Winter in Australia is unlike anywhere else in the world. With outdoor events scheduled throughout the season, the coldest months fly by as you enjoy the best of the country’s food, culture, and natural beauty. If your idea of winter is far from being cooped up in bed, Australia has some great things to do during July and August.
1. Noosa Long Weekend Festival
Mid-July – Noosa, Queensland
This 10-day feast of arts and culture offers a diverse series of live performances by local and international artists. It’s a great week-long escapade for families and friends because there’s definitely something for everyone—from circus performances and live music to literature workshops and sporting events. As each activity is held in the best spots around Noosa, the festival is an intimate way to get to know the county.
2. Darwin Festival
August – Darwin, Northern Territory
Darwin Festival is a celebration that spans 18 days, which is enough time for you to enjoy life in the Northern Territory’s capital city, as represented by its multicultural music, food, and arts. Artists gather every year to fill the tropical city with lights and sounds—a tradition that dates back to the 1800s. Today, with its assortment of kid-friendly activities and stellar performances, the festival is gaining international status as a fun gathering for everyone in the family.
3. Mowanjum Festival
2nd week of July – Derby, Western Australia
For one night every year in July, people from all over the country gather to witness one of Australia’s largest performance events featuring the traditional culture of indigenous tribes. The day of the festival is filled with song and dance numbers presented by Worrorra, Ngarinyin, and Wunumbal people. You can also get hands-on lessons about their art-making and medicinal techniques through the workshops they host for visitors. More than a celebration, the Mowanjum Festival is a unique cultural experience for everyone.
4. Good Food and Wine Show
June to October – Melbourne/Perth/Sydney/Brisbane
Foodies everywhere unite in key cities in Australia to cook, eat, and talk about what they love the most: good food and wine. The biggest consumer exhibition in Australia welcomes thousands of guests during the three days that it is open in each location. Here, you don’t only get to savour gourmet goodness; you also get to see it prepared by top chefs and celebrity cooks right before your eyes. For exact dates and more information about the exhibitions, visit their official site.
5. The Rocks Aroma Festival
Mid-July – Sydney, New South Wales
Coffee lovers flock every year in The Rocks for a two-week celebration of all things roasted, brewed, and aromatic. The Aroma Festival lives up to its name because of how it fills the street with the irresistible scent of fresh coffee, cocoa, and tea, along with the dishes served by the food stalls set up there. Get your fill of flavourful brews poured and prepared by the best baristas around. Better yet, learn how to make your own perfect cup through the workshops offered on the days leading to the main event.
6. Regional Flavours
Mid-July – Brisbane, Queensland
Queensland’s own food and wine event celebrates the locals’ produce, made abundant by the state’s farm-friendly climate and land. The July weekend, when Regional Flavours takes place, is a delight to everyone who enjoys hearty meals and wonderful company. Go here with your family for live demos with renowned chefs, celebrity appearances, garden activities, farming talks, and of course, good food.
7. Barossa Gourmet Weekend
Late August – Barossa Valley, South Australia
Perhaps the best way to end winter is by toasting glasses in Australia’s famed wine region down south. In the last days of August, Barossa Valley hosts a series of food-and-wine events to welcome spring. Food markets, cooking lessons, picnics, parties, and of course, wine-tasting, are in store for the attendees. To top that, you can experience all these with lovely music and awesome landscape views in the background.
8. Splendour in the Grass
Late July – Byron Bay, New South Wales
This is one of Australia’s biggest and most anticipated music festivals headlined by some of the hottest names to hit the airwaves worldwide. Typically happening on the last weekend of July, Splendour in the Grass gathers thousands of fans to witness great musical acts perform live. You can also camp onsite before the three-day concert to meet new friends and mingle with like-minded concert-goers.
9. Audi Hamilton Island Race Week
Late August – Hamilton Island, Queensland
This week-long yachting event is evidence that you can feel summer vibes even before winter ends in Australia. You can be one of the hundreds of recreational sailors who gather each year for a series of boat races within the Whitsunday Islands. Or, you could party it up on the beach, as on-shore events are also hosted around the islands during the regatta. Either way, you will surely make wonderful summer-like memories here.
10. Minke Whale Swim Programs
July to August – Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
It would be hard for divers and sea lovers to pass up on the rare opportunity to swim right alongside minke whales. For a few weeks between June and August, the gentle giants travel through the Great Barrier Reef, allowing snorkelers and scuba divers the unique thrill of seeing the whales up close. You can also share the waters with the minke whales by booking a guided diving program, which may come with a package of sea activities such as island hopping, cruising, and exploring the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.
the first full week of July – Australia-wide
NAIDOC week (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) is celebrated annually throughout Australia during the first week of July to recognise and commemorate the rich culture, achievements and history of Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders. Local government agencies, councils, schools and workplaces organise events and activities throughout the week; encouraging everyone to participate and support the local Indigenous and Torres Strait Island communities. For more information about the history of NAIDOC and the events happening in each state, check out their website.
12. Winter Night Market
June – August – Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne, Victoria
The winter night market is an experience that is not to be missed by food lovers everywhere. Running every Wednesday night from June until August (in 2017, it starts on the 7th June and finishes on 30th August), this weekly affair is truly a feast for the senses. Taste gastronomical delights from global food traders and warm beverages while you peruse the design stalls on display. Warm yourself by the lovely open fires while you listen to the live bands and enjoy the amusing stylings of the entertainers wandering around. A great night out for friends and families. Here’s what’s on offer this week.
Remember folks: if you’re heading to Australia for tourism or to visit family and friends in the winter (or any time of year, really), you’ll need a valid travel visa before you leave! If you’re from an ETA or EVV approved country, then you can submit your application online! But if you’re aiming to stay longer than 3 months, or are not from an ETA/EVV approved country, then you’ll have to apply for a visitor visa instead.
Not sure which one you need? Check the requirements here, and take our free assessment to see if you are able to apply. Too easy!
Have some more events to add to our list? Let us know in the comments below!