July marks the start of winter school holidays right around Australia and is prime time to hit the ski fields in New South Wales and Victoria. This month is also a foodie's dream come true with big name food and wine events across the country. There are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural celebrations in Queensland and the Northern Territory as well as exhibitions, musicals, cabaret festivals and much more happening in every state and territory. Plus, don't forget about Christmas in July events in the Blue Mountains and Norfolk Island.
New South Wales
All of the bucking, snorting and stomping fun of the Professional Bull Riders Australia comes to Sydney on 11 July for the PBR Australia National Finals. Twenty-two of Australia's toughest cowboys will go head-to-head against 52 of the most powerful bulls to take home the national titlei. If you can't make the national finals, there is the Last Cowboy Standing Champion (www.pbraustralia.com.au/events/july-18-last-cowboy-standing) event in Brisbane on 18 July or the Cairns Invitational on 4 July.
Get set for three days of live entertainment from popular artists including Mark Ronson, Of Monsters and Men, Peking Duck, Ryan Adams, Florence and the Machine, The Wombats and many more during this year's Splendour in the Grass festival. The festival takes over the North Byron Parklands from 24 to 26 July. Connect with your creative side in the Tipi Forest or broaden your cultural horizons at the Global Village. The weekend also includes art exhibitions and crafting workshops. Set up camp with your mates or take advantage of the local Byron Bay hospitality.
From 27 June to 12 July, Darling Harbour will transform into a winter wonderland of family fun during the Cool Yule celebrationii. Bondi Beach will also feel the chill this winter when the beach side ice rink returns for the Bondi Winter Magic Festival from 20 June to 12 July. Home to Australia's only ice rink with seaside views; the Bondi Pavilion will host day and night skating sessions during the NSW school holidays.
The fragrance of freshly ground coffee beans will waft through The Rocks on 26 July for the annual Aroma Festival. Spend the day wandering through the cobblestone streets sampling some of the best brews in the city. The three-day Ballina Fine Wine and Food Festival offers diners a taste of the produce and culinary expertise the region has to offer from 10-12 July. Dive into Australia's premier boating event - the Sydney International Boat Show - from 30 July to 3 August in Darling Harbour; featuring the newest models, expert speakers, historic boat displays and entertainment each day of the show. The Art Gallery of NSW hosts the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 2015 from 18 July to 27 September, featuring the very best of Australian portraiture, the People's Choice Award and the Young Archies award for budding artists.
Since 2004, the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series of exhibitions has celebrated the cultural significance of art by bringing together acclaimed works from around the world. From 16 July to 1 November, the National Gallery of Victoria will host the multi-media experience David Bowie is, taking visitors through 50 years of pop culture. From July 31 to 8 November, Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great showcases over 400 works by the Dutch and Flemish masters.
Experience the best architecture and design Melbourne has to offer during the Open House Weekend on 25 and 26 July. Over 100 buildings will be open free to the public with tours, events, workshops and exhibitions designed to take guests on a journey through Melbourne's rich history.
Outside of the hustle and bustle of the city, take a ride on the Cosy Tram through the Ballarat Botanical Gardens every weekend during July. The vintage tram rides are a one of a kind experience and run throughout winter. While you're in Ballarat, indulge in a delicious pie at one of the many pubs, cafes and restaurants participating in Ballarat's Best Pie Competition during July. As part of the Winterlude festival on from 27 June to 2 August, visitors and locals can enjoy street art, installations, toboggan rides and ice skating and much more throughout the CBD. Nearby at Leigh Creek, tuck into a Medieval Winter Feast and show at Kryal Castle on 4 July, part of the school holiday Festival of Flame.
Sink your teeth into the Brisbane Times Good Food Month from 9 July to 9 August. Brisbane is the first stop in the Good Food Month series travelling to Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and Perth again this year. Expect a mouth-watering program of special events and masterclasses with renowned chefs, activities for the kids, special menus and the spectacular Night Noodle Marketsiii . Special menus and events will be offered by local restaurants, pubs and cafes throughout the monthiii. South Bank also gets in on the foodie action with the Regional Flavours weekend on 18 and 19 July with guest appearances by celebrity chefs, food trucks, demonstrations, talks and much moreiv.
Lace up your runners for the 37th annual Gold Coast Airport Marathon on 4 and 5 July. In 2014, the marathon was awarded an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Road Race Gold Label; the first Australian marathon event to receive the award, making this race one of the most prestigious in the worldv. The weekend includes two juniors' events, a 10km run and a 5.7km challenge, a wheelchair 15km race and a marathon, as well as the classic marathon and half marathon events. The races begin and end in Southport at the Broadwater Parklands with plenty of spectator viewing areas along the course.
The Sunshine State hosts two rounds of V8 Supercars this July: the Castrol Edge Townsville 400 from 10-12 July and the Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint beginning on 31 July. Now in its sixth year, the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) has grown to be one of the premier indigenous arts events in Australia. The event features exhibitions, workshops, theatre and children's programs across a number of locations in Cairns from 31 July to 2 August. The annual Australian Festival of Chamber Music is held over 10 days (31 July to 8 August) at various venues in Townsville and celebrates classical music in Australia. Back in Brisbane, a multi-award winning cast brings Cole Porter's classic comedic masterpiece Anything Goes (anythinggoesmusical.com.au) to life at the Lyric Theatre from 25 July to 16 August.
Whether your palate is drawn to sophisticated, gourmet flavours or you enjoy the simplicity of a good feed from a food truck, you are sure to find something to tickle your taste buds at the Perth Good Food and Wine Show. On from 10 to 12 July at the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre, the show brings together local and international chefs and food experts to give live demonstrations at the Good Food Theatre. Find mid-week meal inspiration at the Laucke Creative Kitchen or have a chat with your favourite celebrity chefs. Don't forget to sample your new favourite beer or cider at the Beer & Cider Hall. Many of the events over the weekend require tickets that can be purchased on the Good Food and Wine Show website.
Movie buffs can look forward to the return of the Revelation Perth International Film Festival for ten days of film screenings from 2 to 12 July. The full program includes over 120 films, discussions, live performances, masterclasses and art exhibitions at cafes, galleries and cinemas across Perth. Indigenous art and culture take centre stage at the Mowanjum Festival on 9 July. A two and a half hour drive from Broome, The Mowanjum Art and Culture Centre in Derby hosts this unique celebration of history which attracts thousands of visitors from across the country each year.
A worldwide phenomenon, roller derby is a rough and tumble action-packed event for participants and spectators alike. The Adelaide Roller Derby - Double Header is the final event before the grand final in August. The ladies of The Mile Die Club take on The Wild Hearses and The Salty Dolls battle it out against the Road Train Rollers. Doors open at 4pm at the Wayville Pavilion and there will be live music and market stalls to keep you entertained before the main event at 5pm.
There is nothing like a warming glass of red wine to shake-off the South Australian winter chill. The Winter Reds weekend offers visitors to the Adelaide Hills wine region two days of indulgence with over 30 wineries opening their cellar doors for tastings, gourmet meals, tours, live music and much more on 24, 25 and 26 July. With a mix of free and ticketed events and plenty of accommodation and travel options to and from your favourite wineries to choose from, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.
The City of Port Augusta Cup is the premier event on the Port Augusta Racing Club's calendar each year. The gates open at 11am on 5 July for a fun filled day of fashion, food and entertainment at the races. There are eight races scheduled as well as entertainment available for the whole family. Get your bait and tackle ready for the annual Beachport Lions Club Salmon Fishing Competition. Over $2000 in daily prizes are up for grabs at the two week competition from 3 to 18 July with entries available in the men's, women's and junior's categories.
Hobart and Launceston will both play host to the 2015 Festival of Voices from 1 to 12 July and 14 to 16 July respectively. The festival is an eclectic mix of song and dance, balanced with educational workshops and short courses. One of the main attractions, the City of Hobart Bonfire & Big Sing is back for its eleventh year, lighting up Salamanca Place for a magical evening of free family fun.
Relive the glory days and soulful sounds of Motown at Country Club Tasmania in Launceston on Friday, 10 July. Songs in the Key of Motown draws on the inspiration of Motown favourites like the Supremes, Martha & The Vandellas, the Platters, the Temptations and the Four Tops. US-based groups Spectrum and Radiance have come together to develop this unique tribute to a truly influential time in modern music history.
Feasting, folk music, storytelling, fire twirling, bonfires and wassailing: the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Fest at the Apple Shed from 17 to 19 July really does have it all. Dress up in your best top hat and tatters to wassail (rid the apple tree of evil spirits to ensure a good harvest) with the crowd: the more noise made the better. As a reward for your efforts, the celebrations continue with live music from the Davidson Brothers, Mic Conway's National Junk Band, Lagoon Hill Zydeco and others during the weekend.
Australian Capital Territory
Canberra is full of family fun these July school holidays. The Mount Stromlo Observatory is holding a free public observation night on 24 July from 7 to 9pm. This is just one of the many public observation nights this year where guests will be able to catch a glimpse of Saturn's rings and see if the moon really is made of cheese. The annual Skate in the City - Canberra's only open air ice rink - is on until 26 July with plenty of daily skating sessions. Circus Under My Bed brings high-flying fun to the Canberra Theatre Centre from 16 to 18 July. Follow along as a young girl discovers an imaginary circus under her bed; the young cast members of Australia's National Youth Circus deliver a one of a kind performance.
The adults won't be wanting for a good night out when the Australian Burlesque Festival comes to town on 3 and 4 July at The Abbey. Featuring jaw-dropping performances by local and international burlesque performers, this is one event that is not to be missed. Tickets usually sell out quickly so book early to avoid disappointment.
Mindil Beach will be buzzing with activity on 1 July for Territory Day celebrations, marking 37 years of self-governance for the Northern Territory. This is the only day each year when fireworks are legal, so expect bright lights and big bangs after the sun goes down over the Timor Sea. Local superstar Jessica Mauboy headlines the evening's free concert beginning from 5pm followed by artists such as Room 105, Anna Bousted, After the Rain, David Garnham, and The Moving Targets.
On 12 July, boats of all shapes and sizes made from beer cans set sail in the annual Darwin Lions' Beer Can Regatta. The inaugural race held in 1974 was born from an attempt to clean up the beer cans that littered pristine Mindil Beach. The event has since evolved and each year contestants get more creative with their designs. A gold coin donation is requested at the entrance and the food and craft markets will be open throughout the dayvi.
Head to The Alice on 11 July for a one-of-a-kind event, the Lasseters Camel Cup (http://www.camelcup.com.au/) ! The gates open to Blatherskite Park at 10:30am with the final race of the day at 4pm. There will be nine races with plenty of other fun activities including belly dancing performances as well as food and beverage stallsvii.
Few running carnivals can offer the spectacular views that the Australian Outback Marathon can on 25 July. With four events in the shadow of Uluru, the Outback Marathon takes runners on a journey through the heart of the red centre.
Dubbed as the Indigenous counterpart to the World Economic Forum, Garma, has become a significant event for Aboriginal heritage and culture. Now in its 17th year, Garma 2015 offers guests the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Aboriginal political, economic and social issues from 31 July to 3 August.