It’s that time of the year when you’re probably thinking more about downing a glass of red by a roaring fire than throwing on your puffer jacket and heading outside.
But with the number of amazing festivals and events happening around Victoria this winter you’d be mad not to venture outside and have a glance at what’s going on. You’ll notice not all these events are in Gippsland. That’s no mistake, we know you love to explore our beautiful state. Plus, we hope it gets you pondering about creating new and improved entertaining concepts right here in our region.
There is actually something for everyone this winter, from events that cater for foodies, families, or even something for wilder and woollier characters out there. With all of this happening throughout Victoria over the coming colder months you’re now going to have a social calendar that is absolutely overflowing.
Round up your family, round up your friends, and book your tickets right away—because these events will fill up fast!
So, let’s get into it, here are 11 events worth braving the cold for this winter.
Briagolong Film Festival
Kick-off winter in style with a trip out to Briag to catch a bunch of great recent Australian films like Hacksaw Ridge, The Death And Life Of Otto Bloom, Ali’s Wedding, Simon Baker’s adaptation of the Tim Winton novel Breath, along with many more.
The festival runs over two days and three nights, so there’s plenty of time to catch your favourite.
The Hall, Briagolong
8–10 June 2018
Port Fairy Winter Weekends
Festival Running over four weekends during June and July you’ll find lunches, dinners, sourdough classes, whisky tastings on boats, along with secret art installations, and light installations that highlight Port Fairy’s heritage aspects.
To celebrate the middle of winter you can also catch the burning of the wicker man at Limestone Gallery on June 23. No Nicolas Cage in sight.
Weekends, June 8–July 22, 2018
Woodend Winter Arts Festival
Now in its 14th year, Woodend Winter Arts Festival features performances from La Pellegrina: A Medici Extravaganza—in its first professional performance in Australia—along with soloists Jacqueline Porter and Robert Macfarlane, and concerts from Lucinda Moon, Davide Monti, Pietro Roffi, Joseph Tawadros, and more.
You can also catch fireworks on the opening night, along with four art exhibitions by local and regional artists.
8–11 June 2018
King Valley Balloon Festival
If hot air balloons and wine are your thing—have we got the event for you! A massive group of hot air balloons will lift off from Milawa and Whitfield, following the route of the King River over vineyards, through mountain passes, and over the countryside.
While you’re in the area it’s worth checking out Brown Brothers Night Glow, which is on as part of the festival. There’ll be food, entertainment, and the hot air balloons will all be lit up in unison as darkness falls for a spectacular sight.
9–11 June 2018
Low Light Queenscliff
Low Light is all about embracing warmth as the mercury drops. There’ll be art exhibitions, film premieres and screenings, spoken word and literary readings, along with musical performance throughout public spaces, cafes, and bars all around Queenscliff.
On the food front, there’ll be degustation menus featuring locally foraged ingredients, wine tastings, and whisky education for anyone keen to know more about their favourite drop.
22 June–15 July 2018
Loch Food & Wine Festival
Now in its 11th year, the Loch Food & Wine Festival celebrates the best that South Gippsland has to offer. The region’s wineries, breweries, and produce growers will all be on show through tastings, cooking demonstrations and more.
While you’re there you can check out the main street of Loch, which has transformed itself with cafes, restaurants, and a distillery, which is serving up gin, vodka, and single malt whisky.
10 June 2018
Mansfield Lantern Festival
Celebrate the longest night of the year with a festival of lights, food, wine, music, and fire down below Mount Bulla. The family-friendly festival also features arts, crafts, workshops, as well as a street parade.
23 June 2018
Channelling Dark Mofo, WinterWild is back once again to embrace the art of darkness.
The two-week event is split between ‘Death’ (August 10–11), and ‘Birth’ (August 24–25) with live performances, interactive art exhibitions, and a bonfire-lined street parade exploring the themes. It’s a wild and woolly affair.
August 10–26 2018
Sovereign Hill will be transformed into a winter wonderland this June and July with Christmas trees, and decorations lining Main Street during the day while giving way to lights, projections, and snowfall as darkness descends.
The full program of events is still to be announced, but you’ll want to be organising accommodation ASAP for this one.
30 June–22 July 2018
Darker Days is a mid-winter festival all about dark beer—bringing together producers, entertainers, beer lovers, and families from across the High Country.
While you’re enjoying dark beer, damper, along with toasted marshmallows, and roasted chestnuts on the communal open fires, you can check out the ceremonial burning of the giant wooden structure in the shape of Bright Brewery’s logo.
30 June 2018
Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow
Some of MICF’s best acts are hitting the road to visit regional centres around the country to bring the belly laughs with everything from stand-up, sketches, satire and songs.
Acts vary depends on the town (hot tip—some of your fav comedians will be performing in Gippsland), so check out who’s coming to a town near you.
Various locations around Victoria,
Until July 7