Events and Festivals Around Australia

Events and Festivals

Image Credit:  Lodge Devotion

Image Credit: Lodge Devotion

For a listing of events in Australia by month, see also Events and Festivals in Australia

  • ANZAC Day specifically commemorates the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps that landed at Gallipoli, Turkey in World War I and more generally honours the contribution that Australian soldiers have made in various wars. There are major parades and commemoration services in all the cities as well as a minute of silence. ANZAC day is on the 25th of April.
  • The Melbourne International Comedy Festival features comedians from around the world and runs for several weeks each year. It is widely considered one of the top 3 comedy festivals in the world, along with the comedy festivals in Montreal and Edinburgh.
  • Mardi Gras - Every year between the end of February and the first Saturday of March, Sydney’s Darlinghurst district transforms into the heart of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival. Attracting millions from around the globe, art and cultural events including a massive parade dominate. Visitors of all sexual preference are known to have a grand time.
  • New Years Eve in Sydney - Although there are significant New Year's celibrations in other Australian cities, the Sydney event has gained a reputation as one of the biggest parties in the world. Travellers wanting to see the fireworks spectacle in Sydney should ensure accommodation is booked well in advance, as options become very limited (and hideously expensive) close to the date.
  • Outdoor Music Festivals are extremely popular in Australia, particularly over the summer months - check out some of the annual festivals by state: Outdoor Music Festivals in Victoria (Australia)Outdoor Music Festivals in New South Wales
  • Gold Coast Indy Gold Coast Indy 300 is a 4-day and night event held in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. This highly anticipated annual event has been running since 1991 and continues to draw crowds of thousands. In 2005 alone Indy welcomed a crowd of over 315,000 patrons for a long weekend filled with motor racing, entertainment and celebrities.
  • Brisbane Riverfestival Each year, the festival offers a program of free and ticketed events in various locations around the Brisbane city centre. It will feature local and international artists, emerging fringe theatre, spectacular fireworks, the popular Brisbane Backyards series, RiverBBQ and inspiring conversation and debate. The Brisbane Festival aims to connect Brisbane’s artists with diverse communities and is one of Australia's leading international arts events.The festival is produced by Major Brisbane Festivals, an Australian production company with a world class reputation for creating and delivering outstanding cultural programs. Previously a biennial event, the Festival has now merged with Riverfestival, to make it one of the most inclusive and diverse annual arts festivals in Australia.
  • Global Green Challenge - or the World Solar Challenge, a race with solar cars from Darwin to Adelaide, usually during October. 
  • Australia Day - Australia Day commemorates the anniversary of the first fleet landing on January 26, 1788. Head to the nearest beach or park for a fun-filled day of barbecues, celebrations, and evening fireworks. Even though indigenous Australians generally don’t celebrate this day, most of Australia views this as the year’s most anticipated event. Since the first fleet landed at Sydney Cove, the area around the Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay, and the Harbour Bridge is where the most extravagant celebrations are held.
  • Dreaming Festival - Held in the small town of Woodford, just a 90 minute drive from Brisbane, the Dreaming Festival is a national showcase that puts this small town on the map. Held in June over three days, this event highlights the best of indigenous culture, including craft workshops, dancing, music, cooking events, and storytelling.
  • AFL Grand Final Day - On the third Saturday in September, Melbourne braces itself for the most anticipated sporting event in the country: the AFL Grand Final. Just being in Melbourne during this time is spectacular, but having tickets to the game is astounding. The color, the shows, the soccer, and the non-stop buzz is almost unseen anywhere else in the world.
  • Melbourne International Arts Festival - For 17 days in October, Melbourne is on show to the world. Its international arts festival is a bustling and thriving event that showcases dance, music, art, and other cultural performances. Fitzroy Gardens, Southbank, Federation Square, and the Botanical Gardens are just some of the hosting arenas spread around town.
  • The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival runs for two weeks around March each year.

Reprinted with permission under Creative Commons Licence  Travellers Guide