Add these iconic Australian events to your bucket list

Want to be one of those people who are just magically in the know about exciting local events? From sports, music, culture, festivals, food and wine, here’s the best place to start for events in Australia. 

By Carolyn Tate

There’s never a dull moment in Australia. Known for our vibrant cultural scene and world-class events, it can be easy to let these iconic moments pass us by when they’re happening so close to us, but is it time you started ticking some of these big events off your bucket list?

Whether you're a sports enthusiast, a music lover, or a fan of the arts, there's something for everyone. Here are some iconic Australian events that you might want to add to your bucket list.

Australian Open Tennis, Melbourne, Victoria

One of the biggest sporting events in the world, the Aussie Open attracts top tennis players from across the globe. Held in Melbourne, this Grand Slam tournament offers thrilling matches and a festive atmosphere that is just as fun outside the arena as it is inside. Whether you're watching the intense competition on the court or soaking up the lively ambiance around Melbourne Park, the Australian Open is a must-see.

When: January

More info: AusOpen

Adelaide Fringe Festival, South Australia

The Adelaide Fringe Festival is Australia's largest arts festival, featuring a diverse range of performances including theatre, comedy, music, and dance. The city comes alive with street performances, pop-up venues, and an electric atmosphere that captivates visitors. It's the perfect place to experience cutting-edge art and entertainment, and plenty of surprises along the way.

When: February to March

More info: Adelaide Fringe

WOMADelaide, South Australia

WOMADelaide is a world music and dance festival held in Adelaide's Botanic Park. This four-day event showcases artists from around the globe, offering a unique cultural experience. With a focus on diversity and creativity, WOMADelaide is a celebration of music, dance, and the arts in a beautiful outdoor setting.

When: March

More info: WOMADelaide

Bluesfest, Byron Bay, New South Wales

Speaking of music, Bluesfest is one of Australia's premier music festivals, attracting big names in blues, roots, and rock music. Held over the Easter long weekend, this festival offers an incredible lineup of performances in the picturesque setting of Byron Bay, and the demographic is a fair bit older and more relaxed than at some other music festivals. It's a perfect blend of great music, relaxed vibes, and stunning scenery. And if music is your thing, check out our round-up of some of the best music festivals for those who want to rock on.

When: March/April

More info: Bluesfest

Vivid Sydney

Vivid Sydney is a festival of light, music, and ideas that transforms the city into a vibrant canvas of light installations and projections. Held annually, this event features stunning light displays, concerts, and thought-provoking talks. It's a visual and sensory feast that you won't want to miss.

When: May to June

More info: Vivid Sydney

Desert Harmony Festival, Tennant Creek, Northern Territory

The Desert Harmony Festival is a celebration of the Barkly region's diverse cultures and communities. The festival features music, dance, art, and cultural performances, providing a unique insight into life in Australia's remote interior. It's an opportunity to experience the rich Indigenous culture of the area.

When: Early August

More info: Desert Harmony Festival

AFL Grand Final, Melbourne, Victoria

The AFL Grand Final is the pinnacle of Australian Rules Football, held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. This event is a massive spectacle, featuring the two best teams of the season battling it out for the premiership, plus a whole lot of entertainment and fanfare surrounding it. The atmosphere is electric, with passionate fans creating an unforgettable experience - whether you understand the holding the ball rule or not. Tickets sell out fast, so you’ll need to get in quick, but it’s worth it.

When: Last Saturday in September

More info: AFL

Boxing Day Test

The Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is a stalwart of the Australian summer calendar, and is as Aussie as cold seafood on Christmas Day. Cricket fans from all over the world gather to watch the Australian cricket team take on an international opponent in this iconic Test match. The atmosphere at the MCG is electric, making it an unmissable event for any sports fan. The tradition of watching cricket on Boxing Day is deeply ingrained in Australian culture, and attending this event is a quintessential Aussie experience you must have at least once.

When: December 26 to 30

More info: MCG

Sydney New Year's Eve, New South Wales

Sydney New Year's Eve is renowned for its spectacular fireworks display over Sydney Harbour. It's one of the most iconic New Year celebrations in the world, attracting visitors from all corners of the globe. Watching the sky light up over the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge is a truly magical way to ring in the new year. Sure, you can watch it on TV, but being there in person is something else.

When: December 31

More info: Sydney New Years Eve

Taste of Summer, Tasmania

The Taste of Tasmania is the state's largest food and wine festival, held in Hobart. This event celebrates Tasmania's world-renowned produce, featuring food stalls, cooking demonstrations, and live entertainment. It's the perfect place to indulge in gourmet delights and enjoy the festive atmosphere on the waterfront. If you’re a foodie and you want to plan some more delicious travel experiences, check out our collection of food and wine festivals not to be missed.

When: Late December to early January

More info: Taste of Summer

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