The 10 Best Summer Parties in Australia

Summertime vibes at St Kilda Festival
Summertime vibes at St Kilda Festival | © Nathan Doran / St Kilda Festival

Celebrate summer the right way in Australia, and head to one of these top-notch festivals or all-night parties.

If there’s one thing Australians know how to do, it’s throw an unforgettable party. Stretching from Sydney to Tasmania, here are ten of the best summer festivals and parties to visit in Australia, featuring award-winning art, international musicians and the quintessential bush doof.

Lost Paradise

Lost Paradise calls itself “one part boutique festival, one part doof, one huge party.” The annual summer festival is held at Glenworth Valley, which is about an hour’s drive north of Sydney. Running for four days over New Year’s Eve, the 2018/19 lineup includes Australian and international acts like M.I.A., The Kooks and Tash Sultana. There’s glamping accommodation available and experiences that include yoga classes, workshops and the Lost Library. Lost Paradise says it’s a feast for the senses, so prepare for an experience like no other.

Light installations at Lost Paradise

Secret Garden

Held 1.5 hours from Sydney, Secret Garden is a 48-hour forest disco. Intrigued? Secret Garden includes a whimsical combination of music, dance, performance art and interactive theatre. The best part is that, by attending this party in late February, you can help the community, as profits are shared with a number of charities. Secret Garden has also been called the best fancy dress party in the Southern Hemisphere. While Friday’s theme is announced prior to the event, Saturday is a fancy dress free-for-all. There’s also a range of foodie options available and free camping.

Celebrating at Secret Garden


Hobart’s MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) is known for its eclectic, contemporary and thought-provoking exhibitions. Its Festival of Music and Art (which is often shortened further to MOFO) is held every January and curated by Brian Ritchie, Violent Femmes’ bass guitarist. The festival showcases artists in all forms, whether they specialise in music, dance, visual art or performing arts. Previous music acts have included Gotye, PJ Harvey, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Dark MOFO is the winter version of the festival and features a similar program of events. MOFO will relocate to Launceston in 2019.


Field Day

Welcome in the New Year at Field Day, which is held every New Year’s Day at Sydney’s Domain. Since its inception in 2002, Field Day has specialised in bringing Sydneysiders the best party music, which includes a mix of electronic, indie and hip hop acts. The 2019 lineup may be the best yet, as it features renowned musicians Cardi B, Flight Facilities and Rüfüs du Sol. So, celebrate summer and a new year beginning at the best New Year’s Day party in Sydney.

Celebrate the new year at Field Day

Sydney Festival

Spend your summer partying and celebrating Australia’s biggest city at Sydney Festival. Running for over two weeks in January, Sydney Festival says its program is a diverse kaleidoscope “from jaw-dropping contemporary ballet to epic art installations, primal circus, (and) modern Indigenous art and theatre.” Sydney Festival’s inclusive programming, which includes both free and ticketed events, has defined the city for over three decades. Featured headliners have included Sir Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett and Grace Jones.

Symphony and fireworks at Sydney Festival 2018

St Kilda Festival

St Kilda Festival is Australia’s biggest free celebration every summer. Backdropped by the St Kilda foreshore, it showcases the best Australian and international music acts over one epic day. Held every year on the second Sunday in February, it on average attracts over 400,000 people and has been running for an incredible 38 years. There’s a Kid Zone, along with other activities and Luna Park on its doorstep. In 2018, the St Kilda Festival lineup included Architecture in Helsinki, Dan Sultan and The Jezabels.

Summertime vibes at St Kilda Festival

Falls Festival

One of the most well-known festivals held in Australia every summer, the multiple award-winning Falls Festival is in its 26th year. The multi-day and simultaneous New Year’s festival now includes four locations: Marion Bay in Tasmania, Lorne in Victoria, New South Wales’ Byron Bay and Fremantle in Western Australia. The musicians performing at Falls cover various genres, like hip hop, blues, indie and electronic. For example, the 2018/19 lineup features Hilltop Hoods, Vance Joy and Chvrches. The festival also includes other comedic, dance and theatre performances.

Falls Festival

Woodford Folk Festival

In its 33rd year, the Woodford Folk Festival runs from 27 December for six days and nights. More than 2,000 artists and musicians perform for over 130,000 people. The program at Woodford Folk Festival includes an overwhelming stream of concerts, theatre performances, panels, art workshops and late-night cabarets. It’s also known for its interesting installations. The festival proudly attracts a range of people, from young families to retirees. Kids have just as much fun as parents at Woodford Folk Festival.

Whimsical Woodford

White Night

White Night is the free all-night summer party that literally shuts down Melbourne’s city streets. Held from 7pm until 7am one February night every year, Melbourne comes alive with bright and interactive light installations everywhere you look, including on Melbourne’s most iconic buildings, in laneways and at parklands. There are also exhibitions, street performances, films and music acts. It’s the best time of year to be a night owl, as there are fewer crowds in the early morning.

Reflections at NGV during White Night

Rainbow Serpent Festival

Rainbow Serpent celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018. The festival attracts over 10,000 visitors annually and is held over a long weekend in January. It’s located in Lexton, which is about a two-hour drive from Melbourne. In Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, the Rainbow Serpent is known as a creator god. The festival was once predominantly known for its electronic music. Today, it includes musicians from around the world and from all genres, as well as a full artistic program. The Village is home to workshops, presentations and healing sessions, and the bazaar overflows with food and market stalls.

Revellers at Rainbow Serpent Festival

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,665 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article