Not-to-be-missed events

The season kicks off in style with the inaugural Spilt Milk Festival on 3 December featuring ARIA winner Flume bringing together some of Australia’s best things; music, food and art within the tree lined landscape of iconic Commonwealth Park. Then a 10-day outdoor street food festival takes over the park when The Commons Street Feast hits Canberra. From 9-18 December the outdoor street food festival will feature 26 vendors including Gelato Messina, Mary’s and Happy as Larry.

Christmas takes over the city centre with the return of the Christmas In The City Concert on 16 December in front of the spectacular Canberra Christmas Tree and will feature great sounds, big screens and a custom built stage fit for Aussie rock legend Shannon Noll. From 16-24 December four food themed markets, as well as the inaugural Christmas Handcrafted Gifts and Arts Markets, will offer a variety of unique local stallholders under a canopy of fairy lights.

The city will come alive on New Year’s Eve with an all-ages concert in Civic Square and state of the art fireworks, while Garema Place ends the year with bass beats and high-energy dancing.

Street machine fans will be at Exhibition Park in Canberra for the return of Summernats from 5-8 January. The annual Street Machine Summernats Car Festival is Australia's biggest horse power party where more than 2000 elite street machines and more than 100,000 people descend on Canberra.

A girl holding the Australian Flag at Australia Day in the Park
Head to Australia Day in the Park for fun for all the family and a fireworks spectacular

Head to Commonwealth Park on 26 January for Australia Day in the Park. There will be entertainment and activities for the whole family, and kids can enjoy rides, amusements and games, make something crafty or be painted with Aussie faces and tattoos. Pack a picnic and enjoy the range of entertainment on offer at the shores of Lake Burley Griffin before the Fireworks Spectacular caps off the day.

On Australia Day pop over to the National Museum of Australia’s Australia Day Festival: A World of History and Culture with tours, music, dance, demonstrations, workshops, games, food and fun.

Eat, drink, laugh and dance your way around the world in Canberra at the National Multicultural Festival. Celebrate difference, share traditions and see performances from all parts of the world throughout the festival from 17-19 February.

Exceptional exhibitions

For the first time in history, some of the world’s greatest treasures from the Palace of Versailles are in Australia for an epic exhibition, exclusive to the National Gallery of Australia. Versailles: Treasures From The Palace embodies the opulence, luxury and beauty of a period central French history from 9 December.

Across the road at the National Portrait Gallery The Popular Pet Show is beautifully expressing the joy and warmth that many of us derive from our animal companions. Comprised of exuberant Australian paintings, many on a large scale, the summer exhibition includes portraits of famous and obscure Australians and their pets by contemporary artists. The Gallery will also keep its doors open until 8pm on some Fridays throughout January and February for performances and exclusive tours.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories of military service in times of war and peace are told in a new exhibition at the Australian War Memorial. For Country, for Nation highlights these stories and explores themes of remembrance through family histories, objects, art, and photographs.

Brimming with unparalleled pieces and behind-the-scenes rarities, the Royal Australian Mint’s latest exhibition exploring the masterly work of Stuart Devlin AO, The Designer with the Midas Touch is a must see. From 16 December, this exhibition will offer a unique insight into the work of the artist of our nation’s original decimal coins and the exquisite pieces he has created throughout his impressive career as undoubtedly the pre-eminent goldsmith of our time.

David Moore (1927-2003), Sydney Cricket Ground from the Hill, 1963, Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra, ACT. ©Lisa, Michael, Matthew and Joshua Moore
David Moore (1927-2003), Sydney Cricket Ground from the Hill, 1963, Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra, ACT. ©Lisa, Michael, Matthew and Joshua Moore

Sport is a national obsession in Australia; for many artists sport is a rich subject, full of myths and legends, heroes and heroines, highs and lows. The artworks in Parliament House’s Win Lose Draw – art and sport exhibition explore different aspects of Australia’s rich sporting history. From early iconic images of ‘bronzed Aussies’ to contemporary representations of significant moments in Australian sporting history, the exhibition features works from the Parliament House Art Collection that celebrate our love of the game until 12 February.

Take a behind-the-scenes exploration of 30 of the most important Australian homes of the past 60 years at the National Archives of Australia’s Iconic Australian Houses exhibition. Vivid photography, rich illustrations, 3D models and interviews look beyond the physical structures to tell the story of how good design can enrich lifestyle.

Behind the Lines 2016: The year’s best political cartoons, now on show at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, celebrates the role of political cartoonists in Australia and highlights the power that their drawings have in contributing to our daily political and social discourse.

Action in the great outdoors

Don't miss your chance this summer to see Australian wildlife, including kangaroos, platypus, wombats and more at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Join a tour and search for koalas in the canopy, explore the natural wonders of the Sanctuary or learn about boomerang throwing with Indigenous rangers. Interested in wildlife? Join a guided spotlight tour to discover the hidden secrets of Tidbinbilla at night. Possums, kangaroos, koalas, Long-nosed Potoroos, Eastern Bettongs and Southern Brush-tailed Rock Wallabies all emerge at dusk!

Don’t miss out on your chance to see New Zealand take on the Aussies in a Victoria Bitter One Day International at Manuka Oval on 6 December. New Zealand is looking for ODI redemption after Australia’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 win, making this a match you don’t want to miss!

A Central Coast Mariners player in the Hyundai A-League
Hyundai A-League football returns to Canberra when the Central Coast Mariners take on the reigning champions Adelaide

Hyundai A-League football returns to Canberra when the Central Coast Mariners take on the reigning champions Adelaide in what will be a blockbuster game at GIO Stadium Canberra on 5 February.

Watch the stars under the stars with Sunset Cinema at the Australian National Botanic Gardens until 17 December. Sit back, relax and enjoy some good food, great films and the Canberra twilight with friends and family this summer. Then enjoy live music, delicious food and drink, socialising and dancing on the picturesque Eucalypt Lawn in January and February as part of the 2017 Summer Sounds series.

Also in the new year, why not watch feature films from a deckchair on the lawns near the National Library of Australia at Ben and Jerry’s Outdoor Cinema? From 12 January-26 February you can grab a drink and bite to eat, enjoy live music and catch up on the best cinema offerings.

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