Say goodbye to the feisty Horse, and welcome the artistic, creative Sheep in style at the Chinese New Year celebrations in Australia’s premier international city, Sydney. The ties between China and Australia have a long history going back to the early days of settlement when Macau and Canton were important trading posts for the convict settlement established at Sydney Cove in 1788. The first officially recorded Chinese immigrant was Mak Sai Ying in 1818.
Chinese New Year has always been enthusiastically celebrated in
Australia and 2015 is no exception. The festivities start on 13 February with the evening launch at Dawes Point – right underneath the Sydney Harbor Bridge – and continue for the next two weeks with a nonstop array of events on and off the water.
Head to Chinatown in the Haymarket district just south of the central business district (CBD) for the Lunar Feasts events where some of Sydney’s best restaurants offer great value set-price menus. One of the highlights of the program is the Lunar Streets where other popular Asian cuisine – Thai and Korean – join in the celebrations offering up their best dishes.
Great fun for all the family is to be had at the weekend of Dragon Boat races on the harbor at Cockle Bay, but the true highlight of the entire festival is the Twilight Parade on Sunday 22 February with floats and magical light projections on facades of the buildings on the parade route. The parade finishes with a massive fireworks display at Cockle Bay to see off the Year of the Horse and welcome the Year of the Sheep.
It’s not just all food and fireworks though; the festival offers a number of cultural activities for all the family. The Chinese Garden of Friendship at the southern end of Darling Harbor−built as a symbol of friendship between Guangzhou and Sydney to mark the Australian bicentennial celebrations in 1988−is the location for many of the activities including a traditional lion dance, tai chi lessons and a presentation of the timeless Chinese fan dance. There are art exhibitions and installations, fashion, storytelling for the children, and lots of sheep based activities – reinforcing the importance of the sheep in Australia, which it used to be said, ‘rode on the sheep’s back’ when much of the world’s fine wool was supplied by the outback Australian sheep stations.
Sydney’s vast harbor and exciting cultural mix has so much to offer during this annual celebration and a stay at any one of these luxurious villas is a perfect base from which to enjoy your 2015 Chinese New Year celebrations.
Sydney Villa 513 in Darling Point
This villa– the top floor of a grand 1930’s style home− sits high on a hill in Darling Point, a harbor headland on the southern shore of Port Jackson.
The north-west facing bedrooms and verandas have extensive water views where you could spend your whole day watching the never ending parade of ferries and other water craft on the harbor; and then your afternoons watching spectacular sunsets over the top of the arch of the Sydney Harbor Bridge from the luxury of your own spa. This elegant Sydney villa 513 has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and can sleep three.
The timeless, elegance of the period architecture is reflected in the decor which has been thoughtfully and tastefully executed in moody blues and greys, accented with large dashes of fresh white to reflect the harbor side location, and is enlivened with beautiful interior design featuring contemporary and traditional artworks.
There is a large, modern kitchen and a beautifully restored luxurious 1940s style bathroom. To complete the luxury of this villa there is a large formal lounge and library with plasma television and DVD, a gas BBQ and outdoor dining area. Villa 513 is the perfect location for a couple to enjoy the Chinese New Year festivities and all the other attractions that Sydney has to offer.
From the earliest European settlement, Darling Point has been one of the most exclusive addresses in Sydney and continues to be, being only four kilometers from the central business district in one direction and five kilometers from the world famous surf beach of Bondi in the other direction. Right next door in Double Bay is the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia where the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race leaves from each year on Boxing Day (26 December). Here you can dine in a number of cafes and restaurants in one of Sydney’s best waterfront locations.
For a stroll before dinner at any of the nearby restaurants, a visit to McKell Park created around the foundations of the long-gone 19th century mansion Canonbury is a must. The walls of the mansion have become the boundaries of the park and parts of the old house can still be seen and are incorporated into the park with seats in the cellar and creepers growing out of the fireplace.
For the history buff, there other walks to see the many fine mansions built in the middle of the 19th century just a short walk from Villa 513 – Carthona, Lindesay, The Swifts and Bishopscourt.
Darling Point is ideally situated for easy access around Sydney. Sydney is known as the Harbor City, and the most iconic way to get around this city is on the ferries that can be boarded just around the corner in Double Bay. Darling Point also has easy public transport access to the all the Chinese New Year festivities in the nearby Haymarket district. Another must while in Sydney is a harbor cruise, and one of the best is to take a Tall Ships cruise around the harbor on the kind of ship the first Europeans arrived on. There are many number of tour options ranging from a twilight tall ship dinner cruise, to half-day Convicts and Castles tours that combine the spectacular scenery of the harbor and some of the earliest convict buildings still standing.
Sydney has an international reputation for its fine shopping experiences and is considered one of the design capitals of the world being home to two of the world’s most instantly recognizable structures – the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge.
You don’t have to venture very far from this wonderful villa to be able to experience a world-class design collection at the Powerhouse Museum with its many permanent exhibitions and events. Double Bay and Darling Point are home to some of Sydney’s best designer shopping for clothing and jewellery. At the beginning of your stay in Villa 513 you couldn’t do better than to head a little further afield, but still nearby in Redfern, to pay a visit to the Everleigh Farmer’s Markets where you can stock up on high-quality, high-end food for the kitchen at Villa 513, and have a modern Chinese-style breakfast at Billy Kwong an outpost of one of Sydney’s most famous Chinese restaurants run by Chinese-Australian chef Kylie Kwong.
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Sydney Villa 536 in Paddington
Only three kilometers southeast of the CBD, Paddington is one of the oldest suburbs in Sydney. This heritage is reflected in the village-like atmosphere with narrow streets and rows of quaint sandstone terraces. Up until the mid-1960s Paddington was a largely working class area and was shunned by the gentry. However, when the charms of the area were discovered by new generation with fresh eyes, gentrification was rapid. Sydney Villa 536 brings together all of the best of this delightful suburb in warm and quirky, but ultimately beautiful, luxurious, and utterly private surroundings. It is the perfect location for the family with older children to enjoy all that inner city Sydney has to offer while being near to all the Chinese New Year festivities.
This beautiful villa rambles over two levels and features many of the original hand-hewn sandstone walls. There are four bedrooms sleeping six, with the main bedroom featuring its own en-suite with a 19th century freestanding marble bathtub and chandelier.
The fully equipped gourmet kitchen and informal dining area completely opens up to a heated salt-water pool with a European influenced courtyard featuring a pergola draped with bougainvillea and lined with cypresses.
The formal dining room is a perfect place for an elegant evening diner party– which can be fully catered with butler service−with the light from the magnificent chandelier softly glowing on the sandstone walls.
Trendy, chic, inner city Paddington is full of things to do both on the weekend and during the week.
It is full of high-end boutiques such as the flagship store of one of Australia’s leading designers Camilla and Marc, but to really capture the spirit of Paddington a visit to the Paddington Markets which has been trading every Saturday for over 40 years is a must.
It’s a Sydney institution for the shopper who wants to find quirky, out of the ordinary, home wares and fashion. But there is still so much more Paddington has to offer:
The Chauvel Cinema for an evening watching some of the best art-house films in style; nearby Centennial Park is a great place for an early morning run or evening walk; enjoy the coffee culture on Oxford Street; visit the gallery at the College of Fine Art a campus of University of New South Wales; or the seemingly endless eating options from breakfast at cheerful cafes and bakeries, a myriad of pub dining options for lunch, and dinner at a fine dining establishment such as the Guillaume.
For the more adventurous family with children over 10 years of age you can’t go past the experience of the Bridge Climb.
The bridge that opened in 1932 is one of the most recognizable structures in the world, and now you are able to climb to the top of the famous arch. There are dawn, day, twilight and night climbs available, each one a unique and life changing experience that will alter your view of Sydney, its harbor and the bridge forever.[button link=”https://www.villagetaways.com/australia/villa-rentals-sydney-536.html” type=”icon” icon=”mail” newwindow=”yes”] Inquire
Sydney Villa 5351 in Mosman
Villa 5351 is located in beautiful Mosman, one of Sydney’s premier waterside suburbs on Middle Head on the leafy north shore of the harbor. Middle Head faces the entrance to Port Jackson and would have been one of the first sights seen by the first European−Captain Cook−as he sailed into the harbor in 1770. The area is home to the iconic Taronga Zoo and has huge tracts of unspoilt bush land that are part of the Sydney Harbor National Parks.
This property takes full advantage of its absolute waterfront location and has stunning Australian architecture– sensitively designed in conjunction with Feng shui principals–and features warm timber and sandstone, and lots of glass to take in the spectacular harbor views.
It sleeps eight guests in style and comfort and all the bedrooms have views and air conditioning. The open plan kitchen, living and dining areas open out onto the outdoor living area and pool.
At your doorstep is a your own 36 meter water front area terraced with Sydney sandstone and a private jetty from which to explore the world-famous Sydney harbor, the other side of the house has parking for three cars.
The villa boasts a fully equipped office for those pressing business matters, and a comfortable media room for relaxing after work.
Mosman is a world away from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan Sydney, but in reality is only a short ferry ride across the harbor, and offers with so many things to for all the family. Just 15 minutes’ drive away from Villa 5351 is The Bather’s Pavilion at Balmoral Beach where you can swim in the protected, calm waters of Hunter’s Bay.
Breakfast lunch and dinner are served at the cafe or you can enjoy lunch and dinner at the restaurant. The Kiosk sells all the essentials for a relaxing day at the beach – drinks, ice creams, sunscreen and newspapers. If you prefer surfing, hop onto one of the harbor ferries and head over to nearby Many Beach for a morning surfing the waves on one of Sydney’s best north shore beaches and then enjoy a fish and chip lunch under the Norfolk Island pine trees on the esplanade.
Taronga Zoo is the zoo with the most spectacular location in the world right on the shore of Sydney Harbor in Mosman – the word Taronga means ‘beautiful view’ in the local Aboriginal language. It was first opened in 1884 and moved to its present location in the early 1900s. Today its focus is on education, conservation and preservation so you will be able to view animals from around the world and around Australia in thoughtfully constructed habitats that always have the comfort of the animals as the first consideration. A unique Taronga experience is Roar and Snore where you sit down to a gourmet buffet dinner followed by a walk through the zoo on a night time safari, and then camp in luxurious, custom built tents to wake up with the animals in the morning.
A walk through one of the parks that make up the Sydney Harbor National Parks on the Bradley Head to Chowder Bay walk is a delightful way to spend an afternoon. Leave your car at Clifton Gardens Reserve and catch a taxi back to the beginning of the walk at the Taronga Zoo ferry terminal. The walk is an easy 5 kilometer (one-way) walk through native bushland on well-maintained paths that also has sections of boardwalks. The path will take you from the ferry stop at Taronga Zoo, past magnificent waterside homes and spectacular views of the CBD and bridge, and finishes at Clifton Gardens Reserve in Chowder Bay where you left your car to head back to the villa for a spa on the villa balcony and a BBQ dinner on the veranda overlooking the water.
There is always so much happening in Sydney and you could spend a lifetime just exploring the magnificent harbor, but with the special effort put into Chinese New Year, this is the best time to visit. The weather is perfect being at the end of summer when the temperatures hover around in the mid to high 20s and the evenings are agreeably cooler with a delicious breeze off the water. So come along and join in the color and spectacle of Chinese New Year in Sydney – a town that really knows how to throw an unforgettable party.[button link=”https://www.villagetaways.com/australia/villa-rentals-sydney-5351.html” type=”icon” icon=”mail” newwindow=”yes”] Inquire