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Seven Events Beyond Sydney to Travel to This Spring

Go beyond our fair city to discover and re-discover all of NSW at these springy events.
By Jonathan Ford
September 12, 2017
By Jonathan Ford
September 12, 2017


in partnership with

Go beyond our fair city to discover and re-discover all of NSW at these springy events.

So you've experienced another Sydney winter — not that it was even that cold; the weather was simply beautiful. But nevertheless, it's safe to say we're all ready to shed our layers and head outdoors for some quality time in the sun. Instead of sticking to your favourite beach or local park in the warmer Sydney days ahead, why not venture a little further afield into the countryside?

Spanning ocean and desert, NSW boasts an abundance of local food, live music and breath-taking nature to take in. From the lush Hunter Valley vineyards to the dusty flats of Broken Hill, there are festivals and events for every taste. And it's all happening in spring, the season that isn't as hot or busy as summer. Do you need any more convincing?

Without some planning, however, your next three months are going to look a little dull. To help you out, we've pulled off our winter mittens for good, and teamed up with Destination NSW to put together a handy list of top things to do with your entourage just in time for the sun to reveal its glorious face.

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    Canberra Wine House Murrumbateman Moving Feast

    Experience all the wine Murrumbateman has to offer during the Canberra Wine House Murrumbateman Moving Feast, a weekend-long, roving degustation celebrating local drops and producers. Presented by the Makers of Murrumbateman, the feast will take over the best vineyards around town over the October long weekend from Saturday, September 30 to Monday, October 2. Each winery along the trail will offer signature tasting menus, with each dish paired with a curated fine wine. Plus, throughout the weekend, visitors will have the chance to meet the makers behind these nationally and internationally recognised bottles, all while taking in the gorgeous rolling views around the region.

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    Taste Riverina Festival

    The Taste Riverina Festival sees the region’s producers come together in a month-long celebration of local food. The curated program spans agricultural tours, cooking demonstrations, food treks and beer and wine tastings, along with your requisite degustation dinners, farmers markets and cafe specials available around town. The region’s plentiful vineyards will be offering up cellar door tastings paired with music and food to boot. There will be whole meals dedicated to salami and the Ploughman’s Lunch, along with a food and art fusion exhibition. Bush tucker tours, pool parties and pub crawls round out the jam-packed program that is sure to leave your belly satisfied.

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    Orange Wine Festival

    The annual Orange Wine Festival is back for its 11th run, with ten days of events highlighting the region’s sophisticated winemaking from October 13 through to October 22. Patrons can expect wine shows, tastings, dinners and educational workshops, all of which showcase the rich diversity of Orange’s rich culinary culture.The region is known for its cool climate which creates wines with bright fruit and deep, balanced flavours, making them some of the best drops in the country. And this year’s packed-out program includes over 90 events, which are open to all wine lovers, from the connoisseurs to those still getting to know their palate.

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    Grafton Jacaranda Festival

    The oldest floral festival in Australia, the Grafton Jacaranda Festival focuses on the hundreds of lilac-blossomed trees that line the town’s streets. First held in 1935, the festival brings together art exhibitions, live music, markets and parades for a week-long celebration. While the jacaranda blooms are of course the main attraction, it’s by no means the only event you’ll have to look forward to during the festival — think a 30-team dragon boat race and a Venetian-style circus and carnival, along with buskers, fireworks and stallholders aplenty. While in town, visit ‘The Gorge’, a tree which measures at a massive 30 metres high with a six-metre circumference. It deserves a nice big hug, we reckon.

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    Sculpture in the Vineyards

    Sculpture in the Vineyards brings an artistic bend to the Hunter Valley with its annual arts and cultural festival, held throughout four independent vineyards in the Wollombi Valley. The celebration combines large-scale sculptures with art, food and, of course, wine, with tastings happening at each of the vineyard cellar doors. Visitors can also take guided tours, attend artist talks and workshops, learn about local Aboriginal history and feast at a wine and food degustation. Events will also take place at the nearby historic Wollombi Village. And what’s more, entry into the exhibitions along the Wollombi Valley Wine Trail is completely free.

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    The Ballina Prawn Festival

    Australians really love prawns — and Ballina Prawn Festival knows it. In fact, they’ve dedicated an entire day in honour of everyone’s favourite crustacean. Set in Ballina’s Missingham Park on the banks of the Richmond River, the day will be marked by parades, music, rides and all the prawns you can eat. The festival stalls will be sizzling prawns of all sizes, while events happen in every direction, including a prawn shelling competition and a signature dish competition. There will also be a boat parade celebrating the prawn industry, fireworks, amusement rides, live music and sand castle building. Yeah, it’ll be the truest form of an Aussie-as day.

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    MTV Beats and Eats 

    Just steps from North Wollongong beach, this festival brings live music and food lovers together for one big ol’ party that will satisfy both your belly and your soul. Themed ‘Space Fantasy’, the festival encourages attendees to come in fancy dress as whatever their space fantasy may be. Astronauts, martians, space cowboys, alien unicorns — whichever costume you choose, you could win $2,000 for best dressed, $1,000 for second and $500 for third best dressed. Plus you’ll look awesome. With past acts including Savage, PACES, Tigerlily and DJ Steve Aoki, you can expect an even bigger roster of local and international acts this year. Plus, in between sets, fill up on a range of eats from food vendors from the region, along with a few Sydney imports expected to dish out some top-notch barbecue, burgers and pizzas.


    Visit our Beyond Sydney hub, and discover even more events around NSW with our Regional Event Generator.

    Words: Marissa Ciampi and Jonathan Ford.

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