Lunar celebrations welcome the Year of the Ox in Sydney and Canberra

See Canberra in a different light, welcome in Lunar New Year

Hello to the year of the Ox

In less than two weeks, we will welcome the Year of the Ox. This is good news, as the Year of the Rat brought nothing but upheaval.

In Sydney's CBD, performers will impress us with traditional dance, Japanese hip-hop, Korean drumming and fashion shows at the Lunar Spectacular shows on February 13. Bookings are essential.

The Chatswood Lunar New Year Festival runs from February 3-28. Highlights include: the first ever Lunar New Year Comedy shows on February 27; and a Chinese New Year Cultural Celebration Concert on February 20. The concert will feature martial arts demonstrations, lion dancing, Chinese folk and classical music, and contemporary dance.

In Canberra, kids can make their own Ox coin-boxes at the Royal Australian Mint. Several ACT venues are offering Chinese feasts. The Hellenic Club in Woden is showing commendable event dexterity combining Lunar New Year with Valentine's Day for a special lion dance performance.

In case you're wondering, Jupiter Lai, a Hong-Kong based Chinese and Western astrologer, says the ox is "grounded, loyal, gentle and trustworthy".

Let there be light

Canberra's Enlighten Festival will kick off from February 26 for a month with amazing images projected onto the capital's landmark buildings. There are also dining, performance and film events.

It's a great time to visit the city and see it in a different light. You will need to book tickets as health restrictions apply.

Last places for an epic voyage

As if we needed reminding about how keen we are to travel. Viking has just revealed its World Cruise 2022/23 has almost sold out. According to the cruise line, which has offices in Sydney and is a favourite among Australia's cruise community, only 15 per cent of staterooms remain.

"World cruises are truly special voyages and the rate of bookings we have seen ... is a sure sign of the pent-up demand and the desire to cruise again," said Michelle Black, Viking ANZ Managing Director. "Our recommendation is not to wait any longer for that voyage of a lifetime."

The World Cruise departs Florida on 22 December 2022 for 28 countries in 138 days with 57 guided tours and costs from $75,995. It sounds steep, but everything is included from business-class flights to food and wine, shore excursions and transport. It equates to about $550 a day.

Explore more:vikingcruises.com.au or your CLIA travel agent at cruising.org.au

Victorians take to the road

Whatever we think of the tough lockdown, Victorians are enjoying the largesse of their government when it comes to travel. Some 40,000 regional travel vouchers were snapped up within 20 minutes of going live on January 20. The $200 vouchers are redeemable until April 1 on spends of $400 or more on accommodation, experiences or tours in regional Victoria.

"Please try again when the next round opens at 10am on March 30 2021," advised the Victorian Government website, once the vouchers had vanished.

Explore more:vic.gov.au

Love at first bite

Research shows that giving someone an experience brings them more joy than a material gift - and sharing that experience helps strengthen bonds. At least that's the theory behind giving your significant other a BridgeClimb climb-and-dine package.

Watch the colours of the sky melt into the evening from atop Sydney Harbour Bridge. Then feast on pizzas and wine at the Australian Hotel in The Rocks. The package costs $611 for two adults.

Explore more: bridgeclimb.com

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