Grab your winter woollies and enjoy a whole lot of cool family fun these July school holidays at Prince Alfred Square! Winterlight is one of Sydney’s biggest winter festivals and home to the largest open-air ice rink in Sydney. Plus, there are a host of family-friendly activities, including special kids sessions each morning, daily cabaret shows, magical winter light garden, illuminated ferris wheel, fun carnival rides, fab ice slide, entertaining roving performers, warming winter food and live music. And Light Up St Pat’s returns this year as well.
This Ultimate Winterlight Family Guide gives you the inside scoop on how to make the most of visiting with kids.
| Special Deals | Important Information | Activities and Entertainment | Alpine Food Village | Winterlight Details | Getting to Winterlight |
Winterlight is a whole lot of wintery fun and there are activities for a range of budgets. And here are five ways to make it a little cheaper to take the family.
Opening Night Unlimited Skating and Rides
Head to Winterlight’s opening night party on Friday 5th July from 5pm and enjoy unlimited skating and rides for $35! Plus there’ll be skating performances and lots of other fun! Note: All skaters must leave the rink at the end of each session.
2 for 1 Tuesdays
Enjoy two for the price of one deals on Tuesdays between 11am and 5pm for ice skating, amusement rides and food. Keep in mind, that this isn’t a half price deal but two kids going on say a ride for the price of one. So best to team up with another family if you have an odd number.
Start the week off with a bang and enjoy unlimited skating and rides for $35 from 1pm to 5pm! Note: All skaters must leave the rink at the end of each session.
Buy Tickets and Coupons Online
Buying ice skating tickets and coupons online will save you a few dollars. It’s not much but every little bit helps. There’s also a deal at the moment on Groupon where you can save up to about 40%. But the family ticket isn’t that much cheaper than the normal $65.
Bulk Buy Ride Coupons
The amusement rides are between 2-4 coupons each, with one coupon being $2. But you can buy the coupons in bulk and will save a bit doing so. 20 coupons cost $38 (save $2) and 30 coupons is $54 (save $6). And you can always buy 30 coupons and split them with a friend.
Important Information for Families
- Wear gumboots if it has been raining as it can get very muddy and thick socks for the ice skates.
- Take spare clothes as the kids will very likely end up wet.
- Pram parking is near the skating rinks.
- Toilets are on site, but there are no baby changing facilities. The nearest are at Riverside Theatres, which is about 100m away.
- There is no specific kids ice skating rink this year. But the first hour of each day has two kids only skating sessions (10am on Friday and Saturday and 11am other days).
- All shows in the cabaret tent are $5.
- Quiet times are at the 12pm session of Winterlight on Mondays and Wednesdays. During this time music levels will be lowered and smaller crowds are expected – perfect for kids who get overwhelmed by noise and lots of people.
- Food on offer will be child-friendly. There are lots of tables and chairs within the Winter Food Village, where you can enjoy either food you have bought there or food you have brought from home.
- Some activities are only open on certain days and times, like the circus playground which is only open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm to 4pm.
- The family special for ice skating is $65 for 2 adults + 2 kids (under 14yrs).
- The carnival rides are between $4 and $8 each. There are some savings to be made by buying in bulk, buying online and if you go on Tuesdays – when two people can ride, skate and eat for the price of one. Plus, little ones can ride the ferris wheel for free!
Winterlight Activities and Entertainment
With over 10 different types of activities at Winterlight, there is bound to be an activity or four that will add some magic to your winters day!
From gliding onto an ice rink, twirling on the Ferris wheel and getting crafty at the free workshops. To spinning on amusement rides, being entertained by roving performers, enjoying live music, catching a show in the cabaret tent and warming up with some yummy food.
Get your thrills on the Winterlight ice slide at 30 metres long! This is so much FUN in the doughnut tubes. Plus a good workout carrying them back up again! One ride costs 2 coupons (about $4) and 3 slides for 5 coupons (about $10). Kids must be 2yrs+ to go on the ice slide. And we HIGHLY recommend you have a go!
2FREE Craft Workshops
There are just two craft workshops on this year, at specific times, so you may want to plan your visit to enjoy them.
- Shadow Screen Puppet Workshop (12th to 14th July from 6pm to 8pm): Inspiring kids and adults to experience the magic of theatre. Come and create a shadow puppet of your own and embrace laughter, magic, and the mysterious world of your imagination!
- Illuminated Winter Lantern Workshop (18th to 21st July from 6pm to 8pm): Make your own luminous paper lantern from 100% recyclable material. And take it home with NEON LED light. There are over 5 different firefly designs to choose from.
3Bamboozled Cabaret Shows
For just $5 per person, you’ll be able to laugh along at a number of Cabaret shows running daily during Winterlight, including.
- Jerry Hatricks, moustachioed master of mayhem
- Miss Match, who combines feats of strength and dexterity with humorous and humble stories of being a quirky circus mama
- The Gagliardies, a comedy duo with an unhealthy obsession for laughter and the ridiculously silly. With a mixing pot of variety, vaudeville and circus, these two have travelled the world atop their penny farthing, dragging suitcases of shenanigans and bringing giggles to the masses. Perfect for children aged 3 – 103
- The Mr Spin Show, a highly skilled, comic vaudevillian style circus act
- Uno – Master manipulator of mallets. Equilibrist of eccentric excellence takes his audience on a journey of wonderment using his mallets to spin, balance, throw, catch and amaze
Of course the main event of Winterlight is the ice skating. The 7News Ice Rink is the largest open-air rink in Sydney and open to all ages. This year there is no separate ice rink for young kids. But there’ll be two special kids only sessions each day in the first hour – 10am to 11am on Fridays and Saturdays and 11am to 12pm on all other days.
Tickets start at $10 for kids under 4yrs (20mins) and go up to $24 for people 14 years+ (45mins). You can also hire a ‘kanga’ for $10, which provides some support to stay on your feet while skating.
Theme nights will also bring a little something extra to Winterlight.
- Date Night (Thursday 11th July): couples and friends can skate to live string musicians.
- Neon Night (Thursday 18th July): fun-filled evening featuring roving neon performers, UV lights on the ice and free UV face painting.
Children and adults alike can test their skills at juggling, stilts, spinning and balancing objects at the Circus Playground on weekends, as well as Wednesdays, from 12pm to 4pm.
6Vintage Carnival Rides and Illuminated Ferris Wheel
Experience the thrill of vintage-style carnival rides, including the carousel, music trip, cars 4 kids, rockin tug and winterlight’s coaster ride. Plus you can see all the action from the 22m high ferris wheel. Rides are between 2-4 coupons per ride and coupons cost:
- 1 Coupon = $2
- 10 coupons = $20
- 20 coupons = $38 (Save $2)
- 30 coupons = $54 (Save $6)
For a little bit more magic, on the weekends there will be roving entertainers.
- POP ART (18th-21st July 6pm to 9pm): Marvel at this fluro lit dotti duo! This lively pair ditzy and jive their Litchenstein inspired interactive Pop Art personas. Don’t miss out on your selfie with this popping comic duo.
- SNOW QUEENS STILT WALKERS (5th July 5pm to 8pm): Giant fairytale Queens. Haughty, elegant and cold as ice. In pure white they make a stunning impact, perfect for a Winter selfie.
- FIRE DANCER (5th, 11th, 12th and 13th July 6pm to 9pm): Combining the intense grace and beauty of a dancer with the pizzazz and flare of a fire cracker.
- SOLAR BUGS STILT-WALKERS (6th, 7th July 1pm to 4pm): Solar panels embedded into the costumes soak up the sun by day and glow at night.
- ANABULOOS STILT-WALKERS (13th, 14th July 1pm to 4pm): The sweet Anabuloo’s are giant, bright fluffy toys. Highly skilled, they bend your mind with their cool moves on stilts.
- LADY BUG STILT-WALKERS (20th, 21st July 1pm to 4pm): Bouncing, dancing Bugs play amongst the crowds. Endlessly curious and sweet as neon eye candy.
8Magical Light Garden
Returning this year is the magical light garden. Discover Morphology – an interactive neon art installation. There will also be some lights frozen inside the ice rink that will illuminate the way for skaters in a colourful and vibrant display.
9Village Sessions and Live DJ
Returning this year is Parramatta’s Live and Local musicians. They’ll be performing some of the best live music tunes Western Sydney has to offer during Winterlight ‘Village Sessions’ on Wednesday to Sundays.
Plus on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, you can skate to your favourite dance hits on the ice rink thanks to live DJs and rock out your best moves!
10Parramatta Night Markets (8th to 11th July from 5pm – 9pm)
For the first time, Market Street will come alive with stalls offering a range of artisan products from Parramatta and Greater Sydney. You’ll be able to browse and purchase unique locally made products while at Winterlight, including clothing, jewellery, candles, pottery and artwork. Be sure to drop by and see what our talented and creative stallholders have to offer, including Red Lauren, Elements Clothing, Finding Fi, Shivi Palod, Social Canvas, Noble Threads Co., Hanna Swimwear Australia, Parra Clay Pottery, Bodhi Tree Skin care and Earthie.
11Light Up St Pat’s
Enjoy light displays on the walls of St Patrick’s cathedral, across the road from Prince Alfred Park. And there will also be an art exhibition by students from across Parramatta diocese.
Alpine Food Village
Perfect for a social lunch under the warm winter sun or a cosy dinner with family, the Alpine Village will be home to a range of comforting winter delights and live music. This year you’ll be able to grab something yummy from Blackbear BBQ, Zahara Grill, Gelato Messina and Pull n Shots Espresso Bar. Plus over in the carnival area, there’ll be Waffle Pops and Sugar Storm Artisan Fairy Floss. And remember the SPECIAL 2 for 1 DEAL on Tuesdays from 11am to 5pm.
Winterlight is also only a short walk from Eat Street and Entrada Centre, where there’s a wide variety of food and plenty of kid friendly restaurants/ cafes, including:
Dates and Times
Winterlight runs from 5th to 21st July at Prince Alfred Square in Parramatta.
- Opening night: Friday 5th July from 5pm to 11pm.
- Normal opening hours: Sunday to Thursday: 11am –10pm. Friday to Saturday: 10am – 11pm
Book your tickets online for skating and you can also buy ride and slide coupons. Remember the special deals:
- Opening night party (5pm to 11pm) and Monday Madness (1pm to 5pm) – unlimited skating and rides for $35.
- 2 for 1 Tuesdays from 11am and 5pm where you can buy one, get one free on ice skating tickets, amusement rides and food.
Visit www.winterlight.com.au for more details and to purchase tickets.
Getting to Winterlight
Winterlight is located in Prince Alfred Square, along Church Street between Riverside Theatres and Victoria Road.
Winterlight is close to bus stops along Victoria Road and an easy 10-15min walk from Parramatta Station and Bus Interchange. Or you can catch the FREE Parramatta Shuttle Bus that stops right near Winterlight. It operates Monday to Friday from 7am to 6.30pm and on weekends from 8am to 4pm. For train and bus timetable information, contact Transport Info on 131 500.
NOTE: Parramatta Ferry Terminal is currently being upgraded and is CLOSED until about October.
There are a few car parks to choose from nearby:
- Novotel Parramatta (across the road) – $10.00 per 6 hour period from time of entry.
- Entrada Shopping Centre – first 1.5hrs free, $5 every hour after that.
- Secure Parking – Riverbank
- Secure Parking – Eat Street.