Major Events & Festivals Worth Planning Your Trip Around

 

Annual Events

The best festival experiences and major events across the region

Start 2021 right! It’s easy to forget that Western Australia is miles ahead of the rest of the world in its ability to host public gatherings right now. As for New Year’s resolutions? We are not taking it any of it for granted! Changes in schedule to last year mean that the Margaret River Region has a bursting calendar of inspiration in store, across the categories of wine, gourmet food, adventure, sport, culture. There has never been a better time to plan your travel to experience a whole world of activities. Here are best festivals and major events to plan your trip around.

Busselton Jetty Swim

The iconic Busselton Jetty Swim, held annually in February.

February

Livelighter Busselton Fringe Festival – February 12 – 7 March

Come for a taste of the quirky & offbeat with street theatre, stand up comedy, dance, circus, musical theatre, cabaret, burlesque and more hitting several Busselton venues this month. Expect street closures, pop up bars, live music, food & performances from local & visiting artists, ranging from all age entertainment through to cheeky after-dark experiences.

Busselton Jetty Swim – February 13- 14

One of West Australia’s most unique & iconic sporting events is the 3.6 kilometre Busselton Jetty Swim. With a focus on participation, inclusion, affordability & community, the event welcomes novice, professional & disabled swimmers with swim times from 40 minutes through to three hours. Thousands of spectators cheer from the foreshore, with live music entertainment to follow.

South West Craft Beer Festival (BeerFest) – February 27

Get your froth on (see what we did there?) at this much-loved all-out beer party, with more than 120 craft beers from 20 local breweries & cideries. The day brings a focus to new release & special brews, along with wines, gourmet bites, live acts & DJs.

Kelly Slater Margaret River Pro

Rub shoulders with surf royalty at the Margaret River Pro

May

Margaret River Ultra Marathon – May 1

The Margaret River Region becomes 80 kilometres of racetrack for this event, with competitors of all levels bringing the ‘Ultra’ by traversing forest trails, cliff tops, beaches & vineyards. The course runs from Hamelin Bay in the south to Cheeky Monkey Brewery in the north.

Busselton Festival of Triathlon – May 1- 2

Celebrating 20 years in 2021, the Busselton Festival of Triathlon attracts competitors aged seven to over-70, so there’s no excuses! A weekend encompassing the SunSmart Ironman 70.3, the SunSmart Kids Triathlon & the Funman Teams Triathlon, the events are free for spectators with food & entertainment continuing up until 7.30pm.

The Margaret River Pro – May 2 – 12

West Australia’s world class surfing event sees the World Surfing League’s male & female heroes descend upon Surfer’s Point for up to 12 days of competition. The Pro is a calendar stop on the official World Champion Tour & a great way to see the legends of the surf battle it out in the flesh.

Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival – May 14-16

Put last year’s book reading to good use, at this intimate event of established & emerging storytellers, unmissable for bibliophiles & lovers of the arts, culture & Margaret River. With past guests including the likes of Germaine Greer, Michael Palin, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Kerry O’Brien & Geraldine Brooks, the festival is a weekend of author talks, Q&A sessions, panel discussions, book signings, feature events, workshops as well as free events & entertainment for the whole family.

CinefestOZ Film Festival 2015 Prize Jury

The CinefestOZ Film Festival is a celebration of the Australian film industry.

July

Cabin Fever Festival – July 16 – 25

There’s nothing like the Cabin Fever Festival to see the Margaret River Region come alive in winter, surprising and delighting with its comfort food, cheese, fire and beverage events. Think secret suppers at clandestine locations, fondue, fireplaces and bonfires, cheese toasties, lush high-end food, wine pairings plus loads more.

August

CinefestOZ – August 25-29

Who needs Cannes, Venice or Sundance when the State’s own CinefestOZ Festival hits the South West? Red carpet events, gala nights, In Conversation winery lunches, Cosy Short Films, industry & community events plus general screenings make up the illustrious program of Australian & international cinema with over 40 program activities. Come for five days of immersive film experiences at cinemas, wineries, boutique breweries, small bars & galleries. Past luminaries include Hugo Weaving, David Wenham, Bryan Brown, Sigrid Thornton, Gillian Armstrong & more.

Cape to Cape MTB

Riders come from all over the world to compete in a 4 day mountain bike stage race, the Cape to Cape MTB.

September

Margaret River Region Open Studios – September 11 – 26

Galleries, sheds, art rooms & home studios have their doors fling open during this artful period of the year, where for 16 days a trail of discovery & over 100 artists await you. Meet the creators & peruse & purchase artwork from painting to drawings, sculpture, glass, printmaking, furniture, jewellery, ceramics & textiles.

October

Strings Attached Festival – October 8 – 10

A celebration dedicated to all things string! Well, guitars, basses, ukuleles, mandolins, banjoes and the like, that is! Players, makers, collectors & enthusiasts unite for exhibitions, performances, masterclasses & workshops. The previous event attracted 8000 people for 27 events across the genres of blues & roots, jazz, metal, rock, country & classical.

Cape to Cape MTB – October 21 – 24

A spectacular mountain biking race, the Cape to Cape MTB is four days of off-road excitement, 210 kilometres with 45 to 65km legs per day. Beginning at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse in Augusta & finishing at the Margaret River distillery, the course covers private trails, vineyards, coastline, national parks, forest, farmland & bush.

Margaret River Open Studios

The Margaret River Region Open Studios is the biggest art event of it’s kind in Australia, showcasing the diverse and vibrant visual arts scene.

November

Gourmet Escape – 17 – 21 November

With the program still being finalised, we are on the edge of our seats awaiting Western Australia’s most extraordinary culinary event, which in the past has seen some of the culinary world’s biggest stars hit our shores (think David Chang, Nigella Lawson, Marco Pierre White). Showcasing the region’s wines, beer & produce, it’s a long weekend of fine dining & casual events for sipping, feasting & partying.

December

Ironman Western Australia – December 5 – 6

The year finishes with a bang at this world-class sporting event – a stalwart of the Asia Pacific triathlon scene since 2004. Encompassing the iconic Busselton Jetty & pristine Geographe Bay beachfront, this competition is renowned worldwide as the place to go for a personal best, with the bike & run legs of race being some of the flattest of the global Ironman circuit.

Gourmet Escape WA

Gourmet Escape is Western Australia’s most extraordinary culinary event held annually in November.

Now you know the major events & festivals, need help planning your accommodation?

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Author Emily Kurys-Romer

Emily’s love for travelling was inherited from her tour-guide parents & a childhood often spent on the road in Europe visiting family. She started her working life as a journalist, followed by nearly a decade in the Margaret River wine industry focused on tourist experiences. She has lived in the South West for most of her life & thrives on new discoveries, eats & sips.

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