It is always possible to find a cost-effective way to spend an afternoon. Most major cities have free exhibitions in their art galleries, you could take a picnic to a local park or even just sit in a café and people-watch. But if you’re after a little more excitement these free events across Australia’s states and territories should pique your interest.
Victoria – Festival of Sails
The Festival of Sails is Victoria’s oldest sporting event, with up to 450 keel boats taking part in the regatta from Melbourne to Geelong over the Australia Day weekend. Thousands of spectators go every year and the free festivities include live entertainment, roving performers, gourmet food and wine, art and craft markets and a fireworks show. For details visit the Festival of Sails website.
New South Wales – Tamworth Country Music Festival
The Tamworth Country Music Festival (TCMF) is the largest music festival in the southern hemisphere. With 600 buskers in the main street alone there is plenty of free entertainment you can enjoy, even if you don’t have a ticket to one of the 4000 performances on between 20 and 29 January 2012. Just make sure to book your accommodation early. For more information visit the TCMF official website.
Tasmania – Tamar Valley Beer Festival
Now in its second year the Tamar Valley Beer Festival is once again bringing together 100 of the finest artisan beers and ciders. Hosted beside Australia’s oldest brewery, J Boag and Son, located in Launceston, the festival will also showcase local gourmet produce, live music and more. You will also find food and beverage masterclasses, such as the beer/food matching class, cooking demonstrations and historical brewery tours. Visit the Tamar Valley Beer Festival website to find out more.
South Australia – Adelaide Fringe Festival
The Adelaide Fringe Festival is a 24-day-long arts festival from February to March. Both Australian and International artists flock to Adelaide to perform music, theatre, comedy, circus, dance, film, puppetry and much more. There are a number of free events, such as the parade, the street theatre and special exhibitions in the mall. For more information visit the Adelaide Fringe Festival website.
Western Australia – Festival of Busselton
The Festival of Busselton is a fantastic beach-front celebration from 13 January to 21 January 2012. You can visit the many local markets, listen to the live music, watch the outdoor theatre shows, take part in workshops, tours and historical walks or just sit back with a glass of wine and watch the sun go down. To find out more visit the Festival of Busselton website.
Northern Territory – The Lions Camel Cup
There aren’t any lions, but there are camels racing for the honour of the Camel Cup. The grounds around the racetrack turn into a carnival, with food and drink, belly-dancers, bands and souvenir stalls. There is a small entry fee, but the proceeds of the day are distributed to local charities, so it’s for a good cause. For more information visit the Camel Cup website.
Queensland – Aussie Beach Party
Not sure what to do this Australia day? Why not go to the Moreton Bay Aussie Beach Party? The day starts with a free breakfast, then goes on to live music, a vintage car display, food, markets, workshops and finally a spectacular fireworks display. Visit the Aussie Beach Party Website for more details.
ACT – Handwritten
The National Library is currently showing the Handwritten exhibition, a collection spanning 1000 years of manuscripts, letters, sketches and documents that made history. You can see work by Beethoven, Galileo, Kafka and Napoleon, to name just a few. The exhibition is free, and runs until March 18. Details can be found at the National Gallery Website.