If you’re looking for art, culture and food this winter, look no further than the Sunshine Coast.
Here you’ll find a whole line-up of epic events and festivals worth your time, think multi-day art events that celebrate Indigenous culture, foodie festivals that will have you coming back for seconds and music events that are off the charts.
If that’s not enough to entice you, the winter temperatures here barely dip below 20 degrees during the day – and the water is just as warm – making it the perfect destination to outrun winter (even just for a while).
So get ready to mark your calendars and find your next ‘sunshine moment’ on the Sunshine Coast with these 10 events and festivals not to miss.
Mary Valley GourMay
Till 3 June
When it comes to celebrating the best of winter produce, local farmers and makers – Mary Valley GourMay is a glorious month-long festival dedicated to championing all three. Tucked away in the Gympie hinterland, the Mary Valley is famous for its country roads and seriously good produce. At GourMay you can expect to tuck into boozy brunches, high teas, cocktails and canapes, workshops, long lunches and degustation dinners that celebrate the region on a plate.
Queensland Garden Expo
Whether you’re a bona fide horticulturist or a novice green thumb, the Queensland Garden Expo is the place to go green this winter. Spanning three mammoth days at the Nambour Showgrounds, dive headfirst into workshops and classes on sustainable gardening practices, head to an actual Plant Clinic led by a dedicated team of gardening experts, let the little ones run wild on giant slides and jumping pillows and take in the kaleidoscopic floral display.
Noosa alive! Festival
With outdoor stages and multiple pop-up installations, there’s always something new and exciting to discover at Noosa alive! Festival. Whether you’re a seasoned culture vulture or a first-time festival-goer, be inspired with performances and events including the Queensland Ballet, the Seaside Vibes Music Festival, long lunches, bubble brunches, opera, theatre and film.
25 August – 3 September
At its core Horizon Festival is deeply connected to place, looking to share the stories and artwork of the First Nations people of the Sunshine Coast through visual arts and theatre, music and dance. Featuring both established and emerging artists, Horizon Festival showcases the best local talent alongside internationally acclaimed acts including everything from large-scale installations to intimate performances, workshops and talks.
The Curated Plate
28 July – 6 August
Food lovers listen up, The Sunshine Coast’s annual food festival The Curated Plate is back and you’re invited to embark on a culinary journey that takes you from the seafood hub of Mooloolaba to the rich volcanic soils of the Hinterland. The Curated Plate is all about connecting people to place through food, and across the festival’s 10 days you’ll learn the stories of the local farmers, the producers whose secret ingredient is a generous pinch of passion and the chefs who celebrate local in every dish.
No festival celebrates diversity, inclusiveness, sustainability and reconciliation all at once quite like the Rangebow Festival. Taking place in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland hills, this glitter-filled week-long carnival boasts drag workshops, drag runways and drag pageants, as well as First Nations events, opera, film festivals, high teas and guided nature walks.
Sunshine Coast Marathon
If you’re looking for a change of pace this winter lace up your runners and make tracks to the Sunshine Coast Marathon. With a course that hugs the coastline you’ll barely even notice the calf burn as you wind your way from Mooloolaba over Alexandra Headland to Maroochydore, the salty breeze whipping through your hair. With races from the full-length marathon down to 2km fun runs you don’t need to be a trained athlete to appreciate this event.
Buskers By The Lake
From juggling watermelons to dancing poodles and human scarecrows, Buskers By The Lake brings together the very best street performers from the Sunshine Coast and around the world. Set on the banks of Lake Kawana, this melting pot of creativity and culture will leave you wide-eyed with displays of sword swallowing, waterborne magic and the ever-popular floating half-pipe where BMX riders and skateboarding daredevils defy the laws of gravity.
Australian Wearable Art Festival
Where Gaultier meets Picasso, the Australian Wearable Art Festival is truly a weekend of creativity. Here, you’ll witness 40 national and international designers storm the runway to compete in the 2023 Gala Awards, their models dripping in wearable art across a multitude of themes.
Gympie Music Muster
Music lovers listen up, one of Australia’s best country, blues, folk and rock festivals is coming to Gympie this winter in a showdown that has your name written all over it. Over four days the Gympie Music Muster will feature more than 100 artists across six venues, with headline acts including Troy Cassar-Daley, Adam Brand, Casey Chambers and Busby Marou. Set against the backdrop of the picturesque Amamoor State Forest and with camping onsite, it’s a true country experience.
To find your next Sunshine Moment on the Sunshine Coast this winter, head to www.visitsunshinecoast.com/find-your-sunshine-moment-for-real.