The Australian event calendar for 2017 offers a glittering array of sports, music, food, wine, art and fun. Here’s a look at the highlights, so you can plan a trip to coincide with one of the country’s fabulous festivals.
Live events offer an atmosphere and sense of fun that’s hard to beat, especially when you’re on holidays. Australia’s festival scene extends from high-action sports to relaxed country fairs and world-class art, so there’s a little bit of something for everyone.
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival: 31 March – 9 April
Acclaimed as one of Australia’s foodie hotspots, going to the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival means a serious investment in tastebud heaven. Over 10 gourmet days, you can eat, drink and be merry at a smorgasbord of events, including one of the Regional World’s Longest Lunches, Wine Weekend in the Melbourne CBD and International Chef Collaborations.
Byron Bay Bluesfest
Byron Bay Bluesfest: 13 – 17 April
Australia’s largest blues and roots festival is a five day music-lover’s dream. It’s also a family-friendly event, set on the lush grounds of Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm. With international food stalls, shops and children’s entertainment among up to seven stages hosting world-class performers, it’s little wonder the festival now attracts up to 100,00 people a year. Headliners for 2017 include Santana, Kasey Chambers and Neil Finn.
Una Bella Festa: Part of High Country Harvest Festival
Country Victoria is on fire with autumn colours during May, offering the perfect backdrop for hiking, feasting and relaxing during the High Country Festival.
High Country Harvest Festival, Victoria: 5 – 21 May
Country Victoria is on fire with autumn colours during May, offering the perfect backdrop for hiking, feasting and relaxing during the High Country Festival. Tour the region at a series of events, including Cannoli Making with Nonna in Cheshunt, the Una Bella Festa in King Valley at a vineyard and Yoga, Bubbles, Brekky…Bliss at Rutherglen.
Vivid Light Festival Sydney
Vivid Sydney: 26 May – 17 June
See Sydney at its sparkling best, during Vivid Sydney. Light installations and projections bring the CBD alive, with the Sydney Opera House, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Taronga Zoo illuminated via shapes and colours. There’s also performances, food markets, talks and workshops throughout the festival.
McLaren Vale Sea and Vines, South Australia: 9 – 12 June
Sample some of the country’s finest wines, at South Australia’s McLaren Vale Sea and Vines Festival. This year celebrates the event’s 25th birthday, with food, beaches, trails, markets and art. Try degustation dinners, enjoy live music and indulge your love of cooking at masterclasses.
Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival, Queensland: 1 – 5 November
Watch the world’s largest Olympic distance triathlon, against the backdrop of one of Queensland’s most beautiful beaches, in Noosa. If you’re suitably inspired, you can even join events like the Breakfast Fun Run, which raises funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Melbourne Cup Carnival: 4 – 11 November
It might be known as the ‘race that stops a nation’, but have you ever actually been? The Melbourne Cup Carnival is truly an opportunity to kick up your heels among fabulous fashion, champagne and the world’s premier horses, trainers and jockeys. Make 2017 the year to tick one of Australia’s most prestigious events off your bucket list.
Nicole Leigh West
Nicole Leigh West is the author of fiction novel, 'The Gypsy Trail' and an internationally recognised travel and lifestyle writer.