Australia's top festivals to add to your summer road trip
In Australia, a good Aussie summer includes trips to the beach, barbeques with your mates, and a summer festival or two. To help get you geared for an epic summer ahead, we’ve pulled together our fave Australia festivals to see you live it up 2023 style.
From folk vibes to hard beats to Elvis Presley, Australia knows how to show you a good time. Check out our pick of the best summer music festivals in handy date order.
QLD: Woodford Folk Festival – 27 December-1 January
Located in Woodfordia, QLD, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, the Woodford Folk Festival is an institution on the Aussie event festival calendar. It’s one of the largest folk festivals in the world and also takes the top spot for the largest gathering of artists and musicians (over 400!) in Australia. You could say it’s kind of a big deal!
This is a cultural smörgâsbord of entertainment – from music, dance, cabaret, comedy, circus, theatre, circus, and more. Whether you visit for a day, stay for the entire six days, or volunteer your services, expect to leave with good vibes under your belt and an upgrade in your cultural and artistic expression, too!
*Single-day tickets start from $135. A season pass for the whole event starts from $652 with camping.
Detour to Woodford on this jam-packed 7-day Brisbane to 1770 itinerary.
NSW: Lost Paradise – 27 December-2 January
Only 75 minutes drive north of Sydney, you can access Lost Paradise. This is a festival as dreamy as it sounds, with a solid line-up, incredible art and food, and a mindfulness programme filled with workshops, yoga, and healing. This is a one-of-a-kind Australian summer festival!
Lost Paradise will be extra special this year as it’s returning after a 3-year hiatus (thanks bush fires and COVID). We would expect their goals of enriching, enlightening, and inspiring you to be absolutely smashed this year! If there was any year to get yourself to Lost Paradise, it’s this one.
*The 3-day final release tickets are $442; 4-day passes (get there early and get the best camping spot) are $494. Both passes include free camping; campervan passes are extra.
Check out #5 on our Sydney-based road trip blog. Lost Paradise is located between Sydney and Newcastle!
VIC: Beyond the Valley – 28 December-1 January
Looking for a VIC festival with a stacked line-up, world-class production, and a lush location away from it all? Beyond the Valley is back with a new home in Barunah Plains, on the land of the Wadawarrung people.
Only 1.5 hours from Melbourne, this new location ups the festival a few notches, thanks to its natural 100,000-sqm amphitheatre amid rolling hills and a winding creek.
Besides the international and local line-up, there are daily meditation and yoga, drag bingo, a beach club and more.
*Tickets are from $227 (NYE day pass, no camping) to $481 (4-day pass with camping). Add $50 if you’re attending in a JUCY campervan.
Make a road trip out of it by combining Beyond the Valley with this epic Great Ocean Road itinerary!
NSW: Field Day – 1 January
Bored with starting New Year’s Day with nothing to think of but a hangover and some lacklustre resolutions? Let Field Day take your mind off the mundane with cool tunes from around the world!
This boutique fest is at Sydney’s Domain and popular for its friendly vibes, variety of artists on its line-up, and lush green Domain setting. And don’t worry if you have an NYE hangover, the event kicks off at noon, leaving plenty of time for a lie-in.
*GA tickets are on sale from $187, or snag a luxe VIP experience for $257.
Follow up funky tunes with fresh air and lush scenery with one of these inspired Sydney scenic drives.
NSW: Parkes Elvis Festival – 4-8 January
For something a little different, how about a whole 4-day festival dedicated to the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley? Timed to coincide with late Presley’s birthday (8 January), Parkes Elvis Festival is possibly one of the biggest events on the festival calendar that you’ve never heard of.
For the 30th year, tens of thousands of Elvis lovers will descend on Parkes, in Central NSW. They are there to see a plethora of Elvis Presley tribute artists, attend workshops (like how to line dance), watch street parades, and enjoy a ton of vintage vibes!
There are many free events and ticketed options across Parkes, so join in one thing, or join in them all!
Stop in at the Blue Mountains on your way to Parkes. We’ve got just the guide.
NSW: Tamworth Country Music Festival – 13-23 January
Inland 3.5 hours from Port Macquarie, join country music lovers from across Australia and the world at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Nurturing and supporting the Australian country music scene, the event pinnacle is on the second Saturday of the event, when the Golden Guitars Country Music Awards of Australia throwdown a true yeeha of a show!
Tamworth Country Music Festival is in its 51st year, with 2023 offering 2,800 free and ticketed gigs across 120 venues! There are plenty of local campgrounds for your JUCY campervan, though book early as around 40,000 attend the fest.
Take a detour to Tamworth on our epic Sydney to Byron Bay roadie.
Multi: St Jerome’s Laneway – 4-12 February
With six events across Australia and New Zealand (check out our NZ summer festival guide here), Laneway offers the most locations to Trans-Tasman music lovers. And they do LOVE Laneway; the festival has a loyal fanbase who dig the diverse line-up and cool-as vibes.
Self-expression is a tenet of the Laneway ethos. This is evident in the unique sounds of the artists who take to the stage, the anything-goes dress code of the crowd, and that Laneway is a 16+ event at all venues.
Laneway’s Australia February dates are: 4 Brisbane; 5 Sydney; 10 Adelaide; 11 Melbourne; 12 Perth. *Tickets are $198; VIPs are $279.
Love Laneway and want to hit up two? Follow our Sydney to Melbourne itinerary and you can!
WOMADelaide – 10-13 March
Embrace a World of Music Arts and Dance (WOMAD) in Adelaide this March. A celebration of all things cultural, musical, and artistic, WOMAD brings the best vibes from around the globe for three inspiring high-vibing days.
Running since 1992, WOMAD is a well-oiled machine, which means effortless days at Adelaide’s Botanic Park/Tainmuntilla. You already know Adelaide as a foodie haven. Therefore, it should be no surprise that besides shake-ya-booty beats, you’ll be able to chow down on delectable cultural eats at WOMAD, too.
*One-day tickets start from $145 (Friday night) or grab a 3-day or 4-day pass from $369 and $402 respectively. Adelaide Caravan Park is the closest place to camp; it’s within walking distance from the festival.
WOMADelaide + inspiring road trips from Adelaide = a mega vacay! Do it, you know you want to.
VIC: Golden Plains – 11-13 March
Held at the Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre, about a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, Golden Plains is about as rule-free a festival as you can find in Australia (unless those rules are about marketing, of course). Camp where you like, bring what you want, and create your own rituals (to join the cool naturally evolved ones the festival already has).
Tickets are sold out for Golden Plains, but there is a waitlist we highly recommend you get on if this sounds like your kind of party.
Follow wild times with wildlife. We’ve got the best wildlife spots around VIC to tack on to your Golden Plains adventure. Our pick? Recuperate at the Grampians!
*Hey, quick note. The ticket prices listed are correct at the time of writing. Check the relevant website links for prices, availability, and FAQs.