Guides

8 Epic Winter Festivals Around Australia To Warm Up The Coldest Nights

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Many Australians still struggle with the cold, but this year you may want to rethink any hibernation plans. There are some excellent events happening across the country, so don’t kick yourself after the fact – plan some holidays around these amazing, quirky Aussie winter festivals (besides the obvious Dark Mofo)and use them as an excuse to get out and explore.

Those yet to lock in a winter getaway still have a wealth of great options, helped by the fact there’s an ongoing competition between domestic airlines. As capacity increases, new routes are added and fares are dropped to some very low prices, which is good news for Aussie travellers. You can check out a bunch of sale fares over on Webjet.

From the NT to Tassie and Western Australia to Queensland, here are eight Aussie winter festivals that shine in the cold.

#1 Orange Winter Fire Festival

Orange, NSW; August 6-8, 2021

 

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We’ve raved about Orange, NSW before (here, here and here). This regional town known for its food, wine and boutiques is an absolute must-visit and the three-day Orange Winter Fire Festival is a great time to do it. The festival showcases the best of a country winter with a series of events inspired by the Australian cracker night bonfire tradition.

Bring an appetite for chargrilled feasts, cook-outs and (of course) red wines, all to be enjoyed beneath ridiculously starry night skies or alternatively, by the roaring fireplaces in Orange’s ace local pubs and restaurants.

#2 Jumpers & Jazz in July

Warwick, Qld; July 15-25, 2021

This is one quirky Sunshine State celebration. Jumpers & Jazz in July was first held in 2004,​ inspired by the Warwick Art Gallery’s idea to personalise the cold winter streets with textile art wrapped around the bare winter trees. Essentially, the trees all got their own jumpers.

It’s since grown into a 10-day arts festival, featuring more than 100 events during its run. Expect live Jazz music performances, artisan markets, laneway parties and of course, yarn bombing.

#3 Coober Pedy Opal Festival

Coober Pedy, SA; June 19, 2021

 

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Coober Pedy is a destination like no other, so it makes sense this Aussie winter festival is just as unique. The Coober Pedy Opal Festival celebrates everything Coober Pedy, from its opals and underground dwellings (like churches, pubs and more), to its multicultural community.

There are craft and market stalls, food and drink offerings, games, and entertainment. Most importantly though, there’s a Priscilla Queen of the Desert competition.

#4 Alice Springs Beanie Festival

Alice Springs, NT; June 25-28, 2021

 

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A casual ‘beanie party’ in 1997 has since grown into one of Alice Springs’ best winter festivals. For something different in the Top End, check out the Alice Springs Beanie Festival, which showcases beanies made by Indigenous women from regional and remote communities. All beanies entered are exhibited in a local gallery.

If you’re more into music festivals, be sure to have BASSINTHEGRASS on your radar for next year.

#5 Sydney Solstice

Sydney, NSW; June 8-20, 2021

 

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Sydney Solstice festival is about celebrating the best the city has to offer for two weeks over June, incorporating the Winter Solstice, which is known to be the shortest day and longest night of the year.

There are over 200 different experiences on offer, with Sydney Solstice highlighting the city’s best food, drink, music, arts and culture offerings around the CBD, Darling Harbour, Newtown, Oxford Street and surrounds. It’ll also help Sydneysiders discover new places like the CBD’s latest small-bar district, YCK Laneways, and an exciting new South Eveleigh precinct. There’s heaps of fun stuff on, like over at Mr Wong there are people in full disco suits (including disco ball heads and Daft Punk-esque get up) dancing.

Get amongst it. For more info on the Sydney Solstice, click here.

#6 Truffle Kerfuffle

Manjimup, WA;  June 25-27 , 2021

Follow your nose to this most excellent of Aussie winter festivals in WA, which is making a comeback in 2021 to celebrate one of the world’s most decadent ingredients.

This year’s Truffle Kerfuffle program includes truffle hunts, free cooking demonstrations, masterclasses, tasting opportunities and more. See a truffle dog in action, mingle around roaring fire pits and savour samples of Southern Forests produce.

#7 Huon Valley Mid-Winter Fest

Huon Valley, Tas; July 17, 2021

The Huon Valley is the fruit-picking heart of the Apple Isle, so there’s no better place to sink your teeth into its history than during the region’s Mid-Winter Festival. Visitors can sip hot spiced apple cider, listen to sets from folk-funk bands, enter costume competitions and graze on local Tassie produce as it’s served straight from the fire — *chef’s kiss*.

One of the main events is the Wassail, a pagan-esque ritual of scaring evil spirits from local orchards. Kinda like Tassie’s own Burning Man. Fly into Hobart for this one.

#8 Canberra Writers Festival

Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House and Kambri Cultural Precinct at the Australian National University, ACT | August 18-22, 2021

The theme of this year’s Canberra Writers Festival is ‘Power Politics Passion’ and the festival will bring together acclaimed talent from the international and local literary scene.

The full festival program is set to be announced in July but will encompass about 50 events, taking place across two separate venues – the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House and the Kambri cultural precinct at the Australian National University.


(Lead image: Jude Cohen / Supplied)