There’s no shortage of things to do in Australia this month. If anyone knows that, it’s us…
However, with what’s on around the country this January, it can sometimes get a little overwhelming to separate the champs from the chumps. You’re busy people, we get it.
Start 2023 the right way with this comprehensive list of things to do in your state this January. From music festivals and art exhibitions to sporting events and collaborative dinners, there’s something for everyone in the New Year.
NSW | VIC | QLD | TAS | WA | SA | NT | ACT | Lunar New Year
The Sydney Festival has been celebrating culture, creativity and the questioning mind since 1977. From the streets to the beach, in theatres and basements across the city, experience free and ticketed theatre, music, dance, visual art and live performances.
Discover a magical marine world with Cupid’s Koi Garden in Tumbalong Park (Darling Harbour), created by Melbourne-based art and technology studio ENESS. Or immerse yourself in the glory of human movement with Kairos, commissioned and produced by FORM Dance Projects.
Cupid’s Koi Garden is a rare and beautiful sight. (Image: Sydney Festival)
Beginning as a small festival at Balmain High School in 1991, Flickerfest has grown into a popular Australian film festival. With an Academy® accredited and BAFTA-recognised competitive Australian and International Short Film Festival, over 100 entries are received from across the globe each year.
Held in Bondi, there’s no better way to enjoy the creativity of film’s rising talents than in the summer on one of Australia’s most iconic beaches. Check the 2023 programme to decide which category is up your alley. From comedy crack-ups to documentaries and horror films, there’s a category for everyone.
Settle in for a flick.
Celebrate Elvis Presley’s birthday the right way this year at the 2023 Parkes Elvis Festival. If you sport a leather jacket and slick your hair back, you’ll fit right in. The festival invites attendees to dress up accordingly and pay homage to the life and music of the king of rock ‘n’ roll.
This year, the festival’s 30th-anniversary programme is jam-packed with live music performances, line dancing lessons, dragon boating, sky-diving (yes, you read that right!) and more. Tickets are on sale now.
Dance along to classic Elvis hits. (Image: Parkes Elvis Festival)
TAMWORTH COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL
Known as one of Australia’s biggest music festivals, the Tamworth Country Music Festival is home to 2,800 free and ticketed gigs across 120 venues. The festival doesn’t have gates, allowing country music lovers free access to live performances, country markets and the annual Golden Guitar Awards.
Buskers, stalls, kids’ activities and street performers are set to bring the streets of Tamworth to life. Pre-purchase tickets are now available for paid events.
Attendees can enjoy 2,800 free and ticketed gigs. (Image: Tamworth Country Music Festival)
AW3 DINNER, LANA
Join three of Sydney’s brightest young chefs – Alex Wong (Head Chef, Lana), Andrianto Wirya (Head Chef, Queen Chow Manly) and Arnold Wong (Chef, Café Paci) at Lana and experience an explosion of flavours. Combining their Asian heritage and culinary expertise, AW3 will tantalise your tastebuds for $120 per person (food only).
To accompany, Lana’s own wine connoisseur Christian Blair will curate a matched wine offering for the evening alongside a few cocktails.
AW3 are set to tantalise tastebuds at Lana. (Image: House Made Hospitality)
FRIDA KAHLO: THE LIFE OF AN ICON
FROM 4 JANUARY
Journey through the life of one of the most influential artists of all time this January at The Cutaway, Barangaroo Reserve. Created by the Frida Kahlo Corporation and Spanish company Layers of Reality, the multi-sensory Frida Khalo: The Life of an Icon features everything from realistic holography to historic photographs and original films.
Get hands-on by creating flower crowns or transforming your own drawing into Frida-Esque artwork, all while immersed in traditional Mexican music and live performances.
Immerse yourself in a new, interactive world. (Image: Sydney Festival)
YEAR OF THE RABBIT FESTIVAL
18 JANUARY–12 FEBRUARY
To celebrate Lunar New Year, Willoughby City Council is hosting the Year of the Rabbit Festival in Chatswood, named aptly after the Chinese zodiac sign for 2023. Enjoy an exciting hunt for giant inflatable rabbits, lantern workshops, parades, concerts, night markets and a multitude of culinary delights.
The Festival will have a range of delicious food on offer. (Image: Willoughby City Council)
TWILIGHT TAPAS AT LOWE WINES
Running every Friday from January through March in one of NSW’s most picturesque towns, Twilight Tapas at Lowe Wines embraces and celebrates a new cellar kitchen, bringing a changed format to feasting in Mudgee.
Soak in the sunset from the cellar door terrace while feasting on a five-course tapas menu featuring local produce, paired with Lowe’s organic and biodynamic wines. Bookings are essential at $75 a head.
Indulge in Spanish-inspired tapas at Lowe Family Wine Co this January.
CAMP IN THE HEART OF THE WORLD’S BEST HARBOUR
Cockatoo Island’s award-winning waterfront campground is your chance to watch the sun set and rise on Sydney Harbour. Stay in a pre-built tent or BYO. Elevate your stay with a guided tour or tickets to Sunset Sessions (live music). If guests stay two or more nights, they’ll receive 10% off. Houses are also available. Prices start at $50 per night.
Stay in a tent or house on Cockatoo Island in the heart of Sydney Harbour.
SO FRENCHY SO CHIC
This garden party festival celebrates all things French, from the tastiest food and best music to, of course, the wine. French favourites Kalika, Rover and Suzane will all be performing live, alongside other artists hailing from France.
BYO lunch or indulge in incredible on-site food stalls, selling everything from croque monsieur and crepes to raclette and ratatouille. If the occasion calls for something a little more special, deluxe food hampers are also available.
Enjoy drinks and sunshine at So Frenchy So Chic.
Whether you’re backing the champs or rooting for the underdog, the Australian Open will have you on the edge of your seat the whole game. With a whopping 128 singles and 64 doubles set to take the court, this Grand Slam will certainly get crowds going.
Come for the game, stay for the experience; indulge in Premium Experience events such as the stunning Western Lounge or on-court seats presented by Piper-Heidsieck to elevate your time at the 2023 Australian Open.
The 2023 Australian Open will be held at Rod Laver Arena.
SUMMER IN THE VINES
Combine wine and sunshine at Munari Wines’ Summer in the Vines, celebrating all things summer. Enjoy an afternoon of music, wine, beer and food alongside live performances by Josh DeAraugo, former Australian Idol winner, Kate DeAraugo and Golden Guitar Winner for Best New Talent, Darlinghurst.
Found in the heart of the Heathcote wine region near Bendigo, Munari is well-known for its established cellar door, situated in the foothills of the Mt Ida Range. Tickets are available now with free entry for children under 18.
Live music will keep everyone entertained.
SUMMER TRUFFLE IMMERSION
3 DECEMBER–25 FEBRUARY
Head to the rural town of Wattle Flat on the outskirts of Ballarat and join Black Cat Truffles on a foraging adventure for edible gold. Overlooking the Creswick State Forest, wander through English Oaks while learning about the art of truffle hunting.
After getting your hands dirty, settle in for lunch which features a truffle-focused regional grazing platter of charcuterie and antipasto goodies, plus a selection of tasty regional wines.
Four-legged friends can join the hunt too.
BRICKTIONARY: AN INTERACTIVE EXHIBITION
19 DECEMBER – 29 JANUARY
This amazing family-inclusive exhibition in Melbourne is based on The Bricktionary: The Ultimate A-Z of LEGO by Ryan McNaught, one of the world’s leading LEGO brick artists and the only LEGO-certified professional in the southern hemisphere.
From life-sized animals to fashion and fantasy, there’s something for everyone at Bricktionary. Kids and adults alike will love the four interactive build zones.
What better way to bring in the New Year than with a big Brisbane Beer Festival at one of the capital’s well-loved pubs, the Pig ‘N’ Whistle? Sit in a spacious beer garden in the heart of Brisbane and enjoy the summer sun surrounded by beer-loving folks.
Aussie breweries such as Last Man Standing, Newstead Brewing Co, Brewdog, Young Henrys, Balter Brewing and more will be on tap. Triple J’s Hottest 100 will be blasting live, so you won’t miss out on 2022’s top hit either.
The Beer Festival is the perfect excuse to get together with friends.
MAGIC MILLIONS CARNIVAL
The Gold Coast is set to transform from its casual beachy vibes to glitz and glamour galore with The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions Carnival.
Dress up for the Pacific Fair Magic Millions Polo and Showjumping, fill your belly at the Carbine Club Luncheon or snag a hole-in-one at the Widden Stud Golf Day, among other exciting events.
PAWSOME MOVIE NIGHT
If you have a four-legged friend and love movies all about them, this is the event for you. The Pawsome movie night in Victoria Park / Barrambin is the perfect excuse to take your pup on an adventure to meet like-legged friends.
BYO picnic and enjoy viewings of both The Secret Life of Pets and Red Dog: True Blue on the big screen with your furry friend by your side. Food trucks will also be on-site.
Your furry friends can make friends of their own at Pawsome movie night.
Half an hour from the Tassie capital of Hobart lies Home Hill Winery, host to Wine Machine in 2023. Garden party by day and fun fiesta by night, Wine Machine is the perfect place to laze, mingle, picnic, drink and dance.
The amazing musical line-up features famous Aussie bands like Lime Cordiale and San Cisco, followed by DJ sets, interactive games and an insane performance by Poof Doof Drag Jamboree. Tickets are on sale now.
Don’t miss Poof Doof Drag Jamboree perform. (Image: Pat Stevenson)
CYGNET FOLK FESTIVAL
Serving as one of Australia’s most iconic folk music festivals, the Cygnet Folk Festival is highly regarded by musicians and festival-goers alike. It showcases eclectic music genres from both local and international talent, along with dancing, poetry and masterclasses.
Browse and indulge in local food, wine, art and crafts, all set against the breathtaking backdrop of Tasmania’s Huon Valley.
Cygnet Folk Festival has a stunning Tassie backdrop. (Image: Tourism Tasmania & Steven Pearce Photography)
Calling all gin lovers – Tasmania’s rising excellence in gin production will be celebrated in January 2023 at the Gin-uary Festival. There will truly be something for everyone, with tastings offered by 35 Tasmanian distillers.
Across three bars, attendees can try unique G&Ts, gin cocktails and even beer for those with different tastebuds.
Over 30 unique Tassie distillers will be in attendance.
MUSIC IN THE PARK
8 JANUARY – 19 FEBRUARY
Gather and relax on the grass this summer to the sound of great local Tassie artists. This free event in Launceston is perfect for families and friends to get together and enjoy good weather, good company and great music.
Artists such as The Ferguson Brothers, Apache, The Tassie Tenor, Tas Police Pipe Band and more are set to fill the park with music.
KITE FLYING FESTIVAL
Watch the sky fill with colour at the 2023 Kite Flying Festival, or if you’re brave enough, build your own and get in on the action. Who knows, you may even win! With a wide variety of food, merchandise stalls to shop, mechanical rides and a local DJ, this is one the whole family can enjoy.
Watch the sky fill with colourful kites.
FESTIVAL OF BUSSELTON
The Festival of Busselton has become synonymous with summer in Western Australia. The family event has been showcasing a diverse range of events, activities, arts, sports and live entertainment to the community since 1964.
With recurring outdoor cinema nights, live music, water fights, car displays, sandcastle competitions and so much more, there’s truly something for the little kid in all of us.
SWIM THRU PERTH
First held in 1912, Swim Thru Perth is Australia’s oldest open-water swim, only pausing for the World Wars, Polio and COVID. The course takes participants along the Swan River and through the city of Perth.
There are three different races to choose from: the 800-metre Matilda Splash, 1.6-kilometre Classic Mile and 3.5-kilometre Swim Thru Perth, so there’s something to suit every level of athleticism.
Swim Thru Perth is Australia’s oldest open-water swim.
Put your party pants on for one of Australia’s most well-loved festivals coming to Fremantle. The 2023 Falls Festival Freo line-up is definitely not one to miss, with artists such as DMA’s, Ocean Alley, G Flip and Rico Nasty among a stack of other talents.
Keep yourself going into the night with pop-up bars, beer gardens and a wide variety of food stalls.
INTRO TO THE STARS FESTIVAL
Head to the Perth Observatory and be shot into space (well, metaphorically) this summer at the Intro to the Stars Festival. Put your astronaut boots on for dome and telescope tours, solar telescope viewings, presentations from amateur astronomers and food trucks.
Perth Observatory will be hosting Intro to the Stars.
Launched in 2017, the Bunbury Fringe has grown into one of WA’s most loved events, and we can see why. With the sole purpose of making people happy and causing as much laughter as possible, the Bunbury Fringe is the epitome of a good time.
The 2023 programme is jam-packed. Think everything from wine yoga and chinese lantern workshops to a range of live performances and of course, stand-up comedy shows. There will be plenty to eat, drink, see, do and laugh at, so purchase your ticket now.
ROSÉ AND DUMPLING FESTIVAL
The 2023 Howard Vineyard International Rosé & Dumpling Festival celebrates all things rosé with live music set against the stunning backdrop of Adelaide Hills.
Get your friends together for all-day rosé paired with the Howard Korean kitchen team’s hand-made pork, veg and seafood dumplings, along with Korean fried chicken, teriyaki pork and japchae bao buns.
The kitchen at Howard’s Vineyard has nailed its dumplings. (Image: Ryan Cantwell)
GLENELG ICE CREAM FESTIVAL
Nothing beats a cold ice cream on a hot summer’s day. This is why there’s a whole day dedicated to just that, right by the beach. Obviously well-known for its cold, sticky treats, the Glenelg Ice Cream Festival also has food stalls, pop-up bars, live entertainment and kids zones to keep everyone happy.
Ice-cream is best enjoyed on a hot day.
5K FOAM FEST
To be clean, first you have to get dirty, and that’s what the 5K Foam Fest is all about. Trudge through muddy bogs, climb the world’s largest inflatable waterslide and ultimately dive into 2.5-million cubic feet of foam, all in support of Make-A-Wish Australia.
After completing the race, take a shower on-site and enjoy the festivities. The Festival and Vendor Village will satiate your post-race appetite, while a live DJ will keep your residual adrenaline pumping.
SANTOS TOUR DOWN UNDER
Winding through some of South Australia’s most breathtaking scenery from Mount Lofty to the Adelaide riverbank and Port Willunga, the 2023 Santos Tour Down Under is set to be full of fun and action. There are plenty of men’s and women’s races to watch, varying in length and agility.
For those who prefer both feet on the ground, the Santos Festival of Cycling has something for everyone. With street parties, detours, live entertainment and the City of Adelaide Tour Village, attendees will have a full itinerary, plus all the bike racing to match.
Both the riders and those watching witness incredible views. (Image: South Australian Tourism Commission)
AMPLIFII MUSIC FESTIVAL
Amplifii is known as Australia’s accessibility-friendly music festival, aimed at bringing people and communities of all ages together through a love of music. Attendees can expect a multitude of DJs, a photo booth, food trucks and a silent disco.
To ensure everyone can enjoy Amplifii, an AUSLAN interpreter, disability awareness security and a chill-out zone are all available.
ABORIGINAL ART WORKSHOP
ENDS 26 JANUARY
This 90-minute experience in Alice Springs with recognised Aboriginal artists – Marie Ryder and Kevin Bird – will give you the opportunity to share in a part of their art and culture on Arrernte land.
Expect art demonstrations, discussions about culture and language, personal stories and even a hand-made memento to take home.
AMY HETHERINGTON: JUGGLE
Laugh the night away at Amy Hetherington’s newest comedy show, Juggle. Held at the Hilton Darwin, get ready for a night of deep belly laughs as Hetherington talks insane people in Facebook mums groups, feeling good after childbirth and surviving life with a toddler.
Treat yourself to a gin masterclass this new year at Charlie’s of Darwin. Taste, blend and create your own concoction from a selection of Darwin Distilling Co. unique botanicals.
After a drink upon arrival, attendees will learn to blend the gin into four tastings. Pick your favourite of the four, and work with the experts to blend a 500ml bottle of your own signature gin to take home and enjoy.
The masterclass allows a behind-the-scenes view of how gin is made.
The annual Summernats Car Festival is Australia’s biggest horsepower party. In 2023, Exhibition Park is the place to be among the action.
Check out the best Australian builds display, burnout shows, mullet/tattoo competitions and live performances by Aussie icons Bliss N Eso, Daryl Braithwaite and Shannon Noll. Created by renowned revhead Chic Henry in 1988, the Summernats has become an Aussie favourite.
The Summernats have been around since 1988. (Image: VisitCanberra)
Enjoy sun-kissed summer fun at the 2023 Summersalt music festival in Canberra. Stage 88 will light up with local and international acts including City and Colour, Angus & Julia Stone, Ben Harper, The Rubens and Alex the Astronaut.
The festival is fully catered, meaning attendees can enjoy a range of food and bar options, with merchandise also available. Tickets are on sale now.
Summersalt 2023 will see Angus & Julia Stone perform live.
CIRCUS OF ILLUSION
Escape into a world where sawdust and sequins join illusions and magic. Be mesmerised by mysterious magicians and world-class circus artists, including Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist, Sascha Williams.
Playing two shows only, don’t miss the Circus of Illusion at the Canberra Theatre Centre. Buy tickets now.
Presented by the ACT Herpetological Association in partnership with the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Snakes Alive! will showcase a variety of Aussie reptiles. From snakes and lizards to frogs, turtles and even crocodiles, the whole family will be fascinated.
Get up close to feed and handle these threatened, endangered and rarely-seen creatures while learning more about their anatomy and lives. Bookings are essential.
Marvel at lizards along with snakes, frogs, turles and crocs.
LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS
21 JANUARY–5 FEBRUARY
Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit in your state this month.
In Brisbane, celebrations are being held across the city on 21 January in Brunswick Street Mall, bakery Lane and Chinatown Mall, with Roving Lion performances taking place on both Wickham and Brunswick Street.
On 22 January, the Lunar New Year Festival will be held at the picturesque Parliament House Lawns in Hobart, Tasmania.
2023 is the Year of the Rabbit.
On the same date in on the other side of the country, the Crown Perth will host a range of dining options including a banquet, buffet and open-kitchen dining experience.
Down in Adelaide, join festival-goers as they flood the streets of Chinatown in a flurry of lion and dragon dances, karaoke and festivities on 28 January.
Roving dragons and lions are common during Lunar New Year.
Watch the night sky light up at the Lantern Festival in Darwin on 5 February. Join the Taiwanese Community of the Northern Territory as they wish for a prosperous and propitious year ahead.
From 13–21 January in Canberra, experience local food and product stalls, roving performers, decorations, an outdoor stage bursting with local talent and the great reveal – a Zodiac Rabbit sculpture – at the 2023 Lunar New Year celebrations.