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VIP NEWSLETTER JULY 2013

VIP DESTINATION: AUSSIE WINTER FESTIVALS

Pic: www.visitedplanet.comWith the array of festivals happening around the country in the coming months there's basically no excuse not to get out travelling. While we can't possibly feature all of the events taking place around the country (see our list of what's on for some), here are a select few to get you packing your bag and out the door before long.

Make sure you remember to check out our database for tours and hostels offered in this region to make your stay more affordable and fun.

Alice Springs | Adelaide | Brisbane and Gold Coast | Byron Bay | Cairns | Darwin | Hobart | Melbourne | Perth | Sydney |

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ALICE SPRINGS

Pic: www.visitedplanet.comAction comes to Alice Springs this winter in all forms. Most of the action takes place throughout June with the Finke Desert Race (8-10th) first cab off the ranks literally with motorbike and other desert action taking place at Finke, south of the city. The crowds then move to the Todd river in mid June (18th) for the Henley-on-Todd regatta in which competitors race their boats down the river. Because the river is dry they pick them up and run with them - something that just has to be witnessed. In late June the Beanie festival kicks off celebrating the many forms, wonders and designs of the humble beanie. June is of course winter here and you might be surprised to find that Alice does in actual fact have winter weather that allows the useage of a beanie. The other noteworthy Alice event is on July 13 for the annual Camel cup - well worth a look for the entertaining races they feature. Camels are notoriously fickle and may give up half way through a race or decide not to run at all.

In between these events there's plenty to see and do in and around the vicinity of the town. The MacDonnell ranges stretch in both sides featuring gorges, canyons, chasms, red rock, wild animals, wonderful walks and campsites. Alice itself has an array of Aboriginal galleries, didgeridoo workshops, good food, various cultural performances and the acclaimed desert park featuring all the different landscapes you find out here.

Events: Finke Desert Race (June 8-10), Henley-on-Todd regatta (June 18), Beanie festival (June 21-24), Camel Cup (July 13)
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ADELAIDE

Pic: www.visitedplanet.comOne of the best times to enjoy the wonderful wines and food of Adelaide and the Adelaide hills is in winter. And one of the best ways to do all this is the Adelaide Hills Winter Reds Festival that runs for a weekend  in late July (27-28). This is a great chance to visit the cellar doors in the area, some of them with quite a history attached, and taste the local wine, meet local winemakers and keep warm throughout the cold winter season!

Events: Adelaide Hills Winter Reds Festival (July 27 - 28)
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SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND: BRISBANE AND GOLD COAST

Pic: www.visitedplanet.comThe wonderful temperate regions of Brisbane and the Gold Coast are fantastic in winter. Here you can still get out and enjoy moderate temperatures of up to mid 20s in winter meaning there's still plenty of chance to enjoy the beach. There's also plenty of activity going on including anything from milking a cow, to downing some bear, listening to jazz or country music in some of the festivities taking place. Action gets underway in June (7-9) with the Milking the Cow Beer Lovers Festival (7-9). This takes place in Toowoomba, an easy day trip from the city. Alternatively head to the Gold Coast for the Broadbeach Country Music Festival (June 21-23) or return in August for the Broadbeach Jazz Festival (16-18). Beer ation in Brisbane takes place with the Queensland Beer Week (13-21) in July. The annual Brisbane Exhibition (August 8-17) is another quality event featuring agricultural shows, rides, games, show bags and plenty of fun.

Events: Milking the Cow Beer Lovers Festival (June 7-9), Broadbeach Country Music Festival (June 21-23) , Broadbeach Jazz Festival (August 16-18), Queensland Beer Week (July 13-21), Brisbane Exhibition (August 8-17)
Brisbane: Accommodation | Tours
Gold Coast: Accommodation | Tours

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BYRON BAY

Pic: www.visitedplanet.comSplendour in the Grass (July 26-28) in colourful Byron Bay is easily one of the most popular music festivals in Australia. It is held on a 660 acre site and often sold out with indie, rock, hip hop and dance music acts over three days. The other big event taking place in this area is the Tweed Banana Festival (August 23-31), held in Murwillumbah, a quaint hinterland town not far from Byron.

It's worth spending several days in around Byron Bay. Not only are the beaches splendid and the town laid back and rather alternative, but there are plenty of activities to take part in (sky diving, surfing and sun bathing to name just a few), and local markets and lovely country towns to explore. Plus there's the all important beach in Byron and it's lighthouse that most travellers usually fall in love with.

Events: Splendour in the Grass (July 26-28), Tweed Banana Festival (August 23-31)
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CANBERRA

The Canberra region may be cold over winter but that means excellent hiking, skiing, food and music. Head to Perisher nearby and enjoy the ski season intermingled with the Snowy Mountains of Music from June 7-10. The other feature event is the Canberra and Region Truffle Festival from 21 June - 28 July, perfect if you're a connoisseur of all things mushroom and earthy.

Events: Snowy Mountains of Music (June 7-10), Canberra and Region Truffle Festival (June 21 - July 28).

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CAIRNS

The mid winter sun in Cairns is a delight. There's no better time to hit the reefs, go diving and snorkelling with the heat of the summer gone and temperatures still warm enough to get in the water. There's also the superb World Heritage listed Daintree rainforest nearby complete with a myriad of bird and animal species including crocs.

When you're not busy doing all this there are a few winter events on. In July Cairns hosts the Ukulele Festival (6 July) where you can enjoy the wonderful lilting sounds of this lesser known instrument. In August and September the whole place comes alive with the colourful Cairns Festival (24 August – 1 September) featuring all aspects of the north, performers, parades and fireworks.

Events: Ukulele Festival (6 July), Cairns Fetival (24 August - 1 September)
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DARWIN

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Darwin has become one of the most popular winter centres for backpackers on working travel visas but don't let that put you off. There's so much to do, see and enjoy here even if everyone else has the same idea of escaping the winter. The Darwin commercial area has transformed in recent times and is now a hub of public spaces such as wave pools and seafront, plus there are markets, museums, outdoor dining, pubs and clubs.

One of Australia's most iconic events takes place here every winter on Mindil Beach. The Darwin Beer Can Regatta (7th July) involves forming some kind of flotation device that can be used to race others on waters of the beach. There are also thong throwing competitions, dry boat racing in which you pick up your boat and run, a tug-o-war, sand castle building and other fun activities.

Events: Darwin Beer Can Regatta (7 July)
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HOBART

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Hobart is one of the most delightful towns in Australia. Not only does it have the wonderful weekly Salamanca markets in which you can find winter berries, mead, chocolate and plenty of things to keep you warm and happy in winter, but there's also excellent museums, cafes, walking tracks, Mt Wellington and more.

MONA (the Museum of old and new art) hosts Dark Mofo every winter. This 10 day event (June 12-23) boasts plenty of contemporary music, art and performance.

Events: Dar Mofo (June 12-23)
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PERTH

Pic: www.visitedplanet.comThe beautiful city of Perth rivals Sydney for its seaside vistas with excellent beaches, diving opportunities and even islands and vineyards to explore. The city itself is a pleasant mix of botanic gardens, good restaurants, river views and a wonderful harbour, markets and historic sights.

Winter events in Perth include the Perth Winter Arts Season with over 200 events from 70 artists across the city (June 1 - August 31). These include film, comedy, opera, dance, music, poetry and other events. The other winter activity to check out is Winterfest at St Georges Cathedral when there is a candlelight service (June 23).

Events: Perth Winter Arts Season (June 1 - August 31), Winterfest (June 23).
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MELBOURNE

Pic: www.visitedplanet.comMelbourne needs little introduction as a festival city, in fact it's probably known best as Australia city of festivals. There's always so much going on that if you can't busy yourself with the free tram rides, Federation Square, St Kilda beach and the other lively markets and neighbourhoods you'll be well entertained by the winter festivals.

These include the Melbourne Cabaret Festival that takes place every June and July (26th June - 7th July) at various venues around the city. On August 29 there's Melbourne Day Laugh Out Loud Party to celebrate -- with a giggle mind you -- Melbourne’s 178th birthday. Melbourne Day is held the day after (August 30) to celebrate what makes the city so great. Another event not to miss is the Melbourne International Film Festival that runs 25 July to 11 August and is a true film lover's paradise with a variety of superb international premieres, global cinema and the usual glitz and glam of the flicks.

Events: Melbourne Cabaret Festival (26 June - 7 July), Melbourne Day Laugh Out Loud Part (29 August), Melbourne Day (30 August), Melbourne International Film Festival (25 July - 11 August)
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SYDNEY

Pic: www.visitedplanet.comSydney is a city that never sleeps. If you're not enjoying sights such as the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge then it's probably the festivals. There's always something going on in Sydney.

Starting in June is the Come Together music festival (8) featuring all Australian hip hop featuring Drapht, Illy, Spit Sydnicate and Sydnet octet The Herd and more. Another event not to miss in June is Vivid Sydney (May 24 - June 10) featuring light, music and ideas. This world class series of events features a variety of local and international acts held in great places like Circular Quay and the Opera House. There's also the Parramatta Winterlight Festival (27 June - 14 July) at Church Street where you can enjoy an enormous outdoor ice rink, lights lighting up the town hall, food stalls, outdoor movies and live entertainment. Other excellent Sydney based events include the Bondi Winter Festival (29 June - 15 July) and the Bankstown Bites Food Festival (6th July) with food stalls, cooking demonstrations, celebrity chefs and live entertainment.

Just outside Sydney in June is the Blue Mountains Winter Magic Festival (22) in Katoomba.

Events: Come Together (June 8), Vivid Sydney (May 24 - June 10), Parramatta Winterlight Festival (27 June - 14 July), Bondi Winter Festival (29 June - 15 July), Bankstown Bites Food Festival (6 July), Blue Mountains Winter Magic Festival in Katoomba (June 22).

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