October is consistently one of the best months to be living in, or visiting, Sydney. Why? Festival. As we enter the middle of spring, there’s a true celebratory air across the city, as festivals, fairs, and multi-day events pop-up for their annual editions, providing plenty of things to do for those who want to get out and explore. From showcase events to art markets, regional festivals, and more, we’ve got you covered for the best things to do in and around (we’ll always throw a few road trip ideas in) Sydney during the month of October. Note that we haven’t included any Halloween events because we’ll have a round-up of the best closer to the end of the month.
Newtown Good Food Fair
Returning for it’s sixth year, Newtown Good Food Fair will be showcasing the inner west’s finest on Sunday 14th October. All the usual suspects will be getting involved, along with some newcomers as over 30 stallholders come together to celebrate Newtown’s community spirit, populating Newtown Square and Eliza Street for what is no doubt one of the month’s finest events. Food stallholders this year will include Queen Chow, Mary’s, Acre, Black Star Pastry and Gelato Messina, while drinks will be handled by Young Henry’s, Solotel Group, and P&V Wine & Liquor Merchants.
It’s the inner west so of course you’re going to get some slamming live music too, and families should appreciate the addition of an interactive Kindifarm to keep the young ones occupied. Expect a few more surprise too, this is the first year the organisers – Newtown Precinct Business Association (NPBA) – have been backed by a grant from City of Sydney so “bigger and better” ain’t just some empty PR words this time around.
While you’re there keep an eye out for various fundraising initiatives on the day, aimed at raising money to support programs run by the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre such as a Homeless Outreach program to support those doing it tough and to minimise homelessness in the Inner West.
When: Sunday 14th October; 11am-6pm
Where: Newtown Square and Eliza Street, Newtown
There’s just no stopping the growth over in Parramatta, as Sydney’s second CBD continues to lead the charge in exciting new openings and one of the west’s best foodie scenes. If you want a refresher on just how sweeping the changes are to this suburb then definitely put Parramatta Lanes on your to-do list. This returning festival, which was a Sydney highlight in 2017, will take over the hidden spaces and laneways of Parramatta for four days of inventive showcases coming from Sydney’s chefs, artists, musicians, brewers and various other performers.
The street festival will this year be expanding to 14 different laneways, so expect plenty of pop-up bars and street food stalls to complement the live music and art installations. Hell, there’s even a retro roller skating rink on a rooftop this year as well as sky high mini golf and arcade games.
When: Tuesday 9th to Friday 12th October; 5pm-late
Where: Parramatta CBD
Hunter Valley Uncorked
Head along to Balmoral Beach on Sunday 7th October and you’ll be greeted with an expansive showcase of everything that makes the Hunter Valley one of Australia’s most popular wine regions. Hunter Valley Uncorked will be taking over the Esplanade with a massive range of Hunter Valley producers, all aimed at providing guests with a comprehensive overview of Hunter Valley in 2018. Expect the region’s finest drops to be on display alongside highlights like six Alfresco Tastes wine and BBQ sessions, and a special showcase from Hunter Distillery – making it much more than just wine that’ll be available on the day.
There will be free event shuttle buses running every 15 minutes from Mosman and Spit
Junction to Balmoral Beach, making the festival a bit more accessible for those catching public transport.
When: Sunday 7th October
Where: The Esplanade, Balmoral Beach
Sculpture by the Sea
The famous Sculpture by the Sea will once again be showcase works from around the world as artists display large-scale, site-specific works along the iconic Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk. It has rightfully become one of the most anticipated arts event on Sydney’s calendar each year, and in 2018 should be carrying on it’s strong reputation with a line up that includes inflatable sculpture masters Maurice Goldberg and Matthew Aberline, Daniel Clemmett who will be getting political with recycled steel car bonnets made into a piece that comments on America’s gun culture, and Matthew Gill who will be using a large androgynous head sculpture to depict anxiety and depression.
When: 18th October to 4th November
Where: Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk
Night Noodle Markets
Good Food Month is once again upon us, and that of course means that Hyde Park is getting ready to host the epic Night Noodle Markets. Throughout most of the month, stalls from some of Sydney’s finest will make up the atmospheric night market which will be a central hub to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Good Food Month. Strangely enough, it’ll be themed after Palm Springs this year, and also host a bunch of talks, feasts and parties alongside it’s strong 40-stall-deep line-up which includes Bao, Grump G’s Kitchen, Hoi Pinoy, Chat Thai, Chur Burger, Donut Papi, Black Star Pastry, and Gelato Messina amongst others. And yes, we’re expecting some exclusive treats so keep an eye out on the website below, where you can also see all the other Good Food Month events.
When: Thursday 4th to Sunday 21st October
Where: Hyde Park
Luke Mangan and Chase Kojima’s “Taste of Tokyo”
Luke Mangan has called upon the undeniable talents of Sokyo Executive Chef Chase Kojima for a special collaborative dinner at Luke’s Kitchen in Waterloo. The one-night-only guest chef event will be offering up a “Taste of Tokyo” with a bespoke four-course menu matched with premium wines and sakes.
While the exact menu is yet to be confirmed, discerning diners across Sydney should already know just how formidable both chefs are when it comes to modern twists on Japanese flavours. Putting them in a kitchen together, with each handling two of the four courses, will produce some fantastic results.
When: Wednesday 17th October; 6:30pm
Where: 8 Danks Street, Waterloo
Tickets: $130 from lukemangan.com
William Street Festival
The 10th annual William Street Festival will be returning for a huge celebration of Paddington’s independent shops and eateries, wrapped up in one of the most atmospheric and relaxed street festivals in Sydney. Fashion markets, bars and food stalls will be kicking off just before lunch and last well into the evening, weaved between entertainment like an Open Air Cinema and live music.
The festival always brings a nice opportunity to explore the street’s famous stretch of boutique retailers as well, many of which should be offering special discounts on the day to help celebrate the trendy suburb.
When: Saturday 20th October
Where: William Street, Paddington
Carriageworks’ Aboriginal Art Market
The South East region will be showcased with over 30 artists and collectives coming together for Carriageworks’ Aboriginal Art Market this month. Dubbed South East, the curated art market will celebrate the cultural heritage of South-Eastern Aboriginal Australia with over 30 stalls, including a mix of established and emerging creative collectives and independent artists.
Across two days, South East will provide a unique opportunity to ‘meet the makers’ of these artworks and experience the unique creativity of contemporary Aboriginal art from NSW all the way to Tasmania. It will also be a good way to learn about the traditional and contemporary cultural expressions of Aboriginal Australia, providing deeper insights into an important and indelible part of this country’s artistic landscape. Visitors will be able to engage directly with local artists and purchase original artworks as the market aims to build the profile of Aboriginal artists from across the region.
When: Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th October; from 10am (till 6pm on Sat, 3pm on Sun)
Following it’s sold-out 2017 success, Oktoberwest is once again taking over The Factory Theatre on the 6th and 7th October for a good ol’ Inner West beer festival. You know the deal here: there’ll be live music, specialty brews, DJs, games, food trucks and various entertainment as locals come together to celebrate the best of the Inner West. That means you’ll get Young Henrys, Willie the Boatman, Wayward Brewing Co., The Grifter Brewing Co., Batch Brewing Co., Sauce Brewing Co., Philter Brewing and Malt Shovel all in the one place.
Transforming The Factory into the “ultimate beer garden and beer hall”, the craft beer extravaganza will be accompanied by a huge live music line up featuring Bad//Dreems, Philadelphia Grand Jury, The Chats, JD & The Hunger Men, and more. Plus there’ll be Rock n’ Roll karaoke with Dave Eastgate, free arcade games, slow-cooked meats (coming from the excellent Bovine & Swine), and a few surprises.
When: Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th October; from 12pm
Where: The Factory Theatre
Tickets: From $35 at oktoberwest.com.au.
Australian Beer Festival
Beer lovers are spoiled for choice in October. You’ve got Oktoberwest as above, and also the long running Australian Beer Festival which will be celebrating it’s 14th year with the city’s largest beer offering in historic The Rocks area. Taking over the inside and outside of the beautiful Australian Heritage Hotel, the four-day festival will feature 30 Australian breweries as well as gourmet food stalls, meet the brewer sessions and local live entertainment.
This will also be the first year where the festival has gone completely cashless, moving exclusively towards pre-loaded wristbands which can be used to purchase tasters, food and merch. Top up stations will be available throughout the festival including roaming staff with portable stations. Internal bars will still be taking cash, for those who prefer the old fashioned way of payment.
In terms of the line up, expect all the big players as well as breweries keen on showing off their best and most inventive beers. The range includes Young Henrys, 4 Pines, Akasha, Endeavour, Welders Dog, Feral Brewing, Stone & Wood, Brick Lane, and more. That should be more than enough to help wash down the assortment of burgers, hotdogs, dumplings, tacos and fresh oysters.
When: Friday 12th to Sunday 14th October
Where: 100 Cumberland Street, The Rocks
Orange Wine Festival
Orange, the highest wine region in the country, will be going all out for the annual Orange Wine Festival, now in it’s 13th year with a program packed full of more than 90 food and wine events from long lunches and degustation dinners, to winery tours and masterclasses. It’s proven to be one of the most popular destination events in regional NSW, to absolutely no one’s surprise given Orange is home to some of Australia’s best wines and produce, more than 80 vineyards, 30 wineries and cellar doors, and countless restaurants and cafes.
Necessary events include the “Vino Express”, a three day Sydney-to-Orange return journey of curated culinary experiences held on either weekend of the festival with packages including train tickets, accommodation and dining; the epic “Wine in the Vines” which is basically a winery crawl led by local vignerons with plenty of behind the scenes looks into Orange’s best cellar doors complemented by a roving lunch, matching wines, transfers and takeaway bottles; and the “Orange Wine Festival Night Market”, which will again feature more than 50 food and wine stalls in Robertson Park. Head to the website listed below for the full program.
When: Friday 12th to Sunday 21st October
Where: Orange, NSW
From now until Sunday 7th October, anyone heading on down to the Southern Highlands would be wise to head along to WILDfest, the country’s first wilderness festival blending the region’s natural charm with foodie experiences like Wilderness Fire cooking classes, activities like Guided Wilderness Hikes, and the unique Canoes, Champagne and Canapes. Throw those in with overnight glamping under the stars and you’ve got yourself an unforgettable regional NSW essential.
Even if you’re not going for the events (you should be though) it’s worth it alone to experience the pop up Wilderness Retreat that’ll stretch from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th October. The beautiful property is located near the Wingecarribee River and offers four different glamping packages.
Foodies will definitely want to look into the Canoes, Champagne and Canapes event, a unique program that combines food and a journey through the wines of the region while floating in a custom made double canoe (with a table in between) in Morton National Park. There’s also the popular Wild Native Feast led by Grand Bistro chef Damien Monley who will be serving up a seven course menu in the picturesque outdoors.
When: Until Sunday 7th October
Where: Southern Highlands, NSW