Boxing Day in NSW

You’ve celebrated Christmas Day, but that doesn’t mean the fun is over. There are plenty of great ways to spend Boxing Day in NSW. Head for the mountains, swim in ocean pools along the coast, pick juicy cherries or visit animals at the zoo.



Blue Mountains & Hunter Valley

A short drive or train ride from Sydney, the Blue Mountains are the perfect Boxing Day escape. Ride the Scenic Railway into the Jamison Valley and glide 270m above it on the Scenic Skyway at Scenic World. Then refuel with lunch at Echoes Restaurant or the Wintergarden High Tea at the Hydro Majestic.

Tourists watching the Scenic Railway train descending the Jamison Valley at Scenic World, Katoomba in the Blue Mountains

Scenic World, Katoomba

While in the area, stop by the limestone Jenolan Caves – one of the most extensive, accessible and complex systems in the world. Cave tours run throughout the day but book up fast, so it’s best to reserve a spot in advance. Of course, the famous Three Sisters can be viewed any day of the year from Echo Point, as well as the many lookouts and hikes in the national park, such as Sublime Point, Govetts Leap and Pulpit Rock.

Small group enjoying a tour through a cave system at Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains

Jenolan Caves, Blue Mountains

In the Hunter Valley, the annual Christmas Lights Spectacular at Hunter Valley Gardens will still be on display with over three million lights, rides, entertainment and food. A number of the wineries will also be open on Boxing Day, so you can sample the famous local semillon under the summer sunshine.

Christmas Lights Spectacular at Hunter Valley Gardens - Credit: Christmas Lights Spectacular | Harrigan's Hunter Valley

Christmas Lights Spectacular at Hunter Valley Gardens - Credit: Christmas Lights Spectacular | Harrigan's Hunter Valley

South Coast

Jump in the car for a South Coast ocean pool road trip – there are a dozen in the Illawarra region alone and two more in Kiama. Stretch your legs along the Kiama Coast Walk or White Sands Walk. How about some animal encounters? Meet meerkats, lions and giraffes at Mogo Wildlife Park in Eurobodalla. Get up close to koalas and wombats at Symbio Wildlife Park in Helensburgh before cooling off in the Splash Park. 

Couple taking photos on the scenic Minnamurra Headland overlooking Rangoon Island, Kiama Coast Walk in Kiama, South Coast

Minnamurra Headland, Kiama Coast Walk

On the Sapphire Coast, enjoy the thrilling rides at the family-friendly Magic Mountain in Merimbula; delve into the fascinating history of whaling on the Australian coast at the Eden Killer Whale Museum or tale the self-dirve Killer Whale Trail; or grab some fish and chips from one of the takeaway cafes dotting the coastline.

North Coast

In Port Stephens, many of the best wildlife and adventure activities will be running over the holidays. Head out on the water in search of dolphins, zip over vast sand dunes on a quad bike or ride a camel along the beach. Meet more animals at the Australian Reptile Park on the Central Coast or at Port Macquarie's Koala Hospital.

If you are feeling lucky, dust off your best dress or your sharpest suit and get your place trackside at the Ballina Boxing Day Races. Further south, Newcastle Boxing Day Races also make for a fun day out. Linger longer and hit the waves at Nobbys Beach, tackle the Newcastle Memorial Walk and take a dip in the Merewether Ocean Baths.

In Byron Bay, head to Main, Wategos or Clarkes beaches for a morning swim with the locals before walking up to Cape Byron Lighthouse, the most easterly point on Australia’s mainland, for incredible vistas. There are plenty more stunning hikes in the area, check them out here.

Aerial over a guided kayak tour with Go Sea Kayak, Byron Bay

Go Sea Kayak, Byron Bay

Afterwards, meet the pasture-fed animals, take a turn around the market garden, pick up some blooms at the florist and sit down for an idyllic lunch at the on-site Three Blue Ducks restaurant at The Farm. Or explore Brunswick Head River or Byron Bay Marine Park by kayak with Go Sea Kayak.

Salad dish from Three Blue Ducks at The Farm, Byron Bay

Three Blue Ducks at The Farm Byron Bay

Country NSW

Cherry season is in full swing in December – take a road trip to Orange or Young to pick your own (or just eat your fill). Follow the Olympic Highway from Wombat to Young to find orchard after orchard, while in Orange, most can be found southwest of town near Phillip Shaw Wines. Read our guide to fruit picking across NSW here.

Head to Tumut to attend the annual Boxing Day Races. While visiting, take a stroll down the lovely Tumut River Walk to the bird-rich Tumut Wetlands; try fly fishing in the surrounding rivers, lakes and dams; or hike or mountain bike the many trails in Tumut State Forest and Kosciuszko National Park.

The residents of Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo will be waiting for visitors. Take a safari truck through the Lion Pride Lands, walk through the Wild Herds exhibit and relax in the Waterhole precinct. Also in town, wander through the historic grounds, exhibitions and displays at Old Dubbo Gaol or relax in the pretty Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden. Want to get the adrenaline pumping? Head just over one hour south-east to Lake Burrendong for a day of water sports.

Public holiday dates 2023-2024

Holiday 2023 2024
New Year's Day Sunday 1 January (Additional day Monday, 2 January ) Monday 1 January
Australia Day Thursday 26 January Friday 26 January
Good Friday Friday 7 April Friday 29 March
Easter Saturday Saturday 8 April  Saturday 30 March 
Easter Sunday Sunday 9 April  Sunday 31 March 
Easter Monday  Monday 10 April  Monday 1 April 
Anzac Day  Tuesday 25 April  Thursday 25 April 
King's Birthday/June Long Weekend Monday 12 June Monday 10 June
October Long Weekend (Labour Day) Monday 2 October Monday 7 October
Christmas Day public holiday Monday 25 December Wednesday 25 December
Boxing Day Tuesday 26 December Thursday 26 December