Winter is almost here, bringing shorter days and chillier nights – but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do except sit inside.

In fact, winter celebrations are happening across the country, with art installations taking over cities and performances of all sorts planned.

From immersive art festivals and cabaret shows to desert racing and food festivals, here’s what’s happening across the country this month that you won’t want to miss.

23rd Sydney Biennale

Though the Biennale began in March, there’s plenty of events left to check out in June.

This year’s edition of the international art festival is titled rīvus, meaning ‘stream’ in Latin, and features over 330 artworks responding to the theme of water ecology and relationships with the natural world.

The Australian premiere of ‘The Great Animal Orchestra’ is open daily and one of the must-see installations at Sydney Biennale. Image: @biennalesydney (Instagram)

Highlights of the 2022 program include:

  • The Australian premiere of The Great Animal Orchestra, an immersive installation in Barangaroo that uses recordings of 15,000 species of animal recorded in the field in a call to action to preserve Earth’s wild places
  • He Toka Tū Moana | She’s a Rock, a woven installation created by a collaboration of four Māori women called Mata Aho Collective, referencing the meeting place of fresh and salt water.
  • Art After Dark – Every Wednesday night, the exhibition will stay open until late and be accompanied by a changing weekly program inspired by the festival’s works and theme.
  • Space In Between, a series of self-guided mindful walks and exercises connecting the various Biennale venues that includes unexpected listening points.
  • A posthumous presentation of Naziha Mestaoui’s One Beat, One Tree project, where audiences plant a virtual tree and watch it grow with their body movement (and a real tree will be planted for every virtual one).
  • Photographic prints of environmental activist Lille Madden, and her grandfather, Gadigal Elder, Uncles Charles (Chicka) Madden on the grass at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, created by English duo Ackroyd & Harvey.

To see the full list of events at Barangaroo, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Pier 2/3, and the National Art School, head here.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival

Curated by Aussie icon Tina Arena, AM, this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival will feature 377 artists and musicians performing in 97 performances between June 10-25.

The lineup will include variety shows, comedy, intimate performances, life drawing classes, and nostalgic concerts – including Songs My Mother Told Me, headlined by Tina Arena herself.

Take a trip back in time or simply enjoy a few laughs at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Image: @adelaidecabaret (Instagram)

Though most events are just for one night (or two), some will run for the duration of the festival, including:

  • The Funhouse, led by Paul McDermott, the show promises comedy, music and spectacle with a different lineup of special guests each weekend.
  • Cirque Bon Bon runs from June 15-19 and includes acrobatics, contion, aerial shows, and more, hosted by comedian emcee Mario.
  • The Pina Colada Room runs from June 10-25 in both an Adelaide exclusive and world premiere. Described as a “decadent homage” to disco icons with a rotating roster of DJ’s and cabaret stars, it’s a chance to get down on the dancefloor and boogie the night away.

For a full schedule of events during this year’s festival, head here.

Dark Mofo

Dark Mofo, Tasmania’s annual winter festival, returns for another season from June 8-22 with a program jam-packed with art, installations and performances.

During Week One, the festival’s full art program will be launched, Tasmania’s Mona gallery will be open late for three new exhibitions, and The Blue Rose Ball, Dark Mofo’s costume event, will be returning.

Art and music will be at the forefront of the winter festivities at Dark Mofo. Image: Jarred Seng (Tourism Tasmania)

Week Two will focus on music, with the world premiere of several shows from German musician Nils Frahm, titled Music For Hobart, being one of the major highlights.

The festival is also welcoming the return of the City of Hobart Winter Fest, Night Mass: Transcendence, and the Nude Solstice Swim.

For a full rundown of events happening at Dark Mofo, head here.


A festival three years in the making, RISING: will take over Melbourne with 225 events for 12 nights, with public art installations, intimate theatre performances, dance, and music all on the cards.

Jason Tamiru’s experience as a repatriation worker will be one of three stories weaved together in ‘The Return’. Image: Shortcut Creative

Top picks from the festival lineup include:

  • Golden Square, an installation that will transform a car park into three levels of art, performances and parades – with a rooftop bar as the icing on top.
  • The Invisible Opera, a public performance that will bring immersive sound design and live vocal performance – which relies on CCTV cameras and hidden microphones – to Federation Square, showing viewers the city in a brand new light.
  • Maureen: Harbinger of Death, a bohemian performance that sees writer and performer Jonny Hawkins take on the character of Maureen, a sharp-tongued doyenne inspired by a friend of his, in a celebration of the rich lives of older women.

First Nations artists and performers will also play a vital part in the festival, with Yorta Yorta producer Jason Tamiru’s experiences as a repatriation worker among the three narratives presented in The Return, and trams featuring First Nations artists’ designs among the highlights.

To find out more about RISING:, which kicks off on June 1, head here.

Tatts Finke Festival

Fans of off-roading will be sure to enjoy the iconic Finke Desert Race, a two-day off-road, multi–terrain race across desert country held every year on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

The Tatts Finke Festival will see racers of various stripes descend on Alice Springs this June. Image: Tourism Australia

The race from Alice Springs to the community of Aputula (Finke) attracts top Australian and international racers, and is said to be one of the most difficult off-road races in the world.

Kicking off from June 10-13, the race is open to bikes, cars, buggies and quads, with spectator tickets costing between $10 to $20 and available to book here.

Image: Nick Buckley

This article first appeared on OverSixty.