Each year, Lunar New Year is celebrated around the world to mark the beginning of the lunar year, in line with the first new moon of the lunisolar calendar. It is one of the biggest celebrations of the year in China, as well as other Asian countries including South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia.
Australia is fortunate to have a richly diverse multicultural society. As the Lunar New Year unfolds, Australia becomes a spectacle of vibrant colours, long standing traditions, and cultural festivities that blend the East and the West.
Celebrating Lunar New Year in Australia can offer travellers and locals alike a unique and unforgettable experience, with plenty of festival events in the country’s largest cities. Whether you’re a seasoned explorer or embarking on your first solo adventure, we’ll provide you with some useful tips to help you make the most of the Lunar New Year celebrations in Australia.
The Origins of Lunar New Year: A global celebration
The Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year, is an ancient festival that marks the start of a new year on the lunar calendar. According to zodiac traditions, each year is named after one of the 12 zodiac animals. The origins of the Lunar New Year can be traced back thousands of years to China, where it first began as a ceremonial day to pray to gods for a good planting and harvest season. Because of its ancient origins, it is often referred to as Chinese New Year.
However, this festive occasion is not limited to China alone. It’s celebrated in various countries across Asia that all have their own special name for the festivities—such as Vietnam, where it’s known as Tết, and South Korea, where it’s called Seollal.
Embracing Lunar New Year in Australia
In Australia, Lunar New Year is not just a celebration of the new year. It’s an opportunity to bring together the country’s rich multiethnic communities and for many to celebrate their cultural heritage. Australia is just one of many global trending destinations that have become increasingly popular with overseas visitors over the past few years. So whether you’re a local exploring your own backyard or an international adventurer, you’re sure to find exciting, authentic experiences for the senses during Lunar New Year in Australia.
Festive celebrations in the major cities
Sydney and Melbourne are the largest cities in Australia and both put on exceptional Lunar New Year celebrations every year. With everything from lion dancing to dragon boat races, there is something for everyone at the Melbourne and Sydney Lunar New Year festivities. You can also find exciting Lunar New Year celebrations and festivals held around the country in Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
Culinary delights: A celebratory feast for the senses
No Lunar New Year celebration is complete without indulging in some exceptionally delicious culinary adventures. The Lunar New Year is the perfect opportunity for you to taste new dishes and mingle with locals, making it an integral part of your solo travel experience and providing real cultural immersion.
Celebrate Lunar New Year in Melbourne’s iconic Chinatown
A day-long festival is held throughout Melbourne’s historical Chinatown district to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Every year, the festival schedule is absolutely jam-packed with events such as lion dances, cultural performances and parades.
There are also plenty of market stalls available for you to browse through, from incredible global food selections to clothes, art and more.
The best hotel accommodation in Melbourne for Lunar New Year
Meriton Suites Melbourne boasts a central and convenient location for solo travellers looking to explore Victoria’s vibrant capital city. Located not far from Southern Cross Station and surrounded by Melbourne’s ultra-convenient tram network, Meriton Suites Melbourne is the perfect base for you to explore the city and surrounds, including the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations.
Chinatown is within walking distance of Meriton Suites Melbourne, but it is also easily accessible by tram if you want the true Melbourne experience.
All suites include kitchen facilities and a laundry, making Meriton Suites Melbourne a great choice for solo travellers who want to stay in the heart of the city. Have your pick of Melbourne bars and restaurants, or stay in and relax after a long day exploring all the city has to offer.
Join the Biggest Lunar New Year Celebrations Outside of Asia in Sydney
Sydney takes its Lunar New Year celebrations seriously, with the festivities lasting more than two weeks. This is one of the largest Lunar Year Celebrations outside of Asia—so if you’re seeking to truly immerse yourself in some local culture, then the fabulous harbour city has you covered.
Each year the festival program changes, with local artists and entertainers contributing to the festival events. But there are a few must-see events that are held every year without fail, with the famous dragon boat racing being one of the most popular. No visit to the Sydney Lunar New Year celebrations would be complete without seeing this exhilarating event.
The dragon boat races are usually held at Cockle Bay Wharf, right in the heart of Sydney’s stunning Darling Harbour area. The incredible sight of competing rowers racing against one another on Darling Harbour is not to be missed, and is one of the most well-loved centrepieces of the Sydney Lunar New Year festival.
The Best Places to Stay in Sydney during Lunar New Year
Meriton Suites hosts a number of convenient accommodation choices for solo travellers in Sydney. The three closest locations to Sydney’s bustling, vibrant Chinatown are Meriton Suites Campbell Street (located just a short 3-minute stroll away), Meriton Suites Kent Street, and Meriton Suites World Tower.
However, as Sydney’s festivities last for two weeks and are located across various sites, any of these accommodation choices would make the perfect base. With kitchen facilities, an internal laundry and access to an indoor pool and spa, these Meriton Suites Sydney hotels offer solo travellers the ultimate in convenience, comfort and luxury.
Smart and Safe Solo Travel Planning
No matter where your next adventure takes you, it pays to plan ahead and always take precautions, especially as a solo traveller. Planning ahead can help you maximise your holiday time, ensuring you get to see and do everything on your bucket list while also staying safe.
Transportation advice for getting around
Getting around Australian cities during Lunar New Year is simple, even when you account for the larger crowds. Public transport in all major cities is well-connected and efficient, and almost all forms of transportation now offer contactless payment options for added convenience. This makes it easy for solo travellers to get around and see the sights. Additionally, many events are within walking distance from central hotel accommodations like Meriton Suites, making them easily accessible for solo travellers.
Travel safety tips for solo travellers
Travel safety is paramount, especially for those embarking on solo travel. While Australian cities are generally safe, it’s wise to stay vigilant during large public gatherings. Keep your belongings secure and stay aware of your surroundings. It’s also advisable to keep the contact details of your accommodation handy in case you need to get back safely.
Packing essentials: Preparing for an Australian Lunar New Year
When packing for your Australian Lunar New Year adventure, remember that you’ll be travelling during January or February, depending on when the new Lunar Year begins. These are some of the hottest months in Australia, so make sure you pack for the climate. Some of the essentials to bring are comfortable walking shoes, a protective hat, a reusable water bottle, sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreen. And of course, don’t forget to bring your camera so you can capture every moment of your Aussie Lunar New Year celebrations.
Booking Hotel Accommodation is Simple with Meriton Suites
If you’re thinking of embarking on a solo holiday adventure to Australia for Lunar New Year, then consider staying with Meriton Suites. Our hotels in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra offer prime central locations, perfect for exploring your city of choice and joining in the Lunar New Year festivities.
With access to all the creature comforts you could need, such as a kitchen, laundry, pool, spa, gym and more, Meriton Suites is the perfect accommodation option no matter which city you’re in.
Find out more about our collection of luxury hotel suites and begin planning your Australian Lunar New Year holiday. Book direct via the Meriton Suites website to enjoy additional savings.