Take your pick from 12 of the most exciting events taking place in Australia in the year ahead.
By Leah Dobihal
Whether you’re into world-class food and wine, illuminating festivals of light or electronic music mixed with eccentric art, Australia has some spectacular events lined up for 2019.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Victoria
When: from January 2019
Record-breaking theatrical event Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will open exclusively in Melbourne, with performances beginning in January 2019 at the Princess Theatre. The play is based on an original new story by J.K Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. It is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the most awarded play in theatre history, having won 24 major theatre awards in the UK and 25 in the United States. Tickets are on sale now.
Perth Festival, Western Australia
When: 8 February - 3 March 2019
The Perth Festival has brought intrigue, disruption and celebration to Western Australia for decades. In fact, it's the oldest annual arts festival in the southern hemisphere, and 2019’s line-up is set to impress. Especially enthralling is this year’s return of Boorna Waanginy, an epic work that entwines Noongar culture, epic projections and inspiring artistry. Explore indigenous culture, experience live cinematic shows or immerse yourself in the turbulence of electronic music. Get your tickets for the unforgettable events of Perth Festival.
Parrtjima, a festival in light, Northern Territory
When: 5 - 14 April 2019
Parrtjima, which takes over the outback town of Alice Springs each year, is a light festival like no other. Set against the stunning backdrop of the MacDonnell Ranges, you can interact with local artists, celebrate indigenous art, and engulf yourself in the rich history of the region. Join in ten days of live talks, events, music and installations that will offer incredible insight into the world’s oldest living culture.
ANZAC Day, Australia
When: 25 April 2019
In April each year, the entirety of Australia celebrates one of its most significant remembrance holidays. ANZAC Day, which stands for ‘Australian and New Zealand Army Corps,’ not only sees commemorative ceremonies across the country but also lively celebrations. Head to a Dawn Service, where you may hear recitations and the national anthem. If you’re in Canberra, visit the Australian War Memorial – an impressive shrine and museum. Later, join the locals at a neighbourhood pub to play two-up, a simple game that asks you to guess how two coins will land after they’re tossed in the air.
Vivid Sydney, New South Wales
When: 24 May - 15 June 2019 (dates to be confirmed)
Vivid Sydney has been an annual highlight for more than 10 years, so expect something extraordinary from Sydney’s renowned festival of light, music and ideas. More than 2.3 million visitors attended last year’s festival to see and interact with hundreds of light shows projected onto Sydney buildings and installed in its public spaces. Giant light animals took over Taronga Zoo Sydney, fantastic flora and fauna claimed the Opera House and giant eyes appeared in the Botanic Gardens. You can also expect lots of world-class live music, from classical to R&B (including some genre-busting collaborations), and cutting-edge ideas, discussions and debate.
Tasting Australia, South Australia
When: 5 - 14 April 2019
Noted in Fodors Top 12 Food & Wine Events for 2019, Tasting Australia is your chance to find out what’s new on the menu. Held across South Australia, the event celebrates culinary creativity and the region’s most delectable local produce. Taste wines from the Barossa, McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills; enjoy a long lunch with world-class flavours and learn at masterclasses by some of the country’s most inspiring chefs.
Dark Mofo, Tasmania
When: 14 - 23 June 2019
The folk at MONA, Tasmania’s much-lauded art gallery, aren’t afraid of controversy, and when it comes to their midwinter festival Dark Mofo, they really let their hair down. In 2017, almost half a million people descended on the island to see an art performance involving the carcass of a bull and 500 litres of blood, watch performers including Russian punk provocateurs Pussy Riot and Viking black metal band Ulver, purge their fears with the burning of an Indonesian Ogoh-Ogoh monster and join a winter solstice nude swim. Who knows what will emerge from this year’s winter dark?
Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Queensland
When: 12 - 14 July 2019
The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) invites you to experience the diverse and ancient Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander cultures of Queensland. In 2019, the event celebrates its 10th year with a program you won’t want to miss. The event seeks to grow the indigenous art industry, but art isn’t the only attraction to experience. Explore eclectic markets, witness dance and music programs, and get involved with workshops that will teach you about culture and creativity.
The Curated Plate, Queensland
When: 8 - 11 August 2019
The Curated Plate, the newest foodie festival on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, is making its debut in 2019. The four-day event promises to be an adventure in taste, taking you from the savoury sensations of seafood to the flavours of fresh, foraged ingredients. As you partake in the event's gastronomic delights, take in the beauty of the surrounds, from the beautiful beaches to the lush hinterland. Keep up with the event on Facebook to hear about the latest additions to the program.
2019 Presidents Cup, Victoria
When: 9 -15 December 2019
The Presidents Cup, a prestigious golf tournament, has been held all over the world. In 2019, the event comes back to Victoria’s Royal Melbourne Golf Club, where the world’s best players will compete for their country and, of course, the honour of being awarded the Presidents Cup trophy. Come watch on as the tournament intensifies, and play a few rounds yourself in the Sandbelt, one of Australia’s premium golf meccas.
Sculpture by the Sea, New South Wales
When: Each October (dates to be confirmed)
It isn’t often you can experience art on the edge of a jagged coastline. Sculpture by the Sea, a free public art exhibition held in Sydney’s east, sees remarkably-built sculptures dotted along the iconic coastal walk from Bondi Beach to Tamarama Beach. Stroll along as you peer at over 100 sculptures, enjoying not only the art but also the wide ocean horizon behind it. Past exhibitions have included sculptures of pink eggplants, a giant fishing lure, and faces gazing up from the grass.
Field of Light, Northern Territory
When: present - 31 December 2020
Picture Uluru at dusk. As darkness falls, 50,000 solar-powered stems crowned with frosted glass spheres slowly transform a swathe of land before the rock into a magical field of coloured light.
The Field of Light installation, by internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro, is also known as Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku — “looking at lots of beautiful lights” in the local Pitjantjatjara language.
It is stunningly atmospheric, and has proved amazingly popular since it opened in 2016 — so much so that its run has just been extended again. It will now be on display until the end of 2020. That’s great news for anyone visiting the Red Centre.
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