New Year’s Day
1st of January
On the first day of the new year, many Australians take the day to recover from the previous night’s festivities, often spending time at the beach, having a barbie (BBQ) with friends and family, and getting a start on their New year’s resolutions.
The annual Sydney Festival is an event that celebrates the culture and creativity of this iconic city, showcasing the best in art, music, theatre, and dance. There are hundreds of events each year, spread amongst venues all throughout the city.
The Mona Foma is a festival of arts, music, and “other stuff” held by the iconic Mona Museum in Tasmania. It features an exciting program that explores the creative boundaries of art and music.
Tamworth Country Music Festival
From mid to late January
Held in the country music capital of Australia, the Tamworth Country Music Festival in New South Wales brings together some of the biggest names in Australian country music, along with up-and-coming talent. People come from around the country to enjoy the music and the atmosphere, with performances held at various pubs, hotels, and restaurants in the area.
Qualifiers begin mid to late January. Finals are usually in late January or early February
The Australian Open is held every year in Melbourne and is the first of the four Grand Slams that take place throughout the year. Professional tennis stars and casual tennis fans alike look forward to this event every year. Aside from the tennis matches, there are also fun competitions that can win you free grand finals tickets or some cool merch! Plus, each night of the tournament features a special concert with some big names in Australian music. With its lively atmosphere and top-notch entertainment, the Australian Open is a must-see event for tennis lovers and the curious alike.
26th of January
Australia Day, also known as Survival Day, is a public holiday that marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships. While this day was traditionally a much loved holiday, spent in true Aussie fashion with mates, beers, and a BBQ, it has more recently become a controversial celebration. This is because the day has particular significance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as it marks the commencement of the British colonization of Australia, which had a profound and devastating effect on the Indigenous Australians.
From early February to early March
The Perth Festival is Australia’s longest-running arts festival and celebrates many different art forms with a highlight on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contemporary art. The event is a not-for-profit, free concert for everyone to enjoy.
Canberra Multicultural Festival
The Canberra Multicultural Festival is a celebration of the diverse cultures that make up the Australian capital. With a range of activities, performances, workshops, and food stalls, the no shortage of things to enjoy. From traditional dance and music performances to market stalls selling handmade souvenirs and food from around the world, the festival provides a unique experience for visitors of all ages.
Adelaide Fringe Festival
From mid-February to mid-March
The Adelaide Fringe Festival is one of the largest festivals of its kind in Australia. With over 1,000 events in more than 200 venues across Adelaide, the festival offers everything from comedy and cabaret to theatre and music, to visual art, spoken word, and dance. The Fringe is an incredible celebration of art and culture, providing a platform for established and emerging artists to share their work with the world.
Sydney Mardi Gras
From mid-February to early March
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is an iconic event that has become a symbol of acceptance, inclusivity, and celebration of the LGBT+ community in Australia. The streets come alive with a kaleidoscope of color and sound, as floats, bands, and performers move through the city in a glorious parade. Music, laughter, and dancing can be heard throughout the city, as the Mardi Gras brings people together to enjoy the party.
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
From mid-February to early March
A big part of the Melbournian culture revolves around food and drink. The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival attracts thousands of food and wine lovers, who come to experience the delicious offerings from some of the country's leading chefs, winemakers, and artisans. From gourmet meals to wine tastings and cooking demonstrations, the festival has lots to offer visitors.
Formula 1 Grand Prix
Usually late March or early April
The Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix is an event that all motorsport fans look forward to each year, and takes place at the world-renowned Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne. With a track length of 5.3 km featuring a mix of long straights and tight corners, the Albert Park Circuit provides a challenging and exciting atmosphere for both drivers and spectators alike. The sound of engines roaring around the track, the smell of burning rubber, and the cheering of the crowd make the Australian Grand Prix a truly unforgettable experience.
The much-loved Moomba Festival in Melbourne is one of the city's most celebrated and lively events, taking place annually in the heart of the city. It is a unique celebration of Melbourne's vibrant culture, with a colorful display of floats, costumes, and music. Thousands of people from all over Australia come together to watch the parade, cheering on the participants as they march along the streets of Melbourne. The parade features a variety of different performances, including marching bands, dance troupes, and acrobatics, as well as a wide selection of delicious food stalls and carnival rides. Also not to be missed, and one of the more unique parts of this festival is the iconic Birdman Rally. Competitors bring their best homemade gliders, throw themselves off the Birdman platform, and aim to fly the furthest over the Yarra River to claim the coveted title.
St Patrick’s Day
17th of March
St. Patrick's Day in Australia is a time to enjoy traditional Irish music, food, and drinks, and get decked out in your finest green clothes. Many events take place throughout the country, from parades to Irish dancing performances. You’ll find many Australians in Irish pubs and bars, drinking the night away with Guinness and whiskey and enjoying live Irish music.
First Sunday on or after March 21st
Easter is celebrated by many Australians, both young and old, with activities such as Easter egg hunts, Easter bonnets, and Easter egg decorating. Hot cross buns, both the traditional fruit version and the chocolate version, are a popular Easter treat. On Easter Sunday, some Australians attend church services and enjoy a special Easter meal with family and friends.
The Stawell Gift
Usually early April
The Stawell Gift, held annually in the small town of Stawell in Victoria, traditionally on Easter Monday. With a rich history stretching back to 1878, the Stawell Gift is one of the oldest and most prestigious, professional running events in the world. While there are many races throughout the event, the main race is a 120-meter sprint, up a slight incline with a handicap start, as competitors race for a generous cash prize. Every year, thousands of spectators gather to witness the spectacle of the Stawell Gift and to cheer on their favorite runners.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
The Melbourne Comedy Festival is one of the biggest and most celebrated comedy festivals in the world. It is an annual event that brings together some of the top comedic talent from around the globe. Since its inception in 1987, the festival has grown in both size and popularity, with hundreds of shows and performances being held throughout the city of Melbourne. It has become a major part of the cultural calendar for locals, tourists, and comedy fans alike, and continues to provide an entertaining and memorable experience for all who attend. The festival offers a wide variety of comedy styles, from stand-up and improv to sketch and musical comedy, so there really is something for everyone.
Sydney Royal Easter Show
The Sydney Royal Easter Show is iconic in Australia. It features a wide variety of activities, including agricultural shows, carnival rides, live music and entertainment, livestock shows, craft and produce displays, show bags, and much more. The show is a unique opportunity to explore the rich heritage of Australian agriculture and to experience a fun-filled family day out.
25th of April
ANZAC Day is an important day in the history of Australia and New Zealand, commemorating the service and sacrifice of members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I. The day is marked by special services of remembrance, including the laying of wreaths and playing the Last Post.
Sydney Comedy Festival
From late April to late May
Every year, the Sydney Comedy Festival brings a plethora of hilarious acts from around the world to the city. From stand-up to sketch comedy and improv, this festival brings together the best in the business to make sure audiences have a great time.
From late May to mid-June
Vivid Sydney lights up the city with a range of spectacular light installations and impressive art displays. From the stunning 3D lighting projections on the Sydney Opera House to the vibrant displays along the city's harbor and coastline, Vivid Sydney is a great event to experience the latest in light-based art, music, and technology.
The Barunga Festival, held in the Northern Territory, celebrates the culture, music, and art of the remote Indigenous communities in the Kathrine region. It brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and is an opportunity to learn more about Indigenous culture and to experience activities such as traditional dancing, music, art, bush tucker, art workshops, storytelling, and much more.
Big Red Bash
The world’s most remote music festival, the Big Red Bash is held in the heart of the Australian Outback. With an impressive lineup of Australian music royalty, the 3-day festival offers a unique opportunity to experience the beauty of the Outback while also enjoying some of the best live music in the country. With no hotels or Airbnbs in sight, festival goers will either pitch a tent or roll up in their caravans, making this experience that much more special.
Splendour in the Grass
Splendour in the Grass takes place in Byron Bay for three days, and it is an event that brings music lovers from all over the country together. With both international and local big-name artists performing, it’s an amazing opportunity to see some of the biggest names in music and discover new talent, all in the beautiful surroundings of the coastal town.
Darwin Beer Can Regatta
The Darwin Beer Can Regatta is one of Australia’s more quirky events. It takes place in Darwin Harbour and is basically a competition where people build boats out of beer cans, bottles, or milk cartons and then race them against each other. It’s a day to have a lot of fun and laugh at the creative boats and costumes that competitors come up with! Plus, there's even a thong (… flip-flop) throwing competition. It doesn’t get more Aussie than that.
Boulia Camel Races
The Boulia Camel Races is an iconic, yet somewhat unconventional event held in the Queensland Outback. From the camels that take part in the races to the musicians that provide entertainment, to the locals who come out to cheer on their favorites, the atmosphere of the Boulia Camel Races is something that cannot be replicated.
From early to late August
The Darwin Festival is an annual celebration of music, art, theatre, and dance, showcasing the best of the Territory's creative talent and highlighting the rich and diverse culture of the Top End. There is a range of activities to keep you entertained, from outdoor concerts to comedy shows, from film screenings to visual art installations, and even some workshops, the festival is a great way to experience the talent and diversity of the Northern Territory.
Third Saturday in August
The Henley-on-Todd Regatta is a unique one since it is held in the heart of the Australian Outback where there is not much water for a boat race. So, instead, it is a “boat” race where teams fashion some kind of vessel to race each other along the dry riverbed of the Todd River. The regatta has been held every year since 1962 and continues to draw crowds from all over the world who come to watch the spectacle.
The Brisbane Festival is a month-long celebration of creativity and expression. It offers an opportunity to experience and enjoy a variety of performances, art exhibitions, and events. From theatre, music, and dance to visual arts, the Brisbane Festival brings to life the city's artistic culture.
AFL Grand Final
The AFL Grand Final is the pinnacle of the Australian Football League (AFL) season, where the best team of the year is crowned. The atmosphere on the day is electric and filled with excitement, with the game being one of the most-watched sporting events in Australia. On Grand Final Day you’ll find pubs and bars filled with avid supporters, dressed in their team colors, as they cheer on their favorite team. No matter city you’re in, the streets will be buzzing with excitement!
The Royal Melbourne Show
From late September to early October
The Royal Melbourne Show features a wide range of exciting activities, including rides and attractions, animal displays, live entertainment, art and photography exhibitions, and an array of delicious food. It is also a great opportunity for local growers and farmers to showcase their produce, giving visitors a taste of the best of what the region has to offer. For kids and adults alike, getting a show bag or two is a non-negotiable!
Sculpture by the Sea
Usually late October - early November
Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi is a spectacular event that showcases some of the most incredible and intricate sand sculptures ever created. Drawing half a million people each year, this unique exhibition transforms 2 kilometers of the Sydney coastline into a magnificent display of artistry.
Mid to late October
The Australian MotoGP draws in crowds of excited fans from across the country and around the world. The competition is fierce and the stakes are high, and with riders from all countries and continents taking part, the event is sure to be packed full of exciting moments for die-hard fans and casual viewers alike.
First Tuesday of November
The Melbourne Cup is renowned around the world and draws huge crowds of racegoers from all over Australia. As well as the 3-kilometer race, the day is filled with fun activities, fashion parades, music, entertainment, and of course, the traditional trophy presentation.
25th of December
Christmas in Australia, not unlike elsewhere in the world, is filled with family gatherings, festive decorations, and the exchange of gifts. Of course, no Christmas celebration is complete without a traditional Christmas dinner, featuring traditional dishes like roast turkey, ham, and a classic Australian pavlova. However, as Christmas falls during summer in Australia, many families instead enjoy a traditional Australian barbeque, making the most of the warm weather.
26th of December
Boxing Day is celebrated on the day after Christmas Day, and many people just enjoy the extra day off from work. But for the daring and determined, it is an opportunity to take advantage of the best bargains of the year at the Boxing Day sales. Shopping centers are swarming with people as stores across the country offer huge discounts on a range of products, from fashion to electronics and beyond!
Boxing Day Test
Begins on the 26th of December
The iconic Boxing Day Test match is a much-anticipated event for cricket fans. Every year, the stands of the MCG are packed with passionate supporters, who come to cheer on the Australian cricket team and witness some of the best cricketing talent in the world in action.
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
Begins on the 26th of December
The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is a grueling race that is attempted by hundreds of yachts from all over the world, ranging from small yachts to grand, state-of-the-art vessels. The challenging conditions of the race, including strong winds, heavy seas and sometimes even storms, make it one of the toughest ocean races in the world.
Taste of Tasmania Food Festival
Late December to early January
The Taste of Tasmania food festival celebrates the best of the local culinary scene. Held in the picturesque waterfront city of Hobart, the festival showcases a vast array of delicious food, drinks, and produce from the region. Guests can sample signature dishes from acclaimed local restaurants and wineries, along with a wide selection of tantalizing treats from artisan food makers and producers.
Falls Music & Arts Festival
Melbourne: late December. Byron Bay: New Year’s Eve to early January. Freemantle: early January
The Falls Music Festival is one of the most popular in Australia and calls itself a “music & camping New Year’s Eve festival”. It brings together some of the best musical acts from around the world to perform. The festival is held just outside of Melbourne, ending on New Year’s Eve, as well as in Byron Bay, beginning on New Year’s Eve. For those out on the West Coast, the festival then moves to Fremantle in early January.
New Year’s Eve
31st of December
On New Year’s Eve, Australians come together to celebrate the arrival of the new year in style! From the fireworks that light up Sydney Harbour to the traditional beachside barbecues that take place all around the country, there are countless ways to mark the occasion. The night is alive with music, laughter, and the anticipation of a new beginning.
Have we missed any events you think are worth mentioning? If so, let us know!