Great Australian festivals

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Great Australian festivals

From local food fairs to internationally recognised music events, Australia is home to festivals year round.

Arts and Culture

Whether it's opera, dance, film, theatre, or visual arts, each calendar year is filled with events that showcase local and international talent. Kick-starting the nation into the New Year, the Sydney Festival spans three weeks in January, hosting around 80 outdoor and indoor dance, theatre, music, visual arts, and film eventsi. A 2013 highlight was Florentijn Hofman's giant bobbing artwork, Rubber Duckii. The National Multicultural Festival is held every February in Canberra, which includes a wealth of dance and musical performances from all corners of the globe. The Perth International Arts Festival also takes place in February and has made a name for itself as the oldest annual international multi-arts festival in the southern hemisphereiii.

In March, the nation's south is the place to be, with both Adelaide's Festival of Arts (one of Australia's longest running festivalsi) and Tasmania's Ten Days on the Island taking place. Relatively new, Tasmania's 10-day long celebration spans 50 locations across the islandi. The Darwin Festival takes place in August and showcases the culture and lifestyle that is unique to Australia's top end. Two major spring festivals, the Brisbane Festival and Melbourne's International Arts Festival, present some of the most riveting and eclectic performers from Australia and overseas. Other major festival events, now iconic to Australia, include the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (March), film festival Tropfest (February), the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (March-April), floral paradise Floriade (September-October), Chinese New Year (January/February), and many more.

Music festivals

In recent years Australia's music festival scene has flourished to incorporate a larger and more diverse set of musical genres. Veteran events held across Australia include the Big Day Out, the Falls Music & Arts Festival, Byron Bay Bluesfest, Splendour in the Grass, WOMADelaide, the Tamworth Country Music Festival and the Woodford Folk Festival. While these events dominate the music festival arena, other events are on the rise and becoming increasingly popular.

Groovin the Moo, Homebake, Good Vibrations, the Future Music Festival, Soundwave, Stereosonic and Creamfields are some of the annual musical events that attract big acts and an audience from across Australia and overseas. While many gigs are in summer, the cooler weather brings the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Splendour in the Grass, Bass in the Grass, and the Noosa Jazz Festival.

Food and cuisine

From the Cellar Door Wine Festival in South Australia to Sydney's iconic Night Noodle Markets, there's a festival to whet every foodie's appetite.

Melbourne's Food and Wine Festival, held in March, is an annual headline food event that attracts thousands of food and wine lovers from all over Australia. Hosting over 200 events across the city and into regional Victoria, it's an event not to be missed.

More and more Australians are participating in fun run events, such as the Sun Herald City2Surf. (Image attributed to Thayvian:,_2007_%28cropped%29.jpg)

Taking place later in the year (October), Sydney's Crave International Food Festival is an iconic, month-long food event that showcases the best of Australian produce and world-class chefs, such as popular guest chef, Matt Moran, of Channel Ten's MasterChef. Other festival highlights include the Night Noodle Markets and Breakfast at Bondi.

Other major Australian food events include the Barossa Vintage Festival (March-April) - the largest and longest- running wine tourism festival in Australiaiv; The Taste Festival (December-January) in Tasmania; the Margaret River Gourmet Escape (November) and the Grampians Grape Escape (May) in Victoria. For coffee lovers, The Rocks Aroma Festival is a winter favourite in Sydney.

Sports and recreation

Australian sport continues year round, from rugby season to cricket season and every sport in between. International events, hugely popular and eagerly watched worldwide, include:

More and more Australians are also getting involved in participatory events like Sydney's City2Surf (August) and the Medibank Melbourne Marathon (October). Other longstanding participatory events include the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships (March-April), the Cole Classic (February) and the Alice Springs iconic "boat race": the Henley-on-Todd Regatta (August). Adelaide's Clipsal 500 (March) and the Bathurst 1000 (October) in New South Wales are popular events for V8 supercar fans.

Travelling safe within Australia

Whether it's getting together with family and friends and celebrating local traditions together, or being among fellow art, food, or music lovers, taking part in a festival is a great way to celebrate the things you love most about Australia.

If you're heading to a festival within Australia or overseas, you still need to consider getting travel insurance as part of your trip preparation. Allianz offers Australia-only domestic Travel Insurance, which can provide local travellers cover for travel delays, cancellations, loss of or damage to luggage and personal effects.

i 2008, Festivals in Australia, Australian Government, viewed 25 July 2013,

ii Sydney Festival 2013, Day One - the Arrival, New South Wales Government and Zip, viewed 25 July 2013,

iii Perth International Arts Festival, Perth Festival, CNN Travel, University of Western Australia, viewed 25 July 2013,

iv Barossa, Barossa Vintage Festival 2013, viewed 25 July 2013,