Australia's City Festivals

Sydney Fireworks 1995, Sydney NSW. © Tourism Australia

Australia’s City Festivals

Experience Australia’s cities during their major arts festivals, which showcase local and international theatre, dance, visual arts, music, food and wine and more. Join Sydneysiders on the streets for the Sydney Festival and maximise your cultural immersion at the Melbourne International Arts Festival. Watch fireworks over the Brisbane River during the Brisbane Festival and live it up at the Adelaide Festival, one of the world’s greatest arts events. Enjoy summertime in Perth at the Perth International Arts Festival and combine cuisine and culture at Hobart’s Taste of Tasmania Festival.  Get a heady dose of Top End culture at the Darwin Festival and celebrate Australia’s many nationalities at the National Multicultural Festival in Canberra.

Sydney Festival, NSW
Sydney Festival, NSW

Sydney, New South Wales

Experience the city’s unique style and energy along with theatre, music, dance and visual arts at the Sydney Festival in January. The diverse three-week program kicks off with Festival First Night, a boisterous street party across multiple precincts and stages. See hundreds of Australian and international artists perform at iconic venues across the city including Sydney Theatre, CarriageWorks, the City Recital Hall and Sydney Opera House. Free outdoor jazz and symphony concerts in the Domain and nightly gigs in the Hyde Park Barracks Festival Bar are just some of the hundreds of events on offer. Catch the Sydney Writers Festival in May and enjoy food and outdoor art at Crave in October.

Melbourne, VIC
Melbourne, VIC

Melbourne, Victoria

Have a magical cultural immersion at the Melbourne International Arts Festival, which runs for 17 days in October.  See outdoor performances and hear the city’s bells toll in tandem at the three-part opening weekend party. Catch world and Australian-premieres in theatre, dance, music, opera, visual arts and multimedia. Venues range from Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens to intimate Fitzroy theatres to Southbank’s Arts Centre and imposing Federation Square. In March, the city gives itself over to the pleasures of the palate at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Dine out in laneways and rooftops, be part of the world’s longest lunch and attend a cooking master class, just some of the 220 events on offer over 16 days. 

Brisbane Festival, QLD
Brisbane Festival, QLD

Brisbane, Queensland

Watch colorful plumes of fireworks shoot off Story Bridge for the opening of the Brisbane Festival, which runs from mid-September to early October. It’s just one highlight in an action-packed program running across Brisbane’s skies, theatres, gardens and riverbanks.  Enjoy the opening night party in Queensland’s own Spiegel tent. Mix and match surreal circus performances with multi-media exhibitions on plasma screens and the latest Queensland Ballet productions. See international singers such as Chris Isaak or find comedy, cabaret, magic and sneaky sideshows on the festival’s fringe. Venues include the City Botanic Gardens, the Powerhouse in New Farm and the Queensland Cultural Centre in South Bank.

Adelaide Fringe Festival, SA
Adelaide Fringe Festival, SA

Adelaide, South Australia

Excite your artistic senses at the biennial Adelaide Festival, running from 26 February to 14 March in 2010. Since launching in 1960, the festival has established itself as one of the world’s greatest arts events, with a rich tradition of innovation. Dance to DJs at the huge opening night party or the festival’s late night club. Enjoy theatre and art exhibitions, singers and symphonies, dance performances and film screenings. Experience Adelaide the circus, as jugglers, magicians, acrobats, escapologists, aerialists and comedians take to the streets. Attend author forums at the Adelaide Writer’s Week, the world’s largest literary event. The festival runs across indoor and outdoor venues around the Adelaide Festival Centre and across the city’s parklands.

Perth International Arts Festival, WA
Perth International Arts Festival, WA

Perth, Western Australia

Have the quintessential Perth summer experience at the Perth International Arts Festival, from 5 February to 1 March 2010. The festival teams Australia’s top artistic talents with big-name international artists at venues across the city. See cutting-edge plays and contemporary dance, dramatic classics and classical ballet. Listen to symphonies or see bands in the late-night festival bar. Attend artists’ talks and view a rich spectrum of visual arts in indoor and outdoor galleries. Watch films under the stars or indulge your love of writing, storytelling and ideas at the Perth Writers Festival. The week-long program features more than 100 literary events, including a dedicated day for children.

Hobart Summer Festival, TAS
Hobart Summer Festival, TAS

Hobart, Tasmania

Treat your taste buds at the Tasmania Taste Festival, held from 28 December 2009 to 3 January 2010 on Hobart’s historic waterfront. Sample Tasmania’s freshest local produce and finest wines – from Southern Ocean seafood to King Island cheeses and cool-climate wine- at more than 70 stalls. The city’s wharves, marina and majestic Derwent River also provide the backdrop for art exhibitions and performance stages. Take a cooking master class or a food tour through Hobart and see street theatre ranging from aerial acts to buskers playing air guitar. One of the festival highlights is the new year’s eve party, which offers food, music, dancing and prime viewing for the fireworks over Sullivans Cove.

Darwin Festival, NT
Darwin Festival, NT

Darwin, Northern Territory

Celebrate summer warmth in winter at the multi-arts Darwin Festival, held over 18 days in August.  Artists from all corners of the world converge on Darwin’s theatres and tropical gardens for music, dance, theatre, comedy, cabaret, film and visual art.  Enjoy the opening music concert beneath the lantern-lit trees of George Brown Botanic Gardens. Browse the combined canvasses of artists from Arnhem Land, the Kimberley and Torres Strait Islands in the Aboriginal art fair. Laugh your way through international comedy acts and see dance styles from around the world. Taste dishes from Darwin’s top restaurants, enjoy powerful drama and sultry jazz, cabaret and vaudeville.

Canberra, ACT
Canberra, ACT

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Rev into the year at Canberra’s Summernats Car Festival, in January, a rubber-burning display of hot rods, sport compacts, muscle cars and other special vehicles. See the tyre-shedding action up close at the Burnout Masters and have your car’s power and potential tested in a special car clinic. Witness the unveiling of eight new elite cars at the Street Machine Car of the Year Awards. Celebrate Australia’s diverse multicultural makeup at Canberra’s National Multicultural Festival, held over 10 days in February.
Eat, drink, laugh and dance your way around the world, with comedy, performance art, food and wine stalls, street parties, live music and circus-style acts.

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