Your Guide to the Hottest Festivals in 2023

Darwin Fringe Festival, NT

Sway in the starlight to the artistry of Icelandic singer Björk, sample local wines in the regions they came from, or be wowed by pyrotechnic shows and fresh culinary delights. Nowhere does a festival quite like Australia.

As promoters and organisers hint that events will be back to their pre-pandemic best, we’ve created the ultimate state-by-state guide to the hottest festivals on offer. Whether your thing is music, food, art or sport, we’ve found the best festival for you.

South Australia

Adelaide Fringe, SA

Adelaide Fringe is designed to ignite every one of your senses. Australia’s biggest arts festival will dazzle over 31 days and nights with immersive, tech-centric exhibitions and thrilling live performances that include comedy and cabaret (17 February – 19 March). In the middle of the action you’ll also find WOMADelaide (10-13 March), an open-air festival with an impressive line-up of 70 acts, including Florence + The Machine, Bon Iver and Fantastic Negrito.

More than 60,000 guests are expected to attend Tasting Australia, a gastronomical celebration boasting 150-plus events (28 April – 7 May) throughout the capital and regional SA. The program includes appearances from local culinary heroes, such as Restaurant Botanic’s Justin James, and international talents including River Cottage’s Gill Meller, plus the unveiling of a new immersive experience, Chef’s Table, which promises an intimate cooking tutorial.

Rug up and bring the kids. Illuminate Adelaide will be lighting up the streets, laneways and metropolitan landscape of Adelaide during a city-wide spectacle (28 June – 30 July).

Sports fans will also want to make their pilgrimage to Adelaide in 2023. The city will play host to nine matches of the Toyota AFL Premiership season (13-16 April; tickets are free for all Club and AFL members). The Grange Golf Club will see international stars like Cameron Smith, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson compete in the 2023 LIV Golf competition (21-23 April). And the NSW Blues will take on the Queensland Maroons in the opening State of Origin game at Adelaide Oval on 31 May.


Dark Mofo, Tasmania

Boundary-pushing arts festival Dark Mofo has locked in 8-22 June for its 2023 iteration. Expect the return of beloved events including the Winter Feast and the Nude Solstice Swim in the River Derwent. On 31 July, the Tassie Scallop Fiesta in the coastal town of Bridport will kick off the shellfish’s season with stallholders, classes and plenty of scallops.

Festivals don’t come more picturesque than Echo Festival; think breathtaking views and a celebration of local food and wine. Held on the edge of the east coast’s Swansea over the weekend of 31 March, this boutique festival is an opportunity to switch off. (But book fast: capacity is limited to just 500.) There’s also Ten Days on the Island (10-19 March), a state-wide arts festival that celebrates island life, both local and international. Look out for the First Nations show for children, Hide the Dog.


WorldPride, NSW

WorldPride 2023 will sweep through Sydney 17 February – 5 March with more than 300 events, including the iconic Mardi Gras parade, a walking tour of queer Sydney and the WorldPride Pride March across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. You’ll have time to take a breath before Orange F.O.O.D. Week (24 March – 2 April), a festival that celebrates chefs, food and farmers of regional town Orange.

In winter, Sydney will glow with magnificent 3D projections and outdoor light works by international artists courtesy of Vivid Sydney (26 May – 17 June). The festival will include thought-provoking talks from the likes of writer  Aaron Sorkin and Bombshell women’s rights advocate Gretchen Carlson, live performances and a new focus on food experiences. In a landmark Sydney event, the legendary SXSW Festival will head out of North America for the first time (15-22 October), with more than 1000 music, film, gaming and technology events scheduled.

SEE ALSO: The New Aussie Bucket List: 23 Places to Add for 2023


Grampians Grape Escape, Victoria

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival will be held over 10 gloriously gastronomical days (24 March – 2 April), with Lake House chef Alla Wolf-Tasker catering this year’s World’s Longest Lunch, a 2000-diner-strong experience in Treasury Gardens. Meanwhile, Rising, a festival set in the heart of the city, will bring colour into the darkness of June with vibrant art installations, performances and live music.

A restorative weekend of wine, food and music awaits at Grampians Grape Escape (5-7 May), a celebration of locally produced wine set in the foothills of Grampians National Park. After several devastating years marked by bushfires and COVID-19, Rainbow Serpent Festival is back with a full schedule of music, arts and spiritual education planned for summer 2023 in the Pyrenees Shire.


The Curated Plate, Qld

Music fans will want to dust off their dancing shoes as Charli XCX and Duke Dumont headline For The Love at Main Beach on the Gold Coast (25 February).

If you prefer opera under a ceiling of stars, the Festival of Outback Opera might be for you; outdoor concerts and pop-up performances in Winton and Longreach (19-22 May) make for an unforgettable experience.

Then, from 28 July to 6 August, The Curated Plate will celebrate the culinary delights of the Sunshine Coast, as local and international chefs showcase produce of the region.

Northern Territory

Wide Open Space (28-30 April) presents performances in Eastern Arrernte Country inspired by traditional and contemporary desert culture. Next up, Australia’s premiere Indigenous food festival, Taste of Kakadu (13-21 May), delivers a culinary and cultural education in Kakadu National Park. Bliss is eating canapés made with native ingredients while the sun sets over the Yellow Water billabong.

Darwin Fringe Festival (14-23 July), will showcase a broad sweep of performance genres including spoken word, circus and theatre. Then immerse yourself in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and design during the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (11-13 August) at Darwin Convention Centre on Larrakia Country.

Western Australia

Truffle Kerfuffle, WA

Close to turning 70, Perth Festival is Australia’s longest running arts festival (10 February – 5 March). Expect world-class performances across music, theatre, visual arts and film, including a tech- and nature-laden production by Björk in a purpose-built pavilion.

Journey to the coast for the Mandurah Crab Fest (18-19 March), which returns after a three-year hiatus. Community and the blue manna crab are at the heart of this family-friendly festival.

Truffle Kerfuffle (23-25 June) is a key date in any WA-dwelling food lover’s diary, thanks to the plethora of black truffles (and other delicious delicacies) on offer in Manjimup, a town 307 kilometres south of Perth.


Floriade, ACT

Running mid-June to mid-August, the Truffle Festival Canberra Region celebrates the season by way of truffle hunts, wine pairings, chef tutorials and menus that highlight the locally grown delicacies. Catch the capital in full bloom in spring with Floriade, its annual flower festival (16 September – 15 October).

Dark Mofo

Start planning now

SEE ALSO: Is Your Business Missing Out on Qantas Points?

Image credit: Kate La Greca (Darwin Fringe Festival), Olivia Oates (Adelaide Fringe), Tony Evans (Grampians Grape Escape), Truffle Kerfuffle, Anna Kucera (WorldPride)

You may also like