Summer is the time to go out and celebrate the sun. We have handpicked 25 great summer family events. Is dressing up as Elvis down your street? Or would you prefer to toss a Tuna? The only way to find out is to go along. 

APT9 KIDS BRISBANE, QLD

summer family events
Brisbane’s art gallery. Picture: Shutterstock.

NOVEMBER 24–APRIL 28 

As part of ‘The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT9), APT9 Kids features 8 interactive artworks, hands-on and multimedia activities created by exhibiting artists, especially for children and families. The APT9 Kids projects are displayed in spaces across both the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) and Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) buildings, including the Children’s Art Centre at GOMA.

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BRISBANE INTERNATIONAL BRISBANE, QLD 

DECEMBER 31-JANUARY 6 

Slam winners Sam Stosur and Andy Murray will be there and so should you! The Brisbane International always has lots of fun events, like mini-tennis, and great outer court matches that make the cheap ground-pass a good option.

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brisbaneinternational.com.au?utm_source=FAMILYTRAVEL.com.au 

THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS HOBART, TAS

JANUARY 2–20

Relive the magic of Kenneth Grahame’s timeless classic at Hobart’s Royal Botanical Gardens. This annual event brings to life the novel in a way the whole family will enjoy. Follow the actors around the Gardens, as they use a real-life 3-D backdrop.

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TROLLS HIGH TEA MELBOURNE, VIC

JANUARY 2-18

A more upmarket experience is available at the opulent Langham Hotel in Melbourne. Beloved Trolls will take over the Aria Lounge on weekdays from 11am until 12.30pm during the summer hols. The Trolls inspired menu features dishes such as Queen Poppy speckled donuts, Branch friendship cookies and Trolls hair-raising cupcakes. Plus every guest will go home with a Trolls hair hugger collectable toy.

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THE 91-STOREY TREEHOUSE SYDNEY, NSW

JANUARY 3-20

In this hour-long Opera House performance, the best-selling book the 91-Story Treehouse springs out of the pages. Find out if the Big Red Button will destroy the world. You’ll enjoy unique performance magic, ingenious set use and laugh just as much as the kids.

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PARKES ELVIS FESTIVAL PARKES, NSW 

summer family events
It’s Elvis in a Cadillac. Not pictured: hound dog. Picture: Shutterstock.

JANUARY 9-13

Ride the Blue Suede Express all the way to Parkes and enjoy a weekend with the King. Dressing up is not required, but is encouraged. Held on Elvis’s birthday, this event makes for a great day out with grandma.

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SYDNEY FESTIVAL SYDNEY, NSW

JANUARY 9-27 

Pick from one of 150 events in Sydney this January. Will you be tempted by the circus? Or do you want to take your kids to see original artwork?  The festival has always been an excellent summer holiday outing because the kids will enjoy the light shows and the adults will love the exhibitions.

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HONK! OZ WOLLONGONG, NSW

JANUARY 10-12

With hundreds of workshops, events and bands to choose from, Honk has a little something for everyone. Kids can march and party in the streets, play the trumpet on stage and make the streets of Wollongong echo with music.

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A WILD NIGHT OUT AT TIDBINBILLA CANBERRA, ACT

JANUARY 12-27

Enjoy this crazy, over the top slumber party at Canberra’s premier wildlife sanctuary.  For the first time, you can stay at the Wildfest Pop Up Wilderness Family Camp in the park. This event, which includes interesting teachings on Aboriginal history is going to continue every year.

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AUSTRALIAN OPEN MELBOURNE, VIC 

summer family events
That’s Roger Federer. You should have heard of him. Picture: Shutterstock

JANUARY 14-27

Watch Serena Williams and Roger Federer strut their stuff at Melbourne Park. Take advantage of the $5 kids ground pass and enjoy a smashing day out. Don’t forget your autograph book!

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360 ALL-STARS GOLD COAST, QLD

JANUARY 16-19

Connecting the street with the elite, 360 ALLSTARS explores all forms of rotation to deliver an extreme and exhilarating urban circus. Non-stop action, with breakdancing, beatboxing, BMX flatlanding, basketball freestyling, drumming and Roue Cyr (an acrobatic wheel).

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SARAH & DUCK’S BIG TOP BIRTHDAY ADELAIDE, SA

JANUARY 16-20

See television’s Sarah and Duck come to life at the Dunstable Theatre. The 2014 BAFTA winners are making their sparkling Australian debut along with all their friends; including Sarah and Duck’s neighbours the Ribbon Sisters.

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ILLAWARRA FOLK FESTIVAL ILLAWARRA, NSW

JANUARY 17-20

Not only are kids welcome, but there are even youth performers. This event celebrates family and embraces the small-town culture while still maintaining an international feel. Artists performing include Emily Wurramara and Irish Mythen. Wurramara was a 2018 nominee for an Aria award and Mythen has performed with Rod Stewart.

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GINGER FLOWER AND FOOD FESTIVAL SUNSHINE COAST, QLD

JANUARY 18-20   

Kids will love the historic steam train at Yaninda’s Ginger Flower & Food Festival and can also take a ride on the Overboard boat with the gingerbread man. It celebrates everything ginger  because it is run by Queensland’s, and Australia’s, most prominent ‘ginger centre’.

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TOYOTA COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL TAMWORTH TAMWORTH, NSW

summer family events
Tamworth’s famous Golden Guitar. Keith Urban will be playing next year but tickets have sold out. Picture: Supplied.

JANUARY 18-27

Take the kids to one of the world’s premier music festivals. You can pick from 700 artists, take the kids on rides and enjoy the Regional Australia Bank Family Zone. And that’s before we get to the giant golden guitar, which was opened by Slim Dusty and modelled on the award that can be won at the music festival.

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FRINGE WORLD PERTH, WA 

JANUARY 18-FEBRUARY 17

At this uniquely artsy festival in Perth, you can see circus shows, comedy, musical theatre and hang out with Mermaids. Closely related to Edinburgh’s festival, the talent on display here will amaze you.  

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SO FRENCHY SO CHIC SYDNEY, NSW

JANUARY 19

Come down to Bicentennial Park, Glebe, for a party so French it’s sponsored by Renault. This party isn’t just for adults; under 12’s enter free. From the fun of the kids club to face painting, flower crown artisans and bubble artists, this festival of France is family friendly to a fault. So go down and c’est la vie!

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BRIGHTON JETTY SCULPTURES BRIGHTON, SA

JANUARY 23-FEBRUARY 3

This creative fundraiser for the Brighton Lifesavers Club features a large cash prize and youth competition. Sculptures can be made of any material and be of any size. Some may be interactive. Take the family along and show the kids how they can recycle common goods at home and turn them into great works of art.

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BENDIGO BANK TUNARAMA FESTIVAL PORT LINCOLN SA

JANUARY 24-27

summer family events
Is this the technique you’ll employ? It’s a hard sport to train for. Picture: Supplied.

Enter the world tuna-tossing championship, m mermaids, take part in races and enjoy some delicious seafood at this family event. It’s the perfect day out for everyone, with both boys and girls events.

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RAINBOW SERPENT FESTIVAL LEXTON, VIC

JANUARY 25-28

Family camping, a kids zone and a chill-out space for parents make this the perfect festival to take the family. Rainbow Serpent has a lot of great music and plenty of activities for children, such as bike riding, sandpits and a playground to explore.

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COMPASS CUP COW RACE COMPASS SA

JANUARY 26

You’ll soon realise more to this event than simply bidding on the cow you want to ride during the race. You can enjoy farm animal zoos, tractor pulls and a host of stalls.

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NOOSA SUMMER SWIM PARTY NOOSA HEADS, QLD

FEBRUARY 2-3

The Noosa Summer Swim is a bucket list event for any keen ocean swimmer. In 2019, the festival offers a range of distances for every ability, from junior events to a five kilometre marathon distance where seasoned swimmers can push their limits. Michael Klim, two time Olympic Gold medallist, will also be in attendance.

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WORLD WETLANDS DAY KAKADU, NT

FEBRUARY 3

Learn about wetlands in your backyard, enjoy an airboat show and tuck into a fantastic sausage sizzle with rangers. There will also be lots of activities’, including a wetlands competition.

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SAND SAFARI ART FESTIVAL GOLD COAST, QLD

FEBRUARY 8-24

The popular free event features the Australian Sand Sculpting Championships, drawing thousands of spectators to Surfers Paradise to watch and admire the country’s most talented sculptors intricately carve life-sized masterpieces over three days. Visitors can vote for their favourite creation each carved from 10 tonnes of sand.

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BUSSELTON JETTY SWIM BUSSELTON, WA

summer family events
The jetty is so long they had to build a little train to take you up and down it. No, really. Picture: Shutterstock.

FEBRUARY 10

Australia loves big things like the giant fry pan and big banana. No wonder, then, that every February the world’s biggest jetty gets visitors from around the globe. With races for those living with disabilities, open events and professional events the 3.6km Ocean Swim attracts all kinds.

If kids want to attempt it they should be aware that it is 72 laps of an Olympic Swimming Pool. Competitors do have the option of doing the course in teams of four or two as well as solo, however.

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CHINCHILLA MELON FESTIVAL CHINCHILLA, QLD

FEBRUARY 14-17

Experience melon skiing (putting your feet in two melons and taking on slopes), cheer on your favourites at the chariot race and celebrate your love of melons in Chinchilla. Held every two years’, this festival is not to be missed. You won’t find a better way to cool down this summer than getting covered in watermelon.

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AGNES BLUES, ROOTS & ROCK FESTIVAL AGNES WATER, QLD

FEBRUARY 15-17 

Get away from it all in remote Agnes Water, and enjoy some great music at the same time. The Black Sorrows are headlining and children under 14 are free to enter. They will be able to enjoy a wide range of food to go along with the fantastic music on offer.

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ADELAIDE FRINGE ADELAIDE, SA

FEBRUARY 15-MARCH 19

summer family events
Lots of colour and plenty of big hats. That’s what the event is all about. Picture: Supplied.

Australia’s largest arts festival is the place to be. Great costumes, delicious food and art that lives and breathes await you. Meet artists, explore new visual and artistic techniques and step into a world of colour.

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ACTEWAGL ROYAL CANBERRA SHOW CANBERRA, ACT

FEBRUARY 22-24 

Three days of rides, lollies and fireworks are certain to liven up your February. You can see the Eljay bike stunts show, or you can check out the crackup sisters. Come celebrate our favourite country traditions with a modern twist.

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PAKO FESTA GEELONG, VIC

FEBRUARY 23

Last year 100,000 people attended the enormous street party. You can enjoy fantastic street food, a parade and awards. The theme this year is generations. This event is family-focused, with fun being the primary objective. Kids will love all the fantastic activities like face-painting, great food and music. 

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PETS IN THE PARK MALVERN EAST, VIC 

MARCH 24

A perfect day to pamper your puppy. Pets in the Park will feature a stage, pet parades and pet-themed stalls. Also in attendance will be thousands of dogs attending after the success of last year.

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