It’s not all about Cher and the ‘big smoke’ of Sydney, some regional spots are celebrating Mardi Gras with more flair and fabulousness than 1000 glitzy floats could muster…

Darrrrling, it’s time to frock up – the day we’ve all been waiting for is here.

And while Mardi Gras is so often associated with Oxford Street in the heart of Sydney; with the endless party, the glitter-strewn floats and the message of L-O-V-E love – it’s certainly not the only place to celebrate the LGBTQI community with gusto. (Though, the government is lifting the Sydney lockout laws for one weekend only, which is certainly not going to dampen Sydney’s celebrations…)

Regional parts of NSW are doing their bit to raise the roof and share some of the glitter with Sydney throughout the year – and they’re doing a fine job of it. It may even make you want pack your feathers and head for a flight with a difference, or west, to Broken Hill – or Broken Heel, as they like to call it – for the festival of the year.

Fun and glamour at the Broken Heel Festival in Broken Hill.

Catch the stiletto train to ‘Broken Heel’

Described as ‘desert, disco and plenty of divas, darlings’ this event could just be the pinnacle of Mardi Gras mayhem – I know you’ve seen the AAMI ad that proves it. The festival is made of up three stages, all with performances representing every corner of Australia’s diverse, widely celebrated community.

Drag Kings and Queen are joined by Bio Queens, DJs, and showgirls, as well as cabaret, live music and an iconic street parade that sees the whole town of Broken Hill join in. Held on 7–9 September 2018 (celebrating the anniversary of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’s release), it truly is a bucket-list event you’d trade in your best boa not to miss.

Just last year NSW TrainLink proudly presented the Silver City Stiletto; a dedicated festival train service from Sydney Central direct to Broken Hill, with just a few pick-up points along the way.

It’s always a fabulous time at the Broken Heel festival, darling.

All aboard Haaaaaay! Mardi Gras 2018

The town of Hay is celebrating 40 years of the Sydney Mardi Gras with a festival and their very first street parade honouring the LGBTQI community, with the hopes of attracting people to their fair town of just 2500.

Just eight hours from Sydney, the town of Hay sits halfway between Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, along the banks of the mighty Murrumbidgee River. Eager to bring visitors to their town, the people of Hay put their heads together, and devised an event to support acceptance and equality in rural NSW, giving the celebrations a ‘Rainbow on the Plains’ theme to tap into Sydney’s contagious Mardi Gras fever. Kicking off on 3 March at 1pm, the Haaaaaay! Mardi Gras street parade will start at Hay Lions Park and finish at Hay pool. You can enter a float for just 10 bucks, too! Then comes the party, tipped to set the town alight, and finally a recovery brunch on the Sunday to help cure sore heads.

Funds from the event will support non-profit organisation, ‘Hay CanAssist’; a cancer patient assistance organisation that is focused on helping people in the Hay community in their battle against cancer.