Seven Regional Events Around NSW to Travel to This Year

Go beyond your usual trip to Sydney to discover and re-discover all of NSW at these summery events.
Ellie Grounds
Published on January 09, 2018

Seven Regional Events Around NSW to Travel to This Year

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Go beyond your usual trip to Sydney to discover and re-discover all of NSW at these summery events.

Heading to Sydney this year? Now's your chance to expand your horizons and explore beyond the city limits. New South Wales boasts 809,000 square kilometres of bountiful land, spanning ocean and desert, that are waiting to be discovered.

And the next six months are chock-a-block with live music events, food festivals, sporting carnivals and breathtaking natural phenomena. From the lush Orange vineyards to the crystal waters of  Nelson Bay, there are festivals and events for every taste.

Without some planning, however, you'll never leave the city. To help you out, we've teamed up with Destination NSW to put together a handy list of top things to do with your entourage just in time for the new year.

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    For a month in autumn, Scenic World in the Blue Mountains transforms its stunning rainforest surrounds into a spectacular outdoor gallery. Over 35 artworks from local, national and international artists adorn the green floors and walls of the ancient rainforest. As you meander along the 2.4km Scenic Walkway, you’ll see interactive installations and subtle artworks that blend seamlessly into the environment, as well as loud masterpieces with bold statements that standout. Get the adrenaline pumping by taking the world’s steepest passenger train, the Scenic Railway, to the walkway. 

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  • 6

    Grab your guitar and a boot-scootin’ mate, and saddle up for the biggest event on the Australian country music calendar. The Tamworth Country Music Festival is now in its 46th year and is back, bigger than ever. There will be over 700 artists performing across 120 venues around the city over the course of the ten-day festival, with both ticketed and free events on offer. Tamworth will be alive with the coos of country music, from street corners to pubs to backyards, and everything in between.

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  • 5

    If it’s a sailor’s life for you, Sail Port Stephens is calling your name. The annual yachting regatta is held in the gorgeous waterways of Port Stephens Marine Park. The three days of sailing at the Commodores Cup culminate in The Beach Buoys Commodores Cup Ball, where sailors and their supporters gather at Broughtons at the Bay at d’Albora Marinas in Nelson Bay to drink, dine and dance the night away. Outside of the ball, there’s a detailed social schedule including the Women Who Sail Australia conference, a welcome celebration with bubbly courtesy of Wild Oats and the end-of-season ‘Sallebration’.

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  • 4

    Head out to Parkes in January and you would be forgiven for thinking you’re in Graceland — if there’s one thing this town is known for (apart from the iconic Dish, of course) it’s the Parkes Elvis Festival. During the festival, which coincides with the King’s birthday (January 8, as if you didn’t already know) over 25,000 visitors flock to the town to see international and national Elvis tribute artists battle it out to be named the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist. There’s also a Miss Priscilla competition, rock ‘n’ roll dancing, busking, a midnight show and a finale concert.

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  • 3

    Every year across ten days, FOOD (Food of Orange District) Week shows off the best mouthwatering fare from ‘The Food Basket’ of New South Wales. There is the best local produce, chefs and restaurants, as well as cool-climate wines. Kickstart your journey at FOOD Week Night Market with food and wine from over 50 stalls, or head to FOOD HQ to pick the brains of local farmers, chefs and providores. If you need a lift to Orange from Sydney, hop aboard the FOOD Train. Departing from Central Station, you’ll embark on a weekend-long journey filled with tasting menus, outdoor lunches and gourmet brunches. You’ll also hear from local producers, explaining how their food gets from paddock to plate.

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  • 2

    You know that feeling where you’re begrudgingly up before dawn only to have your heart warmed by a surprise sighting of a hot air balloon set against the sunrise? Well this one’s for you — and if you haven’t ever experienced such a dawn, this one is really for you. In April, the Canowindra International Balloon Challenge sees the skies above the historic central-west town come alive with the roar of burners and the kaleidoscope of colourful hot air balloons in the atmosphere. The event begins with a concert on Saturday, April 21, followed by the official balloon competition throughout the week. The comp involves a number of difficult tasks, including the key grab — the aim is to pluck a large novelty key from the top of a flagpole.

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  • 1

    If you thought the shining star of Tamworth was the golden guitar statue, well look, you probably wouldn’t be wrong. But the country music-loving town can also hold its own when it comes to delicious food. The Taste Tamworth Festival is the annual premier food event for the region, so take off your bootleg jeans and get on your elasticised pants — it’s time to eat. The event kicks off with the Pop-Up Bar, where you’ll spend a glorious evening eating snacks, drinking local beers and wines and listening to live music. You can also join in the 10,000-strong Taste in the Park and enjoy a bit of mystery at the Dinner in White.

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