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 10th anniversary of the Truffle Festival, Canberra, ACT
17 June – 31 August 2018
From June through to August, Canberra becomes the truffle capital of Australia. The event kicks off with the ‘Blessing of the Truffle Dogs’ on 17 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.
2018 is the 10-year anniversary of the Truffle Festival, and 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 – and it’s been kicked up a considerable notch in 2018.
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
Until 24 June, 2018
Now a firm fixture on Australia’s cultural calendar, the sixth edition of Dark Mofo offers the usual mix of avant-garde music (from St. Vincent and Laurie Anderson to Inuit punk throat singer Tanya Tagaq); irresistible local produce (the decadent Winter Feast is a piece of theatre in itself); and controversy (this year’s festival involves artist Mike Parr being buried beneath a main street in Hobart for three days); all underscored by themes of centuries-old winter solstice rituals.
Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Until 23 June, 2018
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. Highlights this year include contemporary musical theatre icon Patti LuPone, the brilliantly titled ode to a gravelly great, Tom Waits For No Man, and The Legend of Queen Kong Episode II in Outer Space – the new project from one of Australia’s most awarded cabaret artists, Sarah Ward.
‘Christmas in July’ Winter Wonderlights, – Sovereign Hill, VIC
30 June – 22 July, 2018
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.
Little Red Robin Hood 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 the Goldfields animals at the Pig Pen every day.
Alice Springs Beanie Festival, Alice Springs, NT
29 June – 2 July, 2018
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, 2018
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.
In addition to the Christmas cheer, the Winter Culinary Festival will also be taking place, with several notable events scheduled throughout June, July and August. Special mention must go to Krug Escape; launching in June, the new Champagne experience is available exclusively to guests of the resort. Whisked away in four-wheel drives, guests will enjoy a Krug picnic in the stunning bushland setting, sipping on Krug Grande Cuvée.
Winter Weekends, Port Fairy, VIC
June–July, 2018 (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 sourdough classes, whisky tastings and slow-cooked roast lunches to literary events, film screenings and cemetery ghost tours.
Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival, Huon Valley, Tas
13–15 July, 2018
Tasmania’s ‘other’ mid-winter festival is a three-day pagan-inspired celebration of the region’s apple history that takes place at Willie Smith’s Apple Shed. 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
13-22 July, 2018
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.
Winterfeast, Bundaberg and North Burnett regions, QLD
6–15 July, 2018
Winterfeast food festival showcases Bundaberg’s emergence as a foodie destination with its takeover of the city and its surrounds. Over 10 days, experience the region’s produce through a host of farm-to-gate experiences: gather local ingredients (including seafood and strawberries) on the Artisan Food Tour for a cooking class and lunch; make your own gin with Kalki Moon Distilling & Brewing Company’s master distiller in Let The Night Be Gin; and experience the Southern Great Barrier Reef with A Winterfeast Day Trip to Lady Elliot Island.
Bello Winter Music, Bellingen, NSW
12–15 July, 2018
Bello Winter Music, in the creative New South Wales hub of Bellingen, brings local, national and international performers, including alt-country troubadour Justin Townes Earle, 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 gypsy jazz guitar with The Cope Street Parade and vocal training with Imogen Pemberton. Stay in a bell tent in the camping village, or opt for a cosy B&B.
Jumpers and Jazz in July, Warwick, Qld
19–29 July, 2018
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 Creole-inspired banquet.
BRAVE, Hamilton Island, QLD
22-25 June, 2018
It may not be your average winter event – but for one weekend only, Hamilton Island will challenge their guests to be brave, with an adrenalin-filled weekend and some familiar faces to spur on the fun.
From a 60-metre abseil, to a deep dive on the Great Barrier Reef, familiar faces including the likes of Jessica Rowe, Ian Thorpe and Tracey Spicer will be present in a bid to cheer you on – and take part in a rare discussion, where each special guest will reveal their own personal stories of bravery.
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!