The best things to do in Sydney this August

Go on a tasting tour of new activities, challenges and big events in August
Photograph: Supplied
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It’s time to tick off some major goals in your Sydney social calendar this month. There’s more than 200 talks, workshops and activities during the Sydney Science Festival and classic theatrical experiences at the Shakespearean Pop-up Globe. We hope you’ve prepared for the City2Surf, but we certainly won’t judge if you're more dedicated to the booze and carbs at the Italian Wine and Food Festival.

You can ride out the rest of the chilly season with evenings spent in a pub keeping your mind keen with these tried and tested trivia nights. Or, emerge from your winter bubble and get out onto the water with a paddle at these top kayaking spots in Sydney.

RECOMMENDED: The best parks in Sydney.

August's biggest events

1
Woman and a beaker in a science laboratory
Photograph: Supplied
Museums, Science

Sydney Science Festival

icon-location-pin Sydney
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Now in its fourth year, Sydney Science Festival is back in August with 13 days of talks, experiments, exhibitions and free events across the city’s museums, galleries, universities, and research institutions. 

2
2017 Time Out Food Awards
Restaurants

Time Out Food Awards

icon-location-pin Barangaroo
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Forks at the ready, Sydney: the Time Out Food Awards are returning. Join us at 12-Micron on Monday August 27 as we toast the city’s best restaurants, top chefs and rising stars of the food scene. Expect delicious drinks and canapés, sweet tunes and all the suspense of the awards, as we give back to those venues that make feasting in Sydney superb.

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3
Courtney Barnett sitting in a red tiled empty pool
Photograph: Pooneh Ghana
Music, Rock and indie

Courtney Barnett

icon-location-pin Sydney
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Indie-rock musician Courtney Barnett is headlining a Concert Hall show this winter, four years after joining Billy Bragg on the same stage as his support act. You can expect to hear tracks from her second album Tell Me How You Really Feel, like her latest single ‘City Looks Pretty’ – but also her signature witty lyrics from the critically-acclaimed debut record Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit.

4
A small Margherita pizza
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Italian Wine and Food Festival

icon-location-pin Eveleigh
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Celebrate all the tastiest drops coming out of Italy and the country's best snacks. Masterclasses and workshops sell out quickly so if you want to really get into the educational elements of the festival it pays to book early. Otherwise standard entry gets you a tasting glass that you can give a serious work out as you make your way through stalls dedicated to regions and grape varieties, with pitstops for mozzarella, prosciutto, pizza and more.

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5
The Almighty Sometimes Griffin Theatre 2018 supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre, Drama

The Almighty Sometimes

icon-location-pin Darlinghurst
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Young Australian playwright Kendall Feaver picked up a prestigious European playwriting award for this story charting the relationship between a mother, Renee, and her mentally ill daughter Anna. Anna, now aged 20, wants to try coming off her pills and prescriptions, to find out where her illness ends and her identity begins. Meanwhile, Renee is determined protect her child from what anguished mental demons might be released when the pills stop.

6
Cherry blossom on trees in Auburn Botanic Garden
Photograph: Damian Shaw
Attractions, Parks and gardens

Sydney Cherry Blossom Festival

icon-location-pin Auburn
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To celebrate cherry blossom season, the botanic gardens runs a ten-day festival of ticketed events. It kicks off with a VIP Opening Night party featuring a Japanese ABBA cover band and plenty of premium plum wine, sake and craft beer. Then there's two Hanami (‘flower viewing’) weekends where visitors can wander around the blossoms and enjoy Japanese snacks, sumo wrestling matches, a Hello Kitty makeover station, a cosplay show and more.

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7
Eat Your Heart Out festival food truck with smiling employees.
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Eat Your Heart Out Liverpool

icon-location-pin Liverpool
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Liverpool will welcome this second street celebration of music, art and food. Railway Street will be coloured with public art, carnival games, and stalls of designer and handmade goods presented by the Westies Markets. Local businesses along the strip will become part of the festivities, beside more of Liverpool’s favourite eateries in food truck form, and a curated music and performance program of local and international acts.

8
Woman looking at clothes on a rack
Photograph: Supplied
Shopping, Markets

Round She Goes Fashion Market

icon-location-pin Marrickville
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There’s a mix of vintage and modern clothing and accessories, as well as handmade jewellery and funky trinkets. You’ll find high-end designers like Ferragamo and Carla Zampatti, as well as good quality high street styles from Gorman and Sass & Bide among the 60 or so stalls packed into Marrickville Town Hall. It’s $2 entry at the door.

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9
The Harp in the South Sydney Theatre Company 2018
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre, Drama

The Harp in the South

icon-location-pin Millers Point
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Ruth Park's all-Australian epic has been adapted for the screen multiple times before, but now Sydney Theatre Company is bringing the story of the Darcy family to life on stage. There's a lot of story to get through across three novels, so adaptor Kate Mulvany has split her adaptation into two parts that you can watch in consecutive nights or across one day (with a dinner break in the middle)

10
Cup of tea at Sydney Tea Festival
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Sydney Tea Festival

icon-location-pin Eveleigh
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Black, green, boozy or iced – there are many ways to enjoy the flavours derived from the camellia sinensis plant and Sydney’s gathering of artisan tea makers are here for all of them. Sydney Tea Festival brings together 70 stallholders at Carriageworks for a day of markets, talks and masterclasses in tea and tisane. For $16.50, you can wander the stalls and taste rare tea varieties or chill out in the Brew Lounge. 

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11
Queens Of The Stone Age
Photograph: supplied
Music, Rock and indie

Queens of The Stone Age

icon-location-pin Moore Park
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Led by founding member Joshua Homme, the Grammy-nominated California band has earned its stripes with radio favourites ‘Head Like A Haunted House’ and ‘The Way You Used To Do’. These rock’n’roll masters will be returning to Australia in August and September for their Villains world tour. Sydney’s Hordern Pavillion will host one of seven performances blasted across major concert halls around the country. The gang will be joined on stage with local jungle-rock-blues performer C.W. Stoneking.

12
Celia Pacquola All Talk 2018 MICF photo supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy, Stand Up

Celia Pacquola: All Talk

icon-location-pin Sydney
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Australian comedian, actress and writter Celia Pacquola will return to her stand-up roots for a roof-raising Sydney season of All Talk. It's not for the comedically faint hearted – que references to anal hair removal, alcoholism, depression and debauchery – but this five star performance is sure to resonate with you thicker skinned larrikins.

Time Out says
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13
Horror
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre

Horror

icon-location-pin Sydney
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Jakop Ahlbom's critically acclaimed Horror is like a scary movie unfolding before your eyes, with no screens separating you from the terrifying action. Part circus, part mime, part dance, part theatre, all terrifying, Horror uses all the cinematic tropes that scary movie fans love, but by putting them on stage reifies the experience more than any movie ever could. It'll bring those movie magic scares to the Sydney Opera House for it's first showing in Australia.

14
Art, Galleries

Between Suns

icon-location-pin Darlinghurst
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Cement Fondu is one of Sydney's newest galleries, having only opened in March this year. Its next exhibition looks at the relationship between personal narratives and migrant communities and features video and installation works from five artists: James Nguyen, Khaled Sabsabi, Mona Ibrahim, Phaptawan Suwannakudt and Shivanjani Lal. The exhibition is showing alongside the Refugee Art Project.

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15
The Misanthrope Sydney Opera House 2018
Theatre, Drama

The Misanthrope

icon-location-pin Sydney
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Bell Shakespeare has had a lot of success in recent years with Justin Fleming's adaptations of Molière's classics, which drag his plays into the 21st century by turning contemporary Australian English into rhyming verse. This new production is set in the music industry on the day of a music video shoot and stars Danielle Cormack as the titular misanthrope, a role traditionally played by a man.

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Le Dernier Appel (The Last Cry) Carriageworks 2018 photo supplied
Photograph: Arnaud Elissalde
Dance

Le Dernier Appel (The Last Cry)

icon-location-pin Eveleigh
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First Nation, immigrant and settler descent dancers from Australia and New Caledonia come together in a new work by Indigenous dance company Marrugeku that explores the impact and aftermath of decolonisation across the Asia Pacific. It asks what should remain and what should be discarded when countries unshackle themselves from their colonial pasts. It will tour to New Caledonia after its season at Carriageworks.

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17
Calamity Jane 2017 Hayes Theatre production still 01 feat Tony Taylor Virginia Gay Sheridan Harbridge photographer credit John McRae
Photograph: John McRae
Theatre, Musicals

Calamity Jane

icon-location-pin Surry Hills
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It was near impossible to get a ticket to the Hayes Theatre production of Calamity Jane. Thankfully Belvoir is bringing the show back. Originally a movie musical vehicle for Doris Day in 1953, it’s a sweet little Western about a woman who learns to become more of a “lady” so she can be happy in love. Luckily, Richard Carroll's new production is instead a quick-fire, self-aware, fourth-wall-breaking beast.

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Wall mural at Commune Our Hood
Things to do, Markets

Commune Our Hood

icon-location-pin Waterloo
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Waterloo’s creative precinct is throwing another huge party in its expansive warehouse space. This time around, Commune Our Hood will feature wintery markets and cosy nooks of activity to warm your hearts and minds. ‘Hearts on Fire’ will include fiery live music sets supported by FBi Radio, dance performances, a yoga class led by drag star Dusty Glass and a series of talks and workshops run by TEDxHaymarket. 

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19
Jersey Boys 2018 Australian cast hero image feat Cameron MacDonald, Bernard Angel, Thomas McGuane, Glaston Toft Photographer credit Brian Geach
Photograph: Brian Geach
Theatre, Musicals

Jersey Boys

icon-location-pin Haymarket
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Last in Sydney in 2010, Broadway smash Jersey Boys is back in 2018 with an Australian cast led by Bernard Angel, Cameron MacDonald, Thomas McGuane and Glaston Toft. It's a loving recreation of the beginnings of the band, their hits, their behind-the-scenes antics and bitter rivalries that traces the story of four boys from New Jersey through their struggle for recognition, underworld entanglements and exponential rise to stardom.

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Museums, Science

Human non Human

icon-location-pin Ultimo
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This intriguing exhibition explores humanity’s core motivations and influences, and asks what we might become in the future. Hosted by the Powerhouse Museum, Human non Human will use architecture, design, robotics, biotechnology, chemistry, organic matter, film and performance across four installation works. These will represent society’s evolution and potential for adaptation across four integral aspects of life: food, work, sex and belief.

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21
Mojo Juju: Native Tongue
Photograph: Supplied
Music

Mojo Juju: Native Tongue

icon-location-pin Sydney
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[Sponsored] Singer-songwriter, guitarist and storyteller Mojo Ruiz de Luzuriaga will share her life with the audience in the intimate, stripped back performance Native Tongue: an evening of emotionally raw songs and storytelling. Over the course of an hour, guests will discover how Mojo Juju’s Indigenous Australian and Filipino ancestry, as well as her other personal experiences, have shaped the artist she is today. 

22
Laka Casula Powerhouse 2018
Photograph: Supplied
Art, Film and video

Laka

icon-location-pin Casula
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At the centre of Laka, an exhibition that uses sound, video installation and virtual reality, is a feature-length film telling the story of Lily, a Yolngu woman from the Northern Territory, and her husband Siddhartha, a Sri Lankan Australian. The pair are preparing for the birth of their first child when they reach a crossroad and Lily has to make a decision between her family and country. 

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23
The Comedy of Errors Pop-Up Globe 2018 Sydney
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre, Drama

The Comedy of Errors

icon-location-pin Moore Park
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Of all Shakespeare's comedies, The Comedy of Errors is probably the most straight-forwardly funny, and should fit perfectly into the intimate Pop-up Globe. The plot touches on some serious themes of displacement and immigration, but it's driven by slapstick, puns and wordplay, following two sets of twins who were separated at birth. The play will be performed by the Pop-up Globe's Southampton's Company.

24
Be With You KOFFIA
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Film festivals

KOFFIA Korean Film Festival in Australia

icon-location-pin Circular Quay
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Lots of cathartic crying, attractive stars and supernatural suspense: Korean cinema doesn't muck around when it comes to what's fun in movies, and the annual Korean Film Festival in Australia is always a highlight of the cinema year. The KOFFIA is run by the Korean Culture Centre Australia. The 2018 film festival will be the ninth, with 22 feature films to be screened (all with English subtitles).

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25
A Taste of Honey production shots at Belvoir
Theatre, Drama

A Taste of Honey

icon-location-pin Surry Hills
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A Taste of Honey caused a stir with its portrayal of single motherhood, interracial relationships and teen pregnancy when it debuted in 1958. It follows pregnant teenager Jo, left alone after her African boyfriend returns to sea. When Jo meets arts student Geoff, who has been kicked out of his rented room for being gay, the pair form a solid if unconventional family – until Jo’s mother comes crashing back into her life again.

Time Out says
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Art, Sculpture and installations

Urban Decay: Joshua Smith

icon-location-pin Darlinghurst
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In his first solo exhibition, Joshua Smith takes cities at their most honest – falling apart, covered in unfashionable graffiti –and creates aesthetically intriguing miniature models of buildings and shopfronts, complete with overflowing dumpsters and colourful signage. The streetscapes on show at the Australian Design Centre include some recognisable Sydney structures that aren’t the focal point for most postcards or ad campaigns.

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27
Kids use a telescope.
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Stargazing at Rouse Hill House and Farm

icon-location-pin Western Sydney
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This family-friendly evening of astronomy will offer visitors fresh insights about the constellations with expert talks, telescope viewings and candlelight classes. Leading the discussions will be astrophysicist and Wiradjuri woman Kirsten Banks, who will share Indigenous insights about the constellations. The night’s exploration will run to an astronomy-themed soundtrack and will also offer a class all about the real star of the sky, the Moon.

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Torch Song Trilogy Darlinghurst Theatre 2018
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre, Drama

Torch Song Trilogy

icon-location-pin Darlinghurst
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Harvey Fierstein’s collection of three plays chronicling a Jewish New York drag queen’s quest for love, respect and a better life is a touchstone in queer theatre. This production, directed by Stephen Collyer, has assembled one of the best young casts in Sydney musical theatre, including Simon Corfield (Packed to the Rafters), Tim Draxl (A Place to Call Home), Stephen Madsen and Hilary Cole (Muriel’s Wedding The Musical), Kate Raison and Imraan Daniels and Phil Scott.

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29
A Midsummer Night's Dream Pop-Up Globe 2018 photo supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre, Drama

A Midsummer Night's Dream

icon-location-pin Moore Park
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The open-air environment at Pop-up Gobe will perfectly suit Shakespeare's rambling romp A Midsummer Night's Dream, which follows two pairs of lovers as they become lost in the woods on a particularly magical evening. This production is performed by an all-male cast and draws in elements of Māori culture. 

30
Madonna, Tony Ward, and one of Madonna's dancers, Donna Delory.
Photograph: CC/Alan Light
Clubs, Gay clubs

Madonna's 60th Birthday Party

icon-location-pin Paddington
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Madonna turns sixty on the 16th of August, which is a Thursday sure, but a Saturday is a far better night to get into the groove to celebrate. The travelling Madonna Tribute Baris setting up shop on Oxford street for one night only so you can dance...for inspiration on a weekend night without feeling borderline hung on a working weekday.

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31
Child orders food at a market.
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

German Christmas Markets

icon-location-pin Sydney
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This year’s twilight markets will feature a giant snow globe, which crowds can explore before walking in the traditional lantern-lit parade around the grounds. A well-tended bonfire will keep market-goers warm while they devour hearty German fare before the sticky mess of marshmallow roasting begins. There'll be face painting, puppet shows and magician performances for the kids and Glühwein (German mulled wine) for the grown-ups. 

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King of Pigs Old Fitz Theatre 2018 photo supplied
Photograph: John Marmaras
Theatre, Drama

King of Pigs

icon-location-pin Wooloomooloo
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Penned by Steve Rodgers and directed by Blazey Best, King of Pigs has been developing for several years. At the centre of the play is one woman, played by Ella Scott Lynch, in different relationships with four men. Each relationship has some kind of abusive element. The cast also includes Christian Byers, Ashley Hawkes, Mick Bani and Kire Tosevski.

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Art, Galleries

Spacemakers and roomshakers: installations from the collection

icon-location-pin Sydney
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If you’ve ever walked the halls of the Art Gallery of NSW and smelt cumin, turmeric, paprika and cloves wafting towards you, you’ll be familiar with Ernesto Neto’s huge stalactite-like art installation 'Just like drops in time, nothing'. Neto’s creation, alongside those by seven other contemporary installation artists, is on show as part of Spacemakers and Roomshakers, which brings together works that create an immersive experience. 

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Taste of the Northern Beaches
Photograph: Karen Watson
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Taste of the Beaches

icon-location-pin Mona Vale
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Prepare for a long lunch at Winnererremy Bay, where Taste of the Beaches is setting up a boutique festival of food, wine and beer. It’ll feature some of North Sydney’s favourites like the beloved Hot Dog Man, Harvest Store and Kitchen, and the Little Viet Kitchen. Local brewers will make an appearance, but those seeking a liquid lunch will be heading to the cellar door experience with the Mudgee region wineries.

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35
The Turk in Italy Opera Australia 2018
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre

The Turk in Italy

icon-location-pin Sydney
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Simon Phillips’ pastel-hued production of Rossini’s lesser-known comic opera was a hit when it premiered in 2014. With a distinctly Australian libretto, a deliciously retro set and costumes by Gabriela Tylesova, the story centres on the capricious young woman Fiorilla, who is dazzled by the arrival of a mysterious foreign visitor to her sleepy seaside town – much to the dismay of her husband and her lover. 

36
Anjelah Johnson Live 2018 supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy, Stand Up

Anjelah Johnson

icon-location-pin Newtown
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The former NFL cheerleader turned actor and comedian shot to stardom when her sketch about a Vietnamese nail salon worker went viral in 2007. She went on to create MADtv character Bon Qui Qui, a disgruntled fast food worker with attitude, and to front her own Netflix special, Anjelah Johnson: Not Fancy. Now Johnson is headed to Australia with a Sydney performance set for August 18.

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37
Pig Fest 2018 at Public House Petersham
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Pigfest

icon-location-pin Petersham
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Public House Petersham is hosting a neighbourhood feast, and just like a well-cured Christmas ham, porky produce takes pride of place at the table. This one-day festival in PHP’s party carpark will feed the whole family with dishes like barbeque-glazed pork ribs and extra thick bourbon-maple bacon-pops. Local breweries will be pouring beers on the day, with special festival batches infused with sweetened bacon flavours.

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Leonardo di Caprio The Great Gatsby
Film, Special screenings

Beyond Cinema presents The Great Gatsby

icon-location-pin Marsfield
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Beyond Cinema have announced their newest party/experience bringing the world of the movies to life. An exclusive mansion 20 minutes from the Sydney CBD will be the setting for an immersive screening party of The Great Gatsby. Baz Luhrmann's 2013 film of the 1925 F Scott Fitzgerald novel will be recreated in front of your eyes, with packages including food and four hours of unlimited wine, beer and soft drinks.

There's still time to go whale watching

For when you're flying solo

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