Winter is always a smart time to head north. The additional lure of Queensland during the cooler months is a slate of festivals – from intimate movies in an open-air cinema to a full month of fringe-style offerings, there’s something for everybody. Here are five of our favourites to get you started.

Townsville: North Australian Festival of Arts
One of the country’s most comprehensive fringe festivals, NAFA descends on Townsville from June 10 to July 10 with hundreds of performances. There are no curators or themes, just opportunities for anyone with a story to share. The month-long offering spans comedy, music, circus, theatre and workshops, plus a few mini-festivals celebrating everything from folk music to First Nations writers. You Am I frontman Tim Rogers is performing his Liquid Nights in Bohemia Heights, while Darwin’s Alice Cotton will flex her self-aware indie rock. Expect a healthy balance of free and ticketed events, with plenty of family-friendly options also on offer.

Outback Queensland: The Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival
Located in Central West Queensland, Winton might be best known for serving as the geographical inspiration for Waltzing Matilda. But that’s not the only story born here. The Vision Splendid is a film festival that takes place in a sparse outback setting featured in movies like The Proposition and Mystery Road. Inspired by the American festival Sundance, this not-for-profit, community-led program puts the unique location on display from June 24 to July 2.

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Cairns: Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair
For more than a decade, the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) has showcased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and cultures with an ethical marketplace. Running July 6–10, the 2022 fair marks a triumphant return in person, with events across Cairns Convention Centre and other venues around the city. CIAF also offers fashion, dance, music, comedy, theatre and exhibitions, with a prominent voice for First Nations creatives of all disciplines.

Gold Coast: Bleach Festival
Bleach is a contemporary arts festival that takes place on the Gold Coast in winter, offering live performances, workshops, art installations, and more. Set to return on August 11-21, the line-up is yet to be announced, but last year featured the likes of Sarah Blasko, Briggs and The Necks, so you can bet it’s worth the wait. In the meantime, Bleach has been sourcing story submissions from the community for a Home Grown Opera project, in partnership with Opera Queensland.

Capricorn: CQUniversity Village Festival
Head to coastal town Yeppoon for Central Queensland’s long-running celebration of music and the arts. Almost 20 years old, CQUniversity Village Festival runs on August 5 –14 across parks, galleries, theatres and halls. Events are mostly free and kid-friendly, with a few ticketed events and lots of rides, craft stalls and food vans scattered throughout. The line-up is still to come, but you can expect a focus on dance-friendly live acts and accessible arts offerings.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Tourism and Events Queensland.