Melbourne Festivals



Stylish and cosmopolitan, Melbourne is rightfully regarded as Australia’s cultural capital. Its cityscape is a blend of old and new, comprising elegant Victorian architecture and an array of modern skyscrapers—and with ever-present trams rattling through the streets it’s easy to see why Melbourne is called the country’s most European city. The best way to discover Melbourne—like with any great city—is on foot. The grid-like layout of the CBD is easy enough to navigate, but trust us: you’ll want to get lost here. Between the broad thoroughfares you’ll find an inner world of side streets and alleyways, all lined with edgy graffiti, chic bars and lively cafes. Coffee in this town is much more than just a caffeine hit—it’s a way of life for Melburnians and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a less than stellar cuppa. So hunker down and savour the experience. While you’re in town, make sure you visit some of Melbourne’s many fine art galleries, museums and theatres. Foodies and fashionistas are well catered for here too. And just an FYI: Melburnians live and breathe sport, particularly AFL, so if it’s footy season, catching a game at the ‘G’ (MCG) is perhaps the most Melbourne thing you can do.

Festivals & events

Whatever the season, there’s always something going on in Melbourne and it’s impossible not to be swept up in all the fun and festivities.

Our favourites


Held over the long Labour Day weekend, Moomba is Australia’s largest free community festival with an average attendance of around a million people. Events are geared towards the whole family and include fireworks displays, a colourful parade and a carnival along the banks of the beautiful Yarra River. Don’t miss the whacky Birdman Rally, in which contestants take a leap of faith in their homemade gliders or aircraft and hope they fly the farthest before plonking in the drink. It’s a hilarious spectacle and it’s all in the name of charity.

Melbourne International Film Festival

The Melbourne International Film Festival runs annually over three weeks at several venues across the city. The festival is the largest single showcase of Australian cinema in the country, and is the largest festival of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. As well as getting a taste of the brilliant local film industry, you might even spot an Aussie celeb or two!

Melbourne Fringe Festival

Just when you thought the city couldn’t get any artier…The Melbourne Fringe Festival runs from late September to early October and features a wide array of art forms, including performance art, music, film, theatre, cabaret and circus acts. The Fringe Festival is the state’s longest-running and most popular arts festival and since 1982 has presented upwards of 50,000 artists in thousands of venues.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Each year the city laughs its way through the tail end of March and well into April. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is the third largest such festival in the world, playing host to hundreds of local and international artists. Melbourne Town Hall serves as the festival hub but performances are held all over town so you won’t miss out on the hilarity.