Vivid Sydney lights on the harbour
Photograph: Daniel Tran/Destination NSW | Vivid Sydney 2023

The 25 most exciting events happening in Australia in 2024

It’s worth travelling across the country to attend these top festivals and events

Melissa Woodley
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Buckle up, mates! Australia is set to rock 2024 with a jam-packed schedule of festivals and events. From dazzling light displays to dedicated food extravaganzas to vibrant spring flower festivals, there’s something worth travelling for in every state and territory. We’ve rounded up the best of the best, so you can start submitting those leave requests and planning your next getaway around these key events. 

RECOMMENDED: Here are the best festivals worth travelling to in Australia this year.

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Best events happening in Australia

  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals

February 16 – March 17, 2024

Adelaide Fringe is the largest arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere. For a whole month, this small city in South Australia is bursting with hundreds of cabaret, music, comedy, theatre and visual arts shows that all look like they could blow your socks off. From fire breathers to comedy to giant food tents devoted to all things gluttony, Adelaide Fringe brings together more than 6,000 diverse artists from all over the world in one place. Explore Adelaide over four weeks and stumble across hidden shows, curated experiences and epic eats that will be scattered across the city.

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Maya Skidmore
Contributor
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March 1–11, 2024

For ten magical autumn nights, Canberra becomes a nocturnal playground, with colourful light projections on iconic national attractions like Parliament House, the National Library of Australia and Questacon. In fact, the full city comes alive as a full festival hub with past after-dark experiences, including silent discos, outdoor symphony concerts, night noodle markets and a short film festival. However, the pinnacle event is the highly-anticipated Canberra Balloon Spectacular, which is free to watch from the lawns of Old Parliament House.

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Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia

March 1 – 18, 2024

This is set to be another momentous year for the world’s largest annual free-to-the-public outdoor sculpture exhibition. Following the grand celebration of its 25th anniversary in Sydney last year, Sculptures by the Sea is set to commemorate its 20th year in Perth this March. Lace up your walking shoes and explore more than 70 weird and wonderful sculptures, all dotted along the beautiful Cottesloe Beach.

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Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
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March 15 – 24, 2024

Need a good excuse for a culinary road trip? Mark your calendar for this ten-day celebration of all things food and drink, which will land in Melbourne from March 15 to 24. Featuring a star-studded line-up of international chefs and local food heroes, the 2024 iteration will offer a smorgasbord of 300 events, including bake sales, celebrity sausage sizzles, pop-up dinners and the festival’s signature World’s Longest Lunch.

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Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
  • Comedy
  • Comedy festival

March 27 – April 21, 2024

One of the largest comedy festivals in the world, this cacophony of chuckles is for all those who need a bloody good laugh. Running for a decent few weeks in autumn, you can expect to see some of the world's best comedians work their new material on stages across Melbourne city. With a line-up that includes a mix of (literally) hundreds of international and home-grown comics alike, this festival is guaranteed to be an extremely joyful highlight of your year.

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Maya Skidmore
Contributor
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March 28 – April 1, 2024

For 35 years, Byron Bay Bluesfest has been cranking thousands of people through their slick festival site for a five-day fest over the Easter long weekend. Over the years, the jam-packed line-ups have been stacked with traditional bluesy rock bands and big-name music legends, cult folk offerings, indie gems, traditional jazz and world music acts – and in 2024, it returns yet again with Jack Johnson, Tom Jones, the Teskey Brothers, Matt Corby and more.

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Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia

April 12–24, 2024

The Northern Territory is set to sparkle more than ever in 2024 thanks to the return of its free light and art spectacular, Parrtjima - A Festival in Light. The ten-day festival will shine bright under the starry desert skies of Alice Springs in April, with highlights including an immersive Grounded installation, where animated artwork will be projected onto the red sand of Alice Springs Desert Park.

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Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
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May 3-12, 2024

Prepare your palates for the country’s longest-running eating and drinking festival, which returns to South Australia for another delicious year. This ultimate gastronomic paradise spotlights the nation’s favourite culinary stars and local producers across 150 events in all 12 regions. From full-day degustations to regional pop-ups and hands-on cooking classes, this festival will be one for the memory books.  

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Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals

May 17–25, 2024

Located on the banks of the Ord River, Kununurra is the launch pad of a cultural experience distinct to WA’s precious Kimberley region. The annual Ord Valley Muster is the biggest festival in the region and celebrates the North West’s vast and dramatic landscapes with culinary, creative and cultural events. Rally the squad and adventure on down for comedy in the park, dinner under the stars, the top-end mustering rodeo, a yoga boat ride and more.

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  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals

May 18, 2024

Every year at the start of the dry season, the epic Bass in the Grass festival arrives in Darwin, heralding in a perfect storm of sequins, disco and quality music acts that draws in great crowds and even greater times. Blazing sunsets, incredible street food, stunning music, a whole plethora of parties, silent discos and rainbows galore make Bass worth your salt. Although this one-day festival does only happen once a year, if you're planning on making the trip up north, think about making it coincide with this big and fabulous day out.

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Maya Skidmore
Contributor

May 24 – June 15, 2024

Australia’s flashiest and most glow-heavy festival attracted more than three million people last year, and we won’t be surprised if it smashes that record again in 2024. With massive immersive light installations, colourful fine-dining experiences and the Southern Hemisphere's biggest-ever drone show, Vivid 2024 is guaranteed to be a spectacular affair. 

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Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
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May 30 – June 2, 2024

Experience the best of this jewel of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast at Noosa’s annual eating and drinking festival. It’s been a firm Noosa favourite for more than 20 years, bringing some of Australia’s favourite celebrity chefs to the beachside town, including Adriano Zumbo, Gary Mehigan and Khanh Ong. Five local restaurants will collaborate for the 2024 signature Long Lunch, which stretches end-to-end along Noosa Junction’s Arcadia Street. Beer and cider fans aren’t forgotten with plenty of brewers demonstrating their crafts, plus sundowner sessions at The Beach Garden pop-up, produce markets and interactive masterclasses. The Festival Village buzzes day and night with live entertainment, so don’t forget your dancing shoes.

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Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia

June 1–16, 2024

Reflect, rave and revel under the moonlight at Rising – Melbourne's flagship festival of music, food, art and culture. Returning in June, this two-week extravaganza promises a fully immersive journey through powerful theatre, exhilarating dance, mesmerising local and international music, and inspiring outdoor installations at the city’s landmark venues.

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Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
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July 4–21, 2024

Yes, it does feel like every capital city has a winter light and arts festival, but Illuminate is well worth the trip down south. More than 1.3 million attendees flocked to Adelaide for the festival in 2023, to see 144 artists from 13 countries, in 2,080 performances and sessions. It’s big, bright, bold and the best way to shake off your winter blues.

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Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia

July 12–13, 2024

A lot of apples come of out Tasmania's Huon Valley, like A LOT. So much so that this area just west of Hobart runs a festival each year to awaken the cider apple trees in a traditional custom called wassailing. The process involves going to the orchards, reciting incantations and singing to the trees to chase away the evil spirits and ensure a good harvest. These days, while locals and visitors still celebrate the custom at the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival, the annual event is very much a festival for foodies (with plenty of music and cider).

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  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals

August 8 – August 25, 2024

Want to escape the cold in mainland Australia? Look no further. With a tagline of 'Hot August Nights', you know you're in for a special time. This tropical wonderland of a city in Australia's Top End comes alive every August with a huge festival that brings joy, music and extremely good laksa to every street corner. You can expect shimmering fairy lights, incredible street food and a vibrant array of epic live performances, music and art that all need to be seen to be believed.

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Maya Skidmore
Contributor

August 31 - September 21

Signature pink and white banners start generating Brisbane Fest excitement mid-year, given September is Brissy’s month in the spotlight. The bulk of the action takes place around the CBD and South Bank, with gigs, theatre performances, food trucks and art exhibitions. It culminates with Riverfire, when fireworks explode over the Brisbane River.

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Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
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September 5–9, 2024

Hold on to your boa, babe, Broken Hill’s famous festival is returning to Outback NSW for the campest, draggiest, gay old time you’ve seen in the land Down Under. The festival that pays homage to The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert takes place at the cult film’s original filming location, The Palace Hotel, with outdoor movie screenings, drag bingo, street parades and late-night parties.

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Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia

September 13 – October 7, 2024

Toowoomba has a reputation for being the ‘Garden City’ – so a few smart noggins thought that segued nicely into a celebration of such. Fair to say the idea was a good one, given the town’s flower carnival has been going strong since 1949. Throughout the festival, Toowoomba turns into a sea of colour and a waft of perfume with thousands of flowers blooming across major displays in the Botanic Gardens, Queens Park and Laurel Bank Park. The carnival has a series of side events, including twilight sessions, a teddy bears’ picnic, a floral parade, and a dedicated festival of food and wine.

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Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
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September 14 – October 13, 2024

You’ve probably heard about the rainbow wonders of Canberra’s Floriade, but if you haven’t been before, this is your year. Entry to the massive spring flower festival is totally free during the day, where you can marvel at the beauty of one million blooms that have been manicured into all sorts of shapes and patterns. As the sun sets, Floriade turns into NightFest, offering a magical atmosphere with live music, bright light shows and an adult’s only Spiegeltent.

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Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia

October 14–20, 2024

If you’ve heard of South by Southwest (SXSW) before, you’ll know it’s a pretty wild place, where very big things happen. After 36 years of only ever being held in Texas, SXSW made history with its first-ever event in Sydney in 2023. The futuristic festival’s overseas debut manifested with seven days of insightful workshops, groundbreaking film premieres and secret pop-up parties that brought together 97,462 people from 41 countries. SXSW will bring a similar offering to the city in 2024 and we can’t wait to see what’s in store.

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Alannah Le Cross
Arts and Culture Editor, Time Out Sydney
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December 27, 2024 – January 1, 2025

Woodford is one of those events that seems to get bigger and better by the year. Wedged between Christmas and New Year, the six-day jamboree pulls more than 2,000 musicians and artists in front of a crowd of well over 125,000 people. Despite being the largest gathering of artists and musicians in Australia, Woodford Folk Festival offers far more than just concerts. You can also fill your cultural calendar with film screenings, street theatre, comedy sessions, craft workshops, circus performances, late-night cabarets and a spectacular fire event.

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Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia

December 28, 2024 – January 1, 2025

Get ready to tear up the dance floor at Australia's biggest New Year's music festival in Barunah Plains (a 30-minute drive from Geelong, 90 minutes from Melbourne). Judging by last year’s headline act, Grammy-winning Aussie dance music trio Rüfüs Du Sol, we have no doubts that this year's program will be jam-packed with international and local artists who'll soundtrack a NYE to remember.

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Melissa Woodley
Travel & News Editor, Time Out Australia
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December 28, 2024 – January 1, 2025

Get weird in the wilderness over New Year's at this whopping four-day fiasco in the Central Coast, just an hour north of Sydney. Sure, Lost Paradise is another camping festival, but it’s taken great lengths to provide more than just a (killer) line-up of music with a packed program of talks, workshops and spiritual and wellness experiences. There’s a Hawkesbury River-connected stream to cool off in and a small forest of hammocks for swinging in the breeze.

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Alannah Le Cross
Arts and Culture Editor, Time Out Sydney
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