In case the nippy mornings and non-stop London-worthy rain haven’t been enough of an indication, this is your PSA that autumn is well and truly here. While we welcome a respite from the lingering summer humidity, it’s no secret that this in-between weather can be a bit… indecisive. Some days it’s sunny with a chance of beach-bummin’ and other days we’re rugged up in sweaters and avoiding the rain. If you’re looking for things to do in Brisbane this autumn, we’ve done the legwork for you.

In the nature of ‘carpe diem’, we’ve rounded up a list of 12 things happening around Brisbane this autumn that you should add to your hit list before winter sets in.

Big Skies Festival | Sat, Apr 28 – Sun, 6 May

If you’re hoping to escape the big smoke for a day or two (or even a whole week) the inaugural Big Skies Festival in the picturesque Western Downs is calling. Celebrating all the sights, tastes and experiences that make outback Australia so incredible, Big Skies is a 10-day festival that includes everything from camping and hot air ballooning to live music and the best local food. The weeklong event kicks of Saturday, April 28 with the 106th Dalby Picnic Race Day, followed by a free outdoor cinema under a blanket of stars you’ll never see in the city. The final weekend of the festival will see Jimbour Amphitheatre come alive with a line-up of Australia’s best Rock ‘n’ Roll artists for Day on the Plain, and the skies filled with dozens of hot air balloons. If you prefer to keep your feet firmly on the ground, the Hot Air Balloon Breakfast will let you take in the splendour of the event with a hearty meal in hand. Follow it up with the local food markets, Food And Fibre, showcasing the best of locally grown and sewn produce from the Western Downs. MasterChef’s own Hayden Quinn will be there on the day sharing his unique take on healthy, fresh and vibrant cooking. Whether you choose to rough it and camp or keep things comfortable in one of the local motels, the Big Skies Festival is the ultimate escape for a day or two or even the whole week.

Banff Mountain Film Festival 2018 World Tour | Until Sat, April 14

The Canadian mountain town of Banff is home to the iconic annual Banff Mountain Film Festival. And it’s coming to Brisbane… sort of. The Powerhouse Theatre will be featuring the Australian two-and-a-half-hour showcase of exclusive film footage. Think towering Canadian pines, snow-covered mountains, winding valleys and icicles forming down cascading waterfalls. Selected award winners from 300 films from the Canadian film festival are what we get to see here in Brisbane. From stimulating picturesque moments to adrenaline pumping, hand gripping seconds of suspense, this collation of films will transport you to the depths of Canadian forestry, and deep into the Banff National Park. You’ll suddenly feel a lot colder this autumn, so pack a jumper!

Noosa Vegan Festival | Sat, April 21

Noosa is taking over our autumn, and we couldn’t be happier! Veganism has become the new foodie trend, but we like to think it comes from more a humble origin than the paleo and gluten-free fads. While vegans tend to cop a lot of chat, we have nothing against those brave enough to say no to animals and their by-products. Not sold? If you’re wanting to do some research before going, check out some Netflix documentaries like Okja, and Cow Spiracy – they are sure to trigger a few tears. If they aren’t enough to convert you, you will still leave more educated, which is just as important! What to wear? Expect distressed denim, vegan Birks and straw bags across Noosa. Keep an eye out for celebs including Liam Hemsworth who’s known for loving beaches and renouncing meat. This is, perhaps, the best trend to hit Brisbane, so get ready to be inspired, take note of delicious recipes and start a new nourishing diet.

James Turrell Lights Up GOMA | Fri, April 20

This dramatic projecting installation will test the boundaries and forms of architectural light, marking the tenth anniversary of the Gallery of Modern Art opening. Renowned Artist James Turrell has been commissioned to curate a display like none other, to be projected on GOMA’s eastern and southern facing walls. Turrell has been working with space and light for over 50 years now, creating large transposing installations. Get yourself a good spot on the bridge or down on the Cultural Precinct itself, for what’s sure to be an exceptionally luminous art display at dusk. If you’re feeling inspired, you can even attend James Turrell in conversation with QAGOMA Director Chris Saines the next night for a closer look into the installation!

Harlem Globetrotters | Fri, April 20

Whether you’re a Basketball fiend, follower or friendly player, this is your event. From 7pm to 10pm, the Brisbane Entertainment Centre will host the well-travelled iconic Harlem Globetrotters. Formed in 1962, this basketball brand has become an entertainment sensation, performing an impressive array of basketball tricks, skills and moves. They hold a whopping 17 Guinness World Record Titles, which is enough to get us to the show! This family-friendly event is sure to wow attendees, although we’re sure we’ll just be sitting there and questioning our own coordination.

21st Spanish Film Festival | Mon, Apr 26 – Sun, May 13

Hola, mis amigos! The Palace Cinemas is hosting the 21st annual Spanish Film Festival in Brisbane this autumn! We’d recommend catching The Tribe on the opening night, for a female-driven comedy about street dance giving us serious Bad Mom vibes (girl power!). Definitely a night for the girls, this film and fiesta will finish with an after-party featuring Torres Wines, tapas from Moda Restaurant and live entertainment. Showing in Spanish with English subtitles, we have an inkling that drinks were purposely made after the 90-minute film. Get those salsa shoes out and click ‘going’ on Facebook because the girls won’t turn down this event.

Noosa Food & Wine Festival | Thus, May 17 – Sun, May 20

Once again, Noosa’s iconic Hastings Street, Noosa Main Beach and Noosa Hinterland will be taken over by the humming activity of the much-anticipated Noosa Food & Wine Festival. With everything from local produce and brewery trails to mastercasses and garden parties, this is not your typical beach getaway. While the annual devotees of the Noosa Food and Wine Festival booked their tickets right off the bat, there are still tickets left for any last-minute planners. Get ready to shuck, sip, and savour the best of the Sunny Coast.

Japanese Shibori Workshop | Sat, May 5

For those unfamiliar with the term, Shibori is an ancient form of Japanese tie-dyeing, and YES, it looks as cool as it sounds. Dating back to the 8th century, this traditional art form is a combination of techniques involving folding, stitching, binding, twisting and compressing cloth. Indigo extracted from the Indigofera plant is traditionally used, giving your work an array of rich blues shades. While this may seem like quite a process, its results are exquisite with intricate patterns and colours reflecting all of your hard work! Taking place at the stunning Vieille Branche, this workshop will teach you some basic Shibori techniques and how to prepare and store an indigo vat, so you can master the art and make your own cotton scarf! Dust off some old paint-covered denim and get ready for a rich experience, well-worth every cent.

Fish Lane Festival | Sat, May 12

In case you missed it, Fish Lane Festival is back! Serving up tasty eats, premium brews, Brisbane’s best live music and more, this laneway foodie festival is a celebration of everything we love about the River City. Kicking off from midday until late on Saturday May 12, the free, fully licensed festival will take over the South Brisbane through to Grey Street in West End with plenty of gourmet foodie spots along the way. Expect to see the likes of l’ School, Nom on Melbourne and Kiss the Berry make their Fish Lane Festival debut and take in the latest from urban artists Elizabeth Woods and Kevin Leong.

Winter Racing Carnival | From Sat, May 12

Going to the races is something to look forward to when the temperature starts to drop. There is a distinctive, playful ambience rather than going in the summer with sweaty bodies galore! The thoroughbred Queensland Winter Racing Carnival is spread across five Queensland venues, including our very own Brisbane Racing Club’s Doomben Racecourse! What better autumn event to style your new winter coat and felt fedora together than the Treasury Brisbane Ladies Oaks Day on May 26? For those that are also interested in the actual horses, the grand thoroughbred competition commences on May 12. Doomben will be bustling so order some cocktails, place some bets and it’s sure to be a charming day at the races.

Patricia Piccinini’s A Curious Affection at GOMA | Until Sun, Aug 5

Curious doesn’t even begin to describe this exhibition. Patricia Piccinini is celebrated for her controversial and thought provoking work, with this exhibition being her most ambitious project yet. Taking up the entire ground floor of GOMA, the exhibition is immersive and challenges our perceptions of future evolution, something we’d probably never consider until someone like Piccinini comes along and throws it in our unsuspecting faces.

The Powerhouse Knockoff Fridays | Every Friday

Every Friday, laughter reverberates off the roof of the Powerhouse. For those that are still depressed having to wait 365 days for the next comedy festival, this is the event for you. Hilarious national and local comedians take up the Turbine Platform with the funniest material they can muster on Knockoff Friday nights. For an impromptu routine, the last Friday of every month also hosts ImproMafia, Brisbane’s longest established comedy group! Make the most of your visit and head in early to one of the Powerhouse’s two restaurants for a riverside meal and a glass of wine (or three). It’s Friday, it’s funny and its free – post-work drinks sorted!

Not enough for you? Try these on for size.

  • Before the cold weather really sets in, squeeze in one last dip in one of the watering holes around Brisbane.
  • Fight the hump-day blues with Ramen Wednesday’s at one of our fave BNE bars.
  • Challenge your sea legs and enjoy a cocktail or two at Brisbane’s favourite boat party.
  • Text that friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with and plan a BFF date.
  • Enjoy 2-for-1 burgers at (in our opinion) one of the best burger joints in town.

Feature image: Pinterest

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