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Best Winter Festivals in NSW

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by Linda Moon (subscribe)
... a dreamer, freelance writer, naturopath, mother & former social work student based in the Blue Mountains. Continue the journey with me- Soul Home:
Published June 2nd 2014
From cool art to ice-skating, frozen gardens, wizards & more
Sydney Winter Festival
Photo courtesy of Sydney Winter Festival

It's not the first activity we think of when the season turns cold, but if you're not afraid of crowds, community winter festivals can be a low-cost opportunity to raise the spirits, get the blood pumping and ourselves out of the house. Listen to local buskers and musicians, take in the creations of artisans and grab a tasty morsel from a stall. Go ice-skating or down some Gluwein from a pop-up bar, dress up as a vampire or don a groovy scarf. Get away from those technology devices for a day and immerse thyself in the world.

Check out the action below and be sure to click on the provided website links for more information:

Winter magic festival, Katoomba, Blue Mountains - winter festivals, NSW
Street parade, Winter Magic Festival, Blue Mountains

Vivid Sydney

Enjoy the ingenuous displays of light shows, light art sculptures and music events in areas of Sydney ranging from Circular Quay and the Opera House to Cockle Bay and Martin Place. The light shows on the Opera House and Customs House are major draw-cards and popular each year.

Vivid is held each year around the end of May to early June and is a free nightly experience.

The Winter Festival, Darling Harbour

Offering ice-skating, winter cuisine, skating performances, the Apres Skate Lounge and Beer Garden, Air NZ Snow Globes, Frozen Forest, winter themed fireworks and more, this sounds too cool to miss.

This year (2014) the Winter Festival is happening Friday 13 June to Sunday 13 July.

Blue Mountains Winter Magic Festival

Originally celebrating the winter solstice, and held annually on a Saturday close to that date, this community festival features a street parade of costumed revelers, stalls, music, street-art and various events. This year, the Blue Mountains Winter Magic Festival is on Saturday 21st June, 2014.

Hunter Valley Gardens – Snow Time in the Gardens

This made-for-kids annual festival features an ice-skating rink, snow-ball challenge, tobogganing, face-painting, ice-sculptures and more. With its magical garden setting it's truly wonderful for kids.

HVG typically times such big events for the school holidays. Expect it to be packed.

This year Snow Time is on Saturday 28 June – Sunday 13 July (9.00am – 9.00pm daily). Check out admission prices on the website and be aware one isn't permitted to bring food into the garden.

Parramatta Winterlight Festival

There is action in the suburbs too. Get some winter sparkle at Parramatta's outdoor ice-skating rink, enjoy light shows, the alpine winter village, outdoor bar, live entertainment and food stalls.

This year Parramatta Winterlight Festival can be enjoyed daily from 27 June till 13 July, 2014.

Bondi Winter Magic

This is Bondi's bid to draw tourists into the area during winter. Bondi Winter Magic features an ice-rink (claimed to be the only beach-side rink in Australia), music, art and rides for children. Be aware you have to advance book for ice-skating and most events.

This year (2014) the rink operates from 27 June to 13 July (10am-9pm daily).

Splendour in the Grass

A music festival held in Byron Bay or surrounds each year and considered Australia's largest winter music festival.

This year, Splendour in the Grass can be enjoyed on the weekend Friday 25th-Sunday 27th July inclusive. BUT … if you haven't yet booked a ticket yet, you may have to wait till next year. Their website reports [31 May 2014] that tickets have booked out. Never mind, there's always next year! Get in early.

Customs house, light display, Vivid, festival, Sydney, NSW
The Customs House light display during the Vivid Festival (2013), Sydney
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Why? Get out in the action in winter
When: Winter
Where: From the suburbs to the city and the mountains.
Cost: Variable. Most festivals are free, some require admission fees and associated costs such as ice-skating, food, etc.
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Thanks great article!
by romica (score: 1|83) 2188 days ago
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