What's on around Australia in January 2016

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The New Year dawns on The Falls Music and Arts Festival in Byron Bay, Marion Bay and Lorne while Sydney keeps the party going at Field Day. Then summer hits full swing with tennis, Soundwave, and yacht races as well as the Sydney Festival's Ruby Anniversary.

Then on January 26 it's all about friends and family with Australia Day festivities around the country. Watch tall ships race and enjoy live music, parades and fireworks.

January means tennis and the Australian Open in Melbourne. Source: Richard Fisher, Flickr user Richard.Fisher, https://www.flickr.com/photos/richardfisher/, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0), https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode.

New South Wales

Paint the town red as Sydney Festival celebrates its 40th year with events spread from Parramatta to Vaucluse from 7 to 26 January.

Featured among works by some of the world's most talented artists - including Peter Sellars, Toni Morrison and Bangarra Dance Theatre - the headline piece this year will be Woyzeck presented by Thalia Theater Hamburg at Carriageworks.

True to Sydney Festival form, around half the 157 events are free and include psychedelic rockers, the Flaming Lips, at Summer Sounds in the Domain, Opera in the Domain, Symphony in the Domain and a free flying fox at a new exhibition space at Barangaroo.

Australia Day is big in Sydney. Start the day at the Harbour Bridge for the morning indigenous ceremony, then stroll around the Rocks (http://www.therocks.com/whats-on/the-rocks-australia-day.aspx) for free live performances and activities. Out on the Harbour watch the Tall Ships battle for supremacy and our beloved ferries chug their way to Circular Quay. Then marvel at the Darling Harbour fireworks from 8.30pm.

Australia's first Idol winner and 2015 representative to Eurovision, Guy Sebastian, kicks off his regional Australia Tour on January 14 at Nowra's Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre. The tour travels around NSW until January 24 at Saraton Theatre, Grafton.

Host to the Toyota Golden Guitar Awards for Country Music and Australia's largest music festival, Tamworth Country Music Festival covers 10 days from 15 to 24 January. See Guy Sebastian, Troy Cassar-Daley and the McClymonts as well as emerging artists among others at venues throughout the Tamworth Region.

If you're heading to the hills to escape the summer humidity, Thredbo is hosting its Blues Festival (https://www.thredbo.com.au/thredboblues/) from 15 to 17 January with 25 of Australia's greatest blues artists including ARIA Hall-of-Fame inductee Russell Morris and The Voice Australia's Gail Page. The festival venues centre around the Thredbo Alpine Hotel and tickets range from free for the under 14s to over $168 per person per night for an all-inclusive package.

Hipsters and beer-lovers might want to start their holiday a little earlier and check out the Kosciuszko Craft Beer Festival at the Thredbo Alpine Hotel on the weekend of the 9 to 10 January.

From the Snowy to the Blue Mountains and Sport for Jove together with the National Trust of Australia present the Importance of Being Earnest and Love's Labour Lost at the Leura Shakespeare Festival January 9-24 at Everglades Gardens. Still in Leura, for the two to six year olds, the Leuralla Toy and Railway Museum is hosting Mother Goose in the Blue Mountains on weekends from 8-24 January.

http://byron.fallsfestival.com.au/ The Falls Festival hits Byron Bay for the over 18s from Dec 31 to Jan 3 2016 at North Byron Parklands. Tickets can be purchased with a carbon offset to contribute to renewable energy projects.


January means tennis! Watch top-ranked champions Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic defend their titles at the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year, the Australian Open at Melbourne Park from 18 to 31 January.

In new tiered-ticketing at Melbourne Park, people will be able to choose from three categories of ticket pricing at Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena and buy tickets to only one event instead of multiple-session packages.

If getting out on the water is more your thing, steer to Geelong Yacht Club for the Festival of Sails, the Southern Hemisphere's largest keel-boat race and Australia's oldest Sporting Event From 22 to 26 January. Accompanying the Regatta will be a Shoreside Festival with live music, food and wine stalls, a boat show and family-friendly activities including kids sailing.

Meanwhile, Melbourne's premier rainbow event, the Midsumma Festival, begins 17 Jan with Carnival and T Dance at Alexandra Gardens and continues at over 85 venues throughout Melbourne and Regional Victoria to wind up on February 7.

Grab a picnic and enjoy the long summer days with the Sunset Series, free live music presented by the City of Melbourne as well as Bollywood and Go-go dance workshops at Fitzroy Gardens weekends from 16 January to 24 January 5.

Paint the town red as Sydney Festival celebrates its 40th year. Source: Jason James, Flickr user Sidneiensis, https://www.flickr.com/photos/sidneiensis/, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0), https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode.

The Falls Festival finishes up on New Years Day at Lorne and tickets are already sold out but if you’re lucky enough to be in the region on January 9, there is the Lorne Pier to Pub, at 1.2 km, the largest open water swim in the world.


Move over bikinis and board shorts, the horses strut their stuff on the sands of Surfers Paradise on barrier draw day for the Jeep Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic. At 8.15 am on January 5, the horses and their jockeys entered in the $2 million race for two year olds will gallop across the beach at Surfers Paradise ahead of the barrier selection at 8.30 am. The Magic Millions Race Day will take place on January 9 at the Gold Coast Turf Club and has a total prize pool of $10 million.

In tennis, the Brisbane International lunches the WTA season for 2016 from 3 to 19 January at the Queensland Tennis Centre. Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova and Sam Stosur are confirmed to play.

Soundwave (http://soundwavefestival.com/about) Music festival hits Brisbane on January 23 with hard rock, punk and metal bands like Disturbed, The Prodigy, Bullet for my Valentine and Frenzal Rhomb at the Brisbane Showgrounds. Gates open at 11 am.

The producers of The Illusionists and Le Noir bring you Cirque Adrenaline, a family spectacular with breath-taking acrobatic displays from 7 to 17 January at the Concert Hall QPAC.

Guy Sebastian's regional tour takes in Queensland from January 25 at the Gold Coast to January 31 at Moncreiff Entertainment Centre at Bundaberg.

Western Australia

The world's third largest fringe festival, FRINGE WORLD kicks off its month of entertainment on 22 January with events centred around James Street, Northbridge. Western Australian artists together with performers from all over the globe bring to the festival a mix of comedy, circus, free and family entertainment, theatre, visual arts, music and musicals, dance and cabaret.

Pitch your tent near the Big Top for a three-day celebration of circus at the Western Australian Circus Festival, 23 to 25 January at the Lunar Circus site at Karridale, Margaret River. If too much circus is never enough, the Lunar Circus hosts a summer school leading up to the big event.

WA has tennis too... World Number One, Serena Williams will join Gael Monfils, Andy Murray and Lleyton Hewitt at the ITF's official mixed-teams event, the Hopman Cup from 3 to 9 January 2016 at Perth Arena. Two Australian teams will battle against sides from the USA, France, the Ukraine, Germany, Czech Republic and Great Britain.

Fly across the waves as kite surfers join windsurfers in the Lancelin Ocean Classic, the world's longest-running and longest length windsurf race. For the first time there will also be a paddle event for stand-up-paddle boarders and kayakers on 17 Jan 2016.

South Australia

Grab your tissues, Ghost the Musical launches its Australian Tour at Adelaide’s Festival Theatre this January featuring the original London cast. Based on the extremely popular 1990s movie about a couple whom even death cannot separate, Ghost the Musical will hit the boards from 7-31 January, before continuing to Melbourne and Sydney in February and March. Pottery scene included, so best for ages 12 and up.

Oldies are locked out at the Old Adelaide Gaol, Thebarton for Remember the Days Festival on January 18, 3-11pm. Strictly for the under 18s, tickets range from $45.90 to $72.90 for a VIP experience and include a free water theme park, free carnival rides and roaming night-time performers.

Australia's Premier Cycling World Tour event, the Santos Tour Down Under is set to open the international cycling calendar for 2016 with 9 days of cycling from 16 to 24 January around Adelaide and surrounds. The four-day Ladies Tour is back again in 2016. Non-competitive events include a Family Day at Elder Park on January 24 with free activities for kids 8am to 3pm and the Bupa Mini Tour for Kids aged 6 to 12 at Stage 6.

While you're in the area, head to the Adelaide Hills wine region's Crush Festival where wineries and local restaurants combine to create a foodies' paradise from the 22nd to the 24th.

One thousand athletes from around the country and the Pacific region will be fighting for first place in 20 sports at the Australian Deaf Games in Adelaide from 9 to 16 January. Adelaide High School on the Western Parklands will host the Games Hub.


Join young Zo on a journey into the imaginary with the incredible choreography, athleticism and staging of Cirque du Soleil 's Quidam. One of Canada's most famous exports will light up the Derwent Entertainment Centre in Hobart from 6 to 8 January.

Who says chocolate is bad for you? The Cadbury Marathon is on Jan 10, starting and finishing at the Cadbury Chocolate Factory, Cadbury Estate, Claremont.

The Tasmanian Christmas Carnival Series 2015/2016 winds up over 3 days in January with cycling, athletics and wood chopping at the Burnie Track Carnival on New Years Day, cycling and athletics at the Hobart Carnival two days later (3 January 2016) and cycling, athletics and wood chopping on 16 January at St Helens.

While the Falls Festival at Marion Bay finishes up on New Years Day, festival goers in the Hobart region only need to wait a week before the tiny town of Cygnet once again throws open its doors and camping grounds for the Cygnet Folk Festival. Promised are a range of folk styles from dance and poetry to world music at Burton's Reserve Festival Camp, January 8 to 10.

If rock is more your style and you find yourself near Launceston the same weekend, The Basin Concert might be just the ticket. Featuring Jebediah, the Beautiful Girls and Phil Jamieson of Grinspoon among others it's on Saturday January 9 at First Basin Cataract Gorge, Launceston.

Australian Capital Territory

Celestial Empire: Life in China 1644-1911 2 Jan 2016 to 22 May 2016 at National Library of Australia in joint partnership with the National Library of China brings maps drawings plans, books and prints from the National Library's Chinese Collection and precious objects from the National Library of China.

Tom Roberts continues from 4 December 2016 to 28 March 2016 at the National Gallery of Australia. Some of the most iconic works of one of Australia's most famous artists, including Shearing the rams and A break away! will be on show at the exhibition.

The Australian War Memorial is holding several kid-friendly activities this summer: Drop-In Craft Days, Hands on History and Story Time. On Fridays from 8 to 29 January, bring the kids for a craft session at 11:30am or 2:30pm. For budding History buffs, there is Summer Hands on History weekdays excluding public holidays 11am to 12pm from 4 January to 29 January 2016. Or for the really little ones, there is Summer Story Time every Friday excluding public holidays at 10:30am from 4 December 2015 to 26 February 2016: it's suitable for pre-schoolers but older siblings are welcome.

Not to be outdone in the entertaining the kids stakes, the Australian National Botanic Gardens presents Snakes Alive!, an interactive and educational experience all about the slippery things in our backyards with reptiles and frogs 18-24 January 10am-4pm weekdays, until 6pm weekends.

Afterwards, soothe the savage breast with the Summer Sounds Concert Series 16 January to 7 February weekends from 5:30pm to 7:30pm lawns of Australian National Botanic Gardens.

Northern Territory

Teams from Australia, Singapore, New Zealand and England among others will battle for a claim of $65,000 in prizes in the richest 7s Rugby tournament in the Southern Hemisphere as Darwin's Rugby Park Marrara hosts the Hottest Sevens in the World on 23 and 24 January.

Start Australia Day early and in good health, with the Australia Day Fun Run on the waterfront at Darwin. There are 2.5 or 5km options, arrive at 6am for 7am start.