Expect to see Australian flags flying and fireworks exploding this Wednesday as Australians celebrate Australia Day - an event that typically includes outdoor parties, barbecues, and lots of drinking.

Australia Day
January 26

Australia Day is the national day of Australia, a day that commemorates the arrival of England's First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788. Australia Day is a national holiday and friends and family usually get together to celebrate at outdoor concerts, fireworks displays, barbecues and and festivals. Some of the best places to be on the day include Sydney's Darling Harbour, the Perth Skyworks, and the People's March in Melbourne.  

59th Perth International Arts Festival
February 11 - March 7
Various locations
Perth, Australia

The Perth International Arts Festival is the longest-running multi-arts festival in Australia. While attendance is slightly lower than at NSW's iconic Sydney Festival, the Perth International Arts Festival offers a more varied program. The three-week-long event welcomes more than 800 performers and boasts a diverse program of art, music, theater, dance, literature and film. More than 800,000 people attended the festival in 2010.

33rd Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras
February 19 - March 6
Various locations
Sydney, Australia

Sydney's annual Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras is not the largest annual gay pride festival in the world in terms of participants but it rivals gay and lesbian pride events in New York City, Amsterdam, San Francisco and Sao Paulo for the title of "best gay event in the world." Sydney's world-famous Mardi Gras Parade (on March 5th) is the highlight of the two-week long festivities. In total there are more than 80 different events to attend including the first ever Harbour Cruise, the Mardi Gras Film Festival, Fair Day and one of the world's most celebrated dance parties, the Mardi Gras Party.

19th Tropfest
February 20
The Domain, Royal Botanic Gardens
Sydney, Australia

Tropfest is world's largest short film festival. It offers young filmmakers a unique opportunity to showcase their works to a huge audience. The festival is open to anyone who wishes to enter and usually amasses around 650 entries each year. Tropfest is held annually in Sydney but is also broadcast live to venues in Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Perth. The Melbourne International Film Festival, held annually in July, draws a slightly bigger crowd and is considered to be the world's largest showcase of Australian cinema.