Let’s go outside

So sang George, and so say we.

While the nasty, spiky little protein continues to crash parties and ruin the vibe, it seems the safest place to be is outside. And hey, it’s summer in Sydney – why wouldn’t you be out in the fresh air and sunshine?

There’s lots happening at the moment with Mardi Gras and stuff. Here’s a short mixed list of ideas.


Feb 20, 10am – 9pm, Victoria Park, City Rd, Camperdown

Of course, it’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think “queer outdoors”. This long-running Mardi Gras event is a highlight of the festival, second only to the parade. Visit the huge number of community stalls and food outlets. Buy queer merchandise; watch the adorable four-legged queers in Doggywood; be entertained by celebrity hosts, comedians, and musicians. Kid’s fairground rides, sideshow games, photo ops, sports comps, and more, all in the beautiful surrounds of Victoria Park.


Feb 18 – Mar 6, Oxford St and around Darlinghurst

For two whole weeks and a bit, Oxford Street will be pulsating with performers, promenaders, and power-purchasers; Oxtravaganza is about exploring all the offerings along and around the Golden Mile. This year, businesses need your patronage more than ever, so come and enjoy special retail promotions, live music, parade viewing parties, outdoor entertainment, art walks, food and drink deals. Duck into an Oxrtavaganza Hub at selected venues for a refreshment and a show. February 26 is Shop Till You Drop day which is Oxtra extra! More of everything plus Drag Story Time, poetry, clowning, wrestling and a boutique fur-baby minding service.


Bare Beach Day: Feb 28, 10am – 2pm, Obelisk Beach, Balmoral

Legally nude (but please, no bend and snaps). Show as much hair and skin as like while you lay in this little harbour cove nestled into the bushy cliffs and looking straight out between the Heads. Gorgeous turquoise water, perfect for snorkelling. It’s tricky to get to, so wear sensible shoes, bring lots of water, food, sunscreen. Look after your pale bits.

Bear Beach Day: Mar 2, 10am – 2pm, Little Congwong, La Perouse

While not a designated nude beach, Little Congie has long been a favourite for those who can’t bear not to bare. Like Obelisk Beach, Little Congie is secluded, snuggled into the crotch of the northern headland of Botany Bay. Getting here involves stairs and a small hike over rocks, but there are plenty of facilities nearby at La Perouse, including cafes, eateries and an ice-cream truck that is almost always in the car park.


Mar 6, 2pm – 11pm, Beresford Hotel and Hill St, Surry Hills

The laneway beside the Beresford Hotel was a popular hangout for post-Mardi Gras party-goers for years before it became an official Mardi Gras recovery party. It has retained its casual, chill out, alfresco vibe while offering premium DJs, entertainment, and three dance floors inside the Beresford. Special guests and surprises. Spoil yourself with a VIP pass and enter the exclusive upstairs dance floor. Or stay outdoors and dance in the street like we used to.


Mar 4,5,6 from 12pm, various locations

This event takes place across the Mardi Gras weekend and in several queerly populated suburbs. Local business and venue owners will coordinate with performers and other participants to deliver a program of food, drink, frivolity and special offers in a fluid, progressive kinda picnic. Pick a park in Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Potts Point, Glebe, Redfern or Chippendale and bring some goodies from a local eatery and wait for the entertainment to find you.


Feb 27, 9:45am, El Alemein Fountain, Fitzroy Gardens, Kings Cross

A perennial event by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and led by eminent gay author and historian, St Robert of the Rainbow Chronicles (Robert French), this should be part of the personal education of every queer person in Sydney. St Robert and the Sisters will guide their group of rainbow tourists through the streets of Kings Cross and Darlinghurst, stopping at significant sites to describe their relevance in Sydney’s queer history. Hear stories dating from the 1920s to the 1970s, and learn about Camp Inc, one of the first gay liberation organisations in Sydney. The roughly 2-hour perambulatory social seminar concludes at Taylor Square.


Mar 5, 6pm, Sydney Cricket Ground, Moore Park

The ultimate outdoor LGBTQI celebration is, of course, the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. For the second year in a row, thanks to omicron and friends, the parade has been moved from street to stadium, but none of its glamour, spectacle, audacity has been sacrificed. It’s being televised live on the ABC and many venues are holding viewing parties, but there is nothing that compares with being there, breathing in the atmosphere, getting glitter in unwashable places. With 6500 marchers in 160 floats, live performances, celebrity hosts, roaring motorcycles, pyrotechnics, impossibly tight shorts…get your tickets now.


Mar 6, 2pm – 10pm, The Argyle, The Rocks

Candyland returns in style this year, relocating to the heritage charm of The Argyle with historic sandstone surrounds and iconic setting. The party is being held inside the dual-level building and outside in the courtyard. Six bars, rustic decor, comfy leather lounges, intimate booths, extrovert dance floors, impressive lighting and sound. Star DJs, Dani Toro from Spain and Liza Rodriguez from Brazil are confirmed teasers for a full lineup yet to be announced. New neighbourhood but same great crowd.


Mar 3, 6:15pm, Glass Island (departing King St Wharf)

Glass Island is a glamorous pontoon with a glass-enclosed lower deck and luxurious, open-air upper deck. It is the quintessential way to cruise around our magnificent harbour. The queer-essential way to do it is with Kylie being piped through the speakers while you sip delicious cocktails and stretch luxuriously across one of the upper deck lounges. DJ Argonaut and Dj Anvi will provide ear candy, and Melbourne Kylie clone, Millie Minogue will embody the diminutive goddess to perform several enthralling shows. Let the ocean spray leave its salty, sticky sheen on your face.


In these ever-changing times, it is best to keep abreast of the latest NSW Health guidelines. For updates check your event website for any changes to time/date, location or requirements.

Be safe. Have fun.

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