Top Australian Cities Celebrate Chinese New Year

31 January 2014
Read Time: 1.9 mins

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Chinese communities around the world are preparing to welcome the year of the horse. Tradition says that the colour red will scare away evil spirits and that even numbers of mandarins with their leaves connected should be placed around the house. Families will enjoy a meal together today - popular New Year dishes include uncut noodles that symbolise longevity and fish and chicken, which symbolise prosperity. Kids will receive red envelopes to pass on the prosperity.

Join in these Chinese New Year festivities around Australia.

 Chinese New Year Twilight Parade. Image courtesy of Destination NSW. Photographer Hamilton Lund

The entrance of Brisbane’s Chinatown on Duncan Street is guarded by 320 kilogram stone lions. This pedestrian mall has a claim to Hollywood fame when in 1996 the location was featured in the film Jackie Chan’s First Strike. The scene involved a spectacular car crash that destroyed a traditional pagoda. The beautiful pagoda was re-constructed as permanent feature. To see in the New Year, there will be dancing, musical performances, cooking demonstrations, firecrackers and Tai Chi displays. Market stalls will line the strip selling a range of treats and trinkets.

While Sydney’s Chinatown spreads across Haymarket and into George Street, the heart of the district is the pedestrianised Dixon Street. There are many events to mark the start of the year including spontaneous lion dancers around Haymarket, historical Chinatown tours and a Cantonese opera demonstration. The highlight of the celebrations is the Twilight Parade on February 2 from the Sydney Town Hall down George Street to Chinatown. Once the floats have entertained the crowds, there will be fireworks over Darling Harbour.

Located on Little Bourke Street and adorned with traditional Chinese features, Melbourne’s Chinatown is believed to be the oldest in Australia and the longest continuous Chinese settlement outside of Asia. The grand archway was handmade in China, transported in many pieces and reconstructed by Chinese craft workers. The beautiful Tianjin Gardens at the eastern entrance of Melbourne’s Chinatown are also worth exploring. Created by designers from Melbourne and Tianjin, the gardens provide a relaxing area with a beautiful water feature, pavilion and seating space. Little Bourke Street will host the parade that features the dragon’s awakening ceremony. Throughout the festival there are also cultural activities, karaoke competitions and Chinese opera performances.

Adelaide’s Chinatown is situated on Moonta Street. The lunar new year will be marked in South Australia’s capital with over 60 stalls selling handmade products and delicious Asian cuisine on February 1. There will also be lion dances, live music and giveaways. From 6pm, the area will be turned into an alfresco restaurant with tables set up so that enthusiasts can watch the spectacle and sample the dishes from the nearby Gouger Street restaurants. This is a great family day that everyone will enjoy.

Perth's contribution to Chinese culture can be found along Roe Street in Northbridge. This year the city will host a New Year Fair on February 9. James Street and Lake Street will be closed to traffic, which will make way for 100 stalls and exciting activities. The kids will love the Cup and Saucer Ride, the Clown Playport and Slide and the Pluck a Duck Game. Every half an hour they’ll be various entertainment such as lion and dragon dances, a costume parade and a pipe band.

Lyndon Barnett

Guided by curiosity and a sense of adventure, Lyndon travelled independently to 69 countries on six continents. As such, travel is Lyndon's only addiction. He enjoys with equal measure - scaling the peaks of a South American mountain at altitude, attending opera in a European Opera House or hunting for a bargain in an Asian market.