From Christmas in July to the blessing of truffle dogs as winter’s most exciting ingredient makes its way into our diet; winter brings with it an abundance of rugged-up, stomach-satisfying events around the country to warm your heart and soul…
The Blessing of the Dogs and the Truffle Festival, Canberra, ACT
15 June – 31 August 2019
From June through to August, Canberra becomes the truffle capital of Australia. The event kicks off with a signature truffle hunt, and then the ‘Blessing of the Truffle Dogs’ on 16 June, where the adorable dogs are celebrated in the hopes of a prosperous truffle hunting season. For your $132 ticket you get to meet the dogs, join in a live truffle hunt and enjoy a country-style feast – with plenty of truffle, of course.
Going on 11 years, this year’s Truffle Festival brings with it a calendar full of events over winter highlighting the rare black winter truffle.
The ultimate winter festival, you won’t find a place filled with cosier nooks and delicious wine than Canberra, as they continue the celebration of what has become a major tourism draw card over the winter months.
From truffle degustations, to delicious truffle-infused menus, the festival now also boasts cooking schools, markets, wineries, breweries, cafes, restaurants and the celebrated truffle growers themselves – putting on a range of incredible experiences. Fancy trying truffle-infused beer at BentSpoke Brewing Co, anyone?
Dark Mofo, Hobart, TAS
6-23 June, 2019
Now a firm fixture on Australia’s cultural calendar, the seventh edition of Dark Mofo offers the usual mix of avant-garde music (from folk-rock performer Sharon Van Etten and renowned FKA Twigs, to Nicolas Jaar’s electronic music alter ego, Against All Logic); irresistible local produce (the decadent Winter Feast is a piece of theatre in itself); and controversy (visit Limbic Resonance – Noami Blacklock’s art production where you listen to rituals of primal screaming ringing across the dark gardens); all underscored by themes of centuries-old winter solstice rituals.
Adelaide Cabaret Festival, SA
7-22 June, 2019
Adelaide’s festival season doesn’t end in autumn, as its annual cabaret festival proves. With a program of both classic and contemporary performances, it showcases the best in local, national and international talent.
This years dazzling lineup includes Australian Eurovision representative and opera singer Kate Miller-Heidke, an immersive show by Flabbergast Theatre that transports the audience back to the scandalous 1800’s taprooms in The Swell Mob, and The House is Live – the new standalone event on opening night, set against the old theater decor of Thebarton Theatre, showcasing performances by Julia Zemiro, Reuben Kaye, Meow Meow and Queenie van de Zandt.
‘Christmas in July’ Winter Wonderlights, – Sovereign Hill, VIC
29 June – 21 July, 2019
If you’ve been to Sovereign Hill before, you’ll know it as a version of Ballarat in the late 1800s. What you might not know is that this magical place turns into a breathtaking wintry wonderland each day during the ‘Christmas in July’ festival.
Beauty and the Beast plays in the ‘town’s’ theatre, carols play in the street and St. Nick may even be spotted visiting! By nightfall, the street is lit up with Vivid-style grand-scale images dancing along the old-style buildings. You can also meet Sir Ginger as he gets up to a world of mischief in the Marquee.
Alice Springs Beanie Festival, Alice Springs, NT
28 June – 1 July, 2019
Handmade beanie hats – often colourful and individual in style and pattern – have long been valued in Central Australia and are celebrated as a distinctive regional art form each winter at the Alice Springs Beanie Festival.
This fun, community-based event emerged over 20 years ago as a ‘beanie party’ organised to sell hats crocheted by Aboriginal women in remote communities and, though much larger in scale today, retains this raison d’être. As well as choosing from the 7000-plus beanies on sale, visitors can take part in all manner of crafty workshops, from basket weaving to eco-dyeing and of course, beanie-making.
Yulefest – Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Blue Mountains, NSW
1-31 July, 2019
Picture it. Crackling bonfires, cheese and wine tastings and all the incredible festivities that come along with Christmas – and it’s only July.
One&Only Wolgan Valley is putting on an indulgent celebration, where throughout the entire month of July, the luxurious resort transforms into a spectacular winter wonderland, serving up traditional Christmas feasts to guests.
Winter Weekends, Port Fairy, VIC
7 June – 21 July, 2019 (every second weekend)
Cute coastal town Port Fairy is famous for its folk festival in autumn, while cooler months call for Winter Weekends: a celebration of the town’s food, art, nature, history, culture and community. Over a series of weekends, visitors can see the town illuminated with light installations and get involved in everything from coffee classes, gin and whisky tastings and mad-hatter tea parties to literary events, degustation dinners and cemetery ghost tours.
Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival, Huon Valley, TAS
12–14 July, 2019
Tasmania’s ‘other’ mid-winter festival is a three-day pagan-inspired celebration of the region’s apple history that takes place at their new home, the Ranelagh Showgrounds.
Its central focus is Saturday night’s wassail, an ancient tradition still celebrated in the West Country of England, where revellers – in full pagan get-up – chant incantations, bang pots and pans, and shoot shotguns to wake up dormant apple trees in hope of a good season ahead. Festivities are complemented by folk music, feasting, and of course, lashings of cider.
Cabin Fever, Margaret River, WA
19-28 July, 2019
If when you think of winter you picture quality wines, comfort food, self-contained chalets and acres of breathtaking forest, then the Margaret River’s Cabin Fever winter food and wine festival is the pick for you.
Over 10 days, there’ll be over 30 unique events, including bonfires, brews, live music and an appreciation for chocolate, cheese and coffee. Better still, the best in regional produce will be available – and you’ll be able to appreciate it all under the star-filled view of your very own local chalet.
Bello Winter Music, Bellingen, NSW
11–14 July, 2019
Bello Winter Music, in the creative New South Wales hub of Bellingen, brings local, national and international performers, including Auckland-born global star, Nadia Reid, to the town’s pubs, halls and streets. The musically inclined among us can also take part in workshops with the festival’s performers including folk-group The Stetson Family and Bollywood dance classes with the Bollywood Sisters. Stay in a bell tent in the festival camping village, or opt for a cosy B&B.
Jumpers and Jazz in July, Warwick, QLD
17–27 July, 2019
Jumpers and Jazz in July is a quirky and colourful festival that takes place over crisp, sunny winter days in the south-east Queensland town of Warwick. It’s a feast of jazz, art and quirky yarn bombing, where every tree in town is dressed in textile art – or jumpers – for the occasion. Over 100 events take place over 10 days, including exhibitions, pop-up craft shops, high teas, heritage train rides, a winter dinner and concert combo, and a new Laneway Party.
Meditate at Uluru for International Earth Chakra Day, NT
January 12, 2019
If planetary ascension and cosmic consciousness make you feel curious about learning more, then showing up at Australia’s most well known landmark on January 12 could serve as a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you.
In support of International Earth Chakra Day, the purpose is to feel the flow of the Earth’s chakras, through a meditative experience. As humans have chakras, so does the Earth, and visiting a spot like Uluru on this day can provide an intense connection to mother Earth, as you meditate. The experience is designed to bring spiritual awakening and personal healing to those who take part. It could just be well worth it!
Orange Winter Fire Festival
2-4th August, 2019
When your parents told you not to play with fire, what they actually meant was… let someone else do it for you! This August sees Orange and Millthorpe host the annual Orange Winter Fire Festival, and a whole swag of events showcasing why these towns have established themselves firmly as official regional foodie destinations.
If you’re watching your waistline don’t worry, there is something for everyone, with everything from night markets to poetry sessions and astronomy classes. Now that’s literally lit.
White Night Victoria
Melbourne – 22 – 24 August 2019 – 7pm to 2am
Ballarat – 21 September 2019 – 7pm to 2am
Love the Vivid vibes but hate the crowds associated with it? It’s time to head south! Held in two locations across Victoria the White Night Festival is designed to awaken your inner night owl. Come celebrate local, national and international contemporary art pieces from outdoor light displays to street performances. If flashy lights isn’t really your thing, most shops part take in the festivities meaning you can shop till you drop all night long!