Hey guys! I’ve got another great guest post from Roxana, Roxana, an adventure loving traveler from Sydney who’s worked in the travel industry as an freelance alternative Sydney tour guide for almost two years. She’s also a blogger/editor at stylebyasia.com and highstylife.com.
Did you know that there are hundreds of festivals taking place Down Under each year? Some of them are small and community-based (e.g. Apollo Bay Music Festival), while others are large (e.g. Falls Festival) and able to bring international performers and Australian stars. The types of festivals range from arts and cultural to music, film and theme-based ones. They are being held across the entire country (which is not a small deal), but the most frequent starting point, especially for foreign tourists, is Sydney, so we too will take it from there. Here are some of the most amazing festivals held in Australia you simply cannot miss.
Hunter Valley Wine Festival, Hunter Valley
Let us start with the most delicious festival on the list. Hunter Valley Wine Festival is certainly an event you shouldn’t miss, and because it spans two months, it is also very hard to do so. The festival celebrates the region’s premium wines, but also the food culture, and it includes more than 70 epicurean activities and events during May and June. At those events, you can take a vineyard tour, try vertical tasting, take part in cooking classes or masterclasses with winemakers, or just sit by an open fire and sip your favourite wine. The Hunter Valley is a simple drive from Sydney and it takes about 2 hours to arrive, so renting a car is a great idea.
The Parkes Elvis Festival, Parkes
The Parkes Elvis Festival is the biggest Elvis-themed festival in the southern hemisphere. When it first started, in 1993, it was a small local event, but now every year, on the second weekend of January, more than 20,000 people travel to Parkes to enjoy rock ‘n’ roll, glitters and hairspray. During that weekend, no one can truly say that “the King has left the building” when the King is literally everywhere – from concerts and competitions to gospel service. Parkes is 365 km away from Sydney, and the cheapest way to get there is by car, while the quickest is by plane (2 and a half hours), but you can also take the train.
Flickr – The Parkes Elvis Festival
There is nothing more beautiful than celebrating renewal and optimism, or to say it in one word – spring. The biggest celebration of spring in Australia takes place in Canberra. It runs from September to October, and it offers great entertainment, delicious regional food and wine, educational workshops and recreational activities. What makes Floriade so special is the setting. The festival is set in Commonwealth Park on the breathtaking shores of Lake Burley Griffin. The four-hectare area is filled with more than a million blooms. There are regular transport services between Canberra and Sydney, but if you are travelling in a group and want to save money, consider opting for a bus hire from Sydney.
The world’s largest short film festival is an amazing antidote to the luxury of Cannes and similar film festivals. Tropfest is free and held outdoors. The festival focuses on film-making, rather than exhibiting the best and worst dresses of the evening. It encourages experimentation and love for making short motion pictures. Tropfest is held in Parramatta Park in February, so it is quite enjoyable to watch movies in a natural setting, at a pleasant temperature. The best transport? Well, walk of course.
Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay
This music festival has been held for more than 15 years, and during that time, it has brought some of the most famous international artists, such as Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Florence and the Machine, Kanye West, Jack White and the Cure. The festival is set at a beautiful location (North Byron Parklands) and the top-notch line-up that performs every year covers various genres, so that everyone can find something for themselves. It also includes camping, and a bunch of fun activities for those who decide to stay under a tent. The quickest way to get from Sydney to Byron Bay is by flying directly to Ballina or catching a flight to Gold Coast or Brisbane, and then taking a bus. Renting a car is the cheapest option, but the drive lasts for about 9 hours.
Each of these five festivals represents Australia in a different and unique way. If you truly want to get to know all the charms of this country, you should definitely visit them, and experience authentic Aussie way of having fun.