Thinking about a sea change to Sydney, or have just made the move?

Sydney is known for being Australia’s harbour city, but apart from the stunning scenery it’s also big on art and festivals.

We surveyed over 2,000 expats and over 28% said that understanding and adapting to a new culture and lifestyle was amongst the top challenges of moving and establishing life in Australia.

In order to help, we’ve put together a list of 5 annual cultural events that make Sydney buzz all year round:

  1. Sydney Festival (January)

Sydney Festival is synonymous with summer. When the Christmas holidays are behind you, this annual festival is just the ticket to keep the party going for a few more weeks. Music, opera, theatre, dance and other live performances happen in venues around the city.

The programming is top-notch and variety is king – you can see everything from Dutch theatre to Icelandic folk bands. Find yourself in the grand halls of the Sydney Opera House, or enjoy a more intimate show in the spectacular Spiegeltent, handcrafted with wood, mirrors and velvet in the 1920s and based at festival HQ in Hyde Park. Find out more at


  1. Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (February)

World-famous for their sequined celebration of LGBTQI pride, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras have come a long way from their political beginnings, but have kept the spirit strong.

Today, their multi-coloured, bombastic parade of community floats opens a party that lasts all night long and continues for days to follow with queer theatre, music, comedy and other performance. Find out more  at


  1. Sydney Chinese New Year Festival (February)

Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival is one of the biggest Lunar New Year celebrations outside of China – no wonder more than 1 million people flock to Sydney every year just to take part.

With sumptuous street food to rival the streets of Shanghai, specials deals in restaurants across the city and dramatic giant lanterns illuminating the city with the signs of the Chinese Zodiac, this is a feast for the senses like no other. Find out more at


  1. Vivid Sydney (May-June)

The weather’s getting cooler, but this event won’t let you get too comfy indoors. The festival is themed into 3 different streams: Vivid lights, Vivid ideas and Vivid music.

Buildings and the small spaces between them are illuminated with light installations, some of the biggest local and international music acts fill Sydney’s stages and every night, there’s a talk or workshop to get involved in that will make yours a fuller, more curious mind. Find out more at


  1. Sydney New Year’s Eve (December)

This is the big kahuna of party in the Emerald City. Some choose to spend it on (and in) the harbour, watching the colossal fireworks display. If you’re the outdoorsy type, make sure you stay hydrated, because you’ll need to save your spot from high noon.

If you prefer a more private affair, there are plenty of parties and picnics in vantage points across the harbor city to keep you occupied, champagne in hand. Find out more at


These events and festivals are just the tip of the iceberg with hundreds more music, arts and food events happening around the city at any given time. Sydneysiders are a friendly crowd so don’t be shy to get involved!

If you’re thinking about moving to Sydney from overseas or have just arrived, speaking to a currency specialist can help you plan your finances for everything from setting up your new life to managing the transfer of funds once you settle in.

World First are international money transfer specialists that could help you get with better exchange rates and seamless bank-to-bank transfers so you know the exchange rate you are getting and what you’ll receive at the other end. We’re also one of the few 5-star rated Australian providers awarded  ‘Outstanding Value in International Money Transfers’ by CANSTAR, Australasia’s leading consumer finance ratings company.

Speak with a World First currency specialist on 1800 744 777 or visit us at

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These comments are the views and opinions of the author and should not be construed as advice. You should act using your own information and judgement. Whilst information has been obtained from and is based upon multiple sources the author believes to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy and it may be incomplete or condensed.

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