Australia's Major Events

New Years Eve, Federation Square, Melbourne, VIC. © Tourism Victoria

Australia's Major Events

From international food and wine festivals and art exhibitions to action-packed cycling and running marathons, Australia hosts many world class events. Join the excitement of international cricket, rugby or tennis, which are played somewhere in Australia all year round. There are festivals with everything from comedy to opera and plenty for sports fans. Watch the yachts sail out of Sydney Harbour or into historic Hobart in the Sydney to Hobart race. Be a part of Melbourne’s adrenalin-pumping Formula 1 Grand Prix. Other flagship Australian celebrations include Australia Day and Sydney’s spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks show and exuberant Mardi Gras.

Adelaide and regional South Australia
January

Some of the world’s best professional cyclists compete in the Tour Down Under every January. It’s the first event of the year in the globe-trotting Union Cycliste Internationale's (UCI) ProTour, with six days of cycling and entertainment across Adelaide and South Australia. Catch the cyclists racing through the Adelaide Hills or along the picturesque country lanes of the Barossa Valley or Fleurieu Peninsula. Thousands of spectators turn out for the final race through the streets of Adelaide. Visit the Tour Village and Bike Expo and rub shoulders with the riders and teams as they compete for the coveted leader’s jersey.

Melbourne, Victoria
January

The world’s greatest tennis players come to Melbourne Park in January for the Australian Open, the Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific and the first Grand Slam title of the tennis season. While the international stars of tennis battle it out for the coveted trophy on the court, festivities continue around the clock. There are night-time music concerts and continuous live entertainment on and off the court. The Australian Open is a sporting event that blends the fun and enjoyment of tennis with social and cultural activities that celebrate Australia's love of the great outdoors.

National
January

Australia Day marks the anniversary of the day Captain Arthur Phillip first raised the British flag at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788. It is a designated public holiday with hundreds of small and large events taking place across the nation. In Sydney, thousands of people gather along Sydney Harbour foreshore for the celebrations on the water. In towns and cities there are community breakfasts, beach parties, corroborees and concerts, parades and pageants, sporting events, cultural and historic exhibitions and fireworks displays. Citizenship ceremonies are held to welcome new residents. It’s a day for Australians to celebrate everything that’s great about being Australian.

Melbourne and regional Victoria
March

Food and wine lovers in their thousands each year indulge in a world-class program of more than 300 events during the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival in March. Melbourne’s network of restaurants, laneways, basements and rooftop venues across the city and regional Victoria turn out their best for this internationally acclaimed annual food and wine celebration. Enjoy fresh seasonal produce, bustling food markets, award-winning restaurants, expert winemakers and warm hospitality. The festival's prestigious reputation attracts the world's biggest culinary and wine personalities to participate in the program along with Victoria's own celebrated chefs, restaurateurs, winemakers, sommeliers, producers and artisans.

Melbourne, Victoria
March

Join the crowds for four days of breathtaking action as the world's fastest drivers and cars light up Melbourne and the Albert Park circuit at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in March. The Australian Grand Prix is the opening race of the Formula 1 season. The off-track action is just as exciting with demonstrations, exhibition zones and aerial displays by the Royal Australian Air Force. The roar from the stands matches the roar from the cars as the drivers race past at speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour. The event culminates in the post-race entertainment grand finale.

Melbourne, Victoria
March

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is one of the three largest comedy festivals in the world and the largest in the southern hemisphere. For three and a half weeks each year, Melbourne becomes the centre of the comedy universe with an extensive program of stand-up comedy, cabaret, theatre, street performance, film, television, radio and visual arts. With attendances of more than 600,000 people, it has grown to be one of Australia's largest cultural events. There is something for every comedy lover with the best local and international comedy acts performed in venues of all shapes and sizes across the city.

Sydney, New South Wales
March/April

Experience the grandeur of a world famous opera performed against the backdrop of stunning Sydney Harbour with spectacular views over the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. These annual outdoor productions by Opera Australia feature magnificent sets, beautiful costumes, dazzling lighting and some of the world’s most much-loved operas all performed on a giant shimmering stage which is purpose-built for the occasion on Sydney Harbour. Opera Australia is Australia's national opera company and Australia's largest and busiest performing arts organisation staging more than 600 opera performances per year.

Sydney, New South Wales
March/April

The Sydney Royal Easter Show is Australia's largest annual event. It is an iconic showcase of Australian culture, heritage and agricultural excellence, combining world-class competitions and educational activities with the fun of carnival rides, entertainment and great food and wine experiences for a fun filled day with family or friends. Country and city combine in this tribute to Australia’s agricultural heritage. From the Australian themed night time main arena entertainment and international rodeo series through to high dive and unicyclist shows and circus workshops, the Sydney Royal Easter Show is great fun for the young and young at heart.

Sydney, New South Wales
June

Each year the city of Sydney is transformed into a spectacular canvas of light, music and ideas when Vivid Sydney takes over the city after dark. Colouring the city with creativity and inspiration, Vivid Sydney highlights include the hugely popular illumination of the Sydney Opera House sails; performances from local and international musicians at Sydney Opera House and the Vivid Ideas Exchange, featuring public talks and debates from leading global creative thinkers. For 18 days, creative types, corporate professionals, families and people of all generations take advantage of Sydney's mild winter weather and immerse themselves in the truly spectacular show.

National
June

The British and Irish Lions rugby team will tour Australia in June and July 2013. The tour only happens in Australia every 12 years, so it is a not to be missed event for all rugby lovers. Selection in the British and Irish Lions is the ultimate accolade for players from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. For southern hemisphere internationals it is also a great honour and an opportunity that usually comes only once in their career. Matches will be played in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Newcastle. It’s the greatest rugby event to hit Australia since the Rugby World Cup in 2003.

National
July - October

Whether you’re competing or cheering, there’s nothing like the excitement of an Australian running event or marathon. Race past waterfalls, lush national parks and the wild Southern Ocean on the Great Ocean Road Marathon. Join elite and fun-runners from around the world in the popular Gold Coast Airport Marathon, where thousands of spectators line the course between Broadwater and Burleigh Heads. In August, Sydney’s streets come alive in the City to Surf, the world’s biggest running event. The Melbourne Marathon is held in October. There are running festivals in almost every Australian State and Territory catering for beginners to professionals.

Australian Capital Territory
September - October

For 30 fragrant days in September and October, Canberra comes alive with a million spring blooms during Floriade, Australia biggest flower festival. Incredible images are created as the flowers open their petals. Each year illustrates a different theme. It is a colourful seasonal addition to Canberra’s green parks and native gardens. Soak up the floral colour while browsing markets and gourmet stalls. Attend workshops, exhibitions and live concerts. Learn about gardening, enjoy films or follow the Floriade Trail to the galleries, monuments and attractions of the nation’s capital. Floriade welcomes more than 400,000 local, interstate and international visitors each year.

National; Melbourne, Victoria
September

From March to September Australian Rules Football (AFL) teams fight it out to make the top eight and qualify for the final series held in Melbourne in September. AFL is Australia’s most attended sporting league, with passionately-supported teams in Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane. Close to 95,000 fans pack the stands of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for the grand final while millions watch it worldwide on television. There’s nothing like being there for the final series. The entire city takes on a carnival atmosphere as excited fans cheer their teams to victory. It is a truly unique Australian experience.

Melbourne, Victoria
November

The Melbourne Cup Carnival is the most vibrant horse racing event in the world. This festival of horse racing, fashion and fun starts in September and runs through until mid-November. Flemington Racecourse is the stage for big-name race days such as Derby Day, the Melbourne Cup and Oaks Day. The Melbourne Cup, held on the first Tuesday in November, is the focal point of the carnival and a public holiday in Victoria. Most of Australia stops to watch or listen to the race, but there's nothing like being there amongst the 100,000 plus crowd to experience this unique event.

Sydney, New South Wales; Hobart, Tasmania
December

Beginning on Boxing Day [26 December] each year, the Sydney to Hobart yacht race is an Australian summertime tradition. Maxi yachts to weekend racers take part in this event, which starts from Nielsen Park in Sydney Harbour and takes the international fleet more than 1100 kilometres to the finish line in Hobart, Tasmania. The race finishes just in time for the New Year’s Eve celebrations in the city. You don’t need to be a sailor to enjoy watching the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. The start of the colourful spectacle can be seen from many vantage points around Sydney Harbour.

National
December

In Australia Christmas and New Years Eve fall when summer is in full-swing. Festivities abound, including carol singing in city parks, thrilling sporting competitions, vibrant outdoor celebrations and world-class cultural events. All around the country there are a variety of ways to experience the Australian lifestyle and meet the locals. Sydney dazzles with its world-class event and a spectacular midnight fireworks display off the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There are riverside parties in Melbourne and Brisbane; and parties in the park in Perth and Adelaide. In Hobart welcome the Sydney to Hobart yacht racers with fireworks on the historic waterfront.

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