The best art galleries in Australia

The best art galleries in Australia

The history of art in Australia is deeply inspiring; from Indigenous artistic traditions and contemporary works, to photography, portraiture and sculpture through the ages, it's celebrated in countless art galleries located all over the country. From Melbourne to Canberra, and Perth to Hobart - there are ample opportunities to explore the artistic culture of Australia.

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (in photo)

Starting life as a humble artists cottage in 1984, this arts hub in central Melbourne is now one of the most iconic buildings in the city, with its striking architecture of rusted steel in a futuristic geometric design. Focused on contemporary art, in the past exhibitions by Pat Brassington and Barbara Kruger have been held here - and don't miss the famous Sapphire Vault by Ron Robertson-Swann, which is located in the forecourt.

Centre for Contemporary Photography

One of the leading photo-based art spaces in Australia, the Centre for Contemporary Photography is based in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and provides six different exhibition spaces to view the latest works of emerging and established photographers. Possibly its most fascinating gallery is the Night Projection Window, which you can view from George and Kerr Streets after dark to see artist's work on display. Since it opened in 1986, the gallery has grown into one of the country's most enjoyable spaces to view contemporary photography.

Art Gallery of Western Australia

If you're interested in Indigenous art, the Art Gallery of Western Australia is the best place to start. Since it opened in 1979, the Perth based gallery has grown to house over 17,000 works of art, including more than 3,000 Indigenous pieces. The gallery particularly emphasises Western Australian Indigenous art, with a collection that dates back from the 1820s to the 1960s. Don't miss Desert River Sea, a major new project housed here which explores Indigenous art.

National Portrait Gallery

Capital city Canberra is the home of the National Portrait Gallery, which houses a wide collection of portraiture of prominent Australians, as well as contemporary portraits from all over the world. Established in 1998, don't miss the collections highlights like Howard Arkley's portrait of Nick Cave and Ned Kelly's death mask; morbid but fascinating.

Mailbox Art Space

For fans of public art, Mailbox Art Space in central Melbourne is located in the Flinders Lane art precinct. The quirky space lends itself to experimental art and provides an unusual canvas for artists to create their work - using a series of restored mailboxes and the area surrounding the nearby Pawson House heritage building. There are no guidelines or themes suggested to the artists working on the space - and it's a fascinating example of contemporary art in action.

National Gallery of Australia

Another must see if you're visiting Canberra, the National Gallery of Australia houses one of the finest collections of art in the country. Since it was established in 1967, the gallery has grown to house over 160, 000 works. Visit here to see work by Jackson Pollock, Claude Monet and David Hockney, but also don't miss the fantastic collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.

Wentworth Galleries

This Sydney based art gallery is innovative in its approach to Indigenous art. While many contemporary galleries in Australia divide their collections up into Indigenous and Western art traditions, Wentworth Galleries display them side by side - led more by the art itself and its genre then letting the category define how people view it. There are two branches of the gallery, one in the Sofitel Wentworth Hotel and the other at 1 Martin Place.


MONA, which stands for the Museum of Old and New, is the largest privately-owned art gallery in Australia. The incredible collection is home to 1,900 different works of art and is one of the most popular attractions in the town of Hobart, Tasmania. Since it opened in 2011, the collection has amassed an extremely diverse collection, with everything from Egyptian antiquities to art by David Walsh, the owner of the gallery, who describes the gallery as a subversive adult Disneyland. The Tasmanian gallery organizes its collection around the central, taboo themes of sex and death. When you've finished exploring the gallery, its location in the Moorilla Winery means a visit to this art museum can be finished off with a glass of local wine.

Australian indie bands and artists for 2019

Australian indie bands and artists for 2019

Australia's music scene has always been innovative, with many new and established artists possessing a real uniqueness and contemporary edge. From Melbourne and Sydney, to all over the country, the slew of exciting new artists shows no sign of slowing down. Sampha The Great's creative hip hop and Courtney Barnett's fuzzy indie tunes are sure to keep on sweeping Australia - and the rest of the world - off its feet.

Vallis Alps

Electronic duo Vallis Alps are Sydney-based producer David Ansari and vocalist Parissa Tosif, and have been garnering attention since they released their first single, Young in 2015. Since then, they've been creating soulful, soothing electronic beats while bringing attention to political issues around the world; their single Oceans, released in 2017, was written about 19th century feminist icon Tahirih, an Iranian women's rights activist. With their beguiling mixture of synth pop, hip hop and chilled electronic beats, Vallis Alps are ones to watch.

Jade Imagine

Melbourne four-piece Jade Imagine are led by singer-songwriter Jade McInally and together create guitar-based music with witty and insightful lyrics. With memorable lo fi, fuzzy sounds, their first shimmery EP was released through Courtney Barnett's Milk! Records label in 2017, and to critical acclaim. 2019 is due to bring even more touring around the country, so keep your eye out for a chance to see them live.

Oh Pep!

Duo Olivia Hally and Pepita Emmachs have been creating music together since they met in secondary school in Melbourne, and already have three EPs and two albums to their name. They've toured at music festivals around the world, from SXSW to Primavera and Glastonbury, and the international fanbase for their soulful, synth pop is steadily growing as they go. 2019 is set to be another great year for them, as they continue to showcase their experimental music to an international stage.


Hailing from Brisbane, Hatchie is the musical project of Harriette Pilbeam, a 25-year-old Brisbane native. Her unique style of dream pop, reminiscent of 80 bands like the Cocteau Twins and the Cranberries, has been earning her attention since 2017. In 2018, she released her debut EP Sugar and Spice, and is based in Brooklyn after her work gained a huge amount of attention in the United States.

Sampha The Great

Sampha The Great is the musical project of Sampha Tembo, an Australian poet and rapper from Sydney. Originally born in Zambia and raised in Botswana, Sampha creates hip hop music with politically conscious lyrics, often raising the visibility of black and Indigenous artists in Australia, to a background of addictive abstract hip hop beats.

Courtney Barnett

While an indie music heavyweight more than a newcomer, Courtney Barnett's career is due to grow from strength to strength in 2019. Her deadpan, witty singing style and rambling lyrics - often telling stories - has been acclaimed since 2013. Now with her own record label and two full albums under her belt, the Melbourne born artist continues to produce and champion great Australian music. 2019 will see Courtney touring at festivals all over the world - from Tokyo to Buenos Aires.

Amy Shark

Another Aussie musician with a huge fan base and multiple ARIA awards under her belt, Amy Shark continues to make joyful electronic indie pop with a streetwise attitude. Born and raised in the Gold Coast, her debut album Love Monster was released in 2018, and reached number 1 in the Australian charts. Her success is bound to spread with music fans around the world pricking their ears up, and a string of worldwide shows planned for the year ahead.


Hailing from Adelaide, DyspOra (also known as Gabriel Akon) is an Australian South Sudanese-born rapper who is taking the Australian hip hop world by storm. As well as producing innovative tracks with politically charged lyrics, DyspOra is focused on growing the hip hop scene in Australia. The artist started writing his own poetry at the age of 12 and was writing lyrics by the time he reached high school. Still a fan of poetry and spoken word, you can often find him at readings around Adelaide. He's even created his own record label, Playback 808, which is growing from strength to strength and which DyspOra releases his own music on.

Australian arts festivals to visit in 2019

Australian arts festivals to visit in 2019

Australia's bustling arts festival scene plays host to a huge variety of local art, music and performances of all kinds. From literature to dance, music to comedy, there's no better way to explore the work of contemporary Australian artists than spending the weekend at a one-of-a-kind arts festival.

Noted Canberra

Australia's alternative writing festival, Noted focuses on experimental and indie writing and publishing and plays host to a wide selection of exciting hands on workshops. Every May, capital city Canberra fills with more than 235 writers who take part in over 150 different free events. The audience of 5, 000 get to experience truly creative programming like bookshop speed dating and literary bar crawls. Dry panel-style sessions you definitely won't find here.


An arts festival that aims to raise the profile of Indigenous artists in Australia, Parrtjima is an epic art installation event that takes place amongst the dramatic scenery of the MacDonnell Ranges. Every September, more than 16, 000 people journey out to remote Alice Springs to experience the installations. The 300-million-year-old mountain range in the Northern territory is a fitting backdrop to some of the innovative works on display here. Previous offerings have included Range of Expression, a glass booth which allowed visitors to interact with the MacDonnell Ranges by changing the colours and lights projected onto it. This light festival is one you truly can't miss.

Hot Dub Wine Machine

If you're after a music festival with a tasty twist, head to Hot Dub Wine Machine, which celebrates all things Aussie. Taking place in a different location annually, the festival sites have one important thing in common - they are all set in the bucolic, rolling hills of the country's best wine regions. And while you're here, don't forget to make the most of the experience by trying some of the finest wines from local and countrywide producers, while dancing the night away to acts like PNAU and Young France. An experience you'll definitely come back for again next year.

Perth Garden Festival

Held in the scenic Perry Lakes Reserve, Perth Garden Festival has been running annually every March since 1972, aiming to showcase Australia's horticultural industry. Attracting 72, 000 people, it's a gardening extravaganza which will inspire you to exercise your green thumb at home. Head to the Richgro Garden Stage for entertaining talks and advice about gardening problems, wander around the Plant Market to browse the wares from over 24 different Western Australian nurseries, and check out the show gardens of some of the state's most creative landscape designers for some inspiration for your own green space. Photo from

Melbourne International Comedy Festival

More than 30 years have passed since arguably Australia's best comedy festival was founded, and this reputation still holds true to the event, which still showcases some of the country's best comics. Every late March and early April, Melbourne fills with thousands of people, ready to discover some of nation's best comedic talent. In particular, don't miss the annual RAW show, an epic open mic competition that is infamous for bringing the careers of many successful comedians to a kickstart - who knows which future big names you might see here?

Sydney Writers' Festival

Every late April and early May, Sydney hosts a huge literature festival - which draws in more than 400 different writers from all over the world. You'll be able to catch literary heavyweights like Hanya Yanagihara and Gloria Steinem, as well as attend poetry readings, panels and workshops from some of the greatest thinkers from all over the world. Held in a number of unique venues around the city, don't miss the 2019 festival.


Every September, Canberra's Commonwealth Park fills with flowers for the annual Floriade festival. Intricate displays of flowering bulbs are arranged in beautiful patterns around the park to celebrate Spring, designed by Christiaan Slotemaker de Bruine, a Dutch landscape architect who was inspired by the famous Keukenhof garden in South Holland. Tulips in every colour of the rainbow fill the park like meadows - it's the perfect place to take a weekend stroll and the ideal background for Insta-worthy photos.

Quirkiest food festivals

Quirkiest food festivals

From the coast to the wild interior, Australia has an amazing array of produce that you shouldn't miss trying. From fresh crab in the estuarine city of Mandurah, to luxurious truffles in the quaint town of Manjimup, celebrate the best locally grown ingredients and explore the often-painstaking process that goes into their production by visiting one of these special food festivals.

Fremantle Seafood Festival (in photo)

Every February, the port city of Fremantle fills with seafood lovers from all over the country. Head over to the Fishing Boat Harbour, where you'll join 15, 000 fellow foodies wandering around the converted old harbour buildings - now a beguiling arrangement of cafes, breweries and art galleries. As well as ample seafood stalls, you can taste local wines, purchases the day's catch from the Fresh Seafood Market, and enjoy celebrity chef demos at the Taste of Fremantle stage.

Mandurah Crabfest

The small city of Mandurah in Western Australia plays host to the largest free community event in Australia every March. During Crabfest, over 100,000 locals and international visitors come to the city. The beautiful event is held next to the city's stunning natural backdrop; the Eastern estuary where its renowned local crab comes from. Known as the blue Marna crab, this iconic local resident is celebrated in local cuisine - make sure you head over to the Fish Pot, where you can taste freshly cooked crabs. And don't miss A Taste of Aboriginal Culture, a ticketed event which celebrates the traditional cuisine of the region.

Truffle Kerfuffle

Truffles are renowned globally as one of the world's most luxurious ingredients. There's no better place to try them than the bucolic rural town of Manjimup in Western Australia. Fresh black truffles abound here - in fact, more are found here than anywhere else in the Southern Hemisphere - and you can enjoy a myriad of truffle-focused experiences at this festival. Wander around the fresh truffle marketplace where you can enjoy offerings from local companies Oak Valley Truffles and Pottinger Truffles, enjoy folky live music and watch adorable truffle dog demonstrations (the method used to gather them in this part of the world.) You'll leave with a renewed appreciation of this gourmet ingredient.

Taste of Tasmania

Tasmania has long been lauded as the foodie capital of Australia, with its abundant ocean life, untouched shores and wild interiors. Every late December and early January for more than 30 years, the best of Tasmanian food is celebrated in Hobart, around the waterfront precinct. 500, 000 people flood into the town to try everything from local gins to the ever-popular local Valhalla ice cream. You can also try products from Tasmania's best loved cheesery, the Bruny Island Cheese Co, and wine from the Bream Creek Vineyard in South East Tasmania, from one of the oldest vines on the island.

Fireside Festival

Warm up in winter by taking a trip to this charming festival in Canberra. Though the weather is as chilly as ever, the Fireside Festival will keep you cosy with its beguiling mixture of delicious food, great local wine and of course, a crackling fire. The winter festival takes place every late August and early September, and events are held in more than 20 locations across the city. Attend a wine tasting next to a bonfire, sit down for a degustation dinner made from locally grown and seasonal food and listen to live music in a cosy bar with a roaring fire in the room. It's a magical way to explore the city and experience the local foodie scene.