Australia is a vast, diverse and endlessly exciting destination, promising adventures aplenty and lots of spectacular landscapes. Our Australia Travel Specialists have put together their Top 10 Australian Events and Festivals taking place in 2019 so you can plan your travel accordingly. Whether you’re a foodie or are after an authentic Aussie experience, we’re sure you’ll find something to inspire your travel ‘down under’ next year…
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (15 February – 3 March 2019, parade takes place on 2 March 2019)
One of the most fun, inclusive and vibrant celebrations in the world, Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras promises colourful fun and unforgettable memories. 2018’s festival featured a show-stopping performance from superstar Cher, so we can only imagine that 2019’s festivities will be phenomenal. The event has been held for 40 years, and features a variety of events and activities, including Fair Day’s stalls and picnics and the glamourous and always lively Parade which brings the city’s streets to a standstill.
Handra Opera on Sydney Harbour, West Side Story (22 March – 21 April 2019)
Each year, Opera Australia put on a spectacular show on Sydney’s picturesque harbour that combines the glitz and glamour of the opera with an amazing al fresco performance. 2019’s show is the iconic West Side Story, and the Handra Opera version will feature the famous characters and catchy songs, complemented by a jaw-dropping setting and technicolour fireworks. This is opera as you’ve never seen it before – a real bucket list experience.
Vivid Sydney (24 May – 15 June 2019)
This annual and award-winning festival of music, light and ideas sees Sydney illuminated in captivating colours. One of the world’s premier creative forums, a city-wide contemporary music festival and a celebration of art all in one, Vivid Sydney must be experienced to be believed. Whether you sit in on a talk by an industry leader, discover a new music act in one of the city’s venues or simply marvel at the Harbour Bridge lit up in technicolour glory, you’re in for a treat.
Moomba Festival (8 – 11 March 2019)
Australia’s biggest free community festival has been held for over 60 years in Melbourne, and features parades, floats, family-friendly activities, dance performances and a charity dip in the Yarra River! There’s plenty to choose from during the festival, including face-painting, BMX competitions, watersports, funfair rides, street food carts and fireworks displays. An unmissable event is the Birdman Rally, where participants dress as birds and attempt to ‘fly’ across the river for charity!
Adelaide Fringe Festival (15 February – 17 March 2019)
One of the world’s most acclaimed festivals takes over Adelaide each year and features thousands of artists from Australia and beyond. From comedy, cabaret and circus arts to puppetry, poetry and plenty more, you won’t find the time to be bored during this action-packed extravaganza. The 2018 Fringe saw over 2.5 million visitors, so you can be sure 2019’s event will be a record-breaking one; plus, with venues ranging from theatres to alleyways and even laundromats you’re sure to stumble across a fantastic performance.
Floriade Canberra (14 September – 13 October 2019)
Each year over one million bulbs and blossoms bloom to celebrate spring in Canberra, making for one of Australia’s most beautiful celebrations. Over the years (Floriade was first held in 1988), the festival has developed into more than a traditional gardening show, with workshops, stalls, entertainment, family-friendly activities and gourmet food on offer too. Then there’s NightFest, during which a programme of musicians, comedians and DJs transform Commonwealth Park into a lively al fresco nightclub.
MONA FOMA, Launceston (13 – 20 January 2019)
‘FOMA’ stands for Festival of Music and Art, though there’s so much more to enjoy at this unique event. This iteration marks the first time the festival has moved from its usual home in Hobart, and takes place in Launceston. As well as its somewhat infamous rave night Faux Mo, 2019’s MONA FOMA will feature an international line up, including Swedish musician Neneh Cherry, Welsh electronic outfit Underworld and Black Jesus Experience from Ethiopia!
Barunga Festival (7 – 10 June 2019)
Celebrating and promoting Aboriginal culture, the Barunga Festival is a great family-friendly way to discover the real Australia through food, music, sport and cultural exchange. For the four festival days, Barunga’s population explodes from around 400 to 4,000, as visitors flock to Australia’s Top End for this authentic cultural celebration. Sports fans will find plenty to entertain, with softball, football and basketball to partake in, and there’s also didgeridoo making, music and plenty of child-friendly activities.
Brisbane Festival (7 – 28 September 2019)
Since 2009, the Brisbane Festival has filled the city with music, art, performance and comedy, becoming one of the southern hemisphere’s most admired events. The programme is always full of huge diversity and variety, meaning no matter your interests and artistic tastes you’re sure to find something to please. As well as top-notch entertainment there’s myriad gourmet dining options available for festival guests – opt for rustic Italian at The Spaghetti House Trattoria, or treat yourself to Australian Wagyu steak at Black Hide.
Margaret River Gourmet Escape (8 – 17 November 2019)
A celebration of fantastic food and the finest wines, this annual festival boasts a stellar all-star line-up of celebrity chefs alongside local producers showcasing their wares. An unmissable event for foodies, 2018’s festival featured a range of international gourmet superstars, including Nigella Lawson, Monica Galetti and Rick Stein. Set amongst the stunning Margaret River region, the festival offers the chance to savour local and international delicacies accompanied by the most beautiful scenery.
Inspired to take a trip ‘down under’ in 2019? Get in touch with our Australia Travel Specialists for a bespoke quote and itinerary taking in one or more of these amazing events.