Regular major Brisbane events

Cith of Lights performance, Brisbane Festival 2012
A free performance during the Brisbane Festival. Expect spectacular free outdoor events throughout the year in Brisbane.

What will be on while you are in Brisbane? Plan your stay with our guide to regular major events.

On this page:


Summer - December to February

Turtle nesting season

Turtles begin nesting on beaches and islands with hatching continuing through to March.  

We recommend that you visit Mon Repos, a small beach supporting a large population of turtles, on the way to Lady Musgrave Island on the Great Barrier Reef

(Video by Queensland National Parks, reposted by Australian Sunset Safaris our preferred travel partner, YouTube, 5m:10s).

#Christmas, New Years Eve and Australia Day in Brisbane 

A summer tradition, Brisbane lights up in December with free parades, fireworks and Christmas lights throughout the city. See the spectacular projected light show on Brisbane Town Hall, and an explosion of fireworks on 31 December (New Year's Eve).  Celebrations continue on Australia Day (26 January) with a public holiday, more fireworks over the city and free activities all day.

Asia Pacific Triennial 2019

See modern art from around Asia and the Pacific in the huge Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art.  

This popular exhibition is held every 3 years from around December to April and has attracted 3 million visitors.  The next exhibition is in 2019.

Great art from past triennials is on display in The Gallery of Contemporary Art every day for free. (GOMA, YouTube, 30s)

Lunar New Year

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Celebrate the Lunar New Year with events around Brisbane including the BrisAsia Festival, which runs from the end of January to mid-February.  

How do people in Brisbane celebrate the Lunar New Year?

(Brisbane City Council, YouTube, 44s)


Autumn - March to May

Irish Festival - St Patrick's Day

Wear green and celebrate all things Irish on St Patrick's Day. A colourful parade of floats and displays representing Ireland, fun activities in local hotels.

World Science Festival 

Celebrate the wonders of world science and scientific discovery in March.

Whale watching season

April to November humpback whales migrate along our coast to tropical waters.  Take a cruise with our preferred provider and see whales out in the open ocean. (Video: 9 News, Facebook, 25s)

Buddha Birth Day Festival

Celebrate the birthday of Gautama Buddha with three days of cultural displays, live performances, and vegetarian market stalls. A fireworks display on the Brisbane River is a highlight on the 30th of April.

Paninyiri Greek Festival

Australia's biggest Greek Festival featuring Greek food, dancing and rides into the night.


Winter - June to August

Brisbane International Film Festival

The best cinema from festivals around the world and local short films.

Ice skating festival

It never naturally snows in Brisbane but we can make it happen for fun. The centre of Brisbane becomes a winter wonderland of manufactured ice and snow with an open-air ice rink, ice slide and falling snow.

Le Festival - Brisbane French Festival

Viva la Vie! Celebrate Bastille Day on the Brisbane River. Enjoy French food, wine and live music.

Royal Queensland Show (The Exhibition or Ekka)

Ekka is when the country comes to the city. 10 days of animal shows, stunts and rodeos, fashion, art, craft, carnival rides, parades, fireworks, live music, fresh produce and carnival food.

Ekka began in 1876 and is now one of Queensland's most celebrated events with an average attendance of 400,000 visitors annually.


Spring - September to November

Brisbane Festival

An international arts festival that takes over the city for three weeks in September.  Classical and contemporary music, theatre, dance, and photography, street art, comedy, opera, circus, and major public events such as Riverfire fireworks attract an audience of around one million people every year.

Asia Pacific Screen Awards

Discover the excellence and cultural diversity of film making in the Asia Pacific.


Commonwealth Games 2018

Let the Games begin! Join the excitement as we welcome 70 nations and territories from around the world to compete at the Gold Coast in April 2018. (Official video, YouTube, 2m:35s).  

UQ's academic calendar for degree programs changes in 2018 to align with the Commonwealth Games;  Semester 1 mid-semester break is from 2 April to 13 April 2018.