Events and Festivals in Australia

Find great events & festivals in Australia on HomeAway

Sydney Opera House There's always a great line-up of annual events in Australia, whether they be cultural festivals and sporting events, or music performances and art exhibitions. Whatever your interests and wherever you'd like to go, you'll find something to suit in every region of the country: whilst major cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Perth host some of the biggest and most elaborate festivals in the world, more rural areas in Australia's red heart can introduce you to indigenous art, culture and heritage. Whether you fancy New South Wales or Queensland, you'll certainly find plenty to keep you busy!

Of course, you'll want somewhere to call home while holidaying in Australia, and that's where HomeAway comes in. We have thousands of properties in Australia, from large family houses to chic urban apartments, some just steps from the beach and others within easy reach of the outback. What's more, many of our private holiday homes can be rented for both short and long stays, so you can spend your time travelling around different cities, or enjoy everything a festival has to offer over a month. There's no doubt about it: some of world's most exciting festivals and events can be found in Australia. Here's just a small selection of the biggest and best celebrations you can enjoy.


Attend the World's Best Celebrations Down Under


Melbourne Cup Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup is Australia's most famous horse race, and often described as the 'race that stops a nation'. The headlining event during Melbourne's Spring Racing Carnival, it sees thoroughbred horses take to a two mile track on the first Tuesday of November, as locals and tourists cheer for their favourite to win. The Melbourne Cup also gives people living in Melbourne a public holiday, so the city takes on a lively, party atmosphere, with elaborate costumes and large hats often overshadowing the race itself! With the total prize money today topping $6,000,000, it's certainly changed since the first race in 1861, when the winner received a gold pocket watch!

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Sydney Festival Sydney Festival

The Sydney Festival is the largest summer festival in Australia, taking place over three weeks in January. Established in 1977 as a cultural event for people living in the city, today it welcomes over one million visitors every year, both from Sydney and further afield. It offers an extensive programme of large-scale outdoor events, including dance, art, music and theatre, and sees over 220 performances and 900 artists hailing from 17 countries. As well as seeing major international artists on stage, you can enjoy a huge number of diverse events: acts in the past have included Russian theatre, burlesque circuses, New York DJs and indigenous art workshops. 

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Australia Day Australia Day

Australia Day is, as the name implies, the national day of Australia. It commemorates the First Fleet arriving from England at Sydney Cove in 1788, and Captain Arthur Phillip raising the Union Jack on the new land. A public holiday on the 26th of January, it takes place across the country, and sees both Australians and tourists celebrate the best things about Australia. Although there are a wide range of events, ceremonies and parties throughout Australia - over 5,000, to be precise - the revelry is best experienced in one of the country's oldest and biggest cities, like Brisbane, where free entertainment takes place all day.

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Sculpture by the Sea Sculpture by the Sea

As the world's largest free-to-the-public sculpture exhibition, Sculpture by the Sea is an unmissable event. Lasting for two weeks at the end of October - during the Southern Hemisphere's summer - it takes sculptures out of the gallery and onto the sand, representing over 100 Australian and international artists. Over 500,000 art lovers attend the cultural event every year, enjoying a two kilometre stretch of sand, the Bondi to Tamarama Coast Walk, as they contemplate beautiful artworks. Prizes are awarded in a variety of categories, including the People's Choice and the Kids' Choice, with previous winning sculptures including giant lightbulbs, tigers and skeletons!

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Perth Arts Festival Perth Arts Festival

The Perth Arts Festival is the longest-running and oldest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, having been held annually between February and March since is inception in 1953. Although not as well attended as the iconic Sydney Festival, it encompasses a much broader range of events, including the Perth Writers Festival and Lotterywest Festival Films, as well as opera performances, classical music concerts, theatre, dance and the visual arts. Over 800 acts perform every year, with more than 800,000 visitors attending: whatever you're interested in, you can rest assured the Perth Arts Festival has it covered!

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