Chillax, go to it: five feel-good Sydney experiences

By Jay Chabon

Like any big city that’s worth its salt, Sydney is a city on the go.

But this big old town is not all buzz.

We’ve got plenty of bliss too.

If you’re planning a holiday or a quick break from the everyday humdrum, Y Hotels is the place to stay – and we know the best places to go to take it slow.

Whether having a laugh makes you feel at ease or meditation is your medication, there are plenty of ways to relax in Sydney this April.

Sydney Comedy Festival

We can’t think of a better way to kick back and let all our worries out than with a good old-fashioned belly laugh.

Not only does humour help us cope, we hear that laughter releases all sorts of good endorphins, or something to that effect.

With more than 120,000 people attending the Sydney Comedy Festival each year, plenty of others obviously agree with us!

The program, which runs at venues across the city from April 18 to May 15, is packed with our favourite Aussie comedians, top comedians from beyond our shores and up-and-comers promising to be the next big thing.

Above: Ross Noble
Above: Ross Noble.

Here are a choice few acts from the stellar line-up:

Ross Noble – this honorary Aussie’s act never gets tired.

Is it the accent, the crazy hair, or just that endless reserve of hilarious stories? April 23-24, Sydney Town Hall.

Above: Dave Hughes
Above: Dave Hughes.

Dave Hughes – another familiar face, with a familiar voice that never fails to make us laugh. April 29, Enmore Theatre, Newtown (this venue regularly hosts some of the best comedy shows Sydney has to offer).

Frank Woodley – yet another funny Aussie bloke, with physical hijinks to boot. April 21-24, Giant Dwarf Theatre, Redfern.

Frocking Hilarious – we’ve given quite a wrap to Aussie blokes and now it’s the turn of our comedic sisters.

Catch the nation’s funniest women in a show that’s expected to elicit lots of laughs and raise money for the ActionAid movement’s work with women around the world. May 11, Enmore Theatre, Newtown.

Comedy for Kids! – so the mums and dads are covered.

How about the kids?

All sorts of crazy characters ranging from a Korean clowning and beatbox ensemble to Trash Test Dummies promise to keep to the kids in stitches.

All for free (there’s just a $2.50 booking fee) and it’s in the school holidays. Seriously! April 19-24, Sydney Town Hall.

Cracker Night – mix the best in the business with the next big things and this night of comedy is sure to go off with a bang! April 19-20, Enmore Theatre, Newtown (plus suburban Sydney venues).

Festival Club – it’s comedy up late. Four festival favourites run for an hour, back to back, kicking off at 11pm. Various dates from April 22 – May 13, Enmore Theatre, Newtown.

The Best of the Fest – catch all the highlights in a one-hour show.

Better yet, tickets start from the bargain price of $15 (no joke!).

Various dates from April 21 – May 14, Factory Theatre, Marrickville.

Above: Fitness zone at the wellness.
Above: Fitness zone at the wellness show.

The Wellness Show

“Tools and techniques for a happier and healthier you” – yes please!

Plan on getting that and a whole lot more at The Wellness Show at the Hordern Pavilion and Royal Hall of Industries in Moore Park, from April 1 to 3 (no this is not an April Fools’ Day joke, it can really happen!).

Discover the kind of wellbeing that works for you from the hundreds of exhibitors and through free seminars, demonstrations and classes in fitness, beauty, nutrition, psychology and more.

Above: Temple.
Above: Temple at Mahasiddha Kadampa meditation centre.

Meditation Centre

Enlighten yourself with a cool, calm vibe of the Buddhist kind, smack bang in bustling central Sydney.

Learn about modern Buddhism or how to meditate at Mahasiddha Kadampa Meditation Centre.

The Surry Hills temple describes itself as “a place of peace in the city”.

We feel less stressed already! We’re not expecting to find lasting inner peace ourselves just yet (though that’s not to say you won’t!), just a place to simply relax and clear the mind.

Drop in for a 90-minute meditation class, do a day course (the “stop worrying, start living” forum on April 3 sounds like a goer to us) or keep an eye out for special events.

Above: Classic yachts and skiffs on display in Darling Harbour.

Classic and Wooden Boat Festival

When it comes to places to relax (apart from Y Hotels that is) we feel instantly calm and at peace the minute we hop aboard any form of sailing vessel.

Be it the motion of the ocean, the view of the endless horizon, or the feeling of the wind in our sails, there’s nothing quite like it.


Above: Traditional caulking demonstration.

Discover what we and countless other boating enthusiasts love about a stint at sea when the Australian National Maritime Museum hosts the Classic and Wooden Boat Festival on Darling Harbour from April 15 to 17.

Above: Declan Kelly.
Above: Festival headline act Declan Kelly and the Rising Sun.

Marvel at more than 100 beautiful boats on display, enjoy live entertainment, watch the maritime demonstrations, sign up to a symposium (our family’s chief boating tragic can’t wait to hear from the queen of cruising Lin Pardey) or get the junior members of your crew to join in with the kids’ activities. Entry is free.

Above: Famous Korean tight-rope entertainer from South Korea.

Sydney Korean Festival

We expect we won’t feel relaxed until after the tight-rope dancer – the main entertainment of the Sydney Korean Festival – has two feet safely back on solid ground.

We’ll have our hearts in our throats until then.

As well as the awe of witnessing a gravity-defying feat, there’s plenty more ways for festival-goers to “feel the happy vibe” as the event promo puts it.

Learn, enjoy and share in all the best bits of Korean culture: history, music of the traditional and modern “K-Pop” kind, exotic cuisine and cultural activities. April 2, Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour.


Know a great way to chillax in Sydney? Tell us in the comments section below.

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