Sydney Festival on a Shoestring

Sydney-siders love an excuse to party and there's no better place to join in and discover art, music and more at Sydney Festival this January.. the best part? Most of it's free!

  • Get trippy at the Luminarium
  • Encounter Parramatta's firery dancers
  • Pack a picnic for Opera in the Domain
  • Learn about Leadership in Cultural Industries and how it can save the world
  • Discover rebirth at a smoking ceremony and Procession

...and a whole lot more, all free and all running this summer

Dodecalis Luminarium: 8-26 January 2020

Wander down to Sydney's newest arts precinct at Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour for an immersive sensory experience. Creators Architects of Air have formed spacious and airy domes and mazes inspired by sacred geometry and dodecahedrons... that is, a twelve sided object that'll soak up all your senses with neon lit tunnels. Bring your camera along for some quality social media content, no filter needed.

General admission is free, but if you want to skip the queue you can pay $20 for a half hour session. Get the gang together and you can crash at our Sydney Central YHA, just a 10minute walk away!

Opera in the Domain: 18 January 2020

Opera In The Domain

Hear Australia's biggest operatic stars, under the stars, sing arias from around the world. Pack a picnic blanket, or settle in at the pop-up bar. Sing along to some of the most recognisable performances with the from the Opera Australia Orchestra, or snuggle up to a special someone to enjoy an amazing night.

Head to Glebe Point YHA afterwards to practice your opera singing on the rooftop.

The Vigil - 25 January 2020

The Vigil

Learn about Indigenous culture at this free outdoor experience. As dusk falls at Barangaroo Reserve in the city, a vigil will be held overnight to reflect on the impact of colonisation and the significance of the day before the ‘First Fleet’ arrived on Australia’s shores. A ceremonial lighting of the fire will take place, accompanied by musical performances and stories from the Aboriginal community.

Head to Sydney Town Hall at 6pm for a smoking ceremony and follow Aboriginal Elders in a procession to Barangaroo to being The Vigil.

Stay at Sydney Harbour YHA – strolling distance from this unique and moving event.

Ferrython - 26 January 2020


Kick off Australia Day by the harbour, watching flotillas of ferries race from Circular Quay to Shark Island and back to the finish line under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Cheer on your favourite Ferry McFerryface from the foreshore. Want to get in on the action? Book your place on team Blue Ferry or team Red Ferry to be in the heart of the action on the day.

To keep up the nautical theme, head to Pittwater YHA – just an hour from the centre of Sydney; accessible only by boat. 

ENCOUNTER - 10-12 January 2020

Head West for the world premiere of some of Sydney's most exciting new performers and dancers. With a cast of 16 dancers and 48 musicians, head to Prince Alfred Square in the heart of Parramatta to discover the heart, excitement, and joy of young people living in Western Sydney and regional Australia. 

Stay at Railway Square YHA to be a few seconds away from the train to Parramatta!

If you're keen on one of the paid events, SydFest is offering super discounted tickets the day of the event throughout the whole festival. All tickets are down to $26 between 9am-12pm the day of the event, so make sure to set your alarms and book quick to get a massive deal on some of the most sought after events!

Ready to plan your Sydfest for 2020? Check out SydFest for the full program, get your friends together to book out a whole room for yourselves, and don't forget to check out check out - offering 75 great value properties to stay around Australia, from multi-share to private ensuite rooms – all in incredible locations.

Book your accomodation at Sydney Central for just $25 a night on the YHA App all through January!

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