From 21-23 June, all the enchanting characteristics of the Blue Mountains will be on offer, including street food, music, artisanal markets and performances setting the laneways alight. 

Where:       Throughout Katoomba
When:        21-23 June 2024
Cost:          FREE

8. Snow Time in the Garden

Winter festivals in Sydney
Get ready to get your snowflake fix at Hunter Valley Gardens!

For Aussies, the novelty of experiencing an authentic white winter is a fairly rare occurrence. Ski holidays can be costly and not always accessible for families. But we’ve found a very affordable alternative just a short drive away to Hunter Valley Gardens.

The 2024 Snow Time in the Gardens will be held from 29 June to 28 July and is the perfect opportunity for the family to get their snowflake fix! Kids (and big kids) will be able to partake in ice skating, tobogganing, snowman building and a whole host of other frosty outdoor activities. Just remember to pack your gloves!

Where:     Hunter Valley Gardens, 2090 Broke Rd, Pokolbin
When:      29 June to 28 July 2024
Cost:        $40 per adult; $30 per child (4-15yrs); under 3s go FREE; family passes from $93

9. Bathurst Winter Festival

Winter festivals in Sydney
Escape the city and soak up some serious winter charm at the Bathurst Winter Festival!

Promising tonnes of fun for all ages during the winter school holidays from 6-21 July, the Bathurst Winter Festival truly has something for everyone—both day and night! 

Entertainment will range from light shows, rides, ice skating, signature food events, market stalls, live music and more. There's also the highly exciting Kids' Day, with its daytime disco and cool activities, and Pets' Day, where you can bring your furry friends along for pet-friendly activities!

Where:    Bathurst town centre - Kings Parade, Russell Street
When:     6-21 July 2024
Cost:       TBA for 2024

10. Sydney Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom Festival Auburn Botanic Garden
Auburn Botanic Garden's Cherry Blossom Festival is a highlight of winter in Sydney.

While we can’t jet off to Kyoto to take in the arrival of the breathtaking Cherry Blossom season, fear not because we can still enjoy the stunning display of nature's palette right here during winter in Sydney.

The Sydney Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the most beautiful ways to experience winter in Sydney in the Auburn Botanic Garden, and the good news is it’s returning this year! Japanese delicacies, attractions, and kid-friendly activities are on the agenda for nine cherry blossom-filled days in August.

Where:    Auburn Botanic Gardens, Chisholm Rd & Chiswick Rd
When:     10-19 August 2024
Cost:       FREE for kids 15 and under and Cumberland residents; $10/adult.

11. Midwinter Festival

Midwinter Festival
The Southern Highlands’ first regional art gallery, Ngununggula, is proud to present the second annual Midwinter Festival,

The Midwinter Festival promises to be a feast for the senses. Witness a spectacular choreographed drone light show, admire fascinating street installations, and experience the return of Burning Man. The Midwinter Festival also offers some of the region's best food and beverage offerings, live music, and activities led by local artists that are perfect for kids, teens, and families.

So whether you're a culture vulture, a foodie, or just looking for an excuse to escape the city and enjoy the beauty of regional NSW, this festival has something for everyone.

Where:   Ngununggula, Bowral
When:    TBA for 2024
Cost:      TBA

12. Central Coast Harvest Festival 

Central Coast Harvest Festival
Central Coast Harvest Festival

As you follow the Central Coast Harvest Festival event trail, you'll get the chance to explore local farms spread across Dooralong, Jilliby, Wyong Creek, Yarramalong, Kulnura, Mangrove Mountain, Peats Ridge, Somersby, and Calga. It's the ultimate chance to truly immerse yourself in the region's agricultural richness, from the paddocks to plate.

The two-day program of the Harvest Festival is thoughtfully designed to cater to all ages, tastes, and interests. So, whether you're a foodie, an explorer, or someone seeking a refreshing break, this event promises a whole lotta long weekend fun!

Where:    Multiple locations across the Central Coast Hinterland.
When:     8-9 June 2024 - Check the official event program for exact dates and start times.
Cost:       Refer to the event program for specific pricing.

More Winter Magic in Sydney

Where to See Snow Near Sydney
The Best Spots for Winter Fruit Picking
Whale Watching in Sydney

Have you signed up to our newsletter? Join ellaslist to get the best family and kid-friendly events, venues, classes and things to do NEAR YOU!