Christmas markets, festivals & events in NSW

Christmas is a magical time in NSW. Across the state, you can celebrate the festive season with markets, carol services, spectacular light displays and many other yuletide events. There’s plenty of holiday fun to be had for the whole family – and you might even get a visit from Santa himself.



Hunter Valley

Witness Australia’s largest Christmas lights display at the Christmas Lights Spectacular at the Hunter Valley Gardens. Boasting over three million lights, as well as a 35-metre super slide, a Venetian carousel, a flying swing chair, food stalls and much more, the event runs from 3 November 2023 until 28 January 2024 (closed 25 December). While in the area, check out these unexpected things to do in the Hunter Valley, from exploring a stock route on a Segway to getting a bird's-eye view of the vineyards from a hot air balloon.

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

Central Coast

Need to do some last-minute gift shopping? Spend an evening perusing the Christmas Wollemi Artisan Markets on the Central Coast, featuring live music and a range of products from art and homewares to jewellery and homemade creations from talented Blue Mountains artists. Meanwhile, the largest outdoor Christmas event on the Central Coast is back in 2023: the Central Coast Christmas Fair. With over 160 vendors, browse art, crafts, gifts and fresh produce while enjoying live music, free kids activities and meeting Santa and his pals.

Face painting at Central Coast Christmas Fair, Central Coast

Central Coast Christmas Fair, Central Coast - Credit: Central Coast Christmas Fair

North Coast

Heading further north up the coast, the Very Merry Market and Elders Christmas is a joint collaboration between the Lismore Regional Gallery, Lismore Library and the Lismore Produce Market. Expect tasty food, funky gifts by local artists (from cermaics to original prints), live music and free kids' activities. 

In Newcastle, the free Christmas Under the Stars encompasses an evening of carols, fun activities for kids, free popcorn and a special Christmas movie, not to mention plenty of food trucks and a certain jolly red man who is expected to make an appearance. In Coffs Harbour, Coffs Coast Carols on 16 December is a iad-back evening of family-friendly performance, wuith a visit from Sata and an exciting fireworks display.

People enjoying fireworks at Coffs Coast Carols, Coffs Harbour

Coffs Coast Carols, Coffs Harbour - Credit: Matt Evens / Naturally Creative

Country NSW

Get into the festive spirit on 1 December 2023 at the Cowra Christmas Festival, with live music, family activities, bar and barbecue, and a special appearance from Santa. While in town, be sure to stop by the Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre.

Decorative street light displays are an annual tradition throughout NSW, one in which houses are illuminated with thousands of festive lights in anticipation of the holidays. Head for Light Up Leeton and the official turning on of the 2023 Christmas lights on 3 December. Festivities kick off with a fair in Mountford Park with stalls and entertainment.

 Families at Cowra Christmas Festival, Cowra

Cowra Christmas Festival, Cowra - Credit: Cowra Christmas Festival

Situated between Canberra and Yass, Murrumbateman puts on a fun Christmas Carols and Twilight Market on 7 December at its recreation grounds. Come for carols, Christmas shopping, and delicious food and drink. En route to Canberra from Sydney, Goulburn puts on the annual Christmas in the Park, a carol concert in the beautiful Belmore Park.

If you find yourself in the Mighty Murray region, check out the Howlong Twilight Christmas Festival on 16 December for a night of twilight market stalls, live music, kid-friendly activities, nativity play, a vintage car display and more. Meanwhile, on 1 December, Light Up Corowa illuminates the town with a number of light installations, alongside a number of market stalls, carols and food trucks.

Nearby in the Riverina, Christmas with the Con in Wagga Wagga is a fun-filled concert engaging over 100 professional and aspiring musicians from the Riverina Conservatorium of Music. Also in town on the 6 December is the Wagga Wagga Christmas Trail, for those who want to meet Mr and Mrs Claus face to face.

A woman and man in red santa suits in front of a tree at the Wagga Wagga Christmas Trail, Wagga Wagga

Wagga Wagga Christmas Trail, Wagga Wagga - Credit: Wagga Wagga Christmas Trail


A magical marketplace pops up annually in the historic precinct of The Rocks with 70-plus market stalls with unique gift ideas such as handmade Christmas decorations, artisan jewellery, street food and locally designed fashion. While in the area, be sure to check out Christmas Wonderlanes, an immersive installation that takes over the picturesque laneways.

The Rocks Christmas Markets

The Rocks Christmas Markets. Image Credit: Place Management NSW

Running from 16 November until 25 December, Deck the Harbour - Darling Harbour Christmas features back-to-back Christmas events and family attractions. Some highlights include the weekend fireworks, mini golf, Santas's workshop, Christmas pedal boats and much more.

On 3 December, the Ultimate Christmas Market is taking over the Entertainment Quarter at Moore Park with 150 stalls, live entertainment and kid's rides – just to name a few fun activities. Meanwhile, the Jolly Market, set against the stunning backdrop of Customs House and inspired by Europe's Christmas markets, is returning to the city centre from 15-22 December, complete with wooden huts, artisanal giftwares, delicious food and wine, and live music. 

For more ideas on how to celebrate Christmas in Sydney, click here.

Christmas events in NSW


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