With four whole days at your disposal this Easter long weekend, why not spend them being a stranger in your own town? There are plenty of things to do in Sydney – art exhibitions, cooking classes, Easter egg hunts – so plan a staycation and settle in.
Go to the show
Whether you’re in it for the show bags, the puppies or the Dagwood Dogs, the Sydney Royal Easter Show is the family tradition with something for everyone (unless you are some kind of puppy-hating monster). Enjoy such once-a-year treats as the cheeseburger pie, watch the Yandiah Spinners and Weavers turn freshly shorn wool into a jumper and scream your head off on the Alien Abduction Ride.
April 6 to 19; Sydney Olympic Park
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Plan an art escape
Organise a day-trip to the Blue Mountains to Sculpture at Scenic World where, for the sixth year running, the Jurassic rainforest has been transformed into a lush art gallery. The natural environment plays host to 37 works of art by leading local and international artists. Scenic World offers incredible views of the World Heritage-listed mountains with a scenic railway, an elevated walkway and a vertiginous cable-car – add sculptural works and installations and it’s hard to know where to look first.
April 7 to May 7; Corner Violet Street and Cliff Drive, Katoomba
Follow the journey from cacao to Cherry Ripes
The Easter weekend, fittingly, offers the final chance to see the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney’s Sweet Addiction: The Botanic Story of Chocolate. The delicious spectacle, held at the indoor/outdoor exhibition centre The Calyx, is dedicated to the cocoa bean in all its incarnations. Learn how it grows, the processes that turn it into that delicious dark stuff and enjoy some tastings – there’s also a tour for kids that involves making their own treats.
Until April 17; The Calyx, Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney
Explore the work of our early botanists
In the 1850s, sisters Helena and Harriet Scott began studying and drawing the butterflies and flora of New South Wales. Between them, they created an extraordinary body of work comprising more than 600 detailed drawings and paintings. These works make up Transformations: Art of the Scott Sisters at the Australian Museum. Part of the museum’s 190th birthday celebrations, the exhibition’s compositions of plants, landscapes and butterflies are available to buy as prints.
From the 1850s, sisters Helena and Harriet Scott collected, studied and drew the butterflies and botany of NSW in precise detail. Now, see their exquisite artworks come to life through large-scale animated projections in Transformations - Art of the Scott Sisters, on now at the AM. #scientificillustration #science #sciart #womeninscience #australianmuseum #butterflies
Until June 25; 1 William Street, Sydney
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In industrial buildings all over the Inner West of Sydney, passionate brewers are crafting bespoke ales. Take yourself on a self-guided walking tour to take in such brew-pubs as Wayward Brewing Company in Camperdown where the furniture is pre-loved, the pizza comes from down the road and the beer has character. Mosey on to Marrickville where Batch Brewing Co resides in a former panel-beaters workshop. The mainstays are IP and American pale ale (the owners are both from the US) and more experimental options include Elise the Milk Stout (made with lactose) and Our Kind of Blue (a blueberry wheat ale). A short distance away is Willie the Boatman, located in a bright white warehouse in St Peters. Food trucks serve the snacks while on tap are the Albo Corn Ale; the Black Bunny made with dark malts, coffee and chocolate; and the Marrickville Lager (designed to go with everything from burnt snags or Vietnamese).
Learn the secrets of the mummies
Despite its heyday occurring some 3000 years ago, Ancient Egypt remains a source of mystery and fascination. With every passing decade we put together more pieces of the puzzle, and with modern scanning systems we’ve been able to see right inside mummies that are too delicate to physically examine. Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives at the Powerhouse Museum reveals more information than ever before – not just about the deaths of the ancient Egyptians but about their lives. It takes a close-up look at six mummies who lived and died in Egypt between 1800 and 3000 years ago including a temple singer from Thebes and a two-year-old Roman child. We’re able see their skin, their faces and their hair – we’re even able to tell what their diet was like and what kind of a lifestyle they led.
Until April 30; 500 Harris Street, Ultimo
Hop into bed…
… And take in a movie. This is the next step after Gold Class, surely: tuck yourself into a bed – big enough for three and complete with bedside tables – and take in the delights of the big screen. Mov’In Bed cinema sets up an enormous makeshift bedroom in Parramatta Park and screens films including new releases, classics and gems from the Pixar oeuvre. There’s plenty of space between each of the 150 beds and unlike at home, no one’s going to yell at you if you spill crumbs in the bed.
The Crescent, Parramatta
Meet young Andy Warhol
Before the Factory, Studio 54 and Pop Art, Andy Warhol was an in-demand commercial artist, creating ads for beauty and fashion brands in 1950s New York. Adman: Warhol before Pop at the Art Gallery of New South Wales explores the early work of Warhol through some 300 objects, many of which have never been displayed, including vintage advertisements, rare drawings and re-created department store windows.
Art Gallery Road, Sydney
The Great Centennial Park Egg Hunt
This is not a mere hunt, it’s a quest – and the object (finding as much chocolate as possible) is about as important as it gets for the under-10 set. At Centennial Park last year, more than 1000 little cocoa-addicts ranged over the 360 hectares gleefully locating the booty at the Great Centennial Park Egg Hunt. There’s a trail map with challenges for a self-led expedition and it’s sponsored by Darrell Lea – so you might have to nick a couple of the eggs just to make sure they’re OK. Book ahead – this event is popular.
Centennial Parklands, Centennial Park
Create and enjoy a long lunch
In a beautiful historic house in Annandale novice pasta-makers learn the art from experienced Italian cook Luciana Sampogna before sitting down to a long, well-deserved lunch. On Easter Saturday, Cucina Italiana is running a four-hour cooking-and-eating session between 10am and 2pm. Book in to learn how to make tagliatelle with spinach pesto and ravioli filled with ricotta and mint then sit down to a four-course Italian lunch.
84 Johnson Street, Annandale; (02) 8021 2699
Make your own eggs
As millions of people scoff down copious chocolate bunnies in the name of Easter, spare a thought for the hard-working chocolatiers whose slaved-over creations are consumed in a matter of moments. To truly understand the art – and let’s face it, eat more chocolate – try a class at the Sydney Chocolate School. The Easter class teaches students to hand-temper chocolate on marble and make delicious Easter-themed goodies including hot cross spice bars and, of course, those long-suffering bunnies. It’s running before Easter but on the weekend itself, the school’s Coco Chocolate store in Kirribilli opens for an Easter Eggstravaganza with handmade eggs, Vespa-riding bunnies and delicious samples to taste.
School: Building 21, 1110 Middle Head Road, Mosman; (02) 9960 5848
Store: 12/3a-9b Broughton Street, Kirribilli; (02) 9922 4998
If you’ve always played around with the idea of going to the opera, the novelty of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour might just sway you to take the plunge this Easter. Positioned at Fleet Steps on Mrs Macquarie’s Point, this outdoor event is held against the backdrop of the city, complete with views of the skyline and a full array of pop-up restaurants and bars. The opera itself is an incredible display of engineering, performance, set and costume design and theatrics (the fireworks integrated into the performance are spectacular). Take advantage of the various casual and fine-dining eateries and watering holes at the venue from 5pm before the performance starts at 7:30pm.
March 24 to April 23; Fleet Steps, Mrs Macquaries Point, Sydney
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