May 10, 2023
25 mins Read
Whether you’re up for an adventure, want to delve into culture and history with a First Nations experience, or prefer to eat and drink your way through the cities, there really is something for everyone. And you simply can’t go wrong.
To help you out, we have collated a guide of what’s on in the month of May, helping you plan your calendar accordingly. Thank us later.
Grab your notebook and pen, you’re going to need it for the annual Sydney Writers’ Festival at Carriageworks this May. The 2023 program is packed to the brim, featuring conversations with internationally acclaimed writers such as Tim Winton, Bernardine Evaristo, Jenny Odell, Markus Zuzak and Jane Harper, among many other talents.
Both free and ticketed events are your gateway to learning about what inspires authors and their work, the stories behind their books and how it all relates to the world we live in today. Between talks, enjoy a pop-up bookshop with all the latest releases and grab a photo with your favourite writer at a book signing.
Vivid Sydney is back – and this year’s list of highlights is long and varied. Across 23 nights, the festival will connect our city to light artists, music makers, brilliant thinkers and all creatives through four key concepts: Light, Music, Food and Ideas. In 2023, Vivid Sydney explores everything that falls under this year’s theme, Vivid Sydney, Naturally.
Discover secret tunnels laced with light. Stroll the longest continuous Light Walk, from Sydney Opera House to Central Station. Feel the pulse of a new beat and move together as one, while talented performers transform the city with live shows in unexpected spaces. Listen to tunes in a secret bar. Dance to live tunes in the park. Learn from evocative artwork aimed at educating people. Discover parts of Sydney that light you up.
The pinnacle event on the Australian fashion calendar, Afterpay Australian Fashion Week kicks off this month. Get ready to celebrate a week of non-stop style featuring some of Australia’s top fashion labels at Sydney’s iconic multi-arts precinct, Carriageworks.
The Afterpay Australian Fashion Week engages the industry alongside fashion’s most passionate consumers in one dynamic program, marrying physical and digital activations that celebrate Australia’s preeminent designers and fashion’s cultural influence. Tickets can be purchased now.
In the Northern Tablelands’ town of Armidale, winter isn’t a season, it’s a celebration. The Big Chill Festival is all about bringing people together in the colder weather to appreciate everything that winter has to offer. Grab your best beanie and take a deep breath of fresh mountain air before sampling craft beers and boutique wines. You can also enjoy chatting by the warmth of fire pits, feasting on slow-cooked barbecue meats, dancing along to live music and wandering stalls.
World-class act Birds of Tokyo will take to the stage on the first day of the festival, while legendary 70s band Dragon will perform the next. You can also expect performances by Lisa Hunt, Tori Darke, The Axemen and Des Cortez. Tickets are on sale now.
Sydney’s first-ever Drag Expo is hitting the International Convention Centre and The Roundhouse this month, promising some of the best local and international drag talent. The list includes Karen From Finance, Coco Jumbo, Alaska 5000 and Sydney’s youngest drag star, Mya Soul, among many other drag superstars.
Celebrate drag, pop culture and beauty across three days, with over 100 artists and exhibitors ready to party. Things kick off on opening night with the Drag Expo Opening Concert at 7 pm, followed by the Opening Party at 10 pm. Snag your tickets now to experience everything from glitz and glamour to mental health talks and meet and greets with your favs.
Discovery awaits in the Hunter Valley region of Broke Fordwich with A Little Bit of Broke. This year, the festival is back in an all-new format and encompasses the region’s best wine, food, farm-gate produce, events and live music across 14 locations. Think sunrise yoga and sunset wines; dine in a hatted restaurant, picnic with alpacas, learn the art of beekeeping, soak in a cedar wine barrel or indulge in a foot scrub made of local botanicals.
Try the Festival Starter Kit, which includes a take-home Zafferano glass, a festival map and a minimum of four tasting experiences at your chosen wineries. If you’re looking for a bit more, try the Festival Super Kit. It includes complimentary tastings at each of the eight participating cellar doors. It’s got to be one of the coolest things to do in the Hunter Valley yet.
Head down to one of the best swimming spots in Sydney this May for two days of good food and great wine. Taste of Manly is all about spotlighting local restaurants, Australian fine wines, the Northern Beaches’ plethora of local breweries and a line-up of live musicians.
Expect 4 Pines Brewing Co, Goodradigbee Distillers, Little Ripples, Tulloch Wines, Gelato Messina and The Bavarian to make an appearance, among other awesome stallholders. For those who are keen to try some tipples, there is an event glass cost of $10. If you’re not planning on drinking, entry is free.
Experience the magic of autumn in Bathurst at the Autumn Colours Heritage Festival this month. The historical town of Bathurst has got to be up there with the prettiest autumn towns in Australia and it certainly turns on the charm come the cooler months. Celebrate the changing of the seasons with fresh regional produce, guided walking tours, high teas, tipples from local wineries and live music.
More than 25 of Australia’s most exciting winemakers and natural wine importers will be at this year’s Full Moon Wine Festival, taking place at the iconic Eltham Hotel. The event is organised by renowned sommeliers Russ Berry, James Audas and Tom Sheer from Luna Wine Store out of Byron Bay.
At $75 a pop, ticket holders will enjoy a three-hour tasting session between 2 pm and 5 pm to sample wines from around the country, including Tasmania, the Barossa Valley and Margaret River. The wines on show will be available for purchase. Guests can also feast on a range of delicious food from renowned chef Matt Stone.
Sydney’s Sefa Kitchen is celebrating its 1oth anniversary with a Golden Feast degustation that features an element of gold in each of the six dishes. Bondi locals are besotted with the has cuisine on offer at Sefa Kitchen, which nods to Levantine, the ancient Mediterranean part of the Middle East.
Sefa was founded by Utku Ayhan, a passionate restaurateur who is originally from Istanbul. To mark this milestone, he and the team from Sefa Kitchen have created this exclusive degustation. Expect a bit of bling in dishes such as the Sydney rock oysters with a hibiscus mignonette and golden snow. Or the beef nayyeh tartare with pine nuts, pickled radish, gold leaves and golden leek crisps. Bookings are essential.
Unfolding under the roof of the iconic Queen Victoria Market, the Hawker 88 Night Market is ready and willing to feed hungry bellies from all over Melbourne. Every Wednesday night until 10 May, the space comes alive with the sounds, smells, sights and most importantly, tastes of Asia. Transport your tastebuds from China to India, Vietnam to Korea, Malaysia to Japan.
Those attending can expect a diverse cultural mix of street food, retail pop-ups and free live music and entertainment across more than 20 stalls. Think dumplings, ramen, spring rolls, kimchi fries, durian ice-cream and bubble tea. Entry is free, with prices for food and wares varying between stalls.
Head inland this month for the 2023 Ballarat Heritage Festival, which highlights the city’s past, appreciates its present and celebrates its future. The 10-day program will feature a vintage car show, maze, antique fair and fancy tweed ride. Visitors can also expect candlelight concerts, art exhibitions, workshops and the Heritage Harvest Weekend.
The festival is held annually to bring the community together and invites tourists to experience the splendour of the region. Immerse yourself in the rich history of Ballarat while experiencing new local offerings through both free and ticketed events.
Can’t make it to Sydney? No worries. The Bendigo Writers Festival is just as good. The annual four-day event will gather more than 100 writers for discussions about their inspirations, writing process and works of literature.
Taking place across multi-venues, the festival invites everyone to the Central Victorian region to experience an eclectic program offering something for all bookworms. More than 80 events have been planned across seven venues including The Capital, Ulumbarra Theatre and the La Trobe Art Institute. Guests can expect to see over 125-plus writers including Craig Silvey, Sadam Abdusalam, Jenny Ackland and Evelyn Araluen.
The winemakers of the Murrindindi subregion are opening their cellar doors and wineries for the Murrindindi Wine Weekend this May. The event welcomes both neighbours and visitors to taste the diversity, quality and regionality of four family-owned wineries; Mount Cathedral Vineyards, Philip Lobley Wines, Sedona Estate and Utter Wines.
Find a favourite during the tastings? Take it home with you to support local and treat yourself too. Attendees will enjoy the scenic outdoor bush setting with live music, artisanal food platters, creations from local artists and even a BYO picnic if so inclined. Bookings can be made by contacting participating wineries directly.
Situated among the sprawling vineyards and cellar door of Delatite Wines at the foothills of the Victorian Alps, Harvest Moon Festival invites you to regenerate your mind, body and soul. The festival is named after the ample moonlight of autumn evenings, which signals to farmers that crops can be harvested.
The arrival of the Harvest Moon means autumn is officially coming to an end and it’s time to relax, restore and revitalise. This year, the festival will focus on nature and the power of earth, air, fire and water. Think yoga and meditation, fine dining, bonfires with friends, local produce markets and workshops. Attendees will also learn about the positive effects of regenerative farming.
Curated by the National Gallery of Victoria and delivered in collaboration with the Melbourne Art Foundation, Melbourne Design Fair is Australia’s largest presentation of contemporary collectible designs. Works from over 150 designers will feature in the capital’s prominent commercial galleries, design agencies, organisations and studios, including everything from furniture to lighting and jewellery.
The event will be presented across 3,000 square metres at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre as part of Melbourne Design Week. Attendees can discover new talents, explore innovative design production and gain insight into the latest design trends. Tickets are on sale now.
Just one ticket is your personal pass into a range of delightful venues and unlimited transport buses with Grazing The Granite Belt this May. Think two days of lazy grazing, award-winning wines and dozens of gourmet dishes at cellar doors, breweries and eateries across the Southern Downs region.
Spend Saturday on the hop-on hop-off bus visiting participating venues and enjoying premium Aussie wines and indulging in delicious dishes prepared made with local produce. On Sunday, jump between cafes, wineries and delis for a day dedicated to brunch. Tickets are on sale now, priced at $155 per person.
The Brisbane Street Art Festival is back this year with its largest program yet. The festival is an annual public art event that provides opportunities for creatives and the wider community to engage and collaborate. Artists from around the world will come together to revitalise the city with over 50 live art exhibitions, dance battles, workshops, panel talks and tours.
The Superordinary Northshore will act as a hub for the festival – hosting many of the highlights of the program. From there, mural sites will spread across a variety of locations including (but not limited to) Howard Smith Wharves, Queen Street Mall and Southbank.
Don’t miss Blues on Broadbeach this month, one of Australia’s largest free music festivals, backdropped by the spectacular Gold Coast. Held over four days in the heart of Broadbeach, the line-up features talented artists from both Australia and around the world including Kee’ahn, Tommy Emmanuel, Don Walker, BB Factory and Little Georgia.
You’ll need to fuel your body before dancing the night away. The festival will be surrounded by plenty of restaurants, cafes, bars and fast food chains, with licensed venues on site too. The Broadbeach precinct is also home to a variety of places to stay, so guests can book accommodation just minutes from the action.
If this ain’t your first rodeo then count yourself lucky, as it’s going to be the best one yet! Grab your best cowboy boots and plant your Akubra firmly on your head for Road to Rodeo in the historic city of Mount Isa. Spend the day amongst the action with bull riding, steer wrestling and barrel racing just a few of the events included in the program. In the evening, enjoy the rodeo rock concert, which features an epic line-up including Aussie icon Shannon Noll, Ian Moss and Luke Geiger.
Join an epic three-weekend celebration of Australian live music at Tropic Fiesta. Join the city of Townsville as it comes alive with more than 50 live performances across 18 venues and events. From pop-up street performances and Aussie music royalty to intimate gigs and upcoming artists, you’ll be overwhelmed with entertainment.
Think everything from suburban sounds with Lee Kernaghan to dance parties with live DJs. Whether you’re into dancing to driving techno tracks, toe-tapping to country anthems or chilling to the sounds of sweet folk harmonies – there’s something for everyone. Tickets are on sale now.
Brisbane’s City Botanic Gardens will once again illuminate with the return of Botanica: Contemporary Art Outside for 10 evenings across May. Those wandering the gardens can expect a diverse selection of large-scale works ranging from sculptures and projections to augmented reality and interactive creations. Attend an AfterDark Art walk or complete the children’s discovery trail, then enjoy the outdoor bar and range of food trucks.
With a focus on sustainability, the 2023 event has seen artists respond to the theme Tread Softly, which considers a millennium of human influence by reflecting on the natural environments. There is also no exception to the year-on-year diversity and talent of selected artists from Brisbane, Australia and beyond.
The Australian Musical Theatre Festival is an unparalleled opportunity for musical theatre lovers, makers and industry professionals to get together, share and celebrate this wonderful genre. Held in Launceston, the annual festival includes a diverse program with ample opportunities to teach, collaborate, engage and – of course – enjoy. Whether you’re working in the industry, a passionate audience member, a teacher or a member of a community musical theatre society, this is the festival for you. Keep your eye out for Aussie legends like Todd McKenney, Elenoa Rokobaro and Rachael Beck.
Held to Norfolk this May for Cracker Night at Glen Derwent Heritage Retreat to watch the sky illuminate. Gather around the warmth of a giant bonfire and admire Bright Star Fireworks Australia’s display as it lights up the sky in a rainbow of different colours. The event will also include live music by DJ Mark and food trucks offering burgers, wings, loaded fries and drinks. Tickets for this special community event are on sale now, ranging from $5 for children to $15 for adults.
Presented by non-profit Artology, The Very Short Film Festival fosters creativity and encourages new voices to speak their truth through film. It offers a platform for diverse Australian voices to share their stories with the world.
Although the competition element of the event is now closed, there’s still a lot to be excited about. The premiere event will showcase the Very Short Film finalists and feature special award-winning shorts, dinner, drinks and live music, all in a converted wood-chip mill. Turn the party into a sleepover, with stunning accommodation available at Spring Bay Mill in Triabunna, an hour’s drive from Hobart.
Divulge in the ultimate autumn activity – picking fresh walnuts in an orchard, surrounded by scenic mountains and meadows. This May, you can join the Coaldale Walnuts Open Farm to make those autumnal dreams come true.
BYO basket or bucket for collecting walnuts and even a picnic if you like – there’s plenty of room. Guests can also attend pickled walnut tastings and sample food showcasing Coal Valley’s famed produce. Tickets are on sale now at $5 a head, with walnuts priced at $6.50 a kilo.
Escape to a world where words, creativity and expression have no limits at the Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival. Lose yourself in a weekend of panel talks and workshops with authors, journalists and academics – who dare to dream big – at the biggest regional literature event in the state.
Many of the events will take place at the festival hub, Margaret River HEART. There will also be parts of the program held in local libraries, the Margaret River Bookshop, Vasse Felix Winery and even over in Busselton.
Taste Great Southern celebrates the local food, boutique wines and amazing flavours of the Great Southern region of WA. With over 20 acclaimed chefs across 40+ culinary experiences, this event is not to be missed by foodies. Think long lunches, degustations, premium pairing events, community markets, music events, wine sessions and more.
The award-winning wineries and breweries of the Great Southern region will feature across the amazing program. Expect to sip delightful wine varietals and local craft beers. Then savour incredible fresh and local produce such as seafood, chicken, beef and lamb, heirloom vegetables and cheeses. Participating towns include Albury, Denmark, Mt Barker, Frankland River, Porongurup and Katanning.
The Perth Comedy Festival is the city’s biggest annual comedy event. Every April and May, the best comedians from Australia and beyond take to stages across Perth for a massive month of comedy. The festival program features performances from the finest Aussie acts, international stars and promising emerging talent.
Guests can expect everything from stand-up to sketch, satire, improv, theatre, magic and kids’ comedy. Those making up the program this year include Andrew Hansen, Chris Ryan, Daniel Delby, Emma Holland and Stephen K Amos.
The skies over Northam in the heart of WA’s Avon Valley will become a colourful vista of hot air balloons this May. The Australian National Ballooning Championships have returned for another year of spectacular hot-air balloon-flying, events and displays.
Australia’s top hot air balloon pilots will descend on the town of Ballardong Nyoongar Country to test their skills and secure a spot in the World Championships. Visitors can also attend an epic Star Gazing event to hear Aboriginal cultural stories under an illuminated night sky. Attendance is free.
Three years after the success of Highway To Hell, another AC/DC-inspired festival is hitting the streets of Fremantle, home to some of Perth’s best beaches. This year, seven flatbed trucks will become live music stages on the move, making their way around a five-kilometre street circuit. Head-banging attendees can hang out at a truck stop or laze in an entertainment zone to enjoy live Aussie rock.
High Voltage will feature three zones with different vibes – Esplanade Reserve, Wilson Park and Fremantle Oval. Enjoy Fremantle’s awesome foodie scene throughout the door or BYO picnic to enjoy the action. This is a free event.
Welcome, to foodie paradise. Savour the best the country has on offer at Tasting Australia, which spans 150 events, 10 days and 12 stunning South Aussie regions. From flying to the Flinders Ranges onboard a Tasting Australia Airlines flight to taking an agave masterclass in the heart of Adelaide, there’s truly something for everyone.
Choose a destination or event and transport your tastebuds. Think intimate tastings hosted across the capital, chef’s tables with only 20 seats, winery tours in the Barossa and lunch amongst an olive grove near the Murray River. And that’s just a taste of what’s to come.
Past, present, wander – this is what you can expect from South Australia’s History Festival. The month-long event explores the constantly evolving nature of history and what we can learn from its perspectives and voices.
The program is well and truly jam-packed, with over 500 interactive and educational events for attendees to choose from. Each event covers different regions and cities of the state, falling under a variety of categories; music, sport, literature, art, and food. There will also be specific focus programs on LGBTQIA+ history and First Nations history, too.
Held annually, the Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival has grown exponentially, now recognised as one of the most energetic regional art festivals in South Australia. Fusing literature, art and the finest wines from the Coonawarra region, expect only the best of the Limestone Coast to be on display. Those attending can look forward to a variety of exhibitions, market stalls, activities, performances and events for kids.
The world’s longest-running children’s festival will return to Adelaide this May bigger and better than ever. The 2023 theme of DreamBIG is ‘Our World’, with the program featuring over 50 shows, activities and exhibitions for all ages, from toddlers to teenagers.
Children can paint their way across the seas in Patch Theatre’s Sea of Light, learn to dance like an animal and be still like a tree with Guru Dudu’s Mysteries of Nature Silent Disco Walking Tour or unleash their inner musician with Wallabeats’ handmade instruments. Tickets are on sale now.
This is an event you won’t want to miss. The iconic Alice Springs Beanie Festival returns in 2023 to celebrate the arts and textiles that surround the humble beanie. It brings together artists, locals and tourists with a true community feel to share and create.
Those joining the excitement can expect beanie sales, a teashop, food stalls, live music, textile workshops, Indigenous beanie-making lessons and the National Beanie Competition and Exhibition. It’s also a great opportunity to explore the spectacular Alice Springs region and all it has to offer.
This year’s BASSINTHEGRASS is increasingly looking like the biggest event of 2023, offering plenty of reasons to nudge visitors into travelling to the Top End. The festival’s relocation to Darwin’s iconic Mindil Beach in 2019 continues to allow for further additions to the entertainment line-up.
This year, a stellar set of Australia’s top musical acts includes Spacey Jane, Amy Shark, Angus & Julia Stone, Baker Boy, Guy Sebastian and Peach PRC. there will also be plenty of food stalls and licensed bars to keep you fuelled. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your mates and get some tickets!
Running for nine days this May, Karrimanjbekkan An-me Kakadu: Taste of Kakadu will take you on a stimulating journey of taste and sound to discover the foods, stories and customs that have sustained the world’s oldest living culture for more than 65,000 years.
This year’s program features scenic sunset flights, presentations, exhibitions, workshops and tastings. It’s a wonderful opportunity to experience Indigenous culture, food, art, music and entertainment while visiting the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park.
The Freds Pass Rural Show is a premium community event in the rural areas around Darwin. It features classic car shows, live entertainment, competitions and market stalls, plus exciting extras showcasing local food.
The 50-kilometre Feast, a gourmet dinner with an exciting menu made entirely from local produce, kicks off the show on Friday night. Throughout Saturday and Sunday, the Paddock to Plate marquee features celebrity chefs and local foodies entertaining showgoers with demonstrations and tastings.
Whisky Live is Canberra’s premium whisky-tasting event featuring top-shelf, high-quality whiskies and spirits from around the world. there’s something for everyone, whether you’re new to whisky or a tried-and-true connoisseur. Whiskies are presented by brand, with an expert present to inform, educate and offer samples.
Apart from the whisky, of course, guests can look forward to food stalls, classes, the self-explanatory Rare & Old Bar and a quality spirits glass for your sipping pleasure. Tickets are on sale now and include all of the above, expect purchases from the Rare & Old Bar.
The eclectic sounds of musicians from all over Australia will fill the autumn air in Canberra with special performances as part of this year’s Canberra International Music Festival. The festival was founded in 1994 by the late Ursula Callus. It has been held annually since 1997 and features concerts, lectures and masterclasses.
Join in for a musical journey around the globe, from new works to timeless classics. This year, the festival will feature a boundless collection of thought-provoking acts by Australian and international artists in some of Canberra’s most beautiful venues.
Keen to get your adrenaline pumping? Head to Canberra Stadium to see Nitro Circus, an explosive sporting spectacular starring the best athletes in FMX, BMX, skate and scooter. Witness Nitro’s thrill-loving daredevils brave the world’s biggest jumps, launching over 60 feet into the air. Watch live as they attempt the craziest stunts on contraptions you never imagined could fly. Tickets for this heart-thumping, one-night-only event are on sale now.
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