This October is packed with countless unique experiences to be had throughout Australia.
From getting technical at South by Southwest in Sydney, foraging through a mushroom festival in Melbourne and immersing in a Latin American fiesta in Canberra to celebrating the humble bee at the Nubeena Bee Festival in Tasmania, exploring the wonderful and diverse nature of South Australia and delving into the Yarrabah Music and Cultural Festival in Queensland, get planning because October is coming in hot.
NSW | VIC | QLD | TAS | WA | SA | NT | ACT
OPERA HOUSE BIRTHDAY FESTIVAL
UNTIL 31 OCTOBER
Celebrate the Sydney Opera House’s 50th birthday at the aptly named Birthday Festival this October. The festivities will revolve around a month-long program including free and ticketed events, from art and live music performances to theatre and dance. Tickets for paid events are currently on sale, otherwise you can register for free events now.
Celebrate the Sydney Opera House’s 50th birthday. (Image: Destination NSW)
For purveyors of fine wine-ups, sip on this musical selection of artists, handcrafted for your ultimate listening pleasure. Grapevine Gathering, one of Australia’s best summer music festivals, is back bigger than ever.
This year’s festivities are hosted by power duo Lucy and Nikki, co-founders of Aussie brand JGR & STN and co-hosts of Happy Hour Podcast. Headliners include none other than Spacey Jane, The Wombats and King Stingray, plus an Australian-exclusive appearance from disc jockey, Hayden James.
Grapevine Gathering is Australia’s biggest wine and music paired festival. (Image: Jordan Munns)
SCULPTURE BY THE SEA
20 OCTOBER – 6 NOVEMBER
Not-for-profit organisation Sculpture by the Sea will transform the spectacular two-kilometre Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk in Sydney this month. Known as the world’s largest free-to-the-public sculpture exhibition, it’s definitely not one to miss.
With more than 100 artworks by local and international sculptors, the exhibition will surprise and delight for its 25th year. Visitors will not only be able to see the incredible works, but meet the artists behind them at the Aqualand Artist Talks.
Sculpture by the Sea is the world’s largest free-to-the-public sculpture exhibition. (Image: Destination NSW)
ORANGE WINE FESTIVAL
UNTIL 29 OCTOBER
The Orange Wine Festival is the region’s opportunity to celebrate its thriving foodie culture and quality cool-climate wines. The festival offers over 50 events and experiences, including markets, masterclasses, paired tastings and tours.
Orange boasts some of the country’s highest-elevation vineyard sites, producing a diverse range of vibrant, cool-climate styles. The wineries in the altitudinous area surrounding Orange are undoubtedly a drawcard, but they’re far from the only attraction in this thriving regional city.
Enjoy the region’s quality cool-climate wines. (Image: Orange Region Vignerons Association)
DESERT SONGS EXHIBITION
Surry Hills-based Yavuz Gallery will host the premiere of major debut exhibition Desert Songs by Western Aranda artist Vincent Namatjira OAM this October. Featuring 13 new paintings, the exhibition will tackle the rich themes of leadership, power and legacy.
Desert Songs will also coincide with a forthcoming monograph published by Thames and Hudson and major survey, Australia in colour, presented at the Art Gallery of South Australia in 2023 and the National Gallery of Australia in 2024.
Vincent Namatjira in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) with Charles on Country, 2022 Courtesy of Iwantja Arts. (Image: Jesse Lizotte)
BIG BLUE TABLE
This month, local businesses across the Hunter Valley are joining forces to create the Big Blue Table, a fundraising event for Beyond Blue. The luncheon will be held among the magnificent, sculptured gardens of Spicers Guesthouse on the outskirts of Pokolbin.
Hosted by Beyond Blue director and Hunter Valley local Johanna Griggs, guests will be treated to a four-course menu with matching wines. All money raised at the event will go directly to Beyond Blue, who rely completely on donations, so every dollar counts.
The Big Blue Table is a fundraising event for Beyond Blue.
OPENS 7 OCTOBER
The Byron Twilight Market is making its highly anticipated return for summer, kicking off on 7 October and running until April 2024. Visitors and locals alike can enjoy an array of live music, handmade crafts and the vibrant community atmosphere that Byron Bay is so well known for.
Meet with artists, designers, healers, producers and musicians as they showcase their talents and handmade, high-quality designs. It’s a great opportunity to support local businesses and get to know the community.
Collect unique wares from local businesses. (Image: Byron Community Centre)
Popular Texas-based festival South by Southwest (SXSW) is heading to Sydney, and 2023 will be its first year in operation Down Under. Tech, games, music, film and ideas come together in a meteoric mash-up of A-list celebrities and companies.
This year, attendees can expect to see Netflix’s Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker, Slack co-founder Cal Henderson and Aboriginal Australian author and actor Leah Purcell. Famed music artist Chance the Rapper will also be making his first Australian appearance in six years.
SXSW Sydney will combine tech, games, music, film and ideas. (Image: Jess Gleeson)
Bendigo Wine Week is a celebration of the region’s vibrant wine culture across the Greater Bendigo area. A range of events will fall across 10 days, including Music with The Vines, the Mandurang Valley Dinner, Balgownie Spring Fair and Heritage and Hidden Spaces Wine Walk.
Celebrate the Bendigo region’s vibrant wine culture.
Melbourne’s much-loved Queen Victoria Market will be transformed into a haven for fungi lovers this month with the inaugural Mushroom Festival. Explore a mouth-watering range of stalls in Mushroom Alley, offering everything from mushroom lattes to mushroom gin.
There will also be mushroom masterclasses, health education panels, kids activities and the vibrant Mushroom Marketplace. It’s a great opportunity for people to meet and support Australian mushroom farmers.
Savour delicious mushroom-infused delights.
NIKE MELBOURNE MARATHON FESTIVAL
The 45th instalment of the Nike Melbourne Marathon Festival is set to be bigger than ever before. The festival program is headlined by six events, with courses journeying through some of Melbourne’s most iconic landmarks.
Choose from the Nike Melbourne Marathon, Nike Wheelchair Marathon, Nike Half Marathon, SriLankan Airlines 10-kilometre Run, 180 Nutrition Good Sport five-kilometre Run and the three-kilometre Walk. Participants of all ages, abilities and experience levels are encouraged to join.
The marathon passes some of Melbourne’s most iconic landmarks.
Never Never Distilling Co. and Regal Rouge vermouth are coming together for the Ginache Bash, a one-day-only event in McLaren Vale. The lawns of Never Never will convert into a key component of the McLaren Vale Grenache & Gourmet Festival.
Three winning bartenders from The Never Never Bartender Challenge will mix limited-edition Ginache spritzes to complement Ginache Swirl ice cream, made by Bottega Gelateria. Guests will be able to try each concoction and vote for their favourite.
Vote for your favourite mix at the Ginache Bash. (Image: Meaghan Coles)
Celebrate 20 years of Shedfest this October. The beloved spring wine festival is returning to the Yarra Valley, inviting wine lovers to experience a weekend of wine tastings and delicious bites from 11 family-owned, boutique wineries.
There will be over 100 wines on offer across a range of delicious and unique varietals, as well as a wide selection of gourmet menus and live music. Tickets are priced at $35 for a single day or $50 for a weekend pass.
Sample wines from 11 family-owned, boutique wineries from the region.
UNITED ENERGY AROUND THE BAY
Melbourne’s biggest bike ride, United Energy Around the Bay, is set to be a game-changer for riders of all ages and cycling levels. From the Family Ride to the iconic 220-kilometre classic and the exclusive 300-kilometre club, there’s something for every biking enthusiast.
This year, the event’s official charity partner is Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision, helping fund research into Bone Marrow Failure Syndrome.
14 October – 30 November
A new exhibition, entitled Colonisation, will go on display from October 14 at the Birrunga Gallery in the heart of Meanjin (Brisbane). Gallery founder and principal artist, Birrunga Wiradyuri, a Wiradyuri man, said the exhibition features new, original works and perspectives by six indigenous artists on the theme ‘colonisation’.
The award-winning Birrunga Gallery & Cafe situated in the heart of Meanjin (Brisbane).
“Until not that long ago those stories were too dangerous or too painful to be told. It is only from the Cultural custodianship and resilience of our Ancestors that we now have the opportunity to be able to tell the stories of colonisation from our perspective to an audience who is able to receive the information as truth,” says Birrunga.
“The stories of colonisation are critical to a future of parity and stability… to addressing the truth of the colonial behaviors, mindsets and attitudes towards we, the original Peoples of the continent,” he says.
WARWICK RODEO AND GOLD CUP CAMPDRAFT
Join the adrenaline-pumping action at “Australia’s Most Famous” rodeo and campdraft – the Ariat Warwick Rodeo and Pryde’s EasiFeed Warwick Gold Cup Campdraft! Watch bull, horse and rider fly out the gate as they battle it out across the historic high-stakes week-long event.
Dance in the sand to Aussie country music legends, browse tradeshow alley for genuine country attire, tuck into great country cooking, wash away the dust with a refreshing drink, and so much more. Cowboy Up for this action-packed event, only two hours west of Brisbane in Southern Downs, Queensland.
Join the adrenaline-pumping action at the rodeo and campdraft. (Image: Storm Lahiff Photographer)
SAVANNAH IN THE ROUND
Held at the Mareeba Rodeo Arena, Savannah In The Round is a popular Queensland festival that celebrates all things country living. Mareeba is located in the Cairns Hinterland, so bring your Akubra – this ones gonna be hot, in more ways than one!
If you love classic Australian musicians, this is the one for you. The line-up includes Aussie icon Jimmy Barnes, along with Kasey Chambers, Daryl Braithwaite and Kate Ceberano. In true Queensland fashion, the Great Northern Bullriding Series will also be on during the festival.
If you love classic Australian musicians, this one is for you.
PORT SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL
Get ready to immerse yourself in the magic of cinema at the 2023 Port Shorts Film Festival in Port Douglas. Known as one of the coolest short film festivals in the heart of the tropics, the event provides filmmakers of all experience levels with the opportunity to showcase their talents.
There will be more than $15,000 in cash and prizes, with attendees having the chance to engage with some of Australia’s finest film experts.
After a successful autumn program, Night Feast‘s spring edition set to ignite your senses, delivering insatiable tastes from some of Brisbane’s leading chefs. New restaurants are set to join the already exclusive line-up, including Southside, Bar Alto, The Green and MAYA.
Guests can also enjoy immersive art and music, as well as a brand-new activation at the Brisbane Powerhouse.
Night Feast’s spring edition will ignite the senses. (Image: Lachlan Douglas)
American alt-rock heroes Weezer are returning to stages Down Under for the first time in six years this October. Playing an incredible array of hits, fans can enjoy live performances of Island In The Sun, El Scorcho, Say It Ain’t So and other classics.
Heading up the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Weezer will be supported by electro-rock locals, Regurgitator.
YARRABAH MUSIC & CULTURAL FESTIVAL
Far North Queensland is set to come alight with the Yarrabah Music and Cultural Festival. The line-up promises to be one of the event’s best, featuring Jessica Mauboy, Electric Fields, Jessie Lloyd and Yarrabah Brass Band.
The festival is free, but will also host a range of workshops at a small cost, including wood artefacts, shell necklaces and damper making as well as weaving.
the Yarrabah Music & Cultural Festival is part of QLD Music Trails.
FESTIVAL OF SMALL HALLS
UNTIL 29 OCTOBER
The Festival of Small Halls‘ Spring Tour is currently making its way around towns in Outback Queensland and will wrap up at the end of October. A selection of the best folk and contemporary acoustic artists are performing at tiny halls in communities all over Australia, plus two of Australia’s largest festivals.
This year’s tour is headlined by Canadian musician and young folk troubadour Shane Pendergast and Aussie Monique Clare, a cello master with strikingly crafted vocals. Catch these two talents at one of 24 small-hall shows across Outback Queensland this month.
ROYAL HOBART SHOW
The Royal Hobart Show, hosted by the Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania, celebrates all things Australian. From country heritage and agriculture to top-level competition and the latest in entertainment, the show offers something for everyone.
For many years, both city and country folk have been attending to soak up the sights, sounds and smells of Tassie. Attendees can look forward to petting zoos, art exhibitions, rides, food trucks, live performances and interactive activities.
Enjoy fun and interactive activities. (Image: Tourism Tasmania & Kathryn Leahy)
The Tulip Festival in Wynyard on Tasmania’s north-west coast is a one-day feast for all the senses. Gutteridge Gardens come to life with blooming tulips, live music, local produce and talented makers from around Tasmania.
Throw in children’s entertainment, flower displays from community groups and fireworks at 9pm and you’ve got a jam-packed day for the whole family to enjoy.
Wynyard is known for its annual tulip blooms. (Image: Luke Tscharke)
NUBEENA BEE FESTIVAL
It’s time to celebrate the humble bee and its impact on our environment at the Nubeena Bee Festival. The festivities kick off the night prior with the Gala Bee Ball, offering entertainment, honey-highlighted food and a space for the community to come together.
On Saturday, explore markets with bee-themed wares, food stands with honey-flavoured treats and garden stalls with plants that encourage bees to visit. You can also meet artists and crafters and learn all about bee-keeping at presentations by gardeners.
Celebrate the hard work of bees in Nubeena.
Get ready for The Unconformity, an eccentric contemporary arts festival that explores the idiosyncratic paradoxes of Queenstown, Tasmania.
Inspired by a rare geological unconformity and the non-conforming nature of its community, the four-day festival features site-specific activities that cast new perceptions for locals and visitors alike. Discover something new this year at The Uncomformity; tickets are on sale now.
Discover something new this year at The Uncomformity. (Image: Jesse Hunniford)
BULL & BARREL FESTIVAL
The Bull & Barrel Festival is a free event created by the Dardanup community to celebrate the diverse offerings of the unique Western Australian region. It’s the perfect day out for families, offering over 150 market and food stalls, live music, demonstrations and lots of animals.
MANDURAH COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL
Grab your best Akubra and make haste, the Mandurah Country Music Festival is back in town this October. The line-up is sure to please, with artists like Shannon Noll, Jonny Reid, Chad Hewett, Cactus Rose and Beccy Cole all taking to the stage.
Food trucks and a public bar offering beer, wine, spirits and cider will be onsite to keep festival-goers sated. Attendees can also BYO camp chairs and picnic rugs to settle on throughout the day.
The Mandurah Country Music Festival is back in town.
This October, EverNow invites you to light up your senses, reconnect with Country and rediscover nature. The inaugural and free festival will be held on Wadjuk Country in Perth during the Noongar season of Kambarang.
Inspired by the land of one of the longest living cultures on Earth, explore rich dreamscape of installations, storytelling, dance, music and performance.
ARKHÉ X CHIN CHIN
The restaurant collab of the season is here and you’re invited to join. Head chef and owner of arkhé, Jake Kellie, will be stirring it up with executive chef Benjamin Cooper of Chin Chin for your tasting pleasure.
The collaboration will come in to parts across two days: a Cooking with Cooper masterclass on Saturday and an arkhé x Chin Chin dinner on Sunday. Although the masterclass has already sold out, don’t miss out on Sunday’s five-course banquet-style feast.
The restaurant collab of the season is here.
Nature Festival, a festival dedicated to showcasing the wonderful and diverse nature of South Australia, will return for its fourth year this October with an estimated 300+ events happening across the state.
This year’s festival program is jam-packed with exciting and interactive things to do. Think picnics, walks, yoga sessions, guided tours, workshops, panel talks and art installations, plus so much more. It’s time to appreciate our environment with South Australia’s Nature Festival.
ALIVE AT THE CHÂTEAU
Icon of the Barossa Valley, Château Tanunda is bringing the region to life this spring and summer with a new series of family-friendly events: ALIVE At Château Tanunda. The events allow guests to fully immerse themselves in Château life, surrounded by the stunning Barossa.
October’s event is ALIVE At The Château, which will take place in Château Tanunda’s Sunken Garden. Guests can enjoy live music from talented Barossa artists, a barbecue from Howard’s Fire, bold Château Tanunda reds with plenty of games to keep the kids entertained.
Meander about the Sunken Garden of Château Tanunda.
SEA TO SHORE SEAFOOD FESTIVAL
This October, Glenelg’s foreshore will become a seafood hub for the senses throughout the day with the Sea to Shore Seafood Festival. Nine well-known South Aussie restaurateurs are set to showcase their delectable and sustainably sourced seafood dishes for your tasting pleasure.
As the sun sets, the festivities will continue into the night with a street party, where a number of restaurants and bars will offer a range of seafood-inspired dishes. Seafood lovers, don’t miss out – purchase your ticket now.
Sea to Shore is held along the Glenelg Foreshore.
STARTS 20 OCTOBER
The state-wide Tarnanthi Festival will return in 2023, with exhibitions at the Art Gallery of South Australia and dozens of partner venues across Adelaide and South Australia.
The festival showcases the latest contemporary works by hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from across the country. Admire art in all its forms, from artist/curator talks and workshops to film, music and performances.
We all need a good belly laugh once in a while. That’s why you should head to the Darwin Entertainment Centre this October for Deadly Funny, the city’s own First Nations comedy competition.
For 18 years this competition has unearthed the freshest, fiercest, funniest comedians from the oldest culture on earth. Open to First Nations comedians and storytellers, Deadly Funny and has seen the likes of Steph Tisdell, Kevin Kropinyeri, Andy Saunders and Shiralee Hood take to the stage.
KAKADU BIRD WEEK
UNTIL 3 OCTOBER
Kakadu National Park is truly a bird lover’s paradise; it is home to more than a third of Australia’s bird species. It’s the perfect place to discover and learn all about the unique species of birds living in this magical part of the world, which is dual World Heritage-listed for both its natural and cultural values.
At Kakadu Bird Week, you can enjoy a host of exciting activities including birdwatching, wetlands cruises, Aboriginal cultural experiences and more.
See a Sacred Kingfisher at Kakadu Bird Week. (Image: Parks Australia)
UNTIL 22 OCTOBER
This year’s Desert Mob exhibition in Mpartnwe (Alice Springs), curated by Desart, will excitingly feature a record number of contemporary works. The 2023 program includes a marketplace, workshops, demonstrations, performances, satellite events and the Symposium, all for visitors to enjoy. The Desert Mob Symposium is an unmissable opportunity for audiences to hear firsthand from Aboriginal artists about their work, projects, family and Country.
The 35 community Art Centres represented in Desert Mob 2023 are from a geographic area that spans 1.221 million kilometres and sixteen language groups. Visitors to Mparntwe for Desert Mob will share the richness and diversity of desert art and experience myriad contemporary expressions of an enduring culture.
Rhonda Sharpe of Yarrenyty Arltere Artists, Courtesy of Araluen Arts Centre. (Image: Emma Murray)
UNTIL 15 OCTOBER
One of the best spring destinations Australia has on offer is back in 2023. Spread throughout Canberra’s Commonwealth Park, Floriade blooms with over one million flowers that come alive with beauty, colour and vibrancy as spring arrives in the city.
This year, there will be an array of fine dining restaurants, wineries and wine bars, luxe day spas and endless outdoor activities for family and friends to enjoy. Other program highlights include NightFest, Dogs’ Day Out and the Great Big Bulb Dig. Floriade is free and non-ticketed, so what are you waiting for?
Getting to Floriade is easy thanks to its prime location in Commonwealth Park. (Image: Visit Canberra)
JAPANESE FILM FESTIVAL
UNTIL 15 OCTOBER
Experience the rich tapestry of Japanese storytelling at the 27th Japanese Film Festival in Australia, the premier destination for fans of Japanese cinema of all genres.
From gripping historical dramas to innovative modern tales, there’s a cinematic gem awaiting every film enthusiast in this year’s collection. The festival will be heading to Canberra from 30 September to 15 October, then moving on to Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
Watch popular Japanese horror film, Immersion, if you dare. (Image: © 2023 IMMERSION Production Committee)
Fans of all things Latin America will be excited to hear that La Fiesta is heading to the Latin American Plaza in Canberra this October. If you enjoy traditional Latin music, art and food, this is the festival for you. You’ll be transported as you meander through food stalls, witness live performances and explore an open-air art gallery full of contemporary Latin art. Buena onda!