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Let’s get festive in Australia’s winter

The temperature may dip during the Australian winter (June to August), but there’s still plenty going on in the big cities, with many exciting cultural events taking place in the cooler months. Plan your winter escape to Australia to catch one of these exciting activities:

Vivid Sydney 2018, Sydney

Vivid Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales

When: 25 May – 16 June

The Vivid Sydney festival lights up the city of Sydney with grand-scale projections that transform skyscrapers, streets and landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House in one of the world’s most beautiful light shows. Wander the city streets during the clear, temperate evenings to admire the enormous moving projections on buildings around the harbour and across several neighbourhoods (including Chippendale, Central Park and Chatswood), and get involved in the festival’s other events. Each year, these includes concerts by international headline artists and a schedule of provocative talks on wide-ranging topics, such as authenticity, entrepreneurialism and ethics.

Gold Coast Marathon, Queensland

Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Gold Coast, Queensland

When: 30 June – 1 July

Celebrate the special 40th edition of the Gold Coast Marathon in 2018  on the beautiful Gold Coast. The world class international marathon will attract 25,000 participants of all ages and abilities from over 50 countries across eight races including. The Gold Coast Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, is the pinnacle of road running events in Australia and during its 39-year history has distinguished itself as one of the most prestigious marathons in the world. Its famous flat, fast and scenic course located alongside the city’s renowned surf beaches and stunning broadwater plus ideal winter running conditions featuring low humidity, little wind and mild temperatures result in 60% of participants achieving personal best times each year.

Sovereign Hill Winter Wonderlights, Victoria

Winter Wonderlights, Sovereign Hill, Victoria

When: July 2018

Head to Sovereign Hill for the Christmas in July celebrations. During the day, Sovereign Hill’s iconic township will evoke a sense of old-world wonder and yuletide feels. Take a stroll down Main Street as snow-flakes fall over the Victorian-style buildings, decorations fill the window displays, the smell of Christmas treats and spices fill the air, and traditional Christmas-themed pantomimes are performed. If you’re up for a challenge, try and catch the Gingerbread Man as he mischievously plots his escape from the hungry visitors. By night, watch Sovereign Hill’s Main Street sparkles as more than 20 of the attraction’s buildings light up with large-scale image projections and Christmas animations. Set to Christmas-themed music, this year’s show will be bigger and brighter than ever before, evoking the spirit and enchantment of Christmas.

Huon Valley Mid-Winter Fest, Tasmania

Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival, Huon Valley, Tasmania

When: 13 – 15 July

One of the best places in Australia for a wintry celebration is Tasmania, the rugged island south of the mainland that boasts some of the country’s most stunning scenery and best food and wine. In July, the Huon Valley near Hobart is the scene of Mid-Winter Fest, which combines pagan rituals with modern-day revelry to great effect. After the welcome ceremony with fire twirlers, wander among orchards and take part in wassailing, an ancient ritual meant to scare away evil spirits. Afterwards, feast on some of the region’s most sumptuous produce, including free-range meats and small-batch cider.

Wildflower Season, Western Australia

Kings Park Botanic Gardens, Perth, Western Australia

When: June – November

Western Australia's 12,000 wildflower species is the largest collection in the world. Scattered across 2.5 million square kilometres (965,000 square miles) of terrain, every year they bring a spectacle of colour and fragrance that must be experienced to be believed, especially when you consider 60 per cent of them are found nowhere else on Earth. You can enjoy their glorious carpets of colour and curious blooms for six months of the year, as the season begins in June in the north, and sweeps down the state to finish with a flurry on the south coast in November. You can see some of the very best of Western Australia’s wildflowers close to Perth city centre every September when more than 1700 species burst into bloom in the Botanic Garden in Kings Park. Take a free guided walk from the Visitor Information Centre to make sure you don't miss anything. The Kings Park Festival in September is a long-running tradition that celebrates spring and the park's wildflowers.