Chinese New Year Festival lights up the city

Chinese New Year Festival lights up the city

Firecrackers, feasts and fiery dragons are among some of the many Asian cultural delights set to mark the beginning of the new lunar year at the inaugural Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival, running from 6 – 21 February 2016.

Unifying the city’s Year of the Monkey celebrations and presenting a cohesive cultural experience for locals and visitors alike, the Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival will offer 16 days of vibrant festivities bursting with cultural events, markets, tours, entertainment and more.

The Festival links multiple Chinese New Year events and activations across the city from Chinatown to Federation Square, Southgate Melbourne, Crown Melbourne, Docklands, Queen Victoria Market and The Hotel Windsor.

Melbourne will come alive with spectacular lighting installations, cultural performances, food experiences and public activities designed to encourage people from different cultural backgrounds to come together to celebrate.

The Festival’s lighting installations include a large Phoenix at Docklands, the Monkey Arch Corridor at Queensbridge Square, a Windmill Corridor along Sandridge Bridge and Chinese Zodiac Lanterns at Southgate.

The Melbourne Dai Loong Association Millennium Dragon Parade at Chinatown and The Age Lunar Markets at Docklands are two of the Festival’s major events. 

The Festival has been developed with the support of City of Melbourne, in conjunction with key stakeholders including Chinatown Precinct Association, Federation of Chinese Associations, Chinese community leaders, Destination Melbourne, Destination Docklands and Eureka Skydeck.

The inaugural Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival will be officially launched at Eureka 89 on Wednesday 3 February 2016.

Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival program highlights:

Federation Square

6 – 7 February

The Federation of Chinese Associations will be holding its Chinese culture showcase exhibiting Chinese Martial Arts, children’s handcrafts and lantern painting at Federation Square. A delicious Street of Chinese Cuisine will also be present with 20 varieties of Chinese dishes to taste. Entertainment includes Chinese lion dance, drumming, children’s performances, live music and a youth hip-hop competition. Stallholders will be selling Chinese cuisine.


4 – 14 February

Fairfax Media is presenting The Age Lunar Markets at the Docklands precinct, a free to attend pop-up food festival offering delicious Asian cuisine and a range of outdoor bars and entertainment over 11 nights.

8 – 21 February

Explore Docklands and follow the Chinese New Year trail of illumination and discover the red lanterns, corridor of moons and stars, playing pandas, opera masks, boy and girl lanterns and the giant Phoenix installation.

8 February

Celebrate Chinese New Year with roving lion and dragon dances, free children’s craft activities including lantern making and face painting.


7 – 21 February

A host of celebrations include lion dance blessings of the shops, Chinese Australian heritage, and roaming performers.

7 February

On Chinese New Year there is the Chinese New Year Eve Family Day includes Outdoor Cinema and Countdown to Midnight.

8 February

MasterChef comes to Chinatown

14 February

The Melbourne Dai Loong Association, custodians of the dragon parade tradition, are heralding the Spring Festival and the New Year with the Millennium Dragon Parade through the streets of Melbourne.

Queen Victoria Market

2 – 20 February

A three week activation will include dramatic Opera Mask illuminated totems throughout the precinct; a traditional lion dance (Tues 16 Feb, 12.30pm); a spectacular dragon dance during the Summer Night Market (Wed 17 Feb, 8pm); and the stunning red Lantern Festival on Saturday 20 February, which includes a hawker market of traditional Asian food stalls, roving performances and lantern making workshops. The market will also be running the two hour Lucky Monkey Market guided tour in English and Mandarin. Visitors will be able to taste their way around the market and listen to stories from local Chinese traders. Tours operate Fri 19 and Sat 20 February.

Yarra River

6 – 21 February

Come and see Australia’s largest illuminated Dragon Head at Eureka Skydeck Plaza Area. At Southgate Melbourne there will be Chinese Zodiac lanterns and along its pedestrian bridge there will be cute illuminated Pandas on show. At Queensbridge Square, the Monkey Arch Corridor installation will be positioned as an extension to Sandridge Pedestrian Bridge and an installation of lanterns depicting Chinese Opera with a matching soundscape will be located on the Queensbridge Square stage. Taste delicious snacks from the Asian-inspired Food Truck.

19 – 21 February

Cultural performances including lion dance, dragon dance and drumming are providing entertainment at Queensbridge Square.

Crown Melbourne

21 January to 21 February

Experience the dazzling Zodiac Spectacular in the Atrium at Crown Towers featuring 60 suspended traditional lanterns, 12 giant zodiac animal lanterns and lucky kumqat trees. Free entry.

5 – 7 February

Bring the whole family to the annual Hawkers’ Bazaar on the Crown Riverwalk, and enjoy food and trinket stalls, cultural performances and more.

6 February

Free event – A magical Fireworks Celebration at 9.45pm welcomes the beginning of a new year.

The Hotel Windsor

7 - 22 February

The Hotel Windsor will host a Chinese New Year’s Eve Banquet, guests will be served ‘Eight Treasures’, a unique selection of Asian influenced appetizers, followed by eight-courses, created by chefs Joel Alderson and Adam Liston (7 February). During the two weeks of Chinese New Year celebrations, the hotel’s famous Afternoon Tea will be served with an oriental influence, and the hotel will be decorated with Happy Drums and stairwell lanterns (8 – 22 February).

Share your Chinese New Year festivities with us on Facebook, Twitter  and Instagram