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Travel to Mardi Gras

There is no place like Sydney in Summer.  And there is no time like Mardi Gras. 


Summer in Sydney is unbeatable! Stunning weather and a city that celebrates it’s diversity makes Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras the jewel in Sydney’s party season crown.

Whether you are visiting from interstate or overseas Mardi Gras 2016 is a MUST to include in your itinerary! The 2016 Festival runs from 19 February to 6 March 2016.

Bus Hire in Sydney with Sydney Bus Company

Here you’ll find everything you need to make planning your trip easy with something for everyone, so book now! Whether you’re seamlessly slipping it in to a bigger journey or making it the feature focus, it will be a stand out adventure you’ll never forget!

You are invited, from every corner of the world to join us for an unforgettable 2015 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras season.

There’s no time like Mardi Gras, we can’t wait to see you!


With a season spanning three weekends, from Friday 19 February to Sunday 6 March 2016 you can experience everything from parties, performing arts, visual arts, social and community events to sporting events!

Stay tuned to the website for full event details in coming months, and sign up to our e-newsletter to be first in the know. If you want exclusive tickets and event information there is no way to get closer to Mardi Gras than becoming a member. With options to suit everyone the perks are priceless!


For those who want to leave the organising to someone else, there are a range of Mardi Gras accredited tour operators who offer travel packages to suit every type of traveller!

For more information, see our Mardi Gras Travel page.


Click here for our Official Accommodation Partners


It’s easy to get around Sydney with trains, buses, light rail and ferries. To find out more and plan your journey, go to Transport NSW. Alternatively there are plenty of taxi car options.


There’s so much of Sydney to see and experience, and the best place to discover all that’s on offer is at the official Sydney website.

The City of Sydney is responsible for the city centre and more than 30 other suburbs including Darlinghurst, the traditional gay heartland of Sydney and where Oxford Street is located. You can see more of what the City of Sydney provides on their website.

If you have time to go further afield, New South Wales is home to some of the best beaches, landscapes, attractions and experiences anywhere in the world. Find out more about what NSW can provide at Visit NSW website.

Mardi Gras 2016

The all-too-fabulous Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade is the culmination of a month of camp fun and frivolity that includes everything from same-sex dance classes and tug-of-war matches to daytrips around the city and beyond.

Reasons to attend

1. Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is a 3-week festival featuring more than 100 events that culminate in the iconic Mardi Gras parade and party on the first Saturday of March. Bring your sunglasses to the party – it’s been known to wrap at 8am.

2. Revel in the buzz of the Mardi Gras parade – a cavalcade of fabulousness that includes dancing boys, marching girls, the famous Dykes on Bikes, floats, music, glitter, leather and more spray tans than Beverly Hills. The aim of the parade, which begins with the raising of the rainbow flag, is to lift the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) communities. Underneath all the fun, frivolity and feathers lies a serious message: it’s a statement of pride, diversity and acceptance.

3. Sydney’s Mardi Gras parade is among the world’s largest LGBTQI celebrations. The numbers are mind-boggling: 10,000 participants parade along Oxford and Flinders streets in a train measuring almost six kilometres long. Hundreds of thousands of spectators cheer on the parade and its glittering, music-pumping floats (there were 144 floats in 2014) for just over two hours, while 2000 volunteers ensure the event runs smoothly.

4. Keep an eye peeled for celebrities. Big names that have attended Mardi Gras parades and parties include Cyndi Lauper, George Michael, RuPaul, Chaz Bono and Kylie Minogue.

5. Arrive in Sydney well before the parade and party to enjoy other Mardi Gras happenings. Events have included everything from same-sex salsa classes and self-defence workshops to fun runs, bushwalks, tug-of-war at the popular Fair Day at Victoria Park, Camperdown (three kilometres southwest of Sydney’s CBD), and a cocktail party at NSW Parliament House. There’s also cabaret, burlesque, theatre, exhibitions, talks and more.

6. Explore beyond the city – many Mardi Gras events encourage visitors to enjoy lesser known parts of Sydney and beyond. Day trips have included a cruise along Parramatta River to a wildlife park, cycling around the suburbs, and a trip to a regional outdoor water park.

7. Make the most of your time in of one of the world’s global centres of culture and creativity – from the Art Gallery of NSW and the Museum of Contemporary Art, the iconic Sydney Opera House and a range of performing arts experiences to suit every taste from theatre and dance to cabaret and comedy.

What to look out for

Instead of spending hours saving a spot along the parade route or trying to see past spectators standing on milk crates, snap up a ticket to one of the VIP viewing spots. Options range from grandstand-style seating with celebrity hosts to keep the fun times rolling, to an outdoor club in Taylor Square with raised viewing platforms, cocktail bars and DJs.

How to get there

Parking near the parade is difficult; spectators are encouraged to take public transport into the inner city. Hotels near the parade route are also heavily booked. Wear comfortable shoes and grab a viewing spot well before the parade starts.

History of Mardi Gras

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, at one stage temporarily the Sydney Mardi Gras, or locally Mardi Gras, is an annualLGBT pride parade and festival in Sydney, Australia,[3] attended by hundreds of thousands of people from around Australia and overseas. It is one of the largest such festivals in the world,[4] and includes a variety of events such as the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade and Party, Bondi Beach Drag Races, Harbour Party, the academic discussion panel Queer Thinking, Mardi Gras Film Festival, as well as Fair Day, which attracts 70,000 people to Victoria Park, Sydney.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is one of Australia’s biggest tourist drawcards,[5] with the parade and dance party attracting many international and domestic tourists. It is New South Wales’ second-largest annual event in terms of economic impact,[6] generating an annual income of about A$30 million for the state.

The event grew from gay rights marches held annually since 1978, when numerous participants had been contentiously arrested by New South Wales Police. The Mardi Gras Parade maintains a political flavour, with many marching groups and floats promoting LGBTQI rights issues or themes. Reflecting changes since the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, participants in the Mardi Gras Parade now include groups of uniformed Australian Defence Force personnel, police officers from New South Wales State Police, as well as interstate and federal police officers, firefighters and other emergency services personnel from the Australian LGBTQI communities. Marriage equality was a dominant theme in the 2011 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade with at least 15 floats lobbying for same-sex marriage.[7]