Food & Culture

What's on: Top events and experiences happening around Australia

Your guide to what's on in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and around the country this month and beyond.

By The Gourmet Traveller team
Chiswick Margarita Garden Party


George Street Food Gallery

6 December 2023 - 1 February 2024
Running until February, George Street Food Gallery is The Rocks' brand-new lunch and late-night outdoor dining pop-up, with some exciting venues on the bill.
Chat Thai's Palisa Anderson is opening a new 'Australasian dining experience' called Love Child - think dishes that skirt from Thai and Vietnamese to Japanese, Korean and Chinese. It's a celebration of these much-loved cuisines in an Australian context and delivered, no doubt, with deft execution.
Meanwhile, popular Malaysian joint Ho Jiak is popping up with hawker-style eats such as satay chicken spring rolls, chilli-hot seafood laksa and smoky char koay teow.
Finally, another new venture is cropping up to bring Mexican street food to the storied Sydney street. Called Los Frios, the pop-up restaurant comes by way of Deigo Luna (Tacos Muchachos) and serves traditional dishes such as chilaquiles, flautas and tamales.
The mini pop-up restaurant precinct runs in conjunction with other happenings in The Rocks this December, namely The Rocks Christmas Markets (Saturdays and Sundays until 24 December) and the Homegrown Christmas Concert (15 and 16 December).

NGV Triennial

3 December 2023 - 7 April 2024
Recurring only every three years, the NGV Triennial is back to provoke thought and wonder with more than 100 artistic projects and 120 artists, designers and collectives taking over all four levels of the NGV over the summer months.

Outdoor cinemas

Westpac Openair Cinema Photo: Fiora Sacco
Westpac Openair Cinema
10 January - 20 February 2024
Australia's most scenic outdoor cinema, Sydney Harbour's Westpac Openair Cinema is back for another summer of waterfront movie sessions. Catch Barbie, Saltburn, Pretty Woman, Napoleon and more, plus a dazzling line-up of food and drink pop-ups. Tickets go on sale from 11 December and are available via the website.
Moonlight Cinema
Various dates throughout summer
With pop-up outdoor cinemas around the country, Moonlight Cinema offers flicks for all movie buffs - from family favourites and old classics to box office hits and brand-new flicks. You can either BYO blanket to roll out on the green or opt for the more premium tickets, cheekily called Gold Grass, which get you a prime viewing spot on a bean bag, waiter service straight to your seat and exclusive menu items. At Sydney and Melbourne locations this year, there are pop-up Versa Bars, peddling ready-to-drink Versa Spritz in Martini, Negroni and Limoncello options. BOOK NOW.
Sunset Cinema
23 November 2023 - 24 February 2024
Sunset Cinema beckons at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra, showing everything from Love Actually and Home Alone in the lead up to Christmas to new flicks such as the Emma Stone-starring Poor Things and Mean Girls (Musical). BOOK NOW.

Chiswick Margarita Garden Party

21, 25 and 28 January
Longstanding Woollahra institution Chiswick is celebrating summer on its lush lawn with a garden fiesta this month. Expect classic and Tommy's Margaritas as well as playful twists such as mango-mint and watermelon-strawberry - all alongside snacks of cured tuna crumpets with lemon cream; spanner crab with apple, endive, pickled shallot; and 'barra-masalata' with vegetable chips.


4 November 2023 – 10 March 2024
Over at the Art Gallery of NSW, Kandinsky is in town as 47 works by the abstract master visit from New York's Guggenheim.

Arbory Afloat Viva Mexico & Pool Club

Throughout summmer
Melbourne's floating bar Arbory Afloat returns for its eighth year with its new theme Viva Mexico — a celebration of the Central American country's vibrant culture and stunning coastal regions. For many Melburnians, the return of the pop-up Birrarung (Yarra River) bar signals the return of summery festivities, which you can ring in with punchy tequila cocktails and snack-ready tacos and tortas.
The pop-up has also just announced its new Pool Club is open, featuring an 8-metre-long tiled swimming pool surrounded by palm trees, a Tulum-inspored agave bar, and a taco hut.

Australian Open

14-28 January 2024
The Australian Open is the big-hitting highlight of summer, where the action on court will be matched by a chef line-up including Joel Bennetts and Tom Sarafian.

Gin-uary Hobart Gin Festival

27-28 January
Local Tasmanian distillers are set to take over Hobart for a weekend of G&Ts, food pop-ups and gin samples at the Gin-uary Hobart Gin Festival.

Perth Festival

9 February - 3 March
Set to sizzle this summer, Perth Festival returns with boundary-pushing theatre, unmissable music events, live poetry, arthouse films and more across the city.

Adelaide Fringe

16 February - 17 March 2024
Come summer's tailend, Adelaide Fringe kicks off. The annual, month-long arts festival brings thousands of independent artists and performers from across the globe to Adelaide for a jam-packed program of comedy, cabaret discos, circus performance, art shows, theatre and live music.
Dan Hong's tuna belly and finger lime toast at Johnnie Walker Blue Label Mahjong Club.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label Mahjong Club

17 February
This Lunar New Year, celebrate the Year of the Dragon with whisky cocktails, food by renowned Merivale chef Dan Hong and games of Mahjong. For one day only, on 17 February, Sydney's former Est. restaurant space (now event venue) will be transformed into the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Mahjong Club, complete with lush blue hues, Chinese décor and Mahjong tables. Plus, Crazy Rich Asians actor Remy Hii will be present as co-host alongside Hong.
As for the food, Hong will serve a menu of auspicious dishes, such as crab and scallop pot-stickers; lobster bao; tuna belly and finger lime toast; wagyu skewers; Longevity noodles in the form of chilled truffle noodles with caviar; and Hong Kong-style egg tarts. Drinks-wise, expect ample whisky cocktails — ginger, yuzu and chrysanthemum Highballs; apple and rose honey-infused whisky topped with Champagne; and a concoction of whisky, clarified coconut milk, peach and pandan.
To buy tickets to the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Mahjong Club, head here.

QAGOMA: Fairy Tales and Gone Fishing exhibitions

2 December 2023 - 28 April 2024; 20 May 2023 - 21 January 2024
Fairy Tales is the tentpole exhibition at QAGOMA this summer, running until April next year. Celebrating all things enchanting, the blockbuster exhibition explores centuries of folklore through art, design and film. Expect opulent costumes, immersive installations and a free curated film program in the Galllery's Australian Cinémathèque.
Also showing at QAGOMA this summer is Gone Fishing (until 21 January), a stunning display of Indigenous Australian art to take in.


Tasting Australia

A Little Bit of Broke

15-17 March
The tiny town of Broke in the Hunter Valley region is back with its 20th annual festival weekend, showcasing the best wine, restaurants, local produce, accommodation and music talent it has to offer. Taking place in March, the autumn festival will run across 17 locations, from wineries such as Krinklewood, Winmark and Margan to alpaca farms, distilleries and wellness retreats.

Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition

Running until 14 April 2024
At Melbourne Museum Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition will thrill fanatics and film die-hards alike.

Nikon-Walkley Press Photography Exhibition

Running until 28 April 2024
See some of the photographs that captured pinnacle moments across the nation this year at the Nikon-Walkley Press Photography Exhibition currently showing in Sydney.

Tasting Australia

3-12 May 2024
Trains, planes, sailboats and more are just some of the madcap sites set to welcome events for Tasting Australia in 2024. A jam-packed program of 150 events will descend upon the festival state of Adelaide across 10 days in May. As Australia's longest-running food festival, homegrown talent heroes much of the festival, with chefs including Mark Best, Matt Moran, Thi Le, Jake Kellie and Justin James all cooking. Newly appointed food curator Kane Pollard has worked to devise a program that puts South Australian produce front and centre, with pop-up restaurant experiences, hands-on cooking classes and bold one-off dining opportunities.
Winter Feast, Tasmania

Dark Mofo presents Winter Feast, Nude Solstice Swim, Night Shift and ‘Namedropping’

13-23 June 2024
While Tasmania's subversive winter arts festival takes a hiatus this year, Dark Mofo is forging ahead with a condensed program of its more popular events. Winter Feast will return for eight nights of food stalls, bar pop-ups, firepits and long table feasting at Princes Wharf 1. The Nude Solstice Swim at Long Beach will also return, taking place on the winter solstice on Friday 21 June, and with an even larger capacity than last year. The debaucherous after-dark party Night Shift is set to run across two nights (Friday 21 and Saturday 22 June). Over at MONA, brand- new exhibition Namedropping will open with an extravagant gala at the gallery on 14 June, and will run until April next year.
  • undefined: The Gourmet Traveller team