Easter is celebrated around the world both as a religious festival in Christian calendar and also an opportunity to go on a spring vacation over the Good Friday and Easter Monday long weekend. New York has its parade-cum-social event, the Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival; Munich has its "Starkbierfest" or strong beer festival' with plenty of beer guzzling; Dutch flowers are in full bloom in Amsterdam; and Singapore celebrates with a cornucopia of Easter dining offers. Thankfully, you don't have to go so far because Sydney is serving up plenty of reasons to enjoy the Easter long weekend and holidays with family and friends. Here are the 6 top reasons to spend Easter in Sydney.
Drawing some 1 million visitors each year, this annual event showcases and celebrates the rural industries of Australia.
The Sydney Showground in Olympic Park will once again be transformed into a mega agricultural attraction with the world's largest wood chopping competition, 14,000 baby animals in the Farmyard Nursery, racing piglets fruit and vegetable displays in the District Exhibits, award-winning food at Cafe NSW, freakish performers in the Psycho Sideshow and more than 100 carnival rides.
The highlight of the 2013 Show will be the evening entertainment extravaganza, titled Darcy's Quest. It features a giant puppet from Spain, human pyrotechnics and monster trucks. 322 showbags with a wide range of cartoon characters, sweets, toys and costumes will also be vying for kids' attention at this year's Show with Blinky Bill the cheapest at AUD1. Various ticket options are available. To find out more about the Show or buy your tickets, visit the official website.
The kids didn't get enough fun at the Sydney Showgrounds? Then grab everyone and head straight to the Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park, home to the Sydney Family Show, where its all about carnival entertainment and rides for the entire family. This free entry event offers carnival games, pony rides, animal nursery, competitions, prizes and more show bags.
This year's highlights include the Erth's Dinosaur Petting Zoo where everyone can interact with life-like baby and mummy animatronics dinosaurs and see amazing Lego creations from LegoŽ Mania. The kids will also love the taking photos with the Easter Bunny and the daily Easter Egg hunt.
Family members, carers and people living with disability will receive free access to the animal nursery and discounted ride tickets on opening day. To find out more about the Show and tickets for rides, visit the official website.
Darling Harbour HOOPLA: March 29-April 1
Photo courtesy of Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority
HOOPLA at Darling Harbour promises a flippin' good time in Sydney this Easter with 4 days and 3 nights of family-friendly entertainment. Presented by Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, HOOPLA is regarded as the premier circus and street performance festival in Australia. Visitors young and old can expect more than 25 exciting international and local street theatre and circus acts from 12pm to 5.30pm and night shows from 6.30pm to 9.40pm except Monday 1 April.
Photo courtesy of Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority
So bring your date, kids and friends down to Darling Harbour this Easter long weekend to enjoy free outdoor performances as well as fun-filled circus antics, hilarious comedy capers and heart-stopping stunts in the Big Top circus tent shows (AUD10 to AUD25) and Tiny Top and Castello tent shows (AUD5). For more information about HOOPLA at Darling Harbour visit the official website.
Can't handle the crowds at the Sydney Royal Easter Show with the kids in tow? Cronulla Plaza has the Easter solution for you and your family. Run by a local council group, the Cronulla Easter Show offers families 4 days of roving entertainers, market stalls, activity stalls, face painting and carnival rides.
Highlight of the Show include the Animal Caper Shows with pony rides and an animal farm, and Circusworks' circus school where kids can learn to juggle and walk on stilts. Kids can also get their hands on showbags of Mickey Mouse, Spongebob Squarepants, Angry Birds, Dora the Explorer, My Little Pony, Thomas the Tank Engine and Ben 10. For more information on the Show, visit the Sutherland Shire Council website.
With fish being an important ingredient in many Good Friday dishes, Bryan Skepper, General Manager of Sydney Fish Market expects around 350 tonne of seafood to be sold over the Easter long weekend. Popular choices include the New Zealand King Salmon, Barramundi, Snapper and Sea Mullet in addition to oysters and cooked prawns.
To provide residents with ample time to stock up for their Easter feasts, the Sydney Fish Market will extend trading from 5am until 5pm on Good Friday, 29 March and is open over the long weekend. Even if you're not purchasing fish for Good Friday dinner, the Market is still an excellent place to enjoy a leisurely seafood meal with the family and friends over the Easter long weekend without fear of the looming showbags. For more information, visit the Market's website.
Kids in the Park Easter: April 13-28
Sydney's favourite Easter school holiday activities program is back at the
. Kids in the Park is the most extensive programme with over 50 activities for kids of all ages at various venues around the Olympic Park. Activities range from 30 minute lessons to 3 or 4 day workshops and camps. Kids can develop their creativity through workshops like animal sculpture, painting and printmaking, story writing classes and film making (for older kids). Explorers can go on discovery trails, code cracking trails and bird watching, There's archery, diving, gymnastics, skating, soccer, swimming, tennis camps and trampolining classes for kids who enjoy sports. There's even a free daily Amazing Chase bike race around Olympic Park.
For time-poor parents, there's all-day supervised fun where their kids will enjoy a wide range of activities and learn some new skills. The cost varies with each activity but many of the Kids in the Park activities are free or under AUD20. Families will find plenty of fun and low cost programmes to keep the kids happy and entertained and challenged for hours. For the full programme, visit the Kids in the Park website.