Inspiration Explore Top Australian Events Worth Travelling for in 2024

Top Australian Events Worth Travelling for in 2024

Projections on landmark buildings, including the Sydney Opera House, form part of VIVID Sydney.

Imagine vibrant festivals, world-class culinary celebrations and art exhibitions like no other. Pack your bags – Australia's top events await.

The new year brings a wealth of new opportunities, with people across the world making resolutions to travel more, embrace fresh experiences and expand the mind. The 2024 Australian events calendar offers ample opportunity for all three, with electrifying art installations, sports tournaments and festivals ready to dazzle locals and visitors. Whether you’re looking for a regional escape or city break, these events are worthy of noting in your calendar. 

Tasting Australia, Adelaide

Book a trip to South Australia’s capital in early May and watch as Adelaide turns on the charm for Tasting Australia, the nation's longest-running eating and drinking festival. Dining galleries that serve as a conjuncture between restaurants and art showcases will form part of the 150-event line-up, as will immersive cooking classes and intimate tastings. A taste of the sessions on offer: a five-course bluefin tuna masterclass with Umaii head chef Chester Chan; a cross-regional collaboration event highlighting the flavours of the Clare Valley and Flinders Ranges; and a presentation and four-course dinner by Narungga woman Louisa Wilson celebrating the bush foods of the Yorke Peninsula.  

For the first time, the 2024 festival will feature Tasting Australia by Train, a 10-hour rail and culinary journey from Melbourne to Adelaide aboard The Ghan, featuring curated collaborative cuisine from Asma Khan, Cheong Liew and Jae Bang – three of the world’s most acclaimed and accomplished chefs. 

Tasting Australia runs from 3 May to 12 May. 

VIVID Sydney, Sydney

“Humanity is the key to our future,” writes Gill Minervini, the director of VIVID Sydney, the world’s largest annual festival of light, music, technology and ideas. With this year’s theme dedicated to manifesting “a world that encourages human creativity for good,” attendees can expect 23 days and nights of mind-opening art installations, preconception-shifting talks and concerts from boundary-pushing artists. A sizable part of the event is free, namely, the 8.5-kilometre Vivid Sydney Light Walk, which in years past has seen guests weave from Circular Quay to Central Station, stopping to marvel at 3D-mapped projections on landmark buildings, including the Sydney Opera House and ASN Clock Tower.  

VIVID Sydney runs from 24 May to 15 June.  

Planning a trip? Discover our collection of Sydney escapes.

Australian Open, Melbourne

A view of Rod Laver Arena, the heart of the Australian Open and one of the events worth travelling for in 2024.

Australia's sporting capital will kick off the 2024 Grand Slam calendar in January when it hosts the prestigious Australian Open at Melbourne Park. An expected 900,000 sports-crazed locals and tourists will unite to watch tennis royalty battle for the illustrious championship title over three weeks, with fierce competition and long, sunny days all but guaranteed. The event is a must-see – even for those not particularly enthralled by the idea of watching a ball being hit back and forth. The AO Live Stage will host a roster of international musicians and the city’s best restaurants – think Rockpool Bar & Grill and Stokehouse – will host pop-up stalls throughout the tournament.  

The Australian Open runs from 14 January to 28 January.  

Concerts by the World’s Biggest Musicians, Australia-wide

The geographical distance between Australia and destinations like Europe and the United States has long been a handicap for internationally touring artists. That's why it's always a good day when the world’s biggest musicians announce a tour down under. Australians in the Northern Territory, Canberra and Tasmania – as well as those living in rural areas – should plan city escapes if seeing rock group Blink-182 or American singer Pink perform is on their bucket list. Anyone outside Melbourne and Sydney will also need to travel to see pop sensation Taylor Swift or singer-songwriter Nick Cave live in concert. 

Pharaoh, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne 

The National Gallery of Victoria will display more than 500 sculptures, coffins, tombs, burial treasures and bejewelled artefacts as part of the mammoth exhibition, Pharaoh, which opens in June. The deep dive into 3,000 years of Egyptian art and culture is made possible thanks to a loan from the British Museum, with Pharaoh constituting the largest international lease in the London institution's history. The Melbourne display has been years in the making, with the exclusive showing among the largest-ever collection on Egyptian life to enter Australia.   

Pharaoh, the Winter Masterpieces exhibition, runs from 14 June to 6 October.  

Winter Art Festivals, Australia-wide

While VIVID Sydney is the undeniable heavyweight of Australian winter festivities, the country is plush with smaller-scale, eclectic celebrations that pay homage to dark, cold nights. RISING: Melbourne offers live music and public light displays almost on the scale of VIVID Sydney, while the 18-day Darwin Festival showcases workshops, theatre, dance music, comedy and cabaret. 

The historic buildings of Bathurst, in regional New South Wales, likewise light up for Bathurst Winter Festival, with carnival rides and ice skating providing added drawcards for those with children. The event runs for all 16 days of the state’s winter school holidays. In Western Australia, Cabin Fever delivers 10 days of woodfired fare, mulled wine and wild, fiery music, with events from Margaret River to Busselton. 

Winter festivals run nationally throughout June, July and August. 

Ready to go? Discover our collection of Melbourne stays.

Melt OPEN, Brisbane

Melt OPEN – a celebration of all things LGBTQI+ art, ideas, people, icons and allies – will take place this October in Brisbane. The event will piggyback off the success of Melt, a queer art showcase held annually at Brisbane Powerhouse, with the novel festival to feature additional venues throughout the city, from Fortitude Valley to Woolloongabba. 

"Melt OPEN is an incredible addition to the city's jam-packed major events calendar that will not only attract thousands of visitors to Brisbane but showcase and support our thriving cultural precincts,” Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner explained. 

Melt OPEN runs from October to November.  

Adelaide Fringe, Adelaide

Adelaide Fringe, the biggest arts festival in Australia, offers an unparalleled platform for 6,000 emerging acts and established artists to showcase their talents to a global audience. The 2024 lineup includes shows by lesser-known performers about pop culture, cuisine, Australian history, sport, nature and science, as well as performances by Paul McDermott, Joel Creasey, Hans, Diana Nguyen, Nazeem Hussain, Reuben Kaye and Kween Kong. 

Adelaide Fringe runs from 16 February to 17 March. 

Looking for inspiration? Here’s our round-up of Australia’s Most Stylish City Stays.   

About Madeleine Keck
Journalist and travel writing aficionado: Madeleine has visited six continents and worked throughout four. At home in Melbourne, you'll find her reminiscing on past solo backpacking journeys, dreaming of the next adventure and wishing she lived in a continuously warmer city.

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