If you’ve got kids sometimes it can feel like you never get any time for yourself. Between being the family taxi and keeping them busy on the holidays, it can be hard to find time to see and do the things you really want to do. So this August, with the kids back at school, take some time out to explore some of the festivals, cultural events and sporting competitions taking place near you. Stuck for ideas? We’ve searched around the country for the top events in each state, so pack the car and get out for the day or go a little further with a weekend road trip.
NSW: CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL | 18TH AUGUST – 27TH AUGUST
Cherry Blossoms bloom once a year for about two weeks and the Auburn Botanic Gardens is one of the best places in Sydney to take a relaxing stroll through them. But there’s more to see and do than just taking a stroll, the festival is a celebration of Japanese modern and traditional culture. With Japanese film festivals, bonsai clinics, tea ceremonies and much more, you’re sure to find peace among the blossoms.
This one's probably an adult’s only event unless your kids have a seriously advanced palate. The ACT really knows how to put on a festival, so it will be hard to miss if you're visiting the region. From truffle inspired multi-course extravaganzas at city restaurants, to truffle hunts at local farms and truffle themed weekend markets, for those with a hankering for umami, Canberra is the place to be this August. The festival runs all winter, so check the website for specific events and dates.
Running each year since 1952, the Melbourne International Film Festival is perhaps Australia’s only ‘real’ film festival. This year is no different with a range of films direct from the major festivals in Europe and North America as well the best that Australia has to offer. With films screened in major theatres around Melbourne, as well as lectures and interviews with directors, master classes in cinema and much more there is something for everyone. Whether you’re an aspiring David Stratton or just want to disguise a shopping trip the Melb’s as something much more cultural, the Melbourne International Film Festival is for you!
Calling all beer lovers, get down to Hobart’s Salamanca District for the Tasmanian Microbrew Fest, showcasing the best in Tasmanian Boutique beer and cider from breweries around the island. Even better, the event is hosted and ran by Students from the local Tafe, with all profits from the event going back into the next cohort of advanced diploma students.
The South Australian Living Artists Festival is an annual state wide festival of visual art by local South Australian Living Artists. With galleries, art schools, government facilities and cultural centres across South Australia coming together to host the festival, you can be sure that you’ll run into some great works of Art no matter where in the state you’re visiting. If you're not sure where to start, you can find festival guides and 'playlists' of artworks in each region curated by local experts on the SALA Festival website.
If you live in Western Australia and still want to catch independent and short films, you don't have to fly all the way to Melbourne. The CineFestOZ film festival is for you. The festival is hosted by the towns of Busselton, Bunbury and Margaret River and offers visitors red carpet film premieres, cosy sidebar short film selections, film related lunches, free community screenings and industry soirees. Combined with the incredible natural beauty, wineries, beaches and leisure activities of the region, CineFestOZ is a great August getaway for WA locals and those looking for a bigger break from around the country.
Darwin is one of the most isolated major cities in the world, which can cause some headaches for the locals. But it does have its upsides, like an incredible night sky over the city. The rooftop bar at Darwin's Ramada Suites hosts Canapés and Constellations, where you can eat, drink and discover the mysteries of the heavens directed by a local astronomer. With high-end telescopes and advanced astrological software, you’re sure to get a great look at the planets and stars.
FNQ: NORTH QUEENSLAND ELITE RODEO | 26TH AUGUST
If you’ve headed north for the winter, head over to Alice River in Queensland for one of rural Australia's great spectacles, the Rodeo. The North Queensland Elite Rodeo is an amazing, invitation only event that sees Australia’s and the world’s best cowboys pitted against the most fearsome bovine and equine opponents Australia’s got to offer. Held on the 26th of August 2017 this is an action-packed day out locals and visitors to the region won't want to miss.
The Sample Food Festival held in the historic foodie town of Bangalow near the Queensland – NSW border. Each year on the 2nd of September local producers, chefs, farmers and creative individuals from around the region come together to share their produce, wares, and passion for food. If you’re in South East Queensland or Northern NSW and love your food, this festival is worth the trip.
So there you have it, drop the kids off with your parents and get out of the house for a day trip or a weekend away and treat yourself. Whether it’s the excitement of the North Queensland Rodeo or the contemplative serenity of the Sydney Cherry Blossom festival, you're sure to find something going on near you this August.