Celebrate Winter

Why stay indoors this winter and spring when there’s so much going on?

ACT

Winter means frosty mornings and crisp days in the ACT, but just when the nippy weather starts to bite, venues around Canberra heat up for its annual winter celebration, the Fireside Festival (1-31 August). Warm up with a steaming mulled wine or a hearty meal, and experience performances, exhibitions and more across the city.

When the sun sets on Floriade, the largest floral festival in the Southern Hemisphere, the entertainment hots up at the Floriade Night Fest (24-28 Sept). Celebrate spring with live music, comedy, cocktail bars and night markets. 

Northern Territory

Tired of winter? Head north! While the rest of Australia shivers, Most of the Territory experiences the warm days and mild nights of the tropical dry season.

The Darwin Lions Beer Can Regatta (6 July) pits homemade creations of dubious seaworthiness against each other. Whether you’re in a boat or cheering from the beach, this long-running tradition is typically Territorian.

For a different kind of cultural experience, The Alice Desert Festival (10-14 September) celebrates the stories, arts and lifestyle of Central Australia with artists, dancers and musicians from remote communities, as well as some of Australia’s hottest acts. 

New South Wales

Famous for beaches (and tans), News South Wales’ winter action kicks off with theWinter Magic Festival (21 June). On the winter solstice, the eccentric Blue Mountains town of Katoomba is taken over by musicians, dancers, pantomime artists, markets and choirs, culminating in a colourful parade.

Or, if you’re into more earthly delights, celebrate a whole month of delicious fresh produce at the Hunter Valley Wine and Food Month (June). In its second year the festival is already a staple of the state’s gourmet scene.

Queensland

The Sunshine State is one of Australia’s rugby heartlands, so be warmed up by a fiery rivalry when Super Rugby’s Queensland Reds take on the NSW Waratahs at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on 12 July.

Alternatively, although a light jacket is usually all you need for Queensland’s mild winter days, the quirky folks in Warwick like jumpers so much that they dress local trees, buildings and cars in knitted and quilted creations during their Jumpers and Jazz in July (17-27 July). There’s also jazz in the park and local exhibitions.

South Australia

Cool nights in Adelaide take on a new meaning during the undeniably hip Adelaide’s Cabaret Fringe Festival (June). Talented performers celebrate the art of cabaret in clubs and bars across town. Whether it’s classic Broadway or a mix of outback and downtown, there’s a flavour of cabaret for any palate.

Speaking of flavour, enjoy the local food, wine and fun of a world-renowned wine region at the Barossa Gourmet Weekend (15-17 August). Indulge in a feast for the senses – food and wine tastings, artisans markets, live entertainment, family fun days, cooking masterclasses and more.                   

Tasmania

Expect snowy scenes and crackling fires when you explore Australia’s true winter wonderland - Tasmania.

Already attracting plenty of ‘hipster’ tourists, the quirky Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) has branched out to alternative music. Dark MOFO (MONA’s Festival of Music and Art) in June was a smashing success in 2013, so buy a Polaroid camera and start working on your hipster beard!

At the other end of the music spectrum, the Festival of Voices (4-13 July) exuberantly celebrates the human voice. From choral to a cappella, just follow the singing to learn, perform or enjoy. 

Victoria

Wrap up in a scarf (Melbourne’s unofficial winter uniform) before exploring a state built for winter from its cosy bars to its obsession with coffee.

See why Melbourne’s been named an official UNESCO City of Literature at the Melbourne Writers Festival (21-31 August). Dive into big ideas with international thinkers, or discover writing intricacies with your favourite authors.

Not the bookish type? Get your cheer on at the Australian Football League (AFL) finals throughout September. Wrap up in your team scarf and beanie, practice your chants and remember – it’s all the ump’s fault.

Western Australia

Years ago, there wasn’t much happening in Perth when it was too cold for the beach. Now, the city’s developed a vibrant small bar culture and winter lifestyle.

Escape the blustery outdoors at the Revelation Perth International Film Festival (July 4-14). Choose from over 100 films, live music performances and art exhibitions across Perth.

Although mining still rules in WA, local farmers also dig for a different kind of black gold. Join Manjimup’s Truffle Kerfuffle (27-29 June) to uncover the world’s most-prized fungus. Even if you don’t find any, there’s still gala dinners, truffle masterclasses and farmers markets.