A year of arts and culture in Sydney and New South Wales

Wednesday, 24 May, 2023 0

For art and culture lovers, now’s the time to book a bucket list trip to Sydney and New South Wales.

There is a full calendar packed with cultural events, new gallery openings and vibrant arts festivals.

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 many unique ways to explore diverse culture down under.


Arts and Culture Events 

Vivid Sydney 2023  26 May – 17 June 

Celebrating its 13th year, Vivid Sydney returns to light up the city fusing art, innovation, and technology. Every evening Sydney will be illuminated by immersive light installations and projections across iconic buildings and attractions. It includes drone shows, night walks and music performances, plus an all-new Vivid Food lineup. There is a special celebrity appearance from White Lotus stars Mike White and Jennifer Coolidge.


Sydney Opera House celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2023, Sydney

The World Heritage listed Sydney Opera House is an iconic symbol of modern Australia. To celebrate Australia’s favourite building’s past, present and future, the Opera House is hosting a year long festival of over 230 events celebrating five decades of creativity. Throughout 2023 the 50th anniversary celebrations highlight the very best of Australian culture with free projections, outdoor concerts and 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 a 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. Visitors can purchase indigenous art, 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

The Sydney Modern ProjectSydney  

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. It is the most significant cultural development to open in Sydney in nearly half a century. It creates a new art museum campus comprising two buildings connected by a public art garden overlooking Sydney Harbour.


Girri GirraCentral Coast

Girri Girra is a 100% Aboriginal-owned business operating on the NSW Central Coast that teaches people about Aboriginal society and culture on walking tours. Girra Girra offers retreats to reconnect with nature with an overnight bush camp experience in the Ourimbah State forest. It begins with a sunset smoking ceremony, followed by a night of Indigenous dancing and storytelling under the stars. The next day, guests are led through the bush on an in-depth guided tour and participate in the ancient art of body painting.


Qtopia MuseumSydney 

Often referred to as the queer capital of the world, Sydney’s LGBTQIA+ scene is constantly expanding. Having opened for Sydney WorldPride, Qtopia is a new LGBTQIA+ hub which shines a light on queer heritage, culture and history. A not-for-profit museum, Qtopia aims to encourage, educate and inspire both visitors and locals to celebrate queer culture. It will be home to new LGBTQIA+ exhibitions, education programmes and community engagement activities.


Bucket list cultural adventures

Cultural Sand Dune AdventuresPort Stephens

Sand Dune Adventures offers a cultural quad bike experience across the landscape of the Worimi Sand Dunes, 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 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 and more.


BridgeClimb Burrawa Indigenous ExperienceSydney 

See Sydney from a different perspective 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 views from the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Learn about ancient botanists, relics, and aboriginal language teachers whilst embarking on a three-hour journey to the peak of ‘The Coathanger’.


Mutawintji Heritage ToursBroken Hill

Visit Mutawintji National Park in the New South Wales outback. Mutawintji Heritage Tours, 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.


Kiama Indigenous SUP tours, Kiama

Embark on a two-hour indigenous Stand Up Paddle (SUP) tour and learn about local Indigenous dreaming stories told by local Dharwal woman Jodi Edwards. The tour begins with a Wayapa Wuurrk, an earth connection practice of mindfulness and narrative meditation.


NSW brought to life in LondonOuternet, Tottenham Court Road

Get a taste of Aussie culture without the long flight. Visit Outernet London on 2 – 3 June for 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. Guests can scan a QR code to discover the state and win prizes in partnership with Travelbag. The exhibition can be viewed in the Now Trending room at Outernet.


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