Lunar New Year festivities kick off

Lunar New Year celebrations have kicked off around Australia, as the world prepares to usher in the Year of the Rabbit.

Sydney is hosting what it claims to be the biggest festival outside Asia, with more than 80 events over the 16-day celebration.

Dragon boat races are the centrepiece of opening and closing ceremonies in the harbour city and public spaces have been transformed into open air galleries.

There'll be concerts, exhibitions, tours and banquets throughout the celebrations and artists will hold roving performances through Haymarket on weekends.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the festivities would revitalise Chinatown, which had been hit harder by the pandemic than other parts of the city.

"We're hopping into the Year of the Rabbit with a fabulous festival that will breathe new life into the area, helping businesses make the most of pent-up demand," Ms Moore said.

Lion dancers will stage performances across Melbourne's CBD including galleries, museums, restaurants, Queen Victoria Market and the Southbank casino.

Brisbane's festivities are being held in Fortitude Valley while other capital cities will hosting street parties, performances and exhibitions until February 4.