Are you struggling to know what to do over the Easter holidays? Australians have many reasons to look forward to Easter, whether is for religious reasons, a four day long weekend or chocolate Easter eggs, there are no shortage of world class festivals and events to attend and work your plans around.
The end of March and April yield typically pleasant temperatures and weather that is still warm, lacking the scorching heat or uncomfortable humidity of summer. Easter is a perfect time to offer families and friends opportunities to spend more time together, a time to plan camping trips, sporting events, beautiful beaches, fairs and especially getting yourself to the Best Festivals and Events!
1. Byron Bay Bluesfest
When: 29 March to 2 April 2018
Venue: Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, Tyagarah, NSW
For people who enjoy festivals and blues music, the Byron Bay Bluesfest remains one of Australia’s most acclaimed and respected festivals and has been inspirational for many other festivals around the world. Set in the beautiful hinterland of the northern NSW, this festival is internationally renowned and is held each year during the Easter long weekend.
For blues and roots music fans it is a dream come true as the festival showcases music from around the world. This year Byron Bay Bluesfest continues to bring an impressive artists such as, Santana, Lionel Richie, the Doobie Brothers, Patti Smith, Billy Bragg, Robert Plant, who will join local favourites such as Neil Finn and Kasey Chambers in and enticing line-up. Joining the festivities, UK soul Icon Seal and known for being a judge on the VoiceTV program, will also be there.
Bluesfest has over 200 performances over different stages of the five, twelve hour days, as well as camping for up to six thousand people. There are five licensed bars and over a hundred food and market stalls as well as undercover food courts, beer gardens and children’s entertainment. The festival is esteemed to be a festival which is safe, fun and a family-friendly event.
If you’re not camping onsite then make sure you book accommodation at the original site of the festival at The Arts Factory Lodge in Byron Bay very soon, as tickets sell fast!
2. Oakbank Easter Racing Carnival
When: 18th March to 2nd April 2018
Venue: Oakbank Racing Club, Oakbank, Adelaide Hills SA 5243
The Adelaide Hills come alive every Easter when the town of Oakbank hosts the biggest picnic race meet at the Oakbank Easter Racing Carnival. Just 25 minutes from Adelaide’s CBD, the Easter carnival features both jumps and flat racing. Each year tens of thousands of racegoers flock to the historic country track, many with picnic baskets in their hand.
The Easter Racing Carnival is a vibrant, thriving event that attracts horse lovers and tourists alike. It is carnival like no other in the world and has been South Australia’s premier social and sporting race meetings for almost 150 years. It rivals the Melbourne Cup in size and colour. Serious prize money is there for the taking with 3250m Steeple on Easter Saturday and the 4950m Great Eastern Steeple attracting more than $150,000 on Easter Monday.
Family friendly, you will find giant Easter egg hunts which happen every hour on the hour from noon Easter Saturday and Easter Monday. Children aged between three and twelve are given the chance to win a 2kg Easter egg, with special gold Easter eggs found dotted around the grounds for them to enter a draw determining the winner of the huge egg! The Easter Bunny also hides eggs amongst hay bales, straw and other top secret hiding places, given the children a chance to gallop around the venue to find the chocolate surprises. There are plenty of amusements, games, arts and crafts, as well as pony rides and a chance to pat animals at the petting zoo. Older children can participate in sports programs including cricket games, netball, running races and tug-of-war.
The festivities also include music, fabulous food provided by local South Australian food supplies and of course an ultimate wine time from the three leading Adelaide Hills wineries. Quality wines and carefully crafted cocktails can be had while listening to a mixture of soul music, jazz and R&B.
Gates usually open around 7am on each day of the event, with the first race normally starting about midday. Parking is free for cars and buses and there is an express bus service from Adelaide to Oakbank Races operating throughout the day.
3. Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach
When: 29th March to 8the April 2018
Venue: Bells Beach, Victoria 3228
Celebrating 57 years of competition, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach is the longest running professional surfing contest in the world and one of the best competitions on the pro circuit due to the gigantic swells produced by the Southern Ocean. Rich in heritage, history and steeped in tradition, this surf competition has become an important stage in a professional surfer’s career to master their performance on the notorious beach of Steller Waves! Bringing together over 60 male and female Pro surfers from around the world, thousands of fans head towards the beach and the natural amphitheatre created by the dunes. The scenic view of the hanging red clay cliffs serve as the perfect spectator spot to sit back and look at the turquoise blue waters of the ocean as the pro surfers battle to win the most treasured trophy, the Rip Curl Pro Bell.
As the second event on the 2018 World Surf League, this year world class Pro Surfers such as, Steph Gilmore, Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Sally Fitzgibbons, Gabriel Medina, Nikki Van Dijk and Kelly Slater, will be battling it out to ring the Bell!
Every morning spectators are called to the beach with “Hells Bells” from AC/DC, being emitted loudly from the sound system.
The weather conditions can be variable with incredible winds and choppy conditions. The Ocean can deliver huge bombs and pumping surf making, victory at sea a tough competition
Facilities at the location include, showers and toilets at parking spaces, a kiosk and a first aid centre.
There is a free shuttle bus leaving every half an hour to Bells Beach from the Rip Curl Store in Torquay.
4. Melbourne International Comedy Festival
When: 28th March to 22nd April 2018
Where: Venues all over Melbourne
There is a belly full of laughter and non-stop joy to be had when the Melbourne International Comedy Festival becomes the happiest place on earth! Thousands of performers from Australia and beyond, bring their entertainment to stages across the city. The festival is one of the three largest comedy festivals in the world, rivaling Montreal’s – Just For Laugh Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Running for three and a half weeks annually, the festival takes over the whole city of Melbourne each autumn.
You can gather for a night of giggles from stand-up comedy, cabaret, theatre, street performance visual arts, film, television, radio and song.
Venues not to miss are:
• The beautiful architectural landmark of St Kilda’s iconic Palais Theatre will host the talented comedian, Em Rusciano performing her shoe I am NOT a Diva for two nights only for tickets the MICF website
• The Alex Theatre on Fitzroy Street, will host a take-off of the Eurovision Song Contest with eleven finalists making you split your sides with laughter as they compete for your votes in The Almost Eurovision Experience.
• The Nationals Theatre has performances in the day of a cheeky take off of The Wizard in The Lizard of Oz, an Australian twist on the classic family tale where Oz of course is Australia!
• A wickedly amusing peep into the reality of relationships in the show Couples is also showing at the National Theatre
• Gasworks Arts Park situated in Albert Park, hosts the hilarious Hannah Boland who will combine music, poetry and storytelling who will entertain her audience in her show The Best Medicine. A tale of love and loss will provide laughter as the best antidote
• On a Monday night The Local Taphouse will showcase Local Laughs which gives solid comedy of Melbourne’s funniest local comedians as well as serve craft beers!
5. Sydney Royal Easter Show
When: 23rd March to 3rd April 2018
Venue: Sydney Olympic Park
The Sydney Royal Easter Show is a celebration of Australian culture, from country traditions to modern day lifestyle. Twelve days of animal experiences, agricultural competitions, live entertainment, carnival fun as well as eating delicious rural produce will delight people of all ages. As the biggest celebration of an agricultural show in a city, the countryside can be honoured by meeting farmyard animals and there is even a children’s petting zoo. Little Hands on the Land, is a kid-sized working farm that takes 2-10 year olds through a chook (chicken) shed, cow shed, sheep shed, veggie patch, fruit orchard, pony barrel race and a tractor pull
Sawing and Woodchopping Competitions are a crowd favourites for over a century, with an event running every 10 minutes over 11 days of competition. Seeing talented blade slingers show off their speed and precision is mesmerising! It will be hard to take your eyes off the blade as it slices and dices chips of wood inches from the competitor’s feet.
At the show is a ferris wheel trip soaring high over the showgrounds also a Wave Swinger which hoists you high into the air and spins you round on a circular swing. For the young at heart and thrill seekers there are scary rides, nostalgic rides and even romantic rides!
At the Easter Show there are pop-up eateries, chic food stalls, pies at Woolworths Food Farm, Nutella injected doughnuts, the Sydney Beer & Wine Bar, the Sydney Royal Corner Store and more. Showbags full of goodies, can also be picked up with treats and from Showbag Hall
This year at the Greatest Easter Show Spectacular, is the brand-new evening entertainment production with hot air balloon trapeze, highwire trapeze, flying trapeze, motorcycle, extreme vaulting and more!
6. Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour
When: 23rd March to 22nd April 2018
Where: Mrs Macquaries Rd, Sydney Harbour
Australia’s Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour has established its reputation for the past six years as one of the world’s great outdoor opera events. Held on a tailor–made stage built over the water off the Royal Botanic Gardens, there is the background of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House as well as the famous Sydney skyline, it is one of the best open air locations in the world. The initial sponsorship from the International Foundation for Arts and Culture was under the guidance of Dr Haruhish Handa…hence the name.
This year the annual event stages Puccini’s much loved La Bohème, is the Highlight of the Australian culture calendar attracting more than 250,000 attendees from around Australia and across the globe. Alongside the monumental set, stunning costumes, world class performers and a nightly array of fireworks it is an unforgettable experience
La Bohème allows you to see through the lens of love, opening your soul to emotions too big for words. With snow actually falling on Sydney Harbour, Puccini’s music takes you to a wintry Christmas Eve in Paris, setting the scene for the romance, love, laughter, singing and loss, as the political awareness becomes apparent, during the student uprising of the late 1960’s.
An event not to be missed you will taste the best of Sydney in a single unforgettable night, as you are enveloped in a spectacle under the stars.
7. Bleach Festival
When: 29th March to 15th April 2018
Where: Currumbin and various locations on the Gold Coast
Like a wave the awesome Bleach Festival will sweep down the Gold Coast from North to South this Easter. Fun and festivities are to be had for a vast audiences of all ages. There are more than 50 events taking place throughout the course of Bleach which is set in a range of different locations. The festival has a long standing investment supporting local artists and the Gold Coast arts and culture industry
Across three huge weekends Bleach Festival 2018 changes perceptions as it brings together sport and art, cutting edge music, theatre, circus, cabaret, dance and visual arts in free and paid events .The artistic events are in a pleasing combination with the natural environment which means lots of beachside fun!
There are street parties, soaring aerial performances, outdoor films, fashion, pop up art installations and live music performances. Taking centre stage at Paradise Point there is a large scale interactive sculptural installation by Spare Parts Puppet Theatre where you can join forces to help bring the giant handwoven puppet to life.
8. Staircase to the Moon
When: 1st to 3rd April 2018
Where: Coast of Western Australia
From March to October this stunning natural phenomenon takes place along the coast in Western Australia, when conditions are right. As the full moon rises across the exposed tidal flats it creates the remarkable impression of a ‘Staircase to the Moon’. The best seats in the house are in Roebuck Bay in Broome where the spectacular event unfolds before you! There are other spots along the Pilbara and Kimberley coastline at Port Hedland, Point Samson Peninsula, Karratha &Dampier, Onslow, Dampier and Cossack.
When the full moon rises this Easter, over the exposed mud flats due to the extremely low tide, an optical illusion occurs which looks like stairs reaching up to the moon. Visibility varies, as it depends on weather, sunset, moonrise and tides. The spectacular event for all the sundowner viewers in April 2018, at Roebuck Bay in Broome, can be seen across Easter on
1st April 18.40
2nd April 19.21
3rd April 20.04
At the shores of Roebuck Bay the popular spots are Town Beach and the Mangrove Hotel, with night markets at Town Beach Reserve on Robinson Street from 5pm, complementing this special event over two nights.
Sunset Beach and the boardwalk are stunning spots for both sunsets and Staircase to the Moon.
Karratha & Dampier
Hearson’s Cove’s is a 30 minute drive from Karratha. The expansive mud flats make it an effective place to watch the event.
A viewing deck to watch the Staircase to the Moon, has been built next to the Cooke Point Caravan Park on Goode Street.
Cape Keraudren Nature Reserve
Cape Keraudren Nature Reserve is a spectacular spot for Staircase viewing.
The lookout at Settler’s Beach is an interesting spot to experience the Staircase, as Cossack is a beautifully restored ghost town.
9. Four Winds Festival
When: 28th March to 1st April 2018
Where: 17 Four Winds Rd, Barragga Bay, 2546
In the majestic setting of Barragga Bay, the Four Winds Festival brings world class musicians, performers and audience on a purpose built state-of-the art facilities. This unique setting celebrates music by bringing together 60 Artists, 10 Ensembles, 26 Performers in 10 beautiful locations over five days.
Following a day of free pop up performances on Friday 30th March, in the evening there is a free concert for the community. On Saturday you can listen to a journey from Indigenous music to the voice of the Missions, then the western classical tradition of Vivaldi to the ancient music of the Middle East. A performance of ‘Ayre’ by Golijov is one of many high points throughout the day. Internationally acclaimed James Crabb’s, who is now the Artistic Director of this iconic festival programme, has also brought along the feature of a new work by David Hewitt, a leader of Bega’s Stonewave Taiko.
ABC’S Classic FM’s Guy Noble will introduce musicians including the British violinist Jack Liebeck and Israeli flautist Ariel Zuckermann, as well as Australian artists such as soprano Emma Pearson, pianists Tamara-Anne Cislowska and Ian Munro. Australia’s admirable ensembles, The Song Company, Speak Percussion, Australia’s Brass Quartet and Goldner String Quartet will perform during the festival. Jessie Lloyd’s Mission Songs Project and The Djaadjawan Dancers will also take to the stage.
The festival is two full days of music presented on the 2,000 person capacity, outdoor Sound Shell stage. The festival will also hold more intimate performances in the 200 seater Windsong Pavillion. House Concerts are held in local private properties and there is a programme for aspiring young musicians. Sideshow Alleys a three hour show which comprises of seven music theatre works by nine of the Festival guest artists.
Every performance makes the audience feel as if they are sharing something intimate, performing in beautiful natural surroundings
10. National Folk Festival
When: 29th March to 2nd April 2018
Where: Exhibition Park, Canberra
Exhibition Park in Canberra will come alive in a five day celebration of traditional and contemporary folk. Having a program designed to entertain, uplift, and inspire, the National Folk Festival showcases over 200 top Australian acts alongside international headliners. There are also Masterclasses on offer during which the cream of English folk, experienced teachers and fine musicians, will share their skills and talent.
Talented indigenous legend Joe Geia as well as Alice Skye, Peter Swain and Dhapanbal Yunupinuwill be dropping in plus top notch acts like SON, Aine Tyrrell and Andy Irvine are all on the programme. The US acoustic duo, Ryanhood and Greek legends Chrysoula K. & Púrpura all add to the diverse styles of acoustic, blues, roots , bluegrass Celtic, gypsy Celtic and country program.
There will be something for everyone including dance, spoken word, film, circus, traditional crafts themed bars and cafes. The festival will kick off bright and early at 8.30 with kid’s events including crafts, face painting and dance. There is fun for all the family and opportunities to get involved with impromptu Capella recitals, circus training, dancing workshops, and mural painting for a day of offbeat adventures as well as vibrant world class music form the artists.