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A Guide to Melbourne’s Best Festivals

This article is sponsored by Public Transport Victoria

Melbourne is often referred to as the cultural capital of Australia, and it’s not hard to see why!

A thriving, multicultural place with an artsy, urban edge, this city is home to some of the best festivals and annual celebrations Australia has to offer.

Check out this ultimate guide to discover just some of Melbourne’s unique and unmissable festivals. 

Moomba Festival

If you want a true Melbourne experience, Moomba Festival is the place to go!

Held over a long weekend in March, this free festival includes events, art installations, carnival rides and fireworks, as well as a vibrant street parade!

Also, don’t miss the famous Birdman Rally, where you’ll see competitors attempt to soar across the Yarra River in hand-made flying machines!

Melbourne International Comedy Festival

If you like a laugh, you’re in for a treat at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, held each autumn in venues across the city. 

The festival boasts a month-long calendar packed with local, national and international acts, so there’s truly something here for everyone!

Our hot tip? Grab a ticket to a comedy showcase to see a few different acts for the price of one!

Melbourne Fashion Week

Calling all fashionistas! If you have a flair for style or a love of clothes, make sure you get along to Melbourne Fashion Week in October each year! 

Release your inner Anna Wintour with a ticket to an exclusive runway show, learn something new at a talk or workshop and grab your new favourite piece at a special pop-up or retail event! 


Now in its 71st year, the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) has become a cornerstone of the city’s cultural calendar.

Each year, MIFF brings the best cinema from Australia and the world to a screen near you! Featuring dramas, comedies, documentaries, thrillers and everything in between, the hardest choice you’ll have to make is what to see first.

St Kilda Fest

There’s no better way to soak up the summer weather than with a visit to St Kilda Festival, which takes over this beachy suburb for a weekend every February.

Wander through hundreds of incredible market stalls, learn a new skill at a pop-up workshop or visit any of the eight stages to see some of the best names in Australian music, all of which you can access completely free!


In the dark winter months, RISING illuminates the city for a moonlight celebration of food, music, arts and culture. 

Spilling out from the Flinders Street precinct, you’ll find plenty of art installations, workshops, dance, live music and film to explore. 

Also, don’t miss a trip to the Rink at RISING, where you can skate your heart out in a big-top tent under thousands of stunning lights.

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

There’s something to tempt every palate at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, held every autumn in venues across the city. 

With talks, presentations and special dining events featuring world-renowned chefs, plus a huge range of hands-on workshops, tasting tours and other activities, this is sure to be a treat for anyone’s tastebuds! 

Lunar New Year

Every year, Melbourne comes alive to celebrate Lunar New Year with events, art, music and dragon boat races taking place across the city.

In particular, don’t miss the Chinese New Year festival in Chinatown. Marvel at the Millennium Dragon parade, watch the amazing roaming lion dancers and check out the market stalls for traditional food, drink and crafts.

How much do festival tickets cost in Melbourne?

Melbourne festival pricing can vary. Some events, like Moomba and Lunar New Year, are free to attend, while others require you to pay for admission. 

Don’t forget to check for student/concession discounts, which can help you save money while still enjoying all the fun and excitement of Melbourne’s great festivals!

How can I get to and from festivals in Melbourne? 

Luckily, thanks to Public Transport Victoria, you already have the hottest ticket in town! 

Your myki card is your passport to PTV’s extensive network of trams, trains and buses throughout Melbourne. Travelling to and from regional Victoria has also never been more affordable.

As an international student, you may be eligible for an International Student Travel Pass, which can help you save 50 per cent on public transport. Save $1034* on travel with a 365-day pass, $572 with a 180-day pass and $286 with a 90-day pass.

Whether you’re heading to a festival or just on your daily commute, PTV is here to help you get wherever you need to go. 

Feature image: Adam Calaitzis