Australians are among the most outdoorsy people on the planet. They are fortunate enough to have an abundance of vast outdoor spaces and a cultural heritage rich in outdoor entertainment. Consequently a love of community, adventure and outdoor activities is an innately Aussie characteristic. What’s more, owing to its geography Australia enjoys Christmas during the summers. While the northern hemisphere faces chilly weather Australians drive out to enjoy the beaches and parks. Here is a short list of some of the many awesome events in this wonderful country that you must put on your list.
Organized annually in Canberra’s Commonwealth Park since 1986, Floriade is a flower and entertainment festival that attracts nearly 500,000 people annually. One of the most important attractions of the year in the region, the event celebrates the Australian spring during the months of September and October. The concept originated when an Australian architect visited a famous garden in the Netherlands and decided to recreate the aesthetic appeal in Canberra. Many of the floral works of public art displayed in the Floriade gardens are created by schools and by senior citizens. Although the festival lasts for two months, most of the displays are perennial. This year’s dates are 14th September to 13th October. During a few days of the festival there will also be evening displays and presentations collectively called NightFest which will feature fun, food and entertainment, and will be open between 6.30 pm and 10.30 pm.
National Multicultural Festival
As the name suggests this event celebrates the diversity of the more than 170 nationalities which are part of the population of the country’s capital. Spanning three days in February the festival is one of the most popular in Canberra, attracting more than 250,000 visitors each year. Celebrated regularly since 1981 it features music, dance, entertainment, cultural displays, stalls with all kinds of curios, and a mind boggling assortment of food. It also features a lively parade with richly decorated dancers, marching bands and colorful floats. The event will next take place between 21 and 23 February 2020. The organizers are currently inviting sponsorships.
Attended every year by more than 100,000 motoring enthusiasts, Summarnats is the most popular car festival in the country. Held over four days during the Australian summer the event features a profusion of modified and stock cars in dazzling liveries. There are also motoring competitions and prizes for participants including the highly coveted ‘Grand Champion’ award each year. There are several other awards in categories such as custom air brushing, horsepower, show cars, and the like. Despite a motor head-oriented outlook, the event is surprisingly family-friendly, with many activities for children. Summernats is organized at the Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC).
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
The name of this festival says it all. The third largest of its kind in the world, this event takes place at The Melbourne Town Hall over four weeks in March and April each year. Known to attendees simply as MICF the festival hosts hundreds of artists from all over the world, giving performances numbering in the thousands. The festival is an ideal stage for standup comedy, sketches, plays and cabaret, among other performing art forms. Many of the events are widely broadcasted, including exclusive live performances by female comedians. With nightly shows, one-off special events, awards and loads of advertising revenue for the sponsors, the festival is a favorite annual occurrence for entertainers everywhere.
Australian Wooden Boat Festival
Celebrating Australia’s Maritime heritage once every two years, the AWBF is organized in parallel with the Royal Hobart Regatta. It is the favorite place to be for all seagoing vessels made of wood. Featuring everything from humble dinghies and canoes to multi-million dollar yachts and classic tall ships, this festival is an extravaganza for the maritime enthusiast. An International Wooden Boat Symposium is also held during this time. As if that were not enough, the festival showcases the rich culinary heritage of the state of Tasmania with a definitive focus on good food and homegrown wines. Dates for the next event are February 5 to 8, 2021. Needless to say, you had better book your hotel room well in advance.
Canberra Balloon Spectacular
Organized each year in March at the vast lawns of the old Parliament House in Canberra, this festival is a visual treat for all balloon lovers. Fifty or so balloons are inflated at dawn on each day of the festival, and released into the open, clear sky. They float gently through the day over Canberra, their spectacular colors and sometimes unique shapes creating memorable vistas. Animal shaped balloons including whales, turtles, bees, frogs and birds seem to be very popular. Spectators on the ground can enjoy the view accompanied by live music and a sumptuous breakfast. For the more adventurous attendees balloon flight bookings are also available.