Events in Victoria
Victoria may be home to lush emerald hills, a vast coastline, golden beaches, unending vineyards, charming towns and its buzzing capital city Melbourne, but what makes the state truly stand out from other parts of Australia is its seemingly endless calendar of important events. Catering for everyone from arts aficionados to sport fans, if Australia has an important event or festival, chances are it takes place in Victoria. To get a taste for what's on offer, consider timing your Victoria holiday to one of the below events:
Catch the live tennis action in Melbourne Park for two weeks every January. This mammoth tournament is often as big – and sometimes bigger – than the US Open, and attracts the usual big hitters, from Federer to Nadal to Murray. Be sure to book your tickets well in advance if you want to attend a match boasting these world-class players.
Australia Day Races at Hanging Rock
Taking place at the literary icon of Hanging Rock, enjoy a day at the races – and even have a little flutter – in honour of the country’s most iconic celebration. Just an hour's drive from Melbourne, this event also offers live music, food stalls and a range of activities hosted by Camp Australia to keep children entertained.
St Kilda Festival
Join in with this free celebration of Australian music, sunshine and the beachside Melbourne suburb of St Kilda. There are over 100 food stalls to choose from, 80+ market stalls and a selection of local musicians; last year saw Aboriginal-Australian singers like Alice Skye take to the stage.
White Night Melbourne
Watch the city transform under a cloak of darkness, alive with light installations, exhibitions, street performances and interactive displays and events. Our favourite exhibition in recent years has been 'The Pyrophone Juggernaut', a fire-belching land ship, forged from reclaimed metals that made for an unrivalled display of percussion. With or without the juggernaut, you can expect a unique experience at this quirky event that runs from dusk 'til dawn.
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
Thanks to its surrounding farming communities, wine regions and multicultural population, Melbourne is often seen as Australia's foodie capital. Get a taste for it (literally) by timing your visit to the city's food and wine festival, which includes visits from famous chefs, deliciously long and wine-filled lunches, and special events run by local restaurants.
Australian Grand Prix
Head to Albert Park in Melbourne for this annual sporting event, which has been staged here for over two decades. Book tickets and you'll be able to catch a glimpse of some of the best drivers in the world as they hurtle around the epic, 16-turn track.
Bright Autumn Festival
The Bright Autumn Festival is a 10-day celebration of the wonderful autumn colours and seasonal produce of the valleys of Victoria's Alpine High Country. The highlight is the Gala Weekend with a market, music in the streets and a parade.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Celebrating over 30 years of hilarity, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is one of the largest in the world – alongside Edinburgh’s Fringe. Watch (and laugh) as it takes over the capital with stand-up, cabaret and street performances. Previous performers include Andy Zaltzman, Chris D'Elia and Dara O'Briain.
Good Beer Week
Attracting over 75,000 beer-lovers from around the country, this event showcases some of the most beloved craft beers in Melbourne. Sample local brews, meet chefs from nearby pubs, watch beer-making masterclasses and wash it all down with a river of live music.
Grampians Grape Escape
Enjoy a month of deliciousness at one of the longest running foodie festivals in Australia. A hallmark event for Victoria, the Grampians Great Escape promises appearances from renowned TV chefs like Adam Liaw, as well as live music and over 125 food and wine artisans.
Melbourne International Jazz Festival
Discover the world’s best jazz music in one city. Dozens of artists – from a list which has previously included Esperanza Spalding, Vince Jones and Tomasz Stanko – will perform in the streets of Melbourne, as well as in concert halls, art venues and jazz clubs for this music-infused festival, which has been running for 20 years.
National Celtic Festival, Portarlington
Get a flavour of Celtic culture in an Australian setting – this festival promises live music, Celtic art and a place for family and friends to gather and celebrate. Best of all, it prides itself on a diverse collection of workshops for all ages, from learning to play the Irish fiddle to reciting Gaelic poetry.
Open House Melbourne
Learn all about Melbourne’s buildings and environment amid a collection of talks, tours, workshops and interviews. Buildings used in 2016 included the State Library of Victoria, Parliament House, the Royal Historical Society Victoria and St Paul's Cathedral.
The Gertrude Street Projection Festival
Admire the outdoor illuminated gallery, with artistry projected on 41 of Fitzroy’s buildings and high rises. In fact, it's not just the buildings that are lit up my award-winning projection artists – the windows, laneways, footpaths, shops, walls and tree trunks are brought to life too.
Walhalla Vinter Ljusfest
Pay homage to all things winter at this Swedish-inspired festival, which focuses on light, sound and imagery. For something a bit different, be sure to embark on one of the festival's nightly ghost tours or a tour of the local gold mines.
Melbourne Writers Festival
From literature to inspirational ideas, you’ll get immersed in all elements of storytelling at this event – perfect for writers, readers and thinkers. The event even incorporates different forms of written expression beyond pen and paper, such as rapping.
Bendigo Annual Tulips Display
Welcome 33,000 tulips into Bendigo’s stunning gardens, along Pall Mall, including varieties like Carola and Ad Rem. The festival also invites visitors to partake in a talk and tour conducted by the curator and usual runs a photo competition on social media, offering prizes for the best images of the tulips.
Melbourne International Film Festival
Established in 1952, ‘MIFF’ is one of the oldest festivals in the world alongside Cannes and Berlin. Join fellow movie buffs in experiencing the very best filmmaking, historically paying homage to Australian movie culture legends like Paul Cox and David Gulpilil, as well as welcoming new talent.
Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix
If you prefer two wheels to three, this is the race for you. Head for Phillip Island - where bike racing has been a big deal for nearly a century – and to the Grand Prix Circuit to catch a glimpse of the world’s best riders, like Honda's Cal Crutchlow and native racer Casey Stoner.
Running for 17 days every October, this 30-year-old festival lets you choose from incredible dance, theatre, music, visual arts and a multitude of free outdoor events as part of an all-encompassing celebration of all things Melbourne.
Toast to the Coast – Geelong Wine Festival
Spend a weekend venturing through all three of Geelong’s wine regions and sample some of the best grapes in the region. If that's not enough, there's plenty of opportunity to amble through the vineyards, indulge in long, scenic lunches and listen to local musicians.
Melbourne Cup Carnival
Undoubtedly Australia’s most prestigious display of horse racing, the Melbourne Cup Carnival also brings together entertainment, culture and food for a fun-packed four days. Most importantly, it's all about the fashion and being the best dressed – just like Ascot – so be sure to pack your gladrags.
Boxing Day Test
Flock to the Melbourne Cricket Ground for this festive match, fusing together cricket with the spirit of Christmas – it is also known for having hosted some of the most memorable moments in the sport.
Melbourne New Year’s Eve
When it comes to fireworks on New Year’s Eve events, Melbourne’s waterfront goes off with a bang. Gather at one of the exciting live sites around the city to enjoy the free festivities, including local music and an array of great food offerings.