What's on around Australia in May 2015

Headlining this May are the dazzling light shows of Vivid Sydney and the musical treats of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. It's a busy month with interesting events happening in all the states and territories to keep you entertained before winter arrives.

May is also Aussie Wine Month with wine tastings, lunches and food and wine festivals around the country. There are culinary events for foodies, concerts, country festivals as well as quirky happenings like the Uluru Camel Cup and the Batlow CiderFest to keep you entertained this May.

Sydney will be transformed with brilliant light sculptures, sensational music and incredible innovations for Vivid Sydney. Photo Credit: Uploaded to Flickr by jeremyg3030 under the creative commons license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/.

New South Wales

Sydney will be transformed with brilliant light shows, musical performances and creative workshops from 22 May to 8 June for Vivid Sydneyi. The annual light display on the Sydney Opera House sails is the centrepiece of Vivid Sydney as Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and other parts of the city become creative hotspotsii.

There's plenty of sport to enjoy in New South Wales in May. Catch some of Australia's fittest athletes at the Ironman Australia race in Port Macquarie on 3 May or witness a rugby league grudge match as the Blues and Maroons battle it out in State of Origin Game 1 on 27 May.

If you're more of a foodie, sample the delights at the Manly food, wine and sustainability festival on 30 and 31 May or enjoy a meal at the Lovedale long lunch in the Hunter Valley on 16 and 17 May. Head to Batlow on the South West Slopes of the Great Dividing Range to see for yourself if the area has the best apples in the country and sample a sweet drop at the Batlow CiderFest on 16 May.

Booklovers can hear from their favourite authors at the Sydney Writers Festival from 18 to 24 May, while photograph devotees can enjoy the Head On Photo Festival from 1 to 31 May. Country horse racing will be on show at the Scone Cup Carnival from 15 to 16 May, while the NCHA Futurity celebrates equine excellence with the National Cutting Horse Association's showcase event in Tamworth from 25 May to 7 June.


Enjoy iconic international acts like Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock playing alongside local favourites such as The Cat Empire at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival from 28 May to 7 Juneiii. Australia's largest jazz festival includes shows at the Arts Centre Melbourne and Bennetts Lane Jazz Clubiii,iv. The free events include the late-night art party, artist talks, soundwalks and the brand new Jazz Out West series in Footscrayiv.

The Australian tour of Cole Porter's musical Anything Goes (anythinggoesmusical.com.au) starts on 27 May at Melbourne's Princess Theatre. Out of town, the High Country Harvest Festival from 15 to 24 May showcases the northeast region's finest food and wine at over 40 culinary events. Not to be outdone, Victoria's western region celebrates Australia's longest running food and wine festival, Grampians Grape Escape, on 2 and 3 May . If you're a runner, why not try the Great Ocean Road Marathon or shorter funs runs on 16 and 17 May and enjoy the stunning views from Lorne to Apollo Bay.


Australia and New Zealand go head-to-head in the traditional Trans-Tasman Test at Suncorp Stadium on 1 Mayvi. The test is part of the NRL's 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli commemorationvi and is the only match between the two nations in 2015.

Beef Australia holds Australia's National Beef Exposition in Rockhampton from 4 to 9 May to promote the quality, taste and health benefits of Australian beef to locals and international industry professionals. Charters Towers Country Music Festival from 1 to 3 May celebrates country music with a street parade, performances and talent quest with prizes for all age groups. The past comes alive at Cooly Rocks On, Australia's biggest 50s and 60s festival with rock 'n' roll, rockabilly and swing music, hot rods, custom cars and classic vehicles on display, market stalls and vintage food on the beaches of Coolangatta and Tweed Heads from 29 May to 8 June.

If you're yearning for more music, head to the Blues on Broadbeach music festival from 21 to 24 May featuring James Morrison, The Black Sorrows and Charlie Parr. Queensland foodies can indulge at the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival with enough mouth-watering dishes to satisfy any appetite from 14 to 17 May. Queensland's quirkiest event this May is a touring exhibition from New Zealand's World of Wearable Art Awards Show. 32 garments from the 27-year-old show will be on display from 29 May to 12 June in Townsville.

The Brisbane Racing Carnival also starts in May with four weeks of horse racing from 9 May to 6 June.

Western Australia

The Ford vs Holden rivalry lives on at Perth's largest motor sport event, the V8 Supercars Perth SuperSprint, from 1 to 3 Mayvii.

The Cable Beach Polo Festival, Australia's only beach polo tournament, is on Broome's picturesque Cable Beach on 30 and 31 May. Jazz tunes, quality musicians and breathtaking sunsets come together in Jazz by the Bay on the shores of Geographe Bay with performances in limestone caves, on the beach or in one of the bars around the region from 29 to 31 May.

Taste of Perth from 15 to 17 May at Langley Park lets you sample top chefs' finest creations, browse artisan food stalls and learn from the masters in cooking classes. Now in its 15th year, the Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster features historical tours, rodeos, music under the stars and the Waringarri Corroboree set in the heart of the Kimberley region from 15 to 24 May.

The Ningaloo Whaleshark Festival from 21 to 24 May aims to educate and entertain people with beach games, a family fun run and swimming with the whale sharks themselves.

Australia's obsession with outlaws is on display at the Moondyne Festival on 3 May which celebrates the life of Moondyne Joe, the legendary bushranger who escaped his custom-made special reinforced prison cell. The town of Toodyay gets into the spirit of the event with pioneer costumes, wood chopping, antique collectors fair and a special appearance by Moondyne Joe who will be running about, robbing shops and escaping custodyviii.

South Australia

Kangaroo Island hosts FEASTival from 1 to 8 Mayix. Table Surfing is one of the most popular events where a farmer or food producer prepares a meal in their home for guestsx. The famed Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend is a food and wine event from 15 to 17 May where festival attendees can meet the winemakers personally and learn about what makes Clare Valley wines so uniquex. One of Australia's leading regional arts festivals, the Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival showcases the literary and arts heritage of Penola, the fine wines of Coonawarra and the best of the region's produce from 21 to 24 May.

South Australia is perfect for families this May with the Come Out Children's Festival from 22 to 30 May featuring arts and craft workshops, musical performances and an attempt at the world record for the most number of people contributing to one paintingxi. Otherwise known as the 'Friendly Festival', the South Australian Country Music Festival and Awards brings together prominent country musicians who compete for the SA Award of Excellence from 29 May to 8 June.

Kernewek Lowender in Cornish means 'Cornish Happiness' and the Copper Coast Cornish Festival certainly lives up to its name with the great Pasty Bake-Off, Maypole and Furry Dances and the Strongman Spectacle from 17 to 24 May.


Taste the freshness of Tasmania's produce prepared by some of the world's great chefs at Savour Tasmania, from 21 to 25 May in Hobartxii. The festival celebrates the island's finest food, wine and produce. Tastings at the Top lets you experience Tasmania's best food and wine in the beautiful Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge from 15 to 17 May.

Agfest is one of the largest agricultural shows in the country with sheep dog trials, a heritage tractor display, market and food stalls and the Stihl Timbersports logging competition from 7 to 9 May.

Australian Capital Territory

The sixth birthday of one of Canberra's favourite outdoor festivals, Groovin the Moo (2015.gtm.net.au/cbr-home.html), features renowned Aussie and international acts including A$AP Ferg, Broods, Hilltop Hoods and Flight Facilities on 3 Mayxiii,xiv. Known for its relaxed atmosphere, Groovin the Moo will be held at the University of Canberra.

Sydney Dance Company starts off the 2015 season with Frame of Mind for three nights only in Canberra from 30 April to 2 Mayxv.

Canberra partners with Sydney and Melbourne to try and raise $1.7 million for people with multiple sclerosis in the MS Walk + Fun Run on 31 May.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Einstein's theory of relativity, the Canberra International Music Festival has developed a program exploring the relationships between music and science, music and mathematics from 1 to 10 Mayxvi. Keeping with the musical theme, the African Children's Choir returns to the nation's capital for the Under One Sky Concert on 2 May singing, drumming and dancing to raise money for children's education in Uganda.

Catch iconic international acts like Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock playing alongside local favourites like the Cat Empire at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.

Northern Territory

The Red Centre will be gripped with the excitement of outback racing for the Alice Springs Cup Carnival on 4 Mayxvii. Screened to audiences around the world, the premier thoroughbred race of the day offers $110,000 in prize moneyxix,xviii.

Darwin has the perfect mix of professional and amateur musicians with Hilltop Hoods, Birds of Tokyo and Illy appearing alongside local Northern Territory school bands at Bass in the Grass on 23 May. Get rugged at the Outback Fest from 2 to 5 May with unique events like the Uluru Camel Cup, the Frock Up & Rock Up Gala Ball, stock whip demonstrations and even a camel dung throwing competition.

iDestination New South Wales 2015, About Vivid Sydney, viewed 24 March 2015,

iiDestination New South Wales 2015, Vivid Sydney - Light Music Ideas - Sydney Harbour, viewed 24 March 2015,

iiiMelbourne International Jazz Festival 2015, Program, viewed 24 March 2015,

ivVisit Melbourne 2015, Melbourne International Jazz Festival, viewed 24 March 2015,

vGrampians Grape Escape 2015, About, viewed 24 March 2015,

viNational Rugby League 2015, 'Queensland to host international blockbusters', NRL, 29 January, viewed 24 March 2015,

viiV8 Supercars 2015, Perth SuperSprint, viewed 24 March 2015,

viiiMoondyne Festival 2015, Home page, viewed 24 March 2015,

ixKangaroo Island Gateway Visitor Information Centre 2015, SeaLink Kangaroo Island FEASTival, viewed 24 March 2015,

xClare Valley 2015, Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend, viewed 24 March 2015,

xiAdelaide Festival Centre 2015, Families' Program, viewed 24 March 2015,

xiiTotal Travel 2015, Savour Tasmania, viewed 24 March 2015,

xiiiCattleyard Promotions 2015, Home, viewed 24 March 2015,

xivVisit Canberra 2015, Groovin the Moo (GTM) 2015, viewed 24 March 2015,

xvSydney Dance Company 2015, Frame of Mind, viewed 24 March 2015,

xviCanberra International Music Festival 2015, 2015 Festival Overview, viewed 24 March 2015,

xviiTravel NT 2015, Alice Springs Cup Carnival, viewed 24 March 2015,

xviiiAlice Springs Turf Club 2015, XXXX Gold Cup Day Luncheon May 4th, viewed 24 March 2015,