After the lost years that were 2020 and 2021, Sydney is gearing up for a summer of culture. Walking tours, the ballet, art galleries: they’re back in action. From gallery memberships to season tickets, here are seven Sydney-based cultural experiences to gift your mates this Christmas so they (and you) can make the most of 2022.
A season package to The Australian Ballet
The Australian Ballet is gearing up for a new year, and a season package is a great gift for a culture-lover who has been missing their trips to the theatre. A season package gets you tickets to two or three ballet performances of your choice, the best seats in the house and priority access to extra tickets. This season is headed up by artistic director David Hallberg and features the likes of Romeo and Juliet, Anna Karenina and Instruments of Dance.
A Dreamtime Southern X walking tour
Dreamtime Southern X walking tours offer up a version of Sydney’s history that we don’t hear about too often. Winding through The Rocks and around Sydney Harbour, the tours focus on nature and Aboriginal history, particularly the way it has influenced developments in modern Sydney. Running for 90 minutes, tours start at Cadmans Cottage with a customary ochre ceremony to acknowledge Wyanga Malu (the Earth Mother), and stop at various sites like Bennelong Point, the Opera House and Circular Quay.
A Four Pillars gin lab tasting
Four Pillars’ first Sydney outpost is a cosy, mindfully designed space in Surry Hills complete with a lab where a knowledgeable team hosts gin masterclasses. In a private area that looks down on Eileen’s Bar (the main space), you’ll get a G&T on arrival while you hear the Four Pillars story, then run through a tasting flight of the brand’s famous drops and snacks made with gin, which are available to purchase at the accompanying shop.
An MCA membership
Gallery memberships are more than just visiting galleries: you get a lot of non-art benefits with them, too. An MCA membership supports the Australian art scene and gets you free entry to all exhibitions throughout the year, plus reciprocal benefits at interstate art galleries including Art Gallery of WA, National Gallery of Australia, NGV and QAGOMA. There are also discounts at the MCA Store, cafe and restaurant, and a range of other businesses and services, including wine merchants and workshop courses, as well as a free subscription to the MCA magazine, Art Matters.
A Japanese cooking class at Vive Cooking School
A three-hour ramen and Japanese cooking class at Vive Cooking School in Rosebery is perfect for people who love to cook but may be too intimidated to cook beyond their regular dishes. At this hands-on event you’ll learn to make fresh ramen noodles, chicken chashu and tonkotsu soup, along with delicious ramen toppings like nitamago and umami oil. You’ll never look at packet ramen the same way again.
A tour with the Royal Botanic Garden
Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden hosts a number of tours that make great gifts for nature-lovers. There’s the Aboriginal Cultural Sunset Tour (where you’ll learn about native bush food and tools used to care for Country), the Aboriginal Harbour Heritage Tour (which winds along the harbour and offers a rich perspective on Sydney’s history) or the Ghostly Garden Tour (a spooky walk through the gardens at twilight, where you’ll hear stories of the garden’s past lives).
Visit the Purple House exhibition at Art Gallery of New South Wales
The Purple House is a community-controlled health service which provides end-stage renal care to Aboriginal families in remote areas, so they don’t have to leave Country to visit a hospital. Artists from the Pintupi community in Western Australia donated large-scale works to raise funds to establish the program, and their artworks are on display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales this summer. A powerful exhibition with captivating, colourful work and an important message about Aboriginal communities in Australia.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with City of Sydney. Find more about where to shop, eat and explore in the City of Sydney this Christmas.