The Best Annual Events in Melbourne

Melbourne is the events capital of Australia. People from all over the world flock to the Victorian capital all year round for some of the best world wide events ranging from sports and entertainment to culture and the arts.

This list covers all that including when they are held each year, what it’s like to experience them and how you can get more information on each one so you can plan your own trip to enjoy one or more of these fantastic events.

The Best Annual Events in Melbourne

The Best Annual Events in Melbourne - The Trusted Traveller

Australian Open Tennis

When: Mid-Late January Annually

The Australian Open is the first of four international tennis Grand Slams which draws almost a million people from all over the world each year.

Not only can you see the world’s best men’s and women’s tennis players battle it out on court during this two week sporting event, it is also has a vibrant festival atmosphere with world class musical entertainment to entertain the crowds between matches.

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Melbourne Food & Wine Festival

When: March Annually

Foodies (and wino’s!) of the world will love the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival which has attracted thousands of foodies and wino’s since 1993.

The festival showcases the gastronomic excellence of Melbourne, from time little alley-way bars, nondescript basements, flashy rooftops and of course some of the worlds top restaurants found right there in Melbourne.

Take the chance to dine out at some of Melbourne’s best venues to taste unique bites created by some of the world’s best chefs for get deals during the festival.

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The Best Annual Events in Melbourne - The Trusted Traveller

Melbourne Fringe Festival

When: October/November Annually

The Melbourne Fringe Festival is all about art for anyone and everyone, bringing voices from the fringe into an uncurated, freely expressive urban celebration.

The festival features the work of more than 3000 artists for a crowd of nearly half a million people each year. Everyone is free to perform, exhibit and push artistic boundaries which means you’ll discover cutting edge ideas in iconic and quirky locations around Melbourne.

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The Melbourne Cup

When: First Tuesday of November Annually

The Melbourne Cup Carnival is Australia’s most well known horse racing carnival and its most prestigious event is the Melbourne Cup held on the first Tuesday on November at Flemington Racecourse.

Known as ‘The Race that Stops the Nation” to Aussies, is one of the many world-class sporting events held in Melbourne each year. Aside from the horses, the event is high on the calendar of Australia’s fashionistas with a big best dressed competition.

The Melbourne Cup Carnival is held yearly at the Flemington Racecourse, yet another of Melbourne’s world class sporting venues.

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When: Early March Annually

A cherished Melbourne tradition that’s been held every year since 1955, Moomba is Australia’s largest free community festival and is celebrated over four days along the banks of the Yarra River.

During the festival enjoy the Moomba parade, crowning of Moomba monarchs, fireworks displays, carnivals in the gardens, watersports, rides and live music. It’s a celebrated event for the whole family.

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The Best Annual Events in Melbourne - The Trusted Traveller

Royal Melbourne Show

When: September Annually

The Royal Melbourne Show is an agricultural show held at Melbourne Showgrounds and has been running in some capacity since 1848.

A day at the show is right of passage for all Melbournians and attracts people from all over the state to enjoy the entertainment, browse the agricultural stalls and see who wins the awards for things like best cakes, showjumping and produce displays. Grabbing a show bag for the kids is a must!

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White Night

When: Next held in late May 2021

Based on the original White Night in Paris, this all-night celebration of contemporary Parisian arts was first held in Melbourne in 2013 and in recent years sees crowds of more than half a million each year.

This imaginative event showcases local and national and international innovative arts, music and ceremony with a different theme or focus each year.

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Melbourne International Comedy Festival

When: March/April Annually

Since 1987 The Melbourne International Comedy Festival has been attracting the best comedy talent from all over the world and it has become one of the world’s largest comedy festivals.

The jam-packed three week program features stand-up comedy, cabaret, theatre, street performance, film, television, radio and visual arts performing in venues all across the city with both paid and free performances. My favourite part of the festival is the Raw Comedy events where you’ll get to discover some of the best up-and-coming comedy talent.

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The Best Annual Events in Melbourne - The Trusted Traveller

Australian Formula One Grand Prix

When: March Annually

Albert Park comes alive each year with the thrill of fast cars for The Australian Formula One Grand Prix.

The race is one of the races of the Formula One World Championship, so it’s a prestigious event that attracts an international crowd. There is also plenty of action off the racetrack with live entertainment, fashion, food and more.

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Melbourne Fashion Week

When: Next held late August 2020

Over the past decade Melbourne’s reputation as Australia’s fashion capital has grown significantly with the help of The City of Melbourne local government presenting Melbourne Fashion Week.

This festival showcases world-class Australian fashion design at more than 150 events around the city. Melbourbne comes alive with runways, workshops, exhibitions, music and parties for the fashion focused locals and visitors who come from all over the world.

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Melbourne International Film Festival

When: August Annually

The Melbourne International Film Festival is one of the longest-running film festivals in the world, behind only Cannes and Berlin.

The festival offers a curated selection of films that are bold, entertaining and thought-provoking, connecting innovative film with broad audiences while giving up-and-coming film makers the chance to make their imprint on the industry.

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The Best Annual Events in Melbourne - The Trusted Traveller

Cricket’s Boxing Day Test

When: Boxing Day, 26th December Annually

Whether you are at the game or watching it on the TV at home, The Boxing Day Test is watched by a large percentage of Aussie’s recovering from Christmas Day.

The test involves the Australian cricket team playing a five day match against a touring national team at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The atmosphere is electric with plenty of entertainment off the field too.

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Carols by Candlelight

When: Christmas Eve, December 24th Annually

An Australian Christmas tradition is to spend Christmas Eve at home watching the televised Carols by Candlelight from the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne which has been running for over 80 years.

If you are lucky enough to be in Melbourne at this time then snagging a ticket to this popular event is a must. It’s Australia’s largest annual Christmas carol event, with performances by national and international celebrities accompanied by an orchestra.

It is also one of the biggest annual fund raising events in the country, with all funds raised going directly to provide services for children who are blind or have low vision and their families.

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AFL Grand Final

When: Last Saturday in September Annually

Australian Rules Football is the national sport of the nation and nowhere more so than Melbourne is this great game celebrated throughout the year and most so on the last Saturday in September, Grand Final Day.

The atmoshpere at the 100,000+ capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground is second to none and in the lead-up throughout Melbourne footy fever is everywhere with parades through the streets and parties as any good pub. Even non-football fans might find themselves secretly enjoying this incredible event.

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Where to Stay While in Melbourne

While you are busy enjoy the many fantastic events on in Melbourne throughout the year you will of course need a comfortable place to stay. Below are three options suitable for all tastes and budgets that will assist you with planning your perfect Melbourne event getaway.

Budget – Space Hotel

Mid-Range – Travelodge Hotel Melbourne Docklands

Luxury – Sheraton Melbourne Hotel

Also check out my article Where to Stay in Melbourne for more options.

Over to you!

Have you attended any of these events in Melbourne? Which would you most like to attend?

Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.

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