July events in Australia - The wintry mood for films and food

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This is winter Australia, don't know
you're born.

Winter? In Australia? Australia has winter like Britain has summer, in that it says winter on the calendar and that's it. Winter conjures images of snow, of dark nights and frozen windscreens but while Aussies might walk around an 18 degree Sydney dressed like it's The Day After Tomorrow, Brits are out there rocking the shorts and sandals.

So as the locals are drinking coco and rooting their electric blankets out of cupboards while you slap on the sun screen, you might need some stuff to do, here's a look at some very wintry events going on around Australia this month.

They've got an ice rink here, serious.

Ice Skating - Sydney - Until the 15th

Where else in the world can you ice skate while topping up your tan? An ice rink on a beach is so ludicrous it MUST be good; the Bondi Winter Festival Ice Rink site's description even says 'hot chocolate, gluwein, heart warming foods and a cosy fire in the Alpine Ski Hut will complete the "winter" experience'.

1, we don't know what the hell 'gluwein' is either and 2, "Winter" experience, on one of the most famous, sun kissed and beautiful beaches in the world, need we say more?

Light Show - Melbourne - 20th to the 29th

As winter in Australia might constitute the hottest day of the year in Britain, the Northern Lights of the North Pole might be a little farfetched but you can still catch some awesome light shows in Melbourne at the Gertrude St Projection Festival.

One of Melbourne's most famous shopping and nightlife districts will be transformed in July to a mesmerising display of lasers, projections and illuminations from some prominent artists in the world of projection art. Quick, name 10 projection artists!

It's OK if you can't name any because the installations speak for themselves, plus, it's free!

Secret Films - Melbourne - 21st and 22nd

This guy was AWESOME at keeping
secrets, and he has no friends.

If you like secrets, ones you swear not to tell anyone else and then tell everyone else while making them SWEAR not to tell anyone else, the Underground Cinema might just be for you.

Held at a secret location yet to be revealed, the Underground Cinema Presents Hope is a live celebration of film. While the film to be shown might be secret, it could be Citizen Kane (or the new Citizen Kane at least) or it could be Dude Where's My Car (the same Dude Where's My Car), the Underground Cinema incorporates live elements recreating scenes and secrets from the film they're about to screen.

Register on their site to be admitted into the inner circle, just don't tell nobody, or else.

More films - Sydney - 26th to the 29th

If you're a film buff but are too cool or not cool enough (we can never be sure) to get into the secret film festival, or are simply in Sydney at the time, you can try the Indie Gems Film Festival which, as it shows the best in new, independent films, also known colloquially as 'gems', is a riddle wrapped in a Dan Brown nightmare of misdirection.

For four days, the Indie Gems Film Festival showcases some of the best new films from around the world, but with a slight preference for Western Sydney based shorts. There'll also be networking events and workshops for those that quite fancy themselves getting someone's coffee on a film set one day.

Wed Wed Wine - Adelaide - 28th and 29th

As the Australians graciously allow us to call our three months of rain summer, we should really let them allow their three months of 'not scorchingly hot sun' winter. With that in mind, nothing warms the cockles, heats the heart and something else wintry (it's not really winter we don't have to try that hard), like some red wine in front of a blazing fire.

If this sounds like you (blazing fire optional), then the Winter Reds Wine Festival is a must. Spread over two days, the region's best wines (and while they might not know what the word 'nippy' means, they know how to pluck a grape) will be on offer for all to sample.

Be careful not to insult them though by asking for ice in yours.

Mmmm, can you smell that? This
picture is Scratch 'N' Sniff, give it a go.

What's that smell? - Sydney - 29th

The most evocative and nostalgia inspiring sense there is (out of 9, everyone can tell when there's a magnet nearby right?), smell is awesome. If you enjoy the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans or melting chocolate or baking bread, head on down to The Rocks at the end of the month for the Rocks Aroma Festival.

Spread across four global regions, The Oasis, the Continent and The Latin Quarter, the Aroma festival tempts you with everything from Indian tea to Italian coffee, from Belgian chocolate to Brazilian Springer spaniel sandwiches (just like school!).

You might want to try fasting for a few days (or weeks Mr Blaine) before heading on down.

Music festival - Sydney - 27th to the 29th

What does it say about Britain that even our so-called 'summer festivals' end up with hurricane strength winds blowing tents around with people still in them and every festival-goer having to be treated for trench foot after the ordeal?

What's more, what does it say about Australia when their 'winter festivals' are still drenched in sun?

A lot, probably, but it's probably really obvious too.

Anyway, we've kept the best Australian event in July until last because it's a biggie. The Splendour in the Grass festival at Belongil Fields in Byron Bay is a three day festival featuring some of the biggest names in music including Jack White, Bloc Party, Smashing Pumpkins, The Kooks and The Shins.

And you were wondering whether a Glastonbury ticket might be a good idea, wake up.

- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor with the Australian Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to Australia.