Australia hosts a wealth of world-class sporting events, dazzling fashion shows, vibrant festivals and quirky cultural events each year. These are 10 of the best live events you can enjoy when things go back to normal:
10 Best Live Events in Australia
1. Fireworks at Sydney Harbour
A stunning fireworks display lights up the night sky above the iconic Sydney Harbour on New Year’s Eve. At the stroke of midnight, fireworks shoot from firing points on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and harbour barges as the New Year makes its spectacular debut. The evening also features an air show, a fire tug water exhibition and an Aboriginal ceremony, leaving visitors gasping at the manifold wonders on display.
2. Australian Open
The world’s greatest tennis players head to Melbourne in January each year to vie for glory at the Australian Open. Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have dominated the men’s tournament in recent times, while the women’s tournament has been wide open. Sofia Kenin, Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki, Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber have all lifted the famous trophy over the past five years. It also features men’s doubles, women’s doubles, mixed doubles and junior’s championships, along with wheelchair, legends and exhibitions events. It has the highest attendance of any Grand Slam: more than 800,000 people attended the tournament in 2020.
3. Hamilton Island Race Week
Spectators descend upon the gorgeous Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays each August to watch Race Week unfold. The racing takes centre stage, but guests can enjoy all manner of on-shore events, fine dining and star-studded parties, including the Whitehaven Beach Party, the Wild Oats Wine Ladies lunch and the Piper Heidsieck Champagne lunch. It is Australia’s largest offshore keelboat regatta, and a firm fixture on the international sailing calendar.
4. Adelaide Fringe Festival
Adelaide Fringe Festival began life as a small gathering of local arty types in the 1960s, but it has snowballed in the ensuing decades. It is now the world’s second largest open access arts festival, behind only Edinburgh Fringe, and it features more than 7,000 artists each year. The festival from mid-February to mid-March, with more than 1,300 events staged across a number of different venues in the city. The Adelaide Festival of Arts, Adelaide Writers’ Week, WOMADelaide and Adelaide 500 all take place concurrently, creating an electric atmosphere in the South Australian capital.
5. Melbourne Cup
The Melbourne Cup is known as the race that stops a nation. It is celebrated with a public holiday in Australia, and the country gathers around TV screens to watch the action unfold. It is one of the world’s richest and most prestigious races, so it attracts the finest stayers from across the globe. You can find out more information here about the quality of runners that gather for the 3200m race. Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne typically welcomes more than 90,000 spectators to watch the race each November, and celebrities that have attended include Snoop Dogg, Paris Hilton and Gigi Hadid.
6. Mardi Gras
Some 500,000 people take to the streets of Sydney to enjoy the country’s largest Pride event in early March each year. The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras was initially met with police violence when it was inaugurated in 1978, but it is now a defiant celebration of love and diversity. Motorcycle club Dykes on Bikes kicks off the annual in glorious fashion, and then it descends into a colourful festival of fun, with sequins, glitter, hot pants and rainbow tutus galore. Sydney was chosen ahead of Montreal and Houston to host WorldPride 2023, which is one to put in the diary.
7. Australian Fashion Week
Five-inch heels, pencil skirts and dazzling jewellery abound as Australian Fashion Week takes over Carriageworks in Redfern, Sydney, each April. Australian designers such as Lisa Ho, Alex Perry, Toni Maticevski, Collette Dinnigan and Leona Edmiston are among the famous names brought to global attention at the event. Controversy is de rigeur, as the event has witnessed rats on the catwalk, pythons wrapped around models in diamond-encrusted bikinis and bloggers bashing away at pianos in a glorious madcap week.
8. Electric Gardens
Australian entrepreneurs Damian Gelle and Anton Marmot met in London in the 1990s and teamed up to launch the South West Four festival on Clapham Common. It grew famous for attracting the world’s best DJs to London each year, and the duo then returned home to create Electric Gardens. The event has wowed fans Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide, with
thumping dance line-ups and vibrant entertainment. Underworld, Erick Morillo, Eats Everything, Fatboy Slim, Sigma, Paul Van Dyk, Patrick Topping, MaRLo and Matador were among the star performers at Electric Gardens in 2019 . Craig David, DJ EZ, Gorgon City, What So Not, Alan Fitzpatrick, Ann Clue and many more worked the crowds up to a frenzy in 2020.
9. The Ashes at the MCG
The rivalry between the Australian and English cricket teams runs deep. They battle it out for the Ashes on a regular basis, and it always leads to excitement, drama and controversy. The action shifts between England and Australia, and it is a huge deal in both nations. Matches take place across Australia, but the most exciting showdown is held at Melbourne Cricket Ground. It is the largest stadium in the southern hemisphere, the 11th largest in the world and the second largest cricket arena after Motera Stadium in India. It has hosted many famous Test matches over the years, and if you are lucky enough to grab a ticket for Australia vs. England at the MCG you will enjoy an unforgettable experience.
Australia is teeming with fantastic music festivals – Origin Fields, Subsonic, Lost Paradise, Beyond the Valley St Jerome’s Laneway, Bluesfest Byron Bay, Splendour in the Grass, Falls Festival and many more. However, for an unrivalled celebration of Australian music, cuisine and wine, head to Grapevine Gathering. Australia makes some of the best wine in the world, from the outstanding Chardonnays of the Adelaide Hills and the bold Shiraz from Barossa to stunning Pinot from Tasmania and phenomenal Hunter Valley Semillon. Taste some of the finest wines and the best craft beers from across the land, while enjoying culinary delights and generally kicking back and enjoying the sounds of some of Australia’s indie, dance and alternative favourites. Grapevine Gathering takes place in Mickelham in Victoria, Pokolbin in New South Wales and Caversham, Western Australia.