After a winter spent in and out of lockdown for many, we’re already enjoying some spring sunshine, longer days, and some easing of restrictions across parts of Australia – which is almost enough to put a pep in our step. While some major events like Oktoberfest, Phillip Island Motorcycle GP and even the Tasmania Tulip Festival have been cancelled this year, there is still plenty to get excited about. Let’s take a look at some October activities that might be happening locally to you, or that you can bring to your own backyard. Remember, borders may remain closed or snap shut, so check with your local health authorities before planning any travel around or even outside of your LGA, state or territory.
PERFECT FOR A PICNIC
October weather sets the scene for the perfect time for a picnic. Find your favourite blanket, prepare your playlist, and snack food favourites, explore your local parks and gardens to find the perfect picnic spot. Planning your perfect picnic is half the fun and it’s a safe way to reconnect with your family or friends and enjoy the great outdoors.
BIKE THE BAROSSA
Featuring fiery sunsets and blossoming fruit trees, the Barossa Valley is a particularly pretty place to visit in spring. We think the best way to appreciate the rolling countryside is by hiring a bike and hitting the Barossa Trail. This 40-kilometre path weaves alongside the North Para River and is dotted with cute towns offering the opportunity to refuel – with cellar doors, cafes, and restaurants aplenty. We recommend taking an empty backpack along for the ride, you’ll have it filled with artisan goodies to enjoy at home in no time!
ART, BEST SERVED WITH DUMPLINGS
From the 21st of October through to the 7th of November, Adelaide locals are treated to the three-week Oz_Asia Festival. It’s a chance to celebrate our links with our closest continental neighbour with theatre, dance, music, film and more from across Asia. Don’t miss free community favourites the Moon Lantern Trail and The Lucky Dumpling Market.
RACING IS ON
It’s time to frock up and fasten the fascinator for a full schedule of spring racing. There’s the Queensland Cup Raceday on the 9th of October and plenty of Country Racing right throughout October (COVID restrictions permitting). If heading along to the live event isn’t an option, you can still tune in, dress up, pop the champers, and create a virtual event with friends.
THE ROYAL HOBART SHOW
Celebrating 200 years, The Royal Hobart Show will take place over three days from the 20th of October. Australia’s oldest agricultural event (hosted by the Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania) celebrates quintessential Australia, with free entertainment, a petting zoo, food, a carnival atmosphere and even the opportunity to learn to milk a cow.
SYDNEY’S CITY2SURF GOES VIRTUAL
The world’s biggest fun run is heading online! Running from the 17th to the 24th of October, the virtual City2Surf allows you to shake off the COVID cobwebs and pound the pavement in your own neighbourhood. City2Surf raises millions of dollars each year for charity, so get a crew together (you can enter from anywhere in Australia) and jump on the website to find out how to get involved.
While sadly Oktoberfest in Munich and our local Oktoberfest in the Gardens have both been shelved for 2021, there’s no reason you can’t celebrate the famous beer-swilling folk festival – and in the words of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews – “get on the beers” in your own backyard. Whether you can head to your local pub with a few friends, picnic at the park with some takeaways or create your own at-home Oktoberfest experience with this Oktoberfest playlist to set the scene, we’re not letting a pandemic pull the plug on our plans. Tap beer is available for takeaway at these fine establishments in Melbourne and Sydney, or go authentic with some German beer delivered to your door thanks to Dan Murphy’s. Just remember to drink responsibly!
Rules can’t stop ghouls from having a bit of Halloween fun, and there’s always a safe way to do so. While heading door to door for a spot of trick or treating probably won’t be on the cards, bring the festivities into your home with either a small gathering or a virtual one. Preparing for the occasion is half the fun – explore some terrifyingly tasty recipes at Women’s Weekly Food and dress up your home with some boo-tiful DIY décor.
MOUNTAIN BIKE THE MARGARET
Australia’s longest, largest, and most popular mountain biking event the Cape to Cape takes place over four extreme days from the 21st to the 24th of October. Set in the majestic Margaret River region, you’ll race roughly 205km over the four days, starting at Cape Leeuwin lighthouse and finishing at the fabulous Margaret River Distillery. The course covers private farmland, National Parks, coast, and bush and whether it’s your first or fifteenth event you’re guaranteed to have fun. Suitable for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness and mountain biking skills, you can sign up here. If you’re not keen on mounting the mountain bike, you can also hike, camp or tackle smaller sections of the picturesque Cape to Cape track (outside of the biking event).
A DOSE OF CULTURE THROUGH SCULPTURE
Signalling the start of summer, the annual Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi is part of the world’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibition. Spanning the coastal walk from Bondi to Tamarama, this seaside spectacle features 100 sculptures by artists from Australia and around the globe. Sculpture by the Sea runs from the 21st of October through to the 7th of November and won’t cost you a cent.
MENTAL HEALTH MONTH
October also marks Mental Health Month, so if you’re not quite ready to spring back into the social scene, this time of the year is also great for resetting mental and physical health habits. Increased doses of sunshine alone have a huge impact on how we feel, and for 10 more mood-boosting tips for your mental wellbeing hop over here.
While our October plans might not look quite like pre-COVID days, we can look forward with some spring inspired optimism. Whether it’s at a planned event, an at home celebration or a cheeky weekend getaway, we’re sure you’ll agree that everything seems better with a side of sunshine.
Remember to stay safe and follow your local health authority’s advice before planning your next trip or day out.