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Top five Australian Festivals

Updated on February 5, 2010

Obviously Australia is a rather large country and therefore has many different festivals.These five are my personal favorites, and many others with me. The order is chronological as to when they are held througout the year, and does not have any significance as to ranking. Australians are a happy and fun-loving people. Their festivals represent this, and always go with the obligated alcoholic consumption (usually beer or wine) and heaps of food (many barbeque’s).

Big Day Out (

This festival is a huge open-air music festival that visits Australia’s main cities every January. It takes place in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, and the Gold Coast (Surfers Paradise). There are always some big international names, and heaps of local bands and DJ’s to entertain the massive crowd.

The festival was first held in 1992 and has since grown from Sydney only to include 5 cities, and from 9,500 visitors to more than 260,000. They’ve had big names such as Neil Young, Rage Against The Machine, Bjork, The Killers, Lupe Fiasco, Franz Ferdinand, Kings Of Leon, Beastie Boys, The Chemical Brothers, and much more. If you are interested, go and check out their website, because tickets tend to sell quickly and it would be a shame to miss it because it was sold out!

Womadelaide (

This is a massive event with performers and musicians from all over the world. This festival is held in Adelaide (South Australia) in March. Not just music here, but also a lot of performance arts, workshops, and delicious foods from every corner of the world.

This festivals premiere was also in 1992, when it was held as a part of the Womad series of music festivals. They are supposed to help people understand different cultures through their different types of music, dance, and arts. The fact that the festival is held in the Botanical Gardens brings even more atmosphere to it.

Margaret River Wine Region Festival (

This festival is held every year in April in Margaret River (Western Australia). Margaret River is the wine capital of Western Australia and is therefore the perfect spot for a wine festival. All the wineries in the region come together and organize things like tastings, wine tours, and more. There is also an abundance of great food to go with the wine, and live music to entertain the diners. There is a wine barrel car race, auctions, movies and more activities as well, if you’ve had enough wine. And as Margaret River is situated in a beautiful environment, you could always just go for a little walk to sober up.

Henley on Todd Regatta (

This festival takes place every year in September in Alice Springs (Nothern Territory), and makes for a crazy party. It s a boat races on the River Todd, except the river is usually dry during this period. The contestants fabricate the most colorful and weird-looking boats. They make holes in the bottom to stick their legs through. When the races start they pick up their boats and run for it.

Around the races, there is lots of food and of course beer (it is after all an Australian event). Most locals have a day off, except for those working in hospitality, and everyone is cheering on the races. It is a great festival to get to know some of the locals and their funny ways. And of course it is just a good laugh.

Fun fact: This is the only Regatta in the world that will get cancelled if there is actual water in the river.

Melbourne Cup (

This is held every year on the first Tuesday of November in Melbourne. And although the horse races are in Melbourne, the sporting event has turned into a national holiday for the Australians. It would be the most spectacular to go to Melbourne and go to the races at the Flemington Race Course, but this event will be celebrated all throughout Australia.

Everyone dresses up, the men in suits, the women in dresses and with hats or headbands that require flowers or feathers. Most people make reservations in bars or restaurants to have a rather posh lunch and then watch the races. If you want to go out, make sure you have a booking, if not almost everything will be full. Everyone places bets on their favorite horses, some bet small, others go all out.

The race itself lasts for about five minutes. The rest of the day is spend celebrating your winnings or drowning your losses. Of course a lot of alcohol is involved in this event as well.

The most famous horse to ever win was Phar Lap in 1930. He died mysteriously in America shortly after that. His body was stuffed and he is now on show in the Melbourne Museum.


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    • Mieka profile image

      Mieka 7 years ago

      Hi Agvulpes, I loved the Melbourne Cup! We got all dressed up, with feathers and flowers in our hair, and it was a really fun day out!!

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 7 years ago from Australia

      Oh you can't do justice to the Melbourne Cup Carnival (we don't call it a festival)in so few a lines. It is the greatest Carnival in the World bar none.

      btw another fun festival we have is called 'Moomba' it occurs in March and goes for over a week. With spectacular Water Skiing on the Yarra River among other things.

      We all have the AFL Carnival finals week. We say a week but it really goes for all of September.

      Hmmm Come to think of it the whole year is one big festival lol