Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year is the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar and this year marks the year of the Rat. Chinese New Year starts on 24 January 2020 and runs until 9 February 2020.
Chinese New Year has been celebrated in Melbourne’s Chinatown for over 160 years and traditions like the famous dragon parade, decorated lantern displays and traditional Chinese clothing have delighted visitors over the years.
This year Melbourne will light up with colourful Chinese New Year celebrations, including:
Continuing with a 100-year tradition of dragon parades in Melbourne, the Dai Loong Dragon will emerge from the Chinese Museum where it will bless businesses of Chinatown.
Date: Sunday 2 February 2020
Location: throughout Chinatown, Melbourne
Families can visit the Chinese Museum on Sunday 2 February 2020 for free.
This is a great opportunity to explore the Chinese Museum’s five floors showcasing the heritage and culture of Australia’s Chinese community.
Date: Sunday 2 February 2020
Location: Cohen Place, off Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
Melbourne Museum is celebrating the Year of the Rat with a family-friendly weekend filled with Lunar New Year activities.
Activities include lion dance performances; lantern shows, hopping mice, arts and crafty rats. Kids can learn about their own zodiac animal and meet the Museums rat expert.
Date: 24 January 2020
Location: NGV International, Great Hall, Ground Level
Price: FREE (booking is not required)
CherryHill Orchards will host a Lunar New Year Festival in the beautiful Yarra Valley filled with a wide variety of events and entertainment.
Entertainment includes traditional Chinese lion dancing, ceremonial drumming, martial arts and calligraphy demonstrations. There are also a number of workshops – Lion Dance, Kung Fu and traditional Chinese drumming.
Families can purchase boxed cherries on the day, but the cherry-picking season has finished.
Date: 16–19 January 2020
Location: CherryHill Orchards, 474 Queens Road, Wandin East
Price: $5–$10 (Kids under the age of 13 years will receive free entry on Thursday and Friday), workshops $10 (all ages 5 years and up).
Book tickets or Book workshop
Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium is celebrating Lunar New Year and welcoming the Year of the Rat with spectacular underwater dragon dances and other festive activities from 25 January–2 February 2020.
Families can watch the vibrant underwater dragon swim alongside the sharks, rays and fish, or visit the Penguin Playground where they can place their New Year wish on the Wishing Wall. Kids will have fun creating a jellyfish lantern in the new Ocean Invaders zone and enjoy an enchanting journey with the new Lunar New Year virtual reality experience.
Date: 25 January–2 February 2020
Time: Monday–Friday 10am–5:30pm
Weekends, School Holidays and Public Holidays 9:30am–6pm.
Location: Sea Life Melbourne, corner of Flinders Street and King Street
Price: $27–$44 (discounts apply when purchased online)
This year the Crown Atrium has a six-meter-tall Chinese Wishing Tree to help raise awareness and funds for Victorian wildlife affected by the recent bushfires. In addition to the Wishing Tree, Crown Atrium has again transformed into a Chinese zodiac wonderland with larger-than-life luminous animal sculptures cascading down the Atrium staircase.
Date: Zodiac Spectacular 22 January–11 February 2020
Wishing Tree 23 January–10 February 2020
Location: Crown Atrium, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank
Be sure to check out our parent-to-parent marketplace for all things kids.
We try our best to provide accurate information on kid-friendly events around Victoria, but we do recommend that parents check details directly to confirm dates, times, prices as some details may be subject to change.