Transit Rooftop Bar, Melbourne, VIC © Georges Antoni
Unique ways to experience Australia's nightlife
Australia’s best known for its daytime fun and games, but the action doesn’t stop once the sun sets. From trendy rooftop bars where you’ll want to get up and dance to gazing up at a blanket of stars in a crystal-clear night sky, there’s a whole lot to explore after the sun goes down. Australia’s nightlife scene is vibrant and varied, so there’s something to suit everyone. Here are seven ways to experience Australia after dark.
Dance on the rooftop
If you’re looking for a great night out, head to the roof. Australia has some stunning rooftop bars to choose from that offer a delightful mix of fantastic vistas, delicious cocktails and beautiful ambience. Whether your idea of a perfect night out involves sampling a range of cocktails, taking in the live music scene or getting your dancing shoes on, Australia’s lively cities have you covered. In Brisbane, head to Eleven Rooftop Bar and The Terrace, and in the Gold Coast, Nineteen at the Star and the Collective guarantee a good night. Melbourne is also home to exciting rooftop offerings, including Rooftop at QT and Good Heavens, while Sydney offers waterside cocktails at Untied and Smoke.
Sleep on the Great Barrier Reef
There’s camping, where you pitch your tents out in the countryside, and then there’s camping – settling into your swag (a low tent with an in-built mattress) on a pontoon in the middle of the ocean, floating over the Great Barrier Reef. Camping might be common, but few people can boast an under-the-stars sleep above the world’s most famous coral reef. Join Sunlover by Starlight as you travel from Cairns to the Reef World platform along with the day-trippers. But once they head back to shore, you and the small group of Reef Sleepers will have the reef all to yourselves. Snorkel, dive and sign up for boat and helicopter rides during the day, and then watch the sunset glisten over the ocean enjoy dinner and drinks and embark on a night dive. Watch the sky turn dark and thousands of stars twinkle before slipping into your swag for some much-deserved sleep.
Soak in the atmosphere at night markets
Queensland’s tropical, year-round outdoor climate and plentiful fresh produce lends itself well to night food markets, so it’s no surprise that they can now be found across the state. The Eat Street Weekend Market in Brisbane and the Miami Marketta on the Gold Coast are among the most popular. You’ll find an excellent mix of world foods that will get your tastebuds tingling, from Turkish pita pockets and delicious Indian dishes to American-style burgers and Vietnamese baos. And when you’ve had your fill, there’s foot-tapping live music, fortune tellers, fire-twirlers and a whole lot more to keep you entertained. Make sure your phone battery is topped up, too – you’re sure to come across some Instagram-friendly spots.
Snag your spot at a night festival
Australia’s packed year-round calendar of events means there’s always something interesting to attend, and these events aren’t limited to the daytime. Vivid Sydney celebrates Sydney’s spirit through fantastical light displays as well as plenty of music events, workshops and sessions that encourage innovation and creative thinking. Stroll through the inventive, large-scale light installations dotting Sydney’s most exciting precincts, and take your pick of live music performances across the city. In the Australian capital of Canberra, the Enlighten Festival is a showcase of culture and creativity. Some of the city’s top attractions open their doors to visitors after dark. The city lights up with colourful projections, and there’s plenty of great food at the Canberra Night Noodle Market.
Be awed at the outback night sky
With wide open spaces and stunning surrounds, the Australian outback is a perfect place to connect with nature. As night falls, the glittering night sky will leave you spellbound. Gazing up at the billions of stars is a truly awe-inspiring experience, and often leaves visitors with a new perspective of the world. With Outback Sky Journeys, you’ll learn how to locate the Southern Cross, one of the most famous constellations visible from Australia, as you listen to the local Aboriginal tales of the night sky. It’s a very special, very Australian experience.
Have a night at the opera
The iconic Sydney Opera House needs no introduction, and catching a performance here is a must-do while you’re in Australia. It is the home of Opera Australia, the country’s principal opera company, which performs here for about eight months of the year. If opera isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of other events that take place under the famous opera house sails. You could also see a live music gig, ballet performance, cabaret, or even a comedy show. To make the most of your experience, sign up for a two-hour behind-the-scenes tour of this incredible structure before your show.