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.

Best independent cinemas in Australia

Best independent cinemas in Australia

From Sydney to Adelaide, the cities and towns of Australia are home to some creative and charming independent cinemas. From the seaside location of the Avoca Beach Picture Theatre, to the Rooftop Cinema's urban space on the top of one of Melbourne's high-rise buildings, a trip to the movies can be transformed into an experience you won't forget if you visit one of these special indie venues.

The Avoca Beach Picture Theatre, NSW

This charming single screen movie theatre (in photo) has a unique location - right next to a beautiful beach in Avoca, New South Wales. It's frequently been voted Australia's Best Independent Regional Cinema; the theatre has a unique community focused feel and has been curated and run by four generations of the Hunter family since it was founded in 1948. The cinema shows a mixture of films - from the latest blockbuster to arthouse secrets - but you can be sure it's all lovingly curated for the enjoyment of audiences by the friendly owners.

Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace, Sydney

In the heart of Sydney, along the busy Military Road, the art deco brilliance of the Orpheum Picture Palace shouldn't be missed during a trip to Sydney. You'll feel like you've time travelled back to the 1930s when you experience their piano bar and watch classic silent film screenings accompanied by their original Wurlitzer organ. It's a glamorous cinema with innovative programming, and shouldn't be missed.

Capri Theatre, Adelaide

Art Deco cinema the Capri Theatre is located in Goodwood, a suburb of southern city Adelaide. Built in the 1930s, it's a beguiling example of Art Deco architecture with a show stopping Wurlitzer organ as the cinema's centrepiece. Best loved for its multi-annual Nostalgia Movie Nights, you'll be swathed in vintage glamour when you attend one of these events, which combine classic movies with supporting retro shorts, newsreels and advertising. If you're after a dose of the nostalgic, no theatre does it better than the Capri Theatre.

Palace Nova, Adelaide

This pretty Adelaide-based cinema has a unique twist. In the same way as it focuses on great programming - there's a fab line up of the latest arthouse films as well as blockbusters and repertory screenings - it focuses on what is arguably the best accompaniment to a film there can be; a chilled glass of wine. You won't find any lukewarm beverages in plastic cups here - wine is served in elegant glasses and all in all it's a classy affair. The cinema plays host to internationally acclaimed events like Adelaide Film Festival, and houses nine different screens, including an IMAX screen. For an elegant experience, as well as programming to suit everyone's taste, this is great place to come.

Rooftop Cinema, Melbourne

For a hip experience in arty city Melbourne, visit the Rooftop Cinema. During the summer months, this al fresco cinema at a central location - Rooftop Bar in the downtown area - becomes a relaxing destination with a festival-like vibe. It's perfect for seeing a well-curated array of contemporary art house and blockbusters, as well as classics - think Clueless, Casablanca and Napoleon Dynamite. If you get peckish, there's an on-site burger stand which also serves up gourmet popcorn. Cinema host Rooftop Bar will also keep you well stocked with craft beers and crisp glasses of wine.

Mount Vic Flicks, Sydney

Outside of Sydney, the quaint village of Mount Victoria in the Blue Mountains is a great place to have a day out. It's also definitely worth travelling here in the evening to spend the night at Mount Vic Flicks. The historic theatre was originally known as Mount Victoria Pictures and operated under this name till the mid-1950s. For the next thirty years, the cinema remained closed, until Ron and Diane Bayley reopened it as Mount Vic Flicks in the 1980s. Today, the cinema owns a digital projector, and plays the latest arthouse films and classic repertory screenings. The cosy and special interior is beautifully preserved.

Australian running events

Australian running events

Five Australian running events you can't miss The breath-taking landscape of Australia lends itself to some of the world's most epic running events. From city runs in Melbourne and Sydney, to wild routes along the dramatic coastline, Australia is one of the best countries in the world to lace up your trainers and take to the road. You'll be sure to be inspired by the landscape around you, and you might even see some local flora and fauna, like kangaroos and wallabies, along the way.

Cradle Mountain Run

One of the wildest runs in Australia, the Cradle Mountain Run takes participants on an incredible 82 km jaunt around scenic Tasmania. This ultra-running event takes place every February, and you'll be traversing across the wild Overland Track through miles of wilderness. You'll finish by the coast, at the Cynthia Bay Boat Jetty, and before that travel through the Waterfall Valley, along the shores of Lake Windemere and over the Frog Flats. It's a challenge that will pay off as you experience some of Australia's most special scenery up close.

Great Ocean Road Marathon (photo) Famous all over the world, the Great Ocean Road Marathon is arguable the most scenic running event in Australia. Running along the epic west coast of the country, from Lorne to Apollo Bay, you'll have incredible views of the wild and windswept Southern Ocean as you run alongside it. There are also half marathon and 14 km options for this route, but why not enjoy the stunning route for what it is, and complete the full 45 km marathon route? This special event takes place every May.

Gold Coast Marathon

If you're struggling through a chilly July, take the opportunity to travel to the sunny Gold Coast, in north west Australia. There are half and full marathon options available at this event, with both routes running along the stunning Queensland coast. The race attracts more than 28, 000 participants from around the world, who aim to reach their new personal best on the flat and scenic course, aided by the mild weather which boasts little wind and humidity – some of the perfect conditions for running. After you finish, enjoy the surf, sunshine and cafes lining the streets of this beautiful area.

Melbourne Marathon

Every October, the streets of Melbourne are filled with runners seeking a little sunshine. Choose between 5.7 km, 10 km and half marathon routes, or go for the full 42 km race at this event in the cosmopolitan city. The flat and breezy course creates perfect conditions for achieving your new personal best, and the urban location means you can be cheered over the finish line by family and friends. The largest marathon in Australia, you'll circle around the city sights, like Albert Station and past the St Kilda Beach foreshore during a race you'll never forget.

Sydney City 2 Surf

What better way to spend your time in August than at the biggest fun run in the world? This iconic run through Sydney's streets starts at Hyde Park, moves through the pretty Eastern Suburbs, and finishes up at surfer favourite Bondi Beach, where participants can finish off their run with a cooling swim. The race has been held every year since 1971, and attracts more than 80, 000 participants. The lively 14 km event is a great way to see the city and has a friendly, community feel.

The Australian Outback Marathon at Uluru

The beautiful scenery of interior Australia will inspire you as run this marathon. Attracting entrants from over 29 different countries, you'll be traversing along bush trails through beautiful red sand dunes, with the stunning Uluru in the background. This journey across the outback can also be taken in smaller distances – the organisers offer 11km and 6km fun runs.

The Winery Running Festival

Held in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, the Winery Running Festival makes use of the bucolic rolling hills and vineyards of Australia's wine country for their scenic races. There's no better way to celebrate crossing the finish line than with a glass of some of Australia's finest local wine. Held every July, a unique part of the running festival is the Moon Marathon they host – a 42km event held on golf cart tracks during the night.