13 events to plan your Canberra trip around
World-class events are drawing visitors to the capital all year through: from Floriade in spring to an iconoclastic writers’ festival to celebrations of art, light, food and drink
Each spring, visitors flock to Canberra’s Commonwealth Park to witness impossibly colourful flower displays – more than 1.5 million spring blooms. Floriade’s twilight event, NightFest, now features two weekends (six nights) of ticketed evenings that see the park’s flower beds illuminated along with music, comedy and performance acts. www.floriadeaustralia.com. Sep 16-Oct 15.
2 The Canberra Winehouse Murrumbateman Moving Feast Guests can spend the weekend roving from winery to winery tasting fine food matched with premium wines, and taking in the beautiful countryside of Murrumbateman on the way. www.makersofmurrumbateman.org.au. Sep 30-Oct 1.
3 Operation Sh*t Your Pants
A spine-chilling interactive zombie horror experience takes place in a 200-acre pine plantation transformed into a fully immersive horror set featuring zombies and special effects. www.operationblackhawk.com. Oct 7-8.
4 Canberra Nara Candle Festival
This one-night celebration of the sister-city relationship between Canberra and Nara in Japan has calligraphy, origami, lantern making, ikebana, kite flying and martial arts. Canberra Nara Peace Park and Lennox Gardens are illuminated by more than 2,000 candles. www.events.act.gov.au/nara. Sat Oct 28.
5 Canberra Spring-OUT Pride Festival The annual pride festival includes events run by the local LGBTQIA community including film screenings, theatre, Champagne breakfasts and a street parade. www.springout.com.au. Oct 28-Nov 26.
6 Mamma Mia!
Mamma Mia! is back in Oz and premiering in Canberra this November. Packed with ABBA hits, the musical tells the tale of a brideto-be who, on the eve of her wedding on a Greek island paradise, tries to uncover the identity of her father. Tickets are on sale now. www.canberratheatrecentre.com.au. Nov 24-Dec 17.
Attractions like the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, National Library of Australia and Questacon buildings become backdrops for stunning projections. www.enlightencanberra.com.au. Mar 2-17 2018.
8 Canberra Balloon Spectacular
Hot air balloon pilots take to Canberra’s skies offering picturesque flights over the city’s attractions – a guaranteed Instagram win. www.balloonspectacular.com.au. Mar 10-18 2018.
9 Art, Not Apart
Art, Not Apart is a one-day showcase of Canberra-based artists who push boundaries with exhibitions, performance art, live music, installations, street food and a dance party. www.artnotapart.com/. Sat Mar 17 2018.
10 Canberra District Wine Week
A ten-day program celebrates the year’s vintage with wine tastings, food matchings, wine blending, grape stomping, winemaker dinners and long lunches. www.canberrawines.com.au. Mar-Apr 2018.
11You Are Here Festival Art pop-ups will hit shopfronts, alleyways, cafés, streets, car parks, galleries and museums. www.youareherecanberra.com.au. Apr 2018.
12 Noted Writers’ Festival
Noted is a writing festival focused on experimental, indie and emerging forms of writing and publishing. In 2017, Noted staged more than 60 free panels, AMAs, workshops and children’s events across Canberra. www.notedfestival.com. May 2018.
13 The Truffle Festival – Canberra Region More than 250 individual events are held across town to showcase the region’s fresh black winter truffle – from truffle degustations to truffle hunts and classes teaching how to cook with truffles. www.trufflefestival.com.au. Jun-Aug 2018.