The Events You Need to Know About in May


This month’s top 15 sports and cultural events.


Aussie Wine Month

For some, every month is Aussie Wine Month. But the nation’s biggest annual celebration of Australian plonk makes it an official occasion. Featuring more wine-related events across the country than you can count after three glasses – including festivals, vineyard concerts and food and wine trails – it’s the perfect excuse to experience our great homegrown drops. 

WHEN: May 1-31
WHERE: Various venues


Vivid Sydney

Vivid is the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas and this year’s event is shaping up to be the biggest yet. Don’t miss the animations projected onto the Sydney Opera House; performances by folk band Fleet Foxes; and Music Box at historic Cadmans Cottage in The Rocks, where your movements are translated into music and a dynamic visual display.

WHEN: May 26-June 17
WHERE: Various venues, Sydney

Sydney Writers’ Festival

A novel, according to America’s George Saunders, is “a story that hasn’t yet discovered a way to be brief”. A master short-story writer and an acclaimed novelist, he knows of what he speaks. Catch him at this festival’s 20th edition, comprising more than 300 events bound by the theme “refuge”. Other must-hears include Thomas Friedman, Roxane Gay and Ha Jin. 

WHEN: May 22-28
WHERE: Various venues, Sydney

Sydney Comedy Festival

“Laughter is an instant vacation,” said American comedian Milton Berle. He was probably onto something so book time off for the Sydney Comedy Festival. It’s already in full flight but there’s still plenty to catch, including Arj Barker, Scotland’s “deliciously dark” Daniel Sloss and Frocking Hilarious, a night of comedy for women’s rights featuring some of Australia’s funniest comediennes. 

WHEN: Until May 21
WHERE: Various venues, Sydney


Great Ocean Road Running Festival

Those who have the bug for running swear it’s the ultimate workout. Less frequent runners just tend to swear. But even unenthusiastic exercisers will appreciate the setting for this festival. There are seven events, from the 1.5-kilometre Kids’ Gallop to the 60-kilometre Ultra Marathon, and plenty of natural beauty to absorb while pounding the tarmac.

WHEN: May 20-21
WHERE: Lorne to Apollo Bay

Good Beer Week

In six years, this festival has grown from a light-bulb moment (possibly sparked over an ale) into a monster program of more than 270 events that attracts 75,000-plus attendees. Come for the renowned brewers and chefs, masterclasses and, of course, the diverse array of local and international craft beers.

WHEN: May 12-21
WHERE: Various venues, Melbourne and Victoria

High Country Harvest

The history of Victoria’s High Country – once home to bushranging bandits and gold-panning fortune seekers – is as rich as the land itself. Today, food is the area’s true bounty and the focus of High Country Harvest’s program of more than 50 events. Don’t miss the Pedal and Taste bike tour or the village bonfire nights in Beechworth, Bright and Moyhu.

WHEN: May 5-21
WHERE: Various venues, Victoria


Sudirman Cup

Badminton is the world’s second most popular sport after soccer and the broadcast of this world championship, held in Australia for the first time, will be watched by 500 million households globally. Australia is seeded 16th and has tough opposition from Germany and Singapore. But however far they progress, expect athleticism and a spirited fight.

WHEN: May 21-28
WHERE: Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre, Gold Coast

First Coat Festival

Now in its fourth year, this eclectic arts and music festival is a community-based hotbed of creativity that transforms Toowoomba into one of Australia’s largest outdoor galleries. Its fun-filled events include a large-scale mural project, art installations, live music, theatrical productions, workshops and pop-up retailers and bars.

WHEN: May 19-21
WHERE: Various venues, Toowoomba

Noosa Food & Wine

The country’s top chefs, including Frank Camorra from MoVida in Melbourne and Peter Kuruvita from Noosa Beach House, will be sharpening their knives for this all-consuming event that showcases Noosa’s finest produce. And more than 50 winemakers will join them. Head to festival villages such as The Beach and The Woods to eat, drink and be merry.

WHEN: May 18-21
WHERE: Various venues, Noosa

Port Douglas Carnivale

This three-day carnival is billed as a “party in paradise” and who could argue with that? This celebration is all about diversity and fun so prepare for a great mix of music, food and action, including the Fisherman’s Village Music Festival, Paradise on a Plate – The Longest Lunch and the WindSwell kitesurfing sessions. Kids will love the sand-sculpting competition on Four Mile Beach.

WHEN: May 26-28
WHERE: Various venues, Port Douglas


Ord Valley Muster

Now in its 17th year, this true gem in the festival calendar presents a program of 30-plus events, including the Kununurra Markets, Flickerfest Film Tour, Corroboree Under the Stars, Durack Homestead Dinner with chef Colin Fassnidge and Kimberley Moon Experience featuring The McClymonts and Aussie legends Jimmy Barnes and Daryl Braithwaite.

WHEN: May 19-28
WHERE: Various venues, the Kimberley



Long before reality TV show Big Brother loosely appropriated Nineteen Eighty-Four’s premise of a dystopian society oppressed by an all-seeing state, George Orwell’s 1949 novel was lauded for its searing social commentary. This West End theatrical version gives bold new life to the still highly relevant tale on its tour of Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Perth. Visit

WHEN: May 13-27
WHERE: Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide

Bowerbird Design Market

It’s one of the best markets of its kind in the country and artistic types and fashion-lovers will be all over this inclusive celebration of art and design. Bringing together work by more than 150 Australian artisans, Bowerbird Design Market builds an infectiously creative atmosphere that buzzes with energy – from the craft and clothing stalls to workshops and live music.

WHEN: May 5-7
WHERE: Adelaide Showground, Wayville

DreamBIG Children’s Festival

The long-running Come Out Children’s Festival, now going by the DreamBIG name and managed by Adelaide Festival Centre, retains its tradition of bringing great arts workshops and events to South Australian kids and educators. The Listies 6D show will prove popular, as will Mr Stink, based on the book by David Walliams.

WHEN: May 18-27
WHERE: Various venues, Adelaide and South Australia

You may also like