Can you feel it? Five Sydney experiences to excite the senses

By Jay Chabon

The hustle and bustle are a beating heart, the people and experiences are the emotion behind the city’s pretty face.

Yep, Sydney’s a city with plenty of feeling.

Little wonder then that the city’s special events offer visitors an emotional, memorable, experience.

Anzac Day is revered on the nation’s calendar, and in Sydney you’ll feel the emotion through commemorations running from sunrise to sunset, including the traditional Anzac parade through the CBD.

The city’s cultural institutions are embracing sunrises and sunsets too – from yoga in iconic locations to after-dark art parties.

And wait till you feel the glitz and glamour of Sydney fashion week or the power of compelling photographic exhibition images.

Yep, it’s gonna be a real roller-coaster ride this April and May!

Above: Anzac Day Service. Image: Courtesy RSL NSW.

Anzac Day

Nothing is quite so moving as gathering in Martin Place around the Cenotaph in the pre-dawn darkness, feeling a lump in the throat as the Ode of Remembrance is recited and the Last Post bugle call sounds.

Thousands gather every year to honour fallen soldiers at the Anzac Day Dawn Service at 4.15am.

The chance to pay one’s respects to veterans and serving personnel, as well as remembering those who paid the supreme sacrifice for our nation, comes through the Anzac Day March.

About 20,000 war veterans, current servicemen and women, police and relatives proudly display war medals on uniforms as they march through the CBD, with crowds lining the route between Martin Place and Hyde Park to salute our diggers.

Other major city events include the Commemoration Service at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park (12.30pm) and the Sunset Service at the Cenotaph in Martin Place (5pm).

You’ll also find the time-honoured Anzac Day tradition of a game of two-up happening in pubs and clubs across the city.

Some of the biggest waging arenas are located in The Rocks.

April 25.


Above: Yoga
Above: Sunrise on the Steps Yoga.

Sunrise yoga on the Opera House steps

If Anzac Day is one of the few times of the year you’re prepared to wake up early (outside of work and child commitments that is) the Sydney Opera House is offering a mighty enticing incentive to get out of bed – even if you are on holiday.

Sunrise on the Steps Yoga could just be the ultimate way to start the day.

Not only do you get to enjoy the iconic location and the views before the daytime crowds descend, you’ll feel pretty invigorated too!

Selected dates until May 26, 60-minute classes start at 7am.

Above: Art Gallery of NSW on a Wednesday evening.

Art After Hours – Art Gallery of NSW

OK, so we get that some of us just aren’t morning people.

If you’re more a night owl than an early riser, then the city’s cultural institutions are looking after your interests too.

The Art Gallery of NSW stays open late on Wednesdays, giving art lovers an extra five hours to admire great works.

And it’s not just the art displays keeping the late-night punters entertained: there’s performances, films (catch Gene Kelly classic An American in Paris on April 20 or the beloved The Wizard of Oz staring Judy Garland on June 1, both starting at 7.15pm), talks and tours too.

Art After Hours until 10pm on Wednesdays. Gallery open 10am-5pm other days.

Above: Fashion show at Mercedes-Benz fashion week.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

We’ve heard many a model brag about (or bemoan) crack of dawn starts to the working day … but we all know that it’s after dark when the real fashion action starts!

And anyone who’s anyone in the industry will be ready to party when that institution known as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week brings an extra dose of glitz and glamour to our darling city of Sydney.

The week kicks off with industry-only shows (May 15 to 20), followed by a Weekend Edition of public events, where you too can feel like a fashion crusader.

Book yourself one of the hottest tickets in town: a front row seat to a runway show, not to mention drinks and canapés and a goodie bag to take home (just to make you feel totally like a celeb).

Earn yourself some real cred with a spot at the top of the catwalk as a fashion photographer in the making.

The Runway Photography Masterclass sessions will show you how the experts view cutting-edge fashion from behind a lens and capture the best angles.

More tricks of the trade will be revealed in the Style Sessions.

Top editors, style icons, illustrators, designers and beauty experts will be on hand to impart their knowledge and share some insights from the inner sanctum.

The rise of the celebrity stylist bears witness to the power and pure genius this lot create behind the scenes!

Carriageworks arts centre, Eveleigh, May 20-21.

Above: Head on photo festival. Image: courtesy Brydie Piaf.

Head On Photo Festival

The life of a star photographer is not all gorgeous models and runway shows.

And despite the advent of portable technology giving every man and his dog the impression that they’re a pro snapper, it takes a special talent to capture a captivating image.

The Head On Photo Festival goes way beyond selfies and sunsets to celebrate the unique talent of photographers from all walks of life.

The sneak-peak of images promise the photographic material will be spellbinding (vintage prints of early 1900s Sydney) and challenging (a white model channeling the Virgin Mary while breastfeeding a black baby).

The subject matter is hugely diverse, but all the images have something to say.

The hardest part as viewers will be tearing our eyes away.

As well as the photographic exhibitions, there are awards (the Head On Portrait Prize is the festival centrepiece), parties, artist talks, screenings, workshops and plenty more – as in more than 200 events at more than 100 venues across Sydney.

April 29 to May 22.


What Sydney experiences make you feel something special? Tell us in the comments section below.

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