Book a short break or long weekend to experience Australia’s best events, luxury hotels, new restaurants, festivals and seasonal natural wonders.
Stay at the new W Hotel, Melbourne
Book a city escape or staycation at the city’s coolest new luxury hotel, in the Collins Arch precinct. Each room is decked out in a quirky style and comes with its own DIY cocktail bar.
Witness the colours of autumn in country Victoria
The charming town of Bright, about a 3.5-hour drive from Melbourne, is resplendent in autumn as its trees turn golden. While the annual Autumn Festival has been postponed this year, you can still take a self-driving tour to see the changing leaves – or try Ballarat, Daylesford or Heathcote for more autumn colour.
Image credit: Visit Victoria
Hit the slopes in NSW and Victoria
With Qantas now flying direct from Brisbane and Sydney to Cooma and from Melbourne to Albury, secure your Thredbo or Mount Hotham ski passes early to shred the freshest powder this winter. The 2021 season begins at the end of June.
Go see Moulin Rouge! The Musical in Melbourne
As seen on stage in New York, Baz Luhrmann’s extraordinary film will come to life at the Regent Theatre from 13 August.
Image credit: Matthew Murphy
Make a reservation at Society, Melbourne
Esteemed chef Martin Benn and partner Vicki Wild (formerly of Sydney fine-diner Sepia) have opened their long-awaited Melbourne restaurant. Book now for bragging rights.
Cheer at the State of Origin opener in Melbourne
Victoria may not be represented in the annual clash between the NSW Blues and Queensland Maroons but the first outing of the three-game series this year will be contested at the MCG on 9 June.
Catch the spectacle at the Midsumma Festival, Melbourne
Normally held over the summer, this year’s Midsumma Festival, a celebration of queer arts and culture, will run a special set of events from 19 April to 5 May, culminating in the Midsumma Pride March in St Kilda on 23 May.
Get interactive at ACMI in Melbourne
Recently reopened after a multi-million-dollar revamp, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image has fun interactive exhibits, a cinema and Hero, the new restaurant by celebrity chef Karen Martini.
Image credit: Shannon McGrath
Hurry to Attica Summer Camp before it closes, Vic
Ben Shewry’s Yarra Valley pop-up won’t last long (it’s expected to pop down in late May) so get in quick to sample the renowned Attica chef’s more casual fare.
Book now for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, SA
Tony Award winner Alan Cumming is the festival’s first international artistic director and will perform at this year’s event alongside Aussies Tim Minchin, Bob Downe and more. From 11 to 26 June.
Nab a seat at the Kangaroo Island Long Lunch, SA
Sample the island’s incredible produce at this exclusive event at Oceanview Eco Villas on 7 May. Start with a Kangaroo Island Spirits cocktail before a five-course meal of local fare prepared by chefs Dylan and Yolandi Pitallo.
Be awed by Boticelli to Van Gogh, Canberra
London’s National Gallery has loaned 61 works to the National Gallery of Australia for this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition. Featuring paintings by Monet, Goya, Turner and other European masters, the show is running until 14 June.
New South Wales
Watch a hot-air balloon festival near Orange
There’s something truly magical about watching hot-air balloons take to the sky – and at the Canowindra International Balloon Challenge you can watch the spectacle for eight days straight from 24 April to 2 May. You’ll want to be there for the Cabonne Community Glow on the evening of 1 May, when the balloons are lit up like lightbulbs after sunset.
Watch a musical at the Sydney Opera House
After a tough year, Sydney’s most famous venue welcomes audiences back with a fresh program, including the acclaimed musical version of American Psycho, on from 3 to 27 June.
Take notes at Sydney Writers’ Festival
The festival’s new artistic director, Michael Williams, begins his tenure with a bang, bringing authors Peter Carey, Tara June Winch and Rachel Cusk to the 2021 line-up. From 26 April until 2 May.
Image credit: Prudence Upton
Watch La Traviata on Sydney Harbour
Opera Australia leaves its famous house to bring Verdi’s story of courtesan Violetta to the harbour stage at Mrs Macquaries Point, until 25 April.
Snag tickets to Hamilton in Sydney
It’s arguably the world’s favourite modern musical and it’s finally made it to the Australian stage. See Lin-Manuel Miranda’s every-award-winning, genre-bending story of America at the Lyric Theatre until November.
Image credit: Joan Marcus
Have fun with the family at Scenic World
One of the most popular attractions in the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains, Scenic World adds to the Skyway cable car, world’s steepest passenger train and Dinosaur Valley with Sculpture at Scenic World. The outdoor display of artworks is on show until 2 May.
Image credit: Calling Upon the Owl; Nick Warfield
Catch a flick at the Gold Coast Film Festival
If you needed any more incentive to lounge by the pool at QT Gold Coast, how about watching a world-class film while you do? From 14 to 25 April you can also see movies at breweries and on rooftops around the sun-soaked region.
Watch whales play at Hervey Bay, QLD
From mid-July the giants of the sea arrive in the warm waters of Hervey Bay, 3.5 hours drive north of Brisbane. Head to this official Whale Heritage site (where cetaceans are safe in the water and the community plays a part in their welfare and protection) to see the humpbacks as they make a pit stop on their migration north.
Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
See the Skywhale out of its natural habitat, Gold Coast
The bizarrely fascinating flying art installations, Skywhale and Skywhalepapa, are leaving the ACT and going on their first national tour. You can see them at the Home of the Arts on 26 June then at various stops across the country for the rest of the year.
Go wild at Dark Mofo
After a hiatus in 2020, the Dark Mofo festival returns to Hobart from 16 to 22 June. Expect art installations, live performance and dining experiences – plus plenty of surprises.
Experience Cradle Mountain as the leaves turn
Before it gets too chilly, explore Cradle Mountain – in a car, on foot or a mountain bike – as the region’s beech and fagus trees light up in shades of rust, orange and gold. Witness the display until late May.
See a movie and the sunset in Darwin
The NT capital comes alive in the dry season (April to October) and there are few more beautiful places to watch a movie than at Darwin Deckchair Cinema. Book tickets to see recent Australian flicks Higher Ground and Rams, or the classic Cool Runnings.
Rock out with Bernard Fanning in Darwin
The Powderfinger lead singer headlines a concert alongside Ball Park Music and Alice Ivy at the NT’s annual Darwin Triple Crown supercars event on 19 June.
Witness whale sharks swimming in WA
The gentle giants call the waters of Ningaloo Marine Park home from mid-March to mid-July and registered tours depart from Coral Bay and Exmouth on the Coral Coast.
Marvel at the wildflowers in WA
From June until November, the western state is blanketed in wild flowers that begin blooming in the north (head to Karijini National Park), sweep through Coalseam Conservation Park and finish down south (check out Torndirrup National Park).