Winter in Australia is not an invitation to hibernate. Sure, temperatures have dropped and the days have grown shorter, but that doesn’t mean you need to say goodbye to the outside world once the chilly season sets in. There are so many winter activities, festivals, and events happening across the country, so it’s time to pull on your beanie and explore the many things to do in Australia in winter.

Whether you’re hoping to sample some of the best food Australia has to offer, sip on a glass of fine wine, enjoy a live performance or attend an interesting debate, read on as we go through the best winter events in Australia, state by state:

Best Winter Events In Australia

  1. Vivid Sydney, Sydney CBD, New South Wales
  2. Winter Night Market, Melbourne CBD, Victoria
  3. Dark Mofo, Hobart, Tasmania
  4. Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Adelaide, South Australia
  5. Noosa Alive, Noosaville, Queensland
  6. Cabin Fever, Margaret River, Western Australia
  7. The Camel Cup, Yulara, Northern Territory
  8. Canberra Writers Festival, Canberra, ACT

1. Vivid Sydney, Sydney CBD, New South Wales

When: May 27th to June 18th, 2022

Where: Multiple locations around Sydney, including Darling Harbour and Circular Quay

Instagram: @vividsydney

There are many reasons to find Sydney in winter and Vivid is one of the most popular ones. The award-winning winter festival incorporates a public exhibition of outdoor lighting, sculptures and art installations, all accompanied by some stellar live music. Best of all, it’s free.

Besides the spectacular light displays, Vivid also hosts an impressive lineup of thought-provoking discussions with creative and influential figures from around the country. From music to cinema, social justice, photography and sustainability, the festival’s Ideas program includes something for every curious mind.

Those visiting with little ones can check out Vivid Kids @ Tumbalong Park, a brand new addition to the program that features free live acts your kids will love to dance along to. Speaking of new additions, if you’re keen to party after admiring the light displays, why not join Vivid’s first-ever Supper Club, happening each Friday and Saturday evening at Mary’s Underground?

Looking for more winter festivals to attend during your trip to NSW? Try Winter Magic Festival in Katoomba, Hunter Valley Food and Wine Festival, Byron Writers Festival, Sydney Film Festival and Bathurst Winter Festival.

2. Winter Night Market, Melbourne CBD, Victoria

When: Every Wednesday, from June 1st to August 31st, 2022

Where: Queen Victoria Market

Instagram: @thenightmarket

After a two-year hiatus, the Winter Night Market is returning to Queen Victoria Market. As usual, the markets will bring together some of the best food and drinks traders in Melbourne to create an event any foodie travelling to Melbourne this winter would be remiss not to attend. 

From delicious pasta to smoky barbecue, spicy curries and more: the variety of dishes you can try at the Winter Night Market never disappoints. As for drinks, there’s nothing like a glass of mulled wine to keep you warm during a winter night. 

After feasting on the best food Melbourne has to offer, visitors can stroll through a number of artisan stalls to shop for clothing, book, homewares and more, or sit down by the fire pit to enjoy live music performances.

Looking for more things to do in Melbourne during winter? Check out Winter Wonderlights at Sovereign Hill, Melbourne International Film Festival, Winery Walkabout and Winter Wine Weekend.

3. Dark Mofo, Hobart, Tasmania

When: June 8th to 22nd, 2022

Where: Multiple locations around Hobart

Instagram: @dark_mofo

As winter festivals in Australia go, Dark Mofo in Hobart is undoubtedly one of the most unique. Organised by the city’s incredible Museum of New Art (MONA), Dark Mofo is an extraordinary event that explores the ancient winter solstice rituals, with numerous festivities held over the fortnight. 

Some of the highlights include the Reclamation Walk, which opens the festival and is held by Aboriginal Elders, the annual Winter Feast, a sumptuous banquet on the Hobart waterfront, and the Nude Solstice Swim, where hundreds of brave people strip down and plunge into the Derwent River at sunrise to welcome back the light after enduring the year’s longest night.

As for the performances, Dark Mofo’s 2022 lineup features more than 100 artists from 30 countries, with headliners including The Kid Laroi, Nils Frahm and Perfume Genius. Tickets usually sell out fast, so be sure to get yours quick!

If you’re flying to Tasmania and want to add a couple more winter festivals to your itinerary, be sure to check out Festival of Voices, Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival, Tasmanian Whisky Week and Devonport Jazz.

4. Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Adelaide, South Australia

When: June 11th to 25th, 2022

Where: Her Majesty’s Theatre, Festival Theatre and Dunstan Playhouse and Space Theatre

Instagram: @adelaidefescent

Lovers of art, theatre, and really good music flock to Adelaide in June to take in this annual festival. The event showcases classic and contemporary performances from local, national, and international acts, with past events having featured the likes of Dame Edna Everage, Idina Menzel, Dita Von Teese, Olivia Newton-John, Molly Ringwald and Paul Kelly.

Having won multiple awards in previous years, the cabaret festival always has an impressive lineup of artists and this year’s program is no exception, including dozens of performances split into six categories – Homage, Variety, Comedy, Immersive, Intimate and Nostalgic – some of which you can watch for free. 

For dinner, there will be a number of food trucks around Adelaide Festival Centre, as well as cheese platters and other snacks at the Corryton Burge bar, which will go perfectly with a glass of fine wine. 

If you’re interested in checking out some of South Australia’s other food, wine and culture events this winter, Try Winter Reds, Adelaide Beer & BBQ Festival, Umbrella Winter City Sounds or South Australian Living Arts Festival.

5. Noosa Alive, Noosaville, Queensland

When: July 21st to 31st, 2022

Where: Multiple locations around Noosa

Instagram: @noosa_alive

One of the best performing arts and cultural festivals in Australia, Noosa Alive features music, dance, literature, food, drink – you name it, you can find it here! Held over ten days, the festival entertains visitors with 25 events ranging from musical performances, comedy shows and plays to films, workshops, and so much more.

This year’s lineup is yet to be announced but previous editions of Noosa Alive have included ballet performances by Queensland Ballet, magnificent concerts by Noosa Orchestra’s 60 talented musicians, hypnotising cabaret shows by Meow Meow, and the Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival.

For $135, attendees can also join the Business Forum Lunch with celebrity speaker David Koch and guest panellists, and enjoy a 2-course meal, fine wine, beer and bubbles while learning all about business in today’s world.

Bought your flight to Queensland and looking for more winter entertainment? Check out these festivals: Regional Flavours Festival, Brisbane Good Food Month, Winter Harvest Festival, Jumpers and Jazz in July and The Curated Plate.

6. Cabin Fever, Margaret River, Western Australia

When: July 15th to 24th, 2022

Where: Multiple locations around the Margaret River region 


Winter getaways don’t get much more sublime than this. The Margaret River region is one of Australia’s best wine destinations, and for 10 days in July, visitors are offered the perfect opportunity to head out into the chilly air for high-quality wine, hearty comfort food, bonfires, and all-around good times. 

This gourmet event comes complete with more than 40 unique events throughout the region, so it’s best to book some accommodation and escape into wine country for a few days.

With such an extensive program, the festival is sure to have something for everyone. At Beer Yourself, you’ll get to enjoy a cracking four-course feast with matching beers on the side, at Night Of Noir, you’ll indulge in fine wine, sweet gelato and decadent canapés, and at the Cheese Toastie Battle, you’ll sample some of the best cheese toasties in the state. Be sure to check out the festival’s full program!

Keen to discover more of the state’s food and cultural scene during your trip to WA? From Revelation Perth International Film Festival to A Taste of Broome, there are plenty of events to attend during winter.

7. The Camel Cup, Yulara, Northern Territory

When: May 27th to 28th, 2022

Where: Uluru Camel Farm

The name says it all, really. Every year, on the second Saturday in July, camels and their riders will race along outback tracks in Alice Springs to the delight of spectators who can attend the race for a small fee of $10. 

There are many other events taking place throughout the day though, including the rickshaw races, the Kids Kamel Dapers hobby camel race, belly dancing, rides, and the Mr and Mrs Camel Cup challenges. Add in the food stalls and bars and you have yourself one truly unique winter festival.

The Camel Cup isn’t the only winter event you can attend. If you’re travelling to the Northern Territory and need more activities to add to your itinerary, try Darwin Festival and Alice Springs Beanie Festival.

8. Canberra Writers Festival, Canberra, ACT

When: August 10th to 24th, 2022

Where: Multiple locations around Canberra

Instagram: @cbrwritersfest

Boasting more than 60 live events with a number of international, national and local authors, the Canberra Writers Festival is back after two years. It might sound like a niche event at first but previous editions of the festival have included debates around a wide range of subjects, so chances are that you’ll find something that interests you.

From feminism, politics and veganism to comedy, science and Australia’s cultural heritage: this festival is the perfect place to learn more about all your favourite topics – no matter what they are. And hey, what better opportunity to extend your book collection?

Looking for more winter festivals to attend during your trip to Canberra? Check out Winter Festival In the City and The Truffle Festival.

No matter where in Australia you’re travelling this winter, chances are that there’s a fun event happening near you, so why not start planning your itinerary today? Explore and book specials on domestic flights in Australia with Webjet!

Feature image: Vivid Sydney 2018. Credit: Nigel Howe | CC BY-NC 2.0


Maddison is a freelance writer specialising in adventure travel. She has written for titles in Europe, Asia and North America, and is currently planning her next escape to somewhere mountainous.

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