If you've ever thought about taking a holiday to NSW, make sure you book it for January. Every year, Sydney explodes with colour, excitement and electricity as it launches into the yearly Sydney Festival. So what can you expect?
Sydney Festival 2015, Jan 8-26
Numbers aren't always fun, but they are astounding when you consider the scope of the Sydney Festival. In over 30 venues every year, 370 performances are showcased by over 700 artists at around 100 different events. On top of that, many of them are completely free!
The celebration was originally devised as a means to draw people to Sydney's CBD during the start of the year, and first took place way back in 1977. Now it's one of the biggest cultural events of the Australian calendar and proves just how spectacular NSW's capital can be.
What can you expect?
If you're a person who loves both sexy cabaret and amazing circus acts, you'll want to see Limbo.
Limbo is a returning favourite from the Sydney Festival 2014, brilliantly blending thrilling circus acrobatics with the sexy appeal of cabaret. It has its own live score of brass, hip hop and electronic music, and you can expect the show to incorporate high-flying acrobatics, mind-boggling illusions, and plenty more unbelievable stunts and performances.
"An irresistible cocktail of circus skills, live music and sexy humour," says the UK's Time Out magazine.
Limbo is a 70-minute show that runs from the Jan 8-25 every day except Mondays.
The other major circus event you need to get tickets for is Timber!.
Timber! is brought to you by the Quebec Cirque Alfonse, and has been a family-run show for three generations. In fact, it still includes the family's 67-year-old patriarch!
This isn't your run-of-the-mill circus performance, either. Timber! incorporates elements of theatre, traditional music, physical comedy and folklore, and packages it all up in a unique lumberjack-themed extravaganza. You'll get to witness circus acts accompanied by whip cracking, a mixture of live banjo and bluegrass music, and plenty more high-energy, fun-filled entertainment to suit visitors of all ages.
The show lasts for 90 minutes and runs from Jan 9-18.
However, if you're looking for a mixture of free and ticketed events, visit the Sydney Festival Village, located in Hyde Park North near the Archibald Fountain for almost the entire duration of the festival.
The Festival Village was the hot spot of family fun and entertainment in 2014 and has returned for more in 2015. There is an absolute plethora of things to do in the village, including carnival rides, stalls and live performances.
For starters, try out the wonderfully colourful two-storey art installation, Maser's Higher Ground. Neon stripes collide with mind-bending architecture here, acting as a throwback to the surreal works of MC Escher. Higher Ground is well worth climbing through, and the ground floor is wheelchair accessible.
If you brought the kids with you to Sydney, visit the Festival Village during the day between Jan 20-25 for some fun during the last week of the school holidays. You can visit Dear Hope Street, a live artwork that aims to send postcards to strangers around the world who live on a Hope Street. You should also check out The Vegetable Plot, make your own art at Hotbed Designs, and participate in a range of fun activities provided by the Australian Museum. On top of that, all of the outdoor Family Week activities are free to enter! So go wild.
There is so much to do during the Sydney Festival you'll be hard put to fit into just one month. Make sure you book your accommodation in advance and secure your stay in Sydney during this world-famous time.