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Australia’s 10 Best Autumn and Winter Festivals
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Australia’s 10 Best Autumn and Winter Festivals

Picture of Vincent JS Wood
Updated: 9 February 2017
As a nation located so near to Asia yet with a heritage so richly influenced by its historical ties with western culture, Australia has no shortage of cultural richness, and its events showcase this variety with amazing color and vibrancy. We bring you a curated pick of Australia’s 10 unmissable festivals, from Canberra to Darwin.
Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House | © Diliff/WikiCommons

Adelaide, South Australia

OzAsia Festival

Annually in September / October

Designed with the explicit goal of raising awareness about Asian heritage, OzAsia Festival presents traditional and contemporary Asian culture in all its forms from music, dance and theatrical performances to design, food and drink as well. The festival also presents art from Australian artists with an Asian heritage and promotes the work of those of Asian descent living and working in the country. A cultural mish-mash of what the Asian community has to offer in Australia, OzAsia Festival celebrates the ties and integration between these two distinctly unique parts of the world.

Various locations in Adelaide

OzAsia
© OzAsia

Alice Spring, Northern Territory

The Camel Cup

Annually, second Saturday in July

As the name suggests the Camel Cup involves the temperamental beasts racing it out for a prize. It’s not just about the camel races though, as there are plenty of other events to get involved in such as the rickshaw races, the Kids Kamel Dapers hobby camel race, belly dancers and the Mr. and Missus Camel Cup challenges. There are bars and food stalls so that those taking part can get some light refreshment or just so onlookers can keep themselves topped up whilst reveling in all the excitement.

Camel Cup, Len Kittle Dr, Ilparpa, Australia

Camel cup
Camel Cup | © Mike Mike Potts Photography

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

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Floriade

Annually in September / October

An iconic Canberra event, the Floriade sees large swathes of Canberra’s Commonwealth Park turned into a canvas of color as the park bursts into bloom with this massive flower show. Over a million flowers draw in around 400,000 visitors each year and, with free entry, it is unsurprising how big an attraction it has become. Coupled with this is the Floriade NightFest, which has DJs, live music acts and comedians all performing in amongst the vivid scenery of the park. Entertainers also move throughout the park as stalls jostle for attention at the night markets.

Floriade, Canberra Commonwealth Park, Canberra, Australia, +61 2 6271 2888

Darwin, Northern Territory

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Darwin Festival

Annually in August

Taking the best of arts, music, theatre, dance, literature and just about anything else possibly imaginable and balling it together in a celebration of talent and creativity, The Darwin Festival is certainly a most unique endeavor. A much-loved arts festival, it was born out of tragedy after the Cyclone Tracy swept through the city. To solidify the community’s recovery and bring them closer together, the Darwin Festival was born and over 35 years later it is still going from strength to strength. With a large focus on community arts, this festival gives a real flavor for the culture of the Northern Territory.

Darwin Festival, Frog Hollow Centre for the Arts, 56 McMinn Street Darwin +61 08 8943 4200

Darwin Festival
© Darwin Festival

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Darwin Beer Can Regatta

Annually in July

A testament to creativity, community and environmentalism, the Darwin Beer Can Regatta was borne out of an idea to clean up litter, predominantly beer cans, in Darwin. Now a long-established event, the Regatta sees contestants compete in conceiving, building and racing watercraft made of beer cans. An entrance fee allows for competitors to register their craft in the event and market, while food stalls provide reprieve from the aquatic activity for onlookers, with all profits from the event going towards charitable projects in and around the area.

Darwin Beer Can Regatta, Mindi Beach, Darwin, Australia, +61 0409 823 871

East Kimberley, Western Australia

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The Ord Valley Muster

Annually in May

The Ord Valley Muster is a celebration of life in East Kimberley region that brings together arts, music and food in a glorious combination of grand festivities. With concert and activities ranging from Aboriginal dance to diamond mine tours and art exhibitions, the undoubted draw of the Ord Valley Muster is the Kimberley Moon Experience where guests can eat, drink and dance under the stars while enjoying a fantastic open-air concert. All of this takes place against the stunning scenery of rural Australia where you can see the grand vistas of the outback in all their glory.

Ord Valley Muster, Kununurra, East Kimberley, Australia, +61 8 9382 2677

Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory

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Garma Festival

Annually in July / August

The Garma Festival is a massive celebration of indigenous Australian culture that sees traditional Aboriginal dance, song and art come together along with cross-cultural collaborations and presentations. Held in a traditional meeting ground on Arnhem Land, the festival is significant in its presentation and preservation of the traditional cultural values of indigenous Australians. Spear making, clan designs and traditional song (for which local clans and neighboring Aboriginal groups gather) expound on the Aboriginal experience and all of this takes place against the stunning backdrop of a stringy bark forest that is a sacred place itself.

Gulkula, Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory, Australia

Noosa, Queensland

The Noosa Longweekend Festival

Annually in July

A festival of epic proportions, The Noosa Longweekend Festival has music, dance, literature, food and drink festivals all combined into one. Offering up a diverse program that brings a wealth of creative talent with performances, talks and musings on their industry, careers and further aspirations, the festival is a real mixed bag of events that has something for everyone in this area of Queensland. Supper clubs give the opportunity to dine in style after watching an evening of dance and music in this remote but beautiful part of the country.

Various locations in Noosa

Sydney, New South Wales

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Sydney Royal Easter Show

Annually

The largest annual event in Australia, the Sydney Royal Easter Show is, in essence, an exhibition of agriculture and heritage, but over time it has developed into something that showcases Australian culture in its full and vivid glory. Rolling several events into one, it hosts a food festival, a carnival, agricultural competitions and sampling from the Sydney Royal Beer and Wine Garden. Sydney has a wealth of stunning cultural events on its own but this stands out as the pinnacle of Australian culture by tracking agricultural heritage right through to modern-day idiosyncrasies of this diverse and colorful nation.

Sydney Royal Easter Show, Sydney Showground, 1 Showground Road, Sydney Olympic Park, Australia, +61 2 9704 1111

Vivid Sydney

Annually, May / June

Vivid Sydney is a festival for all the senses, bringing together light and sound as the city showcases some of the best in light sculpture, as well as putting on a program of cutting-edge music. The pieces and performances are dotted throughout the city in a coming together of art and technology that sees much of the iconic architecture of Sydney become a canvas for ideas, with the grand centerpiece among all this innovation being the illumination of the famous Sydney Opera House sails.

Various locations across Sydney

Vivid Sydney
© Vivid Sydney