Australian holidays: Explore some great festivals

24 Nov 2016

By Shadforth Financial Group

As you reach or get close to retirement, you may think about using some of the extra time you will have to travel, either abroad or in Australia. Before booking an expensive holiday to Italy, you may want to consider looking closer to home. A great way to see more of Australia and perhaps expand your cultural horizons is to visit one of the many festivals that now take place all over Australia.

Festivals traditionally trigger thoughts of mud, cramped tents and suspect food but festivals have changed during the last five years. As the number of older people attending festivals has increased the entertainment and the accommodation has changed to reflect a more discerning customer. Many festivals now have accommodation and dining options that can almost rival what you would expect from five star hotels.

We’ve looked at some of the best Australian cultural festivals that offer art, music, good food and wine.

Margaret River Gourmet Escape
Mid-November 2017

This is your chance to meet internationally-celebrated chefs, food producers and winemakers, all while exploring the extraordinary natural beauty of the Margaret River Region. The event showcases the expertise and passion of more than 50 culinary superstars from around the world. In 2016 the festival offered the unique opportunity to rub shoulders with the likes of Nigella Lawson, Rick Stein and Guy Grossi. Similar chefs are expected to be at the 2017 festival.

Located in the stunning surrounds of the Leeuwin Estate Winery, the Gourmet Village comes to life with hands-on masterclasses, live music, book signings with your favourite chefs and an abundance of opportunities to enjoy good food and wine as produced by some of Western Australia’s top restaurants. While most of these are add-on options and cost extra, entry to the Gourmet Village is only $50.

While you’re in Margaret River, why not explore further afield? The nearby coast hosts migratory whales from June to November, and the Cape to Cape Track fringes the limestone caves and sea cliffs of Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. There are also several other national parks, some with unique plants that you can’t see anywhere else.

Hobart — Dark Mofo
8-21 June 2017

Hobart’s midwinter festival Dark Mofo celebrates the dark through large-scale public art, food, film, music, light and noise. Featuring a number of rule-breaking performances, this event is best suited to those with a strong sense of adventure and a curiosity for the unknown. Warm up for the night in an eclectic bar and sit back and enjoy the spookily-lit choirs that gather to greet guests.

Event highlights include exhibitions held at Mona Museum of New and Old Art and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, a public art playground at Dark

Park, international music shows at The Odeon Theatre, MAC2 and Federation Concert Hall. If you’re an extreme adventurer, who enjoys the cold, the Nude Solstice Swim could be an option.

Should you need a break from art, venture out during daylight to some of Hobart’s more traditional attractions. A tour to Port Arthur offers the chance to see the wild Tasman Peninsula or you could go on a tour of the Cascade brewery, opened in 1824.  A short trip to Richmond will introduce you to the state’s convict roots and some of Tasmania’s finest wine-growing areas.

New South Wales — Byron Bay Blues Festival
14-17 April 2017

Known as Australia’s premier contemporary blues and roots music festival, Byron Bay Bluesfest has been showcasing music from around the world on the Easter long weekend for the past 28 years. In that time, audiences have been dazzled by the likes of Bob Dylan, Hozier, Paul Simon, James Brown, Alabama Shakes and the legendary BB King, just to name a few.

Held on 120 hectares at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, Bluesfest presents more than 200 performances, on up to seven stages, over five 12-hour days — the ultimate getaway for blues fans everywhere.

Should you decide not to join the other 6000 campers on-site, nearby Byron Bay now offers a much wider range of accommodation than before. When you have finished at the festival, this area has some of Australia’s best beaches, cuisine and nature walks

Perth International Arts Festival
February to March 2017

The Perth International Arts Festival is Australia’s longest-running cultural festival, with a program packed full of contemporary and classical music, dance, theatre, opera, visual arts, large-scale public works, the Lotterywest Film Festival and the Perth Writers Festival.

With a reputation for excellence, the event regularly features visionary artists who transform the city of Perth with projects both bold and beguiling. While basking in the festivities, head to the Chevron Festival Gardens for great eating and refreshment opportunities, while meeting fellow festival-goers. Alternatively, you can explore one of the many world-class restaurants Perth has to offer. After the festival, if you feel the need for some exercise, you can take a boat trip to Rottnest island and then hire bikes to do  some exploring.

Retirement offers you the chance to discover new experiences because you have more time to spend on recreation rather than work.

To get the best out of retirement you need to think about the type of experiences you plan  to enjoy beforehand. You can then work with your financial adviser to create a plan that helps you reach your lifestyle goals in retirement.

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