Australia is a melting pot of cultures and experiences, with diverse communities and regions offering their own unique and compelling takes on Australian lifestyle, culture, and artistic expression. As a result, the country boasts a diverse festival calendar that ranges from weekends organised by local communities celebrating their local crafts to high-profile extravaganza festivals drawing big-name international acts.
Whether you’re travelling to Australia for a specific event or seeking to elevate your adventures across the country with exciting and memorable experiences, our specialist Travel Designers can customise a five-star journey with premium access. Elevate your itinerary with exclusive event upgrades like VIP seating and meet-and-greets, while also enjoying a bespoke touring programme and five-star accommodation.
Sydney Lunar Festival
Usher in the Year of the Rabbit with Sydney’s Lunar New Year celebrations. From 21 January to 5 February, the laneways of bustling inner-city Sydney suburb Haymarket turn into a week-long street party. Feast with banquet menus and street eats, marvel at traditional Chinese Lion Dances, and enjoy a range of dance, music, and art performances that celebrate the diverse cultures of the Asian continent and beyond.
Hosted in the Southern Hemisphere for the first time, Sydney is this year’s site of the beloved WorldPride event – a global festival celebrating the diverse LGBTQIA+ community. Over two exciting weeks, revellers can celebrate their pride with the beloved Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade alongside a broad selection of arts, sport, theatre, concerts, parties, First Nations programming, and a human rights conference. As a thriving hub of luxurious experiences, a WorldPride experience can easily be teamed with Sydney’s exceptional city accommodation, premium upgrades, luxury yachting, and much more.
Australia’s biggest arts festival held between 17 February – 19 March, the Adelaide Fringe is an iconic staple that transforms Adelaide and greater South Australia into a month-long summer festival. Its enormous range of eclectic and vibrant events cover cabaret, theatre, comedy, music, circus, visual arts, workshops and more. This internationally renowned festival seamlessly weaves into a journey exploring Adelaide’s exceptional food and wine experiences, boutique accommodation, and the renowned WOMADelaide festival to showcase Adelaide at its very best.
A thriving multi-arts festival held between 10 February – 5 March, the Perth Festival brings world-class performance, film, visual arts, and literary events to the foreshore of the scenic Swan River every summer. This ‘festival for the people’ champions local talent, rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditions and contemporary arts practice, and a selection of the world’s most exciting international acts, making it the perfect time to enjoy vibrant, laidback, beachside Perth in the heart of summer.
The summer-equivalent of the renowned Dark Mofo festival, MONA FOMA’s influence is felt across Tasmania for two exciting weeks from 17 to 26 February. Held between popular cities Launceston and Hobart, big-name international acts, large-scale free parties, art installations and everything in-between are on offer. Combine your travels throughout the regions with interactive workshops and late-night parties, and enjoy fascinating insights into the quirky arts scene of Australia’s island state.
Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour
The renowned Madama Butterfly Opera returns to the picturesque Sydney Botanic Gardens between 25 March – 23 April. Dine with uninterrupted Harbour views, watch fireworks sparkle against the backdrop of the renowned Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and take in an exquisite performance set within an outdoor paradise of bamboo groves, a giant moon and a rising sun floating on the Harbour. With easy access in the heart of the city, team your experience with VIP access, five-star accommodation, and bespoke Sydney touring.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
The chic and happening city of Melbourne is the home of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, drawing top international performers and up-and-coming local talent over one hilarious month between 29 March – 23 April. Treat yourself to late-night, side-splitting events after days of tailored touring into Melbourne’s chic laneways with expert local guides while staying in the city’s most outstanding hotels.
Parrtjima – A Festival in Light
Location: Alice Springs
The only authentic Aboriginal light festival of its kind, Parrtjima lights up Mparntwe / Alice Springs over 10 nights between 7 – 16 April at the tail-end of summer. Light installations, art exhibitions, live talks, music performances and more are on offer, led by a host of local and national musicians. This exciting festival is the perfect accompaniment to travels in the culturally-rich Red Centre and offers a historical context, remarkable sightseeing, and authentic, memorable engagement with Australia’s First Nations communities.
Byron Bay Bluesfest
Location: Byron Bay
The long-standing Byron Bay Bluesfest is a highlight of the Easter Long Weekend, this year held between 6 – 10 April. Hosting incredible big-name acts, Bluesfest is a family-friendly music event held in the serene surrounds of Byron Bay’s Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm. Discover food and market stalls that celebrate the region’s local bounty, watch remarkable performances, and discover insight into the popular region that draws travellers near and far for surfing, sightseeing, and more.
Location: South Australia
For people with a passion for food and drink, Tasting Australia, is a must-do event in 2023. The 10-day festival, held between 28 April and 7 May, is a showcase of South Australia’s produce, people and places. Indulge in long lunches and masterclasses, visit Town Square for a casual drink with friends or enjoy a meal in the Town Square Kitchen where top chefs collaborate to create one-of-a-kind dining experiences. You can also board a private flight to discover the sights and flavours of destinations further afield like the Flinders Ranges and Kangaroo Island.
Heralding the beginning of the Australian winter on 26 May, Vivid Sydney is a three-week festival of light, music, colour, and big ideas held on the Harbour shore. Watch the city be transformed into a nightscape filled with light artists, music makers, thought leaders and food creatives, and discover an innovative edge to a city already bustling with innovation and world-class experiences.
Location: Northam, Western Australia
Elevate is a unique hot air balloon themed event held on 6 Mary in Northam, a 90 minutes’ drive from Perth. Elevate brings in the start of the National Ballooning Championships, which transforms the skies into a kaleidoscope of colour. This family-friendly event invites guests to explore the scenic south of Western Australia which offers Perth and the Margaret River in close proximity, alongside interactive hot air ballooning and festival opportunities including live music, market stalls, meet-and-greets, and more
Brisbane Street Art Festival
Discover the heart of Brisbane over its bustling Street Art Festival that celebrates the city’s hundreds of creatives across all artistic disciplines. Celebrate the old and the new with a range of exhibitions and performances while exploring the city’s best restaurants and bars, and enjoy easy access to South-East Queensland’s scenic beaches, national parks, and remarkable wildlife encounters – perfect for a bespoke outdoor tour.
The eclectic and experimental Dark Mofo festival, championed by eccentric curator David Walsh of MONA, transforms the city of Hobart into a site for public art, food, live performances, and nocturnal revelry for two weeks during the mid-winter. Discover this ever-popular festival and its range of local and international acts in the capital of Tasmania and enjoy easy access to the region’s rich seafood experiences, hiking trails, and historic activities.
Location: Top End
Hosted in Central Arnhem Land of the Northern Territory, the Barunga Festival celebrates Indigenous community life over a long weekend in mid-August during peak Dry Season. Discover a line-up of Aboriginal art, a didgeridoo competition, sporting endeavours in popular local sports like AFL, softball and basketball in a culturally-rich region, and discover the festival’s emphasis on cultural exchange and collaboration that compels travellers of all ages.
Darwin Fringe Festival
Darwin Fringe is a popular open-access festival supporting the diverse and exciting local arts sector in the Top End. It is the biggest independent arts platform in the Top End with 10 days of unique, accessible experiences in the peak of the Dry Season. With Darwin as a gateway to the Top End’s national parks, outback lodges and cultural touring, a visit during Fringe Season will brighten your stay in this already bustling hub city.
Cairns Indigenous Art Fair
Held on the Traditional Lands of the Gimuy Walubara Yidinji and Yirrganydji peoples, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair is Australia’s premier Indigenous arts festival offering music, exhibitions, fashion performance, comedy, talks and symposiums, and more. Discover a fascinating insight into Australia’s First Nations cultures and learn about new futures and ongoing traditions in a region rich with natural beauty, fascinating history, and two World Heritage-listed natural sites.
Location: Caloundra, Sunshine Coast
The Sunshine Coast’s leading contemporary multi-arts festival, Horizon Festival offers 10 days and nights of interpretive art, music, theatre, dance and beyond that celebrate the beauty and natural abundance of the Sunshine Coast. Discover the region at its best and learn more about the Traditional Custodians of the region, the Kabi Kabi and Jinibara Peoples of the coastal plains and hinterlands that encourage outdoor activities and scenic sightseeing.
Location: Alice Springs
An award-winning annual arts and culture festival in the heart of Alice Springs / Mparntwe, the Desert Festival in late September draws upon a community-minded history to celebrate Central Australia’s innovative art and culture. Celebrate the Red Centre in bloom with an exciting 11-day program of local music, arts exhibitions, dance performances, kid-friendly experiences, and more in the temperate evenings of late Dry Season.
South by Southwest (SXSW) Sydney
Leaving the United States for the first time, the beloved South by Southwest SXSW festival will have its Southern Hemisphere debut between 15 – 22 October in Sydney. Marvel at the vanguards and passionate creatives who lead the way in tech, gaming, music, screen, and culture innovations, and enjoy the innovative hub of Australia’s largest city.
50th Anniversary of the Sydney Opera House
Completed in 1973, the Sydney Opera House is an integral part of the Australia’s cultural fabric. Enjoy a contemporary range of major Australian and international artists across more than 200 performances, events and experiences presented upon the Opera House’s famous sails, theatres, on the forecourt, and online. This exciting anniversary is sure to enliven any trip to the iconic Harbourside city, and deliver an incredible insight to Australian culture and history.
A state-wide celebration of contemporary music, Always Live cements Melbourne and Victoria as the home of live music in Australia. The first – and largest – event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, Always Live highlights live contemporary music from home and abroad, catering to big names and rising stars in arena-style shows to intimate rooftop performances that team easily with Melbourne’s innovative restaurant and bar culture and trendy laneway touring.
NYE on the Harbour
Experience the thrill of the world’s best New Year’s Eve celebrations on Sydney Harbour. Marvel at the spectacular firework display from the deck of your own luxury super yacht, or dine at one of Sydney top restaurants and then watch the Harbour light up from the comfort of your high-end suite overlooking the festivities. The end of year festive period is always busy, as travellers from all over the world make their way to Australia to enjoy the sights and experiences on offer. It’s never too early to start considering your festive season arrangements and enquiring with the five-star luxury and experiential travel experts.