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.
The iconic Busselton Jetty Swim, held annually in February.
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.
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.
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.
Rub shoulders with surf royalty at the Margaret River Pro
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.
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.
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.
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.
The CinefestOZ Film Festival is a celebration of the Australian film industry.
Margaret River becomes a playground for this inspiring ‘anti-conference’ – a community of creatives from the worlds of advertising, media, visual art & music. Expect three days of keynotes, hands-on workshops, pop-ups & satellite events for your dose of ideas, inspiration, networking, industry insights & emerging trends.
There’s nothing like the Cabin Fever Festival to see the Margaret River Region come alive in winter, surprising & delighting with its comfort food, cheese, fire & beverage events. Think secret suppers at clandestine locations, fondue, fireplaces & bonfires, cheese toasties, lush high-end food, wine pairings plus loads more.
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.
Riders come from all over the world to compete in a 4 day mountain bike stage race, the Cape to Cape MTB.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 is Western Australia’s most extraordinary culinary event held annually in November.