Four Australian highlights to get you through summer

More than a million visitors are expected to enjoy the sights, sounds and flavours of Asia during the City of Sydney's Sydney Lunar Festival.
More than a million visitors are expected to enjoy the sights, sounds and flavours of Asia during the City of Sydney's Sydney Lunar Festival.

Celebrate Chinese New Year at Lunar Lanes

Sydney hosts the biggest celebration of Chinese New Year outside Asia. More than a million visitors are expected to enjoy the sights, sounds and flavours of Asia during the City of Sydney's Sydney Lunar Festival from 25 January to 9 February 2020. For the first time, the Lunar Lanes street party will weave its way from Haymarket through the streets of Chinatown to Darling Harbour.

The vibrant festival will greet tourists from around the world, as well as Sydney's multicultural Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian and Malaysian communities. Visitors can expect the laneways to be a dazzling array of market stalls, concerts, street performances and free activities to welcome in the Year of the Rat.

Hit musical Chicago heads south for the summer

The Tony-award winning Broadway hit Chicago is set to kick-off its summer season at Melbourne State Theatre and will star Natalie Bassingthwaighte as Roxie Hart, Alinta Chidzey as Velma Kelly and Casey Donovan as Matron "Mama" Morton. Exclusive to the Melbourne production, the role of Billy Flynn will be played by Jason Donovan in his first musical on an Australian stage. Created by Broadway heavyweights John Kander and Fred Ebb, Chicago's sexy, sassy score includes "All That Jazz" and "Razzle Dazzle". The production starts on December 14, with tickets priced from $59.90 for performances up until February 21.

Virgin Australia's bid for Japan

The Land of the Rising Sun is on the bucket list for many travellers. The combination of Japan's ancient shrines and geishas with neon-lit cities and robots is attracting more Australians every year. Virgin Australia will be offering daily flights from Brisbane direct to Tokyo's Haneda Airport from 29 March 2020, just in time for the Olympics. Visitors will be flying on Virgin's Airbus A330-200 which has 20 business seats and 255 economy seats, including eight Economy X. Flights will open for bookings next month.

Ballet and macarons

To celebrate the start of the Australian Ballet 2020 season in Sydney, high-end hotel brand the InterContinental will be hosting something special for ballet aficionados, sweet tooths and Christmas lovers. Inspired by the famous ballet, the hotel's French-trained head of pastry, Eric Menard, has created a Nutcracker High Tea of gourmet sandwiches, lemon-meringue macarons and vanilla cupcakes topped with sugary ballet slippers. Chef Menard has not forgotten about vegans, either - there is a vegan high tea menu which includes veggie wraps, mango and berry mousse, and vegan chocolate cake. If you would like to bring the little ones, there is also a petite high tea menu available. Magnifique! The high tea is available until 4 January 2020 and is priced at $39 for children and from $79 for adults.

Explore more: icsydney.com.au

Share your travel tips

Pack smart

If you are travelling as a couple, split your clothes between both your suitcases. On a trip to Hong Kong, my husband and I didn't get one bag until 36 hours after we arrived. Luckily, I had mixed our belongings up.

- F Williams

Avoid tourist traps

Do research on good places to eat at your destination so you don't waste money on tourist-trap restaurants. There is lots of good affordable food in most cities that tourists don't know about. TripAdvisor or blogs are a good start.

- Billy Yan

Protect your papers

Photograph your documents on your phone and email yourself a copy. If you lose them, you can access these as soon as you need them.

- Robyn Boswell

Check your dates

Make sure your passport is valid for more than six months when you want to travel. Visas are a problem in short-date passports, and you might be sent home without your holiday at great expense.

- Aldith Graves