Diary Of A Working Holiday Maker: My First Christmas And New Year’s In Sydney

Welcome to Julie’s Australian Holiday Diary: the travel tales of a 20-year-old from the Netherlands who’s flown to Sydney, Australia on a Working Holiday visa. In each episode, she’ll be sharing what life is like living, working and travelling in Australia. From how to meet new people, to what it’s like living in a backpacker hostel, to her favourite experiences… Julie will share it all! Let’s dive into Episode Three…

Celebrating The Holidays

Christmas and New Year’s Eve are usually a time to take it easy, celebrate what you’re grateful for and surround yourself with family and traditions.

So what happens when you find yourself celebrating the festive season as a solo traveller on the other side of the world, far away from your usual Christmas traditions and the people you’re used to spending the holidays with? 

When you travel to Australia on a working holiday, many of us will experience this for the first time ever! 

This year I’ll be spending my Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Sydney which makes me very feel excited, happy and – I’ll be honest – a little overwhelmed at the same time! This time of the year has pushed me to reflect and has reminded me that I’m actually doing this; I’m living on the other side of the world in the sunshine but away from my family and everything that is familiar to me.

That said, staying in a hostel has given me an opportunity to meet a whole group of new people from all over the world, who all have their own way of spending the holidays.

On Christmas day, I’ll be heading to Bondi Beach to hang out with some new friends as we celebrate different cultures and share our traditions – as well as embrace some of Australia’s – and enjoy the warm weather that goes with it!

It’ll be totally different to the family celebrations I’m used to at home in Holland – but different in a good way. A new type of holiday. 

Christmas & New year’s in Sydney

I’ve heard that Sydney can get pretty busy around the holidays, so I’ve already started planning how I’ll be spending my days. It’s important for me to have a fun Christmas day planned with new friends and of course to watch the famous Sydney fireworks!

For Christmas, I would love to experience a real Aussie Christmas BBQ at the beach. It doesn’t get more Australian than that, right?! I’ll spend the day together with friends or even strangers. It’ll be a chance to exchange our experiences, cultures, food and thoughts; all whilst taking a swim in the ocean, laying on the beach and trying a classic Aussie BBQ.

For New Year’s Eve, I’ve got tickets for the New Year’s festival, organized at Luna Park Sydney. I’ve heard that Luna Park is the perfect location to party and watch the firework display on Sydney Harbour when the clock turns 12 in Australia.

5 Ways To Experience The Best Holidays

As a backpacker, planning isn’t always at the forefront of my mind. I’m all for spontaneity, however, I’ve realised that there are some things to think about if you want to make the most out of your holidays in Australia. For example, it is an absolute must to book your accommodation ahead of time, especially in Sydney.

Here are some of my tips and recommendations from my time so far, here in Sydney for an unforgettable Christmas and New Year’s!

1. Hostel Activities
If you’re staying at Wake Up! Sydney, Bondi Beach or Byron Bay you’ll get the opportunity to participate in the special hostel activities, specifically organised for the guests to meet other travellers and get into the festive mood! On Christmas morning before hitting the beach, I’ll be at Wake Up!’s Champagne Breakfast for free drinks and pastries and to meet with other hostel guests. Wake Up! also have some fun Christmas-themed activities including Christmas Trivia, Karaoke, free Christmas drinks and guided city and beach walks. Check out the full activity schedule here.

2. Surf & Chill
If you want to make the most of the weather, why not use the time to rent a surfboard and enjoy a day on the water, for real Aussie vibes? Grab a board or if you’re keen to learn to surf, there are lots of lessons around. The Wake Up! team can point you in the right direction. If you’re staying at Wake Up! Bondi and Wake Up! Byron Bay, you can also make use of their complimentary surfboard hire.

3. Aussie BBQ
It wouldn’t be Christmas Down Under without an Aussie BBQ. On Christmas day, why not round up some new friends and organise a BBQ on the beach? Everyone could bring a traditional dish from their home country to share and enjoy together. This way, everyone gets a chance to share something personal and special, to make it feel like home.

4. Park Celebrations
Sydney is famous for its amazing fireworks display on New Year’s Eve, with vantage points all over the city. Pack up a picnic and head down early to make a day of it in the sun. Tip: You’ll need to reserve an area in advance which can be done on the official Sydney New Year’s Eve site.

5. Dance into the New Year
Dance your way into 2023 with your new hostel mates, at one of Sydney’s cool festivals and events. There are lots to choose from including the New Year’s Eve Glitter Party and New Year’s Day Full Moon Party.

Let’s Celebrate Together

Remember, we’re all in this together. The holidays can be a time in which we feel extremely connected or a little alone, so it is a time in which we need to be loving and inclusive. See it as a chance to step out of your comfort zone and connect with one another. Treat yourself, dance bigger and sing louder! Let’s celebrate this amazing opportunity in the best way we possibly can!

An extra big hug and a very joyful Christmas and a healthy New Year,


About Julie Eikelenboom
About Julie Eikelenboom

Hi fellow travellers! I am Julie Eikelenboom, a 20-year-old travel enthusiast, who is ready to explore all the ins -and outs of the Work Holiday Visa in Australia. I am currently doing my internship, while also creating plans to travel Australia. Next to travelling, I love dancing, meeting new people, chatting for hours, and checking off all items on my bucket list. Want to know more? Let’s keep in touch through @julieeikelenboom 

Julie's diary, solo travel, working holiday australia

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