Australia and New Zealand's Best Beer Festivals

Australia and New Zealand’s Best Beer Festivals: A Complete Guide

Welcome to your ultimate guide to the best beer festivals in Australia and New Zealand! 

Australia and New Zealand's Best Beer Festivals

Whether you’re a seasoned beer connoisseur or a casual enthusiast looking to dive into the vibrant beer scenes of these two countries, this guide will provide you with all the information you need. 

We’ll cover the top festivals, what to expect, how to prepare, and some insider tips to make your experience unforgettable. So grab a cold one, sit back, and let’s dive in!

Top Beer Festivals in Australia

GABS Beer, Cider & Food Fest

When: May and June
Where: Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland

The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) is a highlight of the beer calendar. 

Known for its creativity and innovation, GABS features hundreds of unique and limited-edition beers and ciders from some of the best breweries in Australia, New Zealand, and beyond. 

The festival also offers gourmet food trucks, live music, and a range of games and activities, making it a perfect outing for groups.

Why You Should Go:
GABS is famous for its “Festival Beers & Ciders,” which are special brews created specifically for the event. This is your chance to taste beers that you won’t find anywhere else. The festival also hosts educational sessions, where you can learn about brewing techniques and the latest trends in the beer world.

Insider Tip:
Arrive early to avoid long lines, especially if you want to try the limited-edition brews. Also, don’t miss the silent disco – it’s a unique and fun way to enjoy the festival vibe.

Good Beer Week

When: May
Where: Melbourne

Good Beer Week is a sprawling, ten-day festival that turns Melbourne into a beer lover’s paradise. 

With over 300 events spread across the city, it offers something for everyone, from beer dinners and masterclasses to brewery tours and tap takeovers.

Why You Should Go:
This festival celebrates the entire spectrum of beer culture. You can meet brewers, attend educational workshops, and participate in unique events like beer yoga and beer-fueled scavenger hunts.

Insider Tip:
Plan your schedule in advance. With so many events happening simultaneously, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Prioritize your must-see events and leave some room for spontaneous fun.

Sydney Craft Beer Week

When: October
Where: Sydney

Sydney Craft Beer Week is the city’s largest celebration of craft beer. 

The festival spans multiple venues and includes events like brewery tours, beer and food pairings, and themed parties.

Why You Should Go:
It’s a fantastic opportunity to explore Sydney’s diverse craft beer scene. The festival brings together local favorites and international stars, offering a wide range of flavors and styles.

Insider Tip:
Take advantage of the festival passes, which often include access to multiple events at a discounted rate. This is a great way to experience more without breaking the bank.

Top Beer Festivals in New Zealand

Top Beer Festivals in New Zealand


When: August
Where: Wellington

Beervana is New Zealand’s premier beer festival, held in Wellington, the country’s craft beer capital. 

The festival features over 70 breweries and more than 300 beers, making it a must-visit for any beer enthusiast.

Why You Should Go:
Beervana is more than just a beer festival; it’s a celebration of creativity and craftsmanship. From beer and food pairings to live music and art installations, there’s always something exciting happening.

Insider Tip:
Buy your tickets early, as Beervana often sells out. Make a list of must-try beers and prioritize them – with so many options, it’s easy to get sidetracked.

Auckland Craft Beer and Food Festival

When: March
Where: Auckland

Held at the Spark Arena, the Auckland Craft Beer and Food Festival brings together top craft breweries and gourmet food vendors. 

The festival focuses on beer and food pairings, offering a delicious culinary experience alongside great beers.

Why You Should Go:
This festival is perfect for foodies and beer lovers alike. The curated pairings highlight the versatility of craft beer and how it can enhance different flavors and dishes.

Insider Tip:
Come hungry and take your time exploring the food stalls. The festival is designed to be savored, with plenty of seating areas where you can relax and enjoy your pairings.

Dunedin Craft Beer & Food Festival

When: November
Where: Dunedin

Set in the picturesque Forsyth Barr Stadium, the Dunedin Craft Beer & Food Festival is a family-friendly event featuring a wide range of craft beers, local wines, and gourmet food.

Why You Should Go:
The festival’s relaxed atmosphere and beautiful setting make it a great day out for all ages. With activities for kids, live music, and a variety of food options, there’s something for everyone.

Insider Tip:
Bring a picnic blanket and find a spot to enjoy the live music and atmosphere. It’s a perfect way to spend a sunny day in Dunedin.

Tips for a Great Festival Experience

Plan Ahead

  • Check the Festival Website: Before heading to the festival, check the official website for the latest information on tickets, schedules, and special events. Some festivals offer early bird tickets or VIP packages, so book early to get the best deals.
  • Make a Game Plan: Look at the list of participating breweries and events, and make a list of must-try beers and activities. This will help you navigate the festival and ensure you don’t miss out on your top picks.

Stay Hydrated

  • Drink Water: It’s easy to get dehydrated at beer festivals, especially if you’re sampling a lot of different brews. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and take advantage of any free water stations available.
  • Pace Yourself: Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time to savor each beer, and don’t feel pressured to try everything at once. Your taste buds (and your head) will thank you the next day.

Eat Well

  • Enjoy the Food: Most beer festivals offer a variety of food options, from gourmet food trucks to local delicacies. Eating well not only enhances your beer tasting experience but also helps you stay energized throughout the day.
  • Pair Your Beer with Food: Experiment with beer and food pairings. Many festivals offer curated pairing suggestions, which can elevate both the beer and the food.

Bring Friends

  • Share the Experience: Festivals are more fun with friends. Share your favorite finds, compare notes, and enjoy the atmosphere together.
  • Designate a Meeting Spot: Festivals can get crowded, so designate a meeting spot in case you get separated. This ensures everyone can easily regroup.

Engage with Brewers and Experts

  • Ask Questions: Don’t be shy about talking to the brewers and vendors. They love sharing their passion and can offer great insights into the beers you’re tasting.
  • Attend Workshops and Tastings: Many festivals offer educational sessions, workshops, and guided tastings. These can be a fantastic way to deepen your knowledge and appreciation of craft beer.

Be Responsible

  • Know Your Limits: Enjoying beer is great, but it’s important to know your limits. Drink responsibly and look out for your friends.
  • Use Public Transport: Plan ahead for how you’ll get to and from the festival safely. Public transport, ride-sharing, or designated drivers are good options to consider.

Common Questions and Concerns

What Are the Top Beer Festivals in Australia and New Zealand?

Both Australia and New Zealand boast a rich tapestry of beer festivals, each with its own unique charm and offerings. Here’s a look at some of the top events:

  • GABS Beer, Cider & Food Fest (Australia and New Zealand)
  • Good Beer Week (Australia)
  • Sydney Craft Beer Week (Australia)
  • Beervana (New Zealand)
  • Auckland Craft Beer and Food Festival (New Zealand)
  • Dunedin Craft Beer & Food Festival (New Zealand)

When and Where Are These Festivals Held?

Beer festivals typically occur throughout the year, with major events often aligning with local seasons and holidays. 

Below, we detail the dates and locations of the top festivals to help you plan your visit.

What Kind of Beers Can I Expect to Find?

From hoppy IPAs and rich stouts to crisp lagers and experimental brews, these festivals offer a diverse range of beers. 

Many feature exclusive festival brews, collaborations, and rare finds that you won’t get anywhere else.

Are These Festivals Family-Friendly?

While some festivals are geared more towards adults, many are family-friendly with activities and non-alcoholic options for kids and non-drinkers. 

We’ll highlight which festivals are suitable for families.

How Can I Make the Most of My Festival Experience?

Preparation is key. 

From booking tickets in advance to pacing yourself during the event, we’ll provide tips to ensure you have a great time.

Share Your Experience

Have you been to any of these festivals? Share your stories and tips in the comments below! If you found this guide helpful, why not share it with your friends on social media? Let’s spread the love for great beer and unforgettable festivals!

Stay Updated

Beer festivals often update their line-ups and schedules, so check back regularly for the latest information. 

Sign up for newsletters from the festivals’ official websites to stay in the loop. 

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