Events and Festivals Basics

Australia hosts a number of events and festivals, especially in the summertime. Below is a list of the most popular events in each state and territory.

New South Wales
Sydney Festival; January: The largest Australian celebration of arts, culture and entertainment in Australia’s largest city. Runs for three weeks in January.

Gay and Lesbian Marti Gras; February: Each year, Sydney is home to the largest gay and lesbian gathering in the world. The month-long festivities conclude with a massive parade and all-night party. Accommodation and the guest list fill up months in advance, so be prepared.

Australia Open; January: The Grand Slam tennis championship is one of the four most important. Tickets can be hard to come by, but if you plan in advance you�ll snatch one.




Melbourne Cup; first Tuesday of November: The country comes to a standstill each year as 24 horses run Australia’s most famous race. Restaurants and pubs offer extravagant menus and people take off work to bet and grab a beer. The day is a public holiday in Victoria, and those who attend the races are dressed to impress.

Australia Capital Territory (ACT)
Floriade; mid-September to mid-October: This spring festival celebrates the Canberra’s blooming bulbs and annuals. More than a million are in full glory during this time. Main festivities are held at Commonwealth Park.

Brisbane River Festival; end of August: Brisbane celebrates the coming of Spring in style with outdoor concerts, various activities and a fireworks show.

Schoolies Week; November: Year 12ers flock to Surfers Paradise and the Gold Coast after finishing their final exams. Expect lots of fun, hiked up prices and 50,000 drunk 18-year-olds.

South Australia
WOMADelaide; mid-February: WOrld Music Art and Dance (WOMAD) festival runs for two days, with workshops, international food, music and crafts. One of South Australia’s largest events. Discount admission for students; make sure to book your hostel well in advance.