Top Australian events in 2011: Sydney Festival, AFL Grand Final, Fashion Week

Australians love to celebrate their rich and diverse cultural heritage and this festive spirit is reflected in the wide variety of events and festivals that take place annually within the country. From Australia's most followed sporting event, the AFL Grand Final, to the spectacular fireworks displays that take place around the nation on Australia Day, these Australian events are not to be missed.

35th Sydney Festival 2011
January 8-30
Various locations
Sydney, Australia

The Sydney Festival is Australia's largest summer festival. With its more than one million visitors, it outshines Australia's other arts festivals, including the Perth International Arts Festival, the Brisbane Festival and the Adelaide Bank Festival of Arts. It has been running since 1977 and aims to showcase local and international talent while at the same time celebrating Australian culture. More than 1,500 artists in the fields of dance, theater, music, visual arts, and cross media platforms will be involved in the 2011 Sydney Festival. Most events are free to the public.
http://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/


20th Big Day Out Festival
January 21-February 6
Various cities in Australia and New Zealand

Founded in 1992 in Sydney, Big Day Out is a touring musical event that opens in Auckland on January 21 with headliner Tool. The show travels to Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth in the subsequent days. The event, which expanded its Sydney show to two days and expects to draw more than 250,000 people, features seven or eight stages (depending on the venue) with rock, electronic music, international, and local acts performing. 2011 features M.I.A. and Iggy and the Stooges. Gold Coast, Melbourne, and one of the Sydney shows are sold out but you can register online to be entered into a drawing for a chance at a ticket. Tickets are priced between $150 AUD and $155 AUD (€111-€115), depending on the city, and there are no camping options.
http://www.bigdayout.com


Australia Day
January 26
Australia-wide

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.  
http://www.australiaday.org.au/


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 festival 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.
http://perthfestival.com.au/


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.
http://www.tropfest.com/


Australia Fashion Week S/S 2011/12
May 2-6?
Sydney, Australia

Rosemount Australian Fashion Week is the Asia Pacific's premier stop on the international fashion week circuit, joining Paris, Milan, New York and London. The five-day official schedule includes on-site collection shows held within state-of-the-art collection showrooms, off-site collection shows, plus The Gallery and The Presentation Suites at The Westin Sydney.
http://rafw.com.au/


35th Hair Expo Australia
June 11-13
Sydney, Australia

The largest hairdressing event to be held in the southern hemisphere, the Hair Expo showcases all the latest developments in cutting, coloring and extensions, as well as on tanning and nail products. The best coiffeurs of Australia and New Zealand will be honored at the close of the three-day industry event at the Schwarzkopf Professional Hair Expo Awards.
http://www.hairexpoaustralia.com/


117th Australian Rules Football Grand Final
October 1
Melbourne Cricket Ground
Melbourne, Australia

The Australian Rules Football grand final is Australia's most important sporting event. "Aussie Rules" (aka "footy") is a variant of football, rugby and Gaelic football and is considered a matter of national pride. The AFL Grand Final is the most attended, most watched and most followed annual sporting event in the country. In 2010, 2,768,000 viewers in metropolitan Australia turned on their TV to watch the Grand Final and an additional 2,687,000 viewers watched the Grand Final replay.
h ttp://www.afl.com.au/


15th Sculpture by the Sea
October-November (TBA)
Bondi Beach
Sydney, Australia

Sculpture by the Sea is the world's largest annual free-to-the-public outdoor exhibition and takes sculptures out of the gallery and onto the beach. Hundreds of thousands of art lovers are attracted to the cultural event, where visitors can take a walk along the beach and contemplate over 100 contemporary artworks juxtaposed with Australia's natural surroundings. Smaller sister events take place on Perth's Cottesloe Beach in March and in Aarhus, Denmark in June.
http://www.sculpturebythesea.com/


151st Melbourne Cup
November 1
Flemington Racecourse
Melbourne, Australia

The Melbourne Cup is Australia's richest and most famous horse race. The "race that stops a nation" is the headlining event during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival. The day is a public holiday for people living in Melbourne, while others around the nation take a break from their schedule to watch or listen to the race.
http://www.melbournecup.com


66th Sydney to Hobart yacht race
December 26-31
Tasman Sea, Australia

Australia's iconic Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race is one of the world's greatest blue-water classic races. The 630 nautical mile race (1,170 km) is one of the world's most grueling yacht races and sits alongside major overseas events such as the Fastnet Race and the America's Cup.
http://rolexsydneyhobart.com/

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