Sydney’s Mardi Gras pride is a perfect excuse for a gay winter escape

Posted on: February 5, 2011 · found by

Australia is a great place to visit all year around, but their summer is the warmest. Luckily by late February the Australia summer is departing, yet warm days remain. Both Sydney and Melbourne are great cities to visit, but the gay scene in Sydney makes it one of the top worldwide gay travel destinations.

While not a short trip from the US or Europe, Australia boasts fantastic weather, beautiful scenery and even more beautiful men, so it’s well worth the trip. Sydney is a major metropolis with over 4.5 million residents it’s one of Australia’s best destinations. A city with a thriving urban life along side beautiful white sand beaches (famous Bondi beach is to the east of Sydney). The gay scene is centered in the vibrant gayborhood along Oxford Street in the Darlinghurst neighborhood, lined with clubs, restaurants and pubs.

The gay traveller will find gay venues outside the Oxford Street area, spread across a very gay-friendly city. Cities around the world are seeing the rise of “third-wave” artisan coffee shops serving flat whites and piccolos, thanks to immigrants from Australia and New Zealand (or locals who discovered the high-quality coffees down under and returned home). If you are a coffee fan, both Sydney and Melbourne have many independent cafes worth enjoying.

The annual pride festival, Mardi Gras spans several weeks and features numerous parties and a legendary night-time parade full of costumed Australians as inspired by the Mardi Gras theme. Oxford Street becomes the main drag for the pride parade, during the festival that draws thousands of visitors from around the world. For any pride traveller, Sydney is one destination to be sure to visit.

Of course you can’t visit Australia without hitting the beach. The warmest weather in Australia stretches from September to April, the perfect time to escape the northern hemisphere. Sydney has many beaches around the habors and out along the Pacific. Bondi Beach is one of the famous beaches, and while Sydney is gay-friendly, Obelisk Beach and Lady Jane Beach are surely the most-friendly, and also nude beaches.

South of Sydney, Melbourne is another large and urban city worth visiting. With nearly 4 million residents, Melbourne easily rivals Sydney with an energetic and exciting gay community. Once the capital of Australia, Melbourne is often thought of as the more cultural and artistic city, and this is reflected in the gay scene. While there is still a lively clubbing scene like Sydney, Melbourne tends to be a bit more laid back. It’s Midsumma Festival in late January and early February is more about celebrating queer culture with visual, performing and literary events along side the parties, outdoor stages and parade. (And no that’s not a spelling mistake, the festival is called the “Midsumma”).

I asked an Australian friend which city was better and he said Melbourne. A Melburnian friend of his sided with Sydney being a better city, and also pointed out the first friend had never been to either city.

Sydney, Australia
Pride: Mardi Gras, February 19 to March 6, 2011
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Coming soon… more local sights, things to do in Sydney and Australia