Whether you want to challenge yourself in the City2Surf run in Sydney, enjoy some wine in Frankston or step out of your comfort zone with the first South Australian Big Burke and Wills Trek, there is plenty on offer around Australia in August.
New South Wales
For running enthusiasts, the start of the month features the popular City2Surf, held in Sydney on the 10th of August. Some runners come from across the globe to compete seriously. Others just do it for fun, often wearing elaborate costumes or raising money for worthy causes. Take your time or try to beat your personal best - but be wary of the notorious Heartbreak Hill, a challenge for even the most seasoned of runners.
Soccer has grown in popularity across the country over the last decade thanks in part to the A-League competition and increasing interest in the FIFA World Cup. Now watch as our A-League All Stars take on European powerhouse, Juventus FC, at ANZ Stadium on the 10th of August. This match has extra intrigue with marquee A-League star, Alessandro Del Piero, taking on his former club where he spent 19 years, scored a record 290 goals and played 705 gamesi.
Culture buffs should definitely turn their attention to Victoria this August. The prestigious Melbourne International Film Festival - the largest film festival in the southern hemisphere - is on from 31st July to 17th August. The Melbourne Writers Festival follows shortly after from 21st to 31st August, and showcases the talent of some of Australia's greatest writers. Both of these events attract international acclaim and talented actors, directors and writers to Melbourne for a month of sensational film screenings and inspiring book talks.
For those who want to escape the urban hustle and bustle, why not visit the Frankston and South Eastern Wine Show? Held on August 31st, this is an open amateur winemaking competition showcasing some of the finest home-made wines from fruit, vegetables, flowers, herbs and red/white grape winesii. In addition, the entry donation of ten dollars includes a complimentary wine tasting wine glassii.
The South Australian Living Artists Festival is the largest visual arts festival in Australia, held across South Australia as part of the state's visual art month for the first 24 days of Augustiii. It's free and includes many forms of art such as painting, sculpture, photography, mixed media and moving image. Not simply restricted to galleries and art studios, the festival also features art installations in unconventional places such as cafés, restaurants, shops and offices.
For people looking for something out of the ordinary, try the inaugural Big Burke and Wills Trek. Tracing the steps of the famous explorers Burke and Wills, this 330km, 12 day test of endurance departs on the 20th of August and aims to become an annual fundraising event for type 1 diabetes research. If you're not up for the challenge of the full event, shorter treks are also available including 160km and 142km optionsiv.
For those who love chocolate or just want to escape the cold of winter, the Tasmanian Chocolate Winterfest is for you. Held at Latrobe on the north coast of Tasmania on August 10th, this festival is a celebration of all things chocolatev. Design your own chocolate costume, play chocolate chess or simply indulge your sweet toothvi.
Not to be outdone by the Sydney Easter Show, the Gold Coast Show attracts thousands of visitors every year from August 29th to 31st for three days packed with entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. Fireworks, show bags, wood chopping, stage shows and the ever-popular free family circus create a vibrant atmosphere.
The Hamilton Island Race Week is one of the most prominent international sailing races with plenty to see and do on and off the water. From the 16th to 23rd of August, Hamilton Island offers spectators the chance to catch some of the finest sailing as well as food markets, cocktail parties and a driving challenge with the chance to win an Audi for a yearvii. If you find the pace of the week overwhelming, Race Week also offers beachside yoga to calm your body and relax your sensesvii.
The Avon Descent, one of Perth's most iconic events, is a challenging white-water race for paddle and power craft along the Avon and Swan rivers. Almost 6,000 racers compete for two days on August 2nd and 3rd over a 124km course.
The North West Festival held in Port Hedland is one of the nation's biggest contemporary music events with some of Australia's biggest artists, including Missy Higgins, Wolfmother and Art vs Science headlining the festival in 2014viii. Held over a massive three days from the 22nd to 24th of August, this festival is a must-do for all music lovers.
Started as a celebration of the revival of Darwin in the wake of Cyclone Tracy, the Darwin Festival is Australia's most northern and only tropical arts festival. The full 18 day programme from August 7th to 24th showcases the Top End art culture with its unique indigenous and multicultural influences. Outdoor concerts, workshops, theatre, comedy and cabaret feature heavily and the festival also partners with schools to promote the arts to children.
A boat race in the outback might sound strange, but the Henley on Todd regatta is exactly that. Held on the typically dry sandy Todd River in Alice Springs on August 16th, this mock regatta includes boats made from metal frames being raced over the hot sand by teams of 'rowers'.
Australian Capital Territory
The Truffle Festival is Canberra's tribute to the local Black Perigord Truffle harvest that runs from June 21st right through to August 26th. Venues across the ACT offer the chance to sample the truffle at a variety of events including gourmet degustation dinners, truffle dishes at cafes, cooking classes, wine tastings and farmers marketsix. This year's festival has the patronage of the popular international celebrity chef Antonio Carluccio, who will be travelling through the ACT as part of the festival activitiesix.