The Five Best Festivals in Sydney and NSW

If you are joining an English language intensive course in Sydney, then you can’t miss this chance to attend those top festivals in the vivid city and New South Wales (NSW).


There are diverse festivals and events in Sydney and across NSW, which give you many chances to soak up the local culture. Here, we pick five of the best festivals to help you plan your events calendar.


Sydney Festival



Glitterbox. Image: Timeout


Held in every January, the reinvigorated Sydney Festival makes Sydney a truly amazing place to be in summer. The festival features over 100 events from local and international artists and includes contemporary and classical music, dance, drama, circus, visual arts and artist talks. One of the coolest things about Sydney Festival is that many events are free. Some free ones during this year’s festival are Highly Sprung (a trampoline playground); Opera in the Domain serenaded by Opera Australia’s star singers, under the stars; Village Pools (a series of pop-up swimming pools built into shipping containers); Glitterbox (dance around in a glowing cube); Bayala (Indigenous language classes); Four Thousand Fish at Barangaroo Reserve (help create and return 4,000 frozen fish in a public artwork commemorating the Aboriginal fisherwomen of Sydney Harbour); Jurassic Plastic (vibrant dinosaur sculptures transformed from unwanted toys by Japanese artist Hiroshi Fuji); Temple of Din (play on musical pinball machines); Continuum (a contemporary take on the infinite tunnel illusion); WugulOra Indigenous Morning Ceremony (celebrations through dance and song); Ferrython (Sydney’s ferries race through the Harbour). For many other free events, you can visit here.


Where: Various venues in Sydney

When: January 6th - 28th, 2018

Events Web:


Parkes Elvis Festival



Image: Visit NSW


Started in 1993 as a small local event, but now it has become one of the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest festivals. It takes place in the second week of January annually to commemorate the music and the legend of Elvis Presley. Parkes Elvis festival attracts over 20,000 visitors each year. They put on costumes and wigs to dress up this king of rock ’n’ roll. This is really a paradise for Elvis fans. Enjoy the jubilant atmosphere of the festival with concerts, shopping booths, competitions and even an Elvis-inspired recording service.


Where: Various locations around ParkesParkes NSW 2870

When: January 10th - 14th, 2018

Events Web:


Australia Day



Image: Sydney Spectaculars


To celebrate Australia’s National Day (26 January), Australians of all ages and classes get involved in celebrations around the beaches, backyards and parks. In Sydney, people gather at Sydney Habour to join in a big show with a series of extremely attractive events. You also can’t miss the spectacular firework performance here — the most impressive performance of the day and the national pride. City of Parramatta is hosting a huge party on this day with Sydney’s biggest hot air balloon display and a main stage of Australian music.


Where: Various venues in NSW

When: January 26th, 2018

Events Web:


Vivid Sydney



One picture from our Pre-intermediate PM excursion: Vivid Sydney and dinner


Held between May and June each year, this is a 23-day festival of light, music and ideas. It features many of the most important creative industry forums in the world, a charming free public exhibition of outdoor lighting sculptures and installations, and a leading-edge contemporary music program.


Where: Various venues in Sydney

When: May 25th - June 16th, 2018

Events Web:


Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race



Image: Eskipaper


This yacht race is an annual event hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, starting in Sydney, New South Wales on December 26th (Boxing Day) and finishing in Hobart, Tasmania. The race distance is about 630 nautical miles (1,170 km). The race ends at the right time to welcome New Year’s Eve in the city.


Where: Sydney, Hobart

When: December 26th - 31st, 2018

Things to do: