What to Do and Where to Eat on Christmas Day in Sydney 2018

What to do and where to go for Christmas in Sydney 2018

Christmas in Sydney

Trying to decide what to do on Christmas Day in Sydney? This list will help you survive Christmas in Sydney with details on lunches, buffets and activities to help you enjoy a summer Xmas Day. 

It can be hard being away from family and friends during the holidays and challenging finding out what is open on Xmas day in an unfamiliar city, so I have put together a list of ideas for all types of travellers and budgets.  Whatever you do I hope you have a fabulous Christmas in our gorgeous city.

Last Updated 21/11/2018

Things to do on Christmas Day in Sydney besides eat!

If you would rather miss all the Christmas feasting and spend your day either sightseeing or fighting off homesickness check out these ideas.

Christmas day mass at St Mary's Cathedral
Attend Christmas day mass at St Mary’s Cathedral
  1. If you are from the Northern Hemisphere, you might enjoy the novelty of a day at the beach. Bondi is usually busy on Christmas day, and everyone is happy to share the Christmas spirit.
  2. Say Merry Christmas to the animals at Taronga Zoo – They would love your presence, and a bonus is the crowds are usually a little smaller on Christmas Day. SeaLife Aquarium and Wildlife Sydney Zoo are also open and offer joint tickets that reduce the cost a little.
  3. For something memorable, you could book a Bridgeclimb. These will probably book out to best to get in early. Prices from $258pp
  4. Attend mass at St Marys Cathedral or St Andrews Cathedral.
  5. Jump on the 8.54am train up to Katoomba and explore the Blue Mountains in relative peace as many tour operators do not run on Christmas day.
  6. Head to the cinema and get an early jump on the Boxing Day new releases.

Where to Eat Christmas Lunch in Sydney

It is recommended that you book your Christmas lunch well in advance, at least 7 days but as soon as you can if you have your heart set on a specific spot.

Watson's Bay Christmas lunch
Christmas lunch at Watson’s Bay Hotel

From buffets with a smorgasbord of choice to Christmas lunch with a view and everything in between we have gathered here some great options for anyone wanting to find the best places to have Christmas lunch in Sydney

Where to find a Christmas Buffet lunch in Sydney

  • Lunch with a bird’s eye view – Sydney Tower buffet will feature Christmas favourites with its regular offering $140 adults and $49 for kids. Bookings and deposits are required.  They are also offering a Christmas Eve dinner if that is more your thing $120 and $49 for kids. Bookings available now.
  • Lunch for those with a big appetite – Sheraton on the Park is my favourite Sydney buffet; the food is always excellent quality, and it has a lovely outlook on Hyde Park. Last year Christmas lunch buffet including drinks was $299 for lunch or $195 for dinner. No prices available yet but I would undoubtedly pre-book this one.
  • The Intercontinental Double Bay will offer both lunch and dinner buffets from $250 per person food only or $299 with drinks.
  • Q Station at North Head in Manly is offering a Seafood Buffet that will include house wine and beers and a gift for kids under 12 years. Prices $185 per adult
    $90 per child (5 – 12 years) and $35 per infant (1 – 4 years). Bookings being taken now.
  • Pier One Hotel will offer an all you can eat buffet featuring all the traditional Christmas favourites and lots of fresh Aussie seafood including Oysters, Crab and Balmain Bugs. The price includes a 3-hour drinks package for $295 for adults and $205 for kids.
  • Rydges World Square is offering a seafood buffet with prawns, oysters and smoked salmon along with all the traditional Christmas favourites. Adults $120 and kids $55. Bookings open now and close November 30
  • Intercontinental Double Bay is offering a Luxury Buffet Lunch featuring local seafood and an option with $299 or without drinks $250, $149 for kids 5-12 years.
  • Crown Plaza Coogee Bay will offer a Christmas Seafood Buffet Lunch featuring Sydney Rock Oysters, tiger prawns, crispy salmon, beef rib, carved turkey and ham and Pavlova and includes a 3-hour drinks package. Adult: $219 and teens (13-17 yrs) $145.00 and kids (4-12 yrs): $60.00
  • The Star Casino will offer a Christmas buffet at $139 for adults and $40 for children.  Must be booked in advance.
  • Seafood by the beach? Yes please Blue Salt in the Crowne Plaza at Coogee will offer a Christmas Seafood buffet lunch Adult: $219 Kids $60-$145.00

Christmas lunch in the Centre of Sydney, Darling Harbour and Barangaroo

  • Fine dining at The Star Casino.  No details released as yet but expected any day. Just be sure to book as these restaurants are bound to be popular.
  • 360 Dining at Sydney Tower is offering a 3-course set menu with one glass of bubbles for $185 per person with kids under 6 yrs free and 6-12 $50  Bookings open now.
  • Darling Habour is a good option if you have left things a bit late – several of Nick’s chain are offering affordable Christmas meals and all the hotels will also have special meals.
  • If you are dining on a budget, you might find an Asian meal in Chinatown is less likely to break the bank. Feast on yum cha or dumplings in Chinatown
  • A Christmas lunch full of Australian flavours is on offer at 12-Micron.  The 3-course menu features plenty of local seafood and meaty mains with a glass of champagne on arrival. 2 sittings $155 per person.
  • The Botanic Gardens Restaurant will offer a  3-course feast of Australian Christmas classics including oysters, ham, pork and salmon. There is also a vegetarian menu that will delight. Adults $155 | Kids $55
  • Christmas at the Calyx in the Botanic Gardens – An Australian Christmas feast served buffet style featuring seafood, pork, salmon and fresh salads. $155 pp
  • Christmas at Claires Kitchen on Oxford St will offer a traditional  5-course lunch with a modern twist. There will also be door prizes and lots of Christmas fun $130 per person.

Christmas Day lunch with Sydney Harbour  or Water Views

  • Aqua Dining North Sydney – with its position almost directly under the harbour bridge and views across to the Opera House this Christmas lunch will be one you remember $255 for a 3-course set menu
  • O Bar and Dining at Australia Square will offer a 4-course lunch for Adults $225 and Kids $100. Fantastic harbour views.
  • Q Dining at Circular Quay – will offer a 3-course meal with 3 choices per course.  Adults $299, kids 12-17 $149 and kids under 12 $79  inclusive of drinks.
  • The Park Hyatt at The Rocks will offer 2 options for both lunch and dinner menus  Either a set menu or shared family style. Lunch $325 Dinner $195
  • Ripples Milson’s Point – along with great Harbour views  Ripples will offer a 3-course meal for $215 and $95 for kids
  • Sofitel Sydney Harbour – Christmas lunch here will be 5-course fine dining style lunch with plenty of fabulous seafood included. Adults $269 and kids $75
  • If you want something a  bit different to the traditional Christmas fare The Gantry at Pier One will feature a  four-course tasting menu showcasing Australian ingredients and one glass of wine for only $120 per person early bird pricing. No children’s menu or pricing on offer.
  • Lunch at the beach –  Watson’s Bay Hotel is a very Sydney spot to spend Christmas Day combining a small beach and harbour views. This years menu features seafood, ham and beef, with a 4-hour beverage package for $299 per adult and $199 for kids 6-18 (under 6yrs free).
  • If you are thinking an Australian Christmas means seafood – and it does for me – then you might like to consider Flying Fish, the 2017 seafood restaurant of the year, on Jones Bay Wharf.  Bookings are required; you can check the menu and make a reservation here  $220 for adults and $80 for kids.
  • Lunch like a local – Bather’s Pavillion with its fantastic beach and harbour views and a few dining options ranging from brunch, a restaurant or cafe lunch or a formal lunch with drinks package.  Prices from $125 (brunch) and $225 formal lunch and drinks.
  • If you fancy Christmas day in Manly, then you should have several options. Last year many of the restaurants on the wharf were open for Christmas lunch and dinner. As these become available I will update this page.
  • Pilu at Freshwater is a fantastic choice for a relaxed waterfront Christmas day.  This year they will be offering a four-course menu without drinks for  $265.00 per person. Children under 12 are $75.00
  • The Nielson at Nielson Park in Vaucluse will offer a 3-course set menu for $215 for adults and $95 for kids.
  • Coogee Bay Hotel is offering something different Bad Santa’s (Adults Only) Backyard BBQ & Spit aimed firmly at those who like to party.  The drinks package is high end and includes an Espresso Martini on arrival, three hours of craft beers, quality bubbles and wine, and merry mocktails included. Live acoustic music will provide the background over lunch before DJ’s and beach cricket help round out the afternoon.  This sounds like a pretty Aussie way to spend the day to me!
  • Kingsleys  Woolloomooloo is offering a 3-course set menu – shared hot and cold seafood platters to start, followed by your choice of main and dessert. $179 adults and $45 kids.

Christmas Day Lunch Cruises

Christmas lunch cruises are actually more affordable than many of the waterfront restaurants and most offer a mix of Christmas and Seafood options with drinks included.

  • Vagabond Cruises have a 3-hour lunch cruise $130 for adults and $100 for kids (children under five free)
  • Majestic Cruises – a Christmas buffet and drinks package about their most modern vessel $169 for adults and $100 for kids. Family ticket savings too.
  • Sydney Harbour Showboat – a 3-hour buffet lunch cruise with drinks package included. Jazz duo and the views provide the entertainment. Adults $159

Good Choices for Christmas Lunch in Sydney with Kids

  • Darling Harbour would be high on my list for anyone travelling with kids. Most, if not all of the restaurants here will be open and child-friendly.  Not a lot of detail available yet but start looking in mid-October.
  • Centennial Homestead in Centennial Park will feature a Christmas Day BBQ with special kids grazing stations (great for fussy eaters) and a visit from Santa.  Adults $159 and kids $55
  • Fratelli Fresh’s Italian menus are well suited to kids and the venues are family friends. They have budget friendly at only $70

Five ways to spend Sydney Christmas in Sydney for budget travellers

  1. Have a picnic in the Royal Botanic Gardens – head to the supermarket on Xmas Eve just before they close and put together a bargain Christmas picnic. Supermarkets will not be open on Christmas day.
  2. Ride the ferry to Cremorne and take a swim with a view at the beautiful and free Maccallum Pool or if you are in the east try  Wylie’s Baths in Coogee.
  3. Visit Bundeena and view the indigenous rock art. Take the train to Cronulla and then the little Bundeena ferry across the bay to the beach and the rock art walk.
  4. Try my 389 self-guided bus tour.  The buses are operating on the Sunday timetable on Christmas day, and the roads will be less busy than usual.
  5. Follow my Inner West street art walk, Newtown will be much quieter than usual but the window shopping and street art will be waiting for you to discover, and you are bound to find somewhere to eat along King Street or Enmore Road.

Wylies Baths are open on Christmas Day

I hope one of these ideas appeals to you.  I would love to hear how you plan to spend your Christmas day in Sydney.

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Sydney: Get Your Guide

Not sure what to do on Christmas day in Sydney? What's open? What can you do if you have a limited budget? This post will hopefully help you decide.  If you are a traveller trying to find the perfect place to eat lunch on Christmas day in Sydney or if perhaps you would rather spend your time and money in other ways read on for advice from a local who has celebrated Christmas in Sydney more than 4 dozen times! 

5 Comments

  1. Thank you for some great tips Paula. I’ll be in Tasmania this year for Christmas but it’s always good to know what to do on a day like Christmas.

    • That would be fine Rie, just make sure you have all your picnic supplies on Christmas Eve as very little is open Christmas day and what is open is very expensive. Merry Chrismas

  2. we are a group of 6 who would like to have lunch on Christmas Day do you have a luncheon Menu for Christmas Day this Year ?

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