It's autumn, and based on previous years the outside temperature looks likely to remain welcoming for at least few more weeks.
It's also Easter soon (April 15 to 18) and for many that means a bit of time off and an opportunity to go somewhere interesting or meaningful, or to an event that is offering a lot of fun.
There are probably more events scheduled for the Easter weekend than any other time of year (and that has been the case for a long time), so your options are plentiful.
Actually, there are plenty of events on within driving distance every weekend, it's just a matter of where you feel like going and what you feel like doing.
You can go near or far and find something relevant to your interests, or to give your offspring something memorable and worth telling their friends about afterwards.
Tumut for instance will have the Tumut River Tap Fest on April 10, and the Falling Leaf Festival at the end of the month. See page 25 for more details about both of those.
The first weekend in May will see Narooma host the annual Narooma Oyster Festival, full of events and competitions celebrating NSW's native rock oyster. See the full story on page 24.
Closer to home there will be events like the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival from April 9 to May 1. Held at various venues in the ACT and neighbouring region, this "celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all heritage: Aboriginal, historic and natural, to Canberra and its surrounds," its organisers said.
"Get access to places not normally open to the public. Join tour groups with engaging and knowledgeable guides and uncover something you never knew in your neighbourhood. Watch a rare skill being demonstrated or hop on your bike at the Heritage Polaris, a race against time to visit as many historical sites as possible."
Van Gogh Alive is still on until April 10. "Prepare to transcend time and space as you accompany Van Gogh on a journey through the Netherlands, Arles, Saint Rémy and Auvers-sur-Oise, where he created many of his timeless masterpieces," the experience's producers said.
"Set to an evocative classical score, a thrilling display of over 3,000 inspirational images transforms every surface that surrounds you. At Van Gogh Alive you don't just look at his paintings, you step inside them and feel their power."
SIX the Musical will be on at the Canberra Theatre every day except Tuesdays from April 24 to May 16.
"An original, witty, pop-fuelled musical packed full of sass, SIX remixes the history of the six wives of Henry VIII," the show's promoters said.
"The SIX powerful women are transformed from Tudor Queens to pop princesses as they take court in Canberra to reclaim their identities out of the shadow of their infamous spouse, twisting the narrative from five hundred years of historical heartbreak into a celebration of 21st century girl power."
The National Folk Festival will be on Easter weekend from April 14 to 18, and will be held in Canberra this year. Enjoy music, an instrument makers exhibition, and markets with food, art, craft, fashion and more.
You don't even need there to be an event on to make it worthwhile going on a short trip on your days off. There are plenty of villages, National Parks and other things to explore any time the weather is nice, and loads of experiences right here in our libraries, galleries, theatres, museums and more when it's not.
At the National Gallery of Australia for example, "step into the urban and uncanny world of Jeffrey Smart (until May 15), celebrate Australian women artists in Know My Name (until June 26) and learn about how Ceremony (until July 31), for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, is at the centre of Country, culture and community," said the folks at Visit Canberra.
For 15 years, the Narooma Oyster Festival has been held on the first weekend of May on the shores of Wagonga Inlet, Narooma, and on May 6 and 7 a star studded group of growers, chefs and producers will come together to celebrate NSW's own bi-valve superstar, the rock oyster.
An event which is fun for families and foodies alike, the festival delivers great food experiences including oyster tastings, masterclasses, a cooking program featuring visiting chefs, a food and beverage market, arts, culture, live music, fireworks and kids entertainment.
For a bit of excitment you can cheer on the South Coast's fastest shuckers as they go head to head with world champion Stephen Nolan in the famous Oyster Shucking Championships.
Meanwhile, you won't believe how big oysters can get until you see Australia's Biggest Oyster.
Narooma is in the heart of rock oyster country. In geographical terms, it's a place where the warmth of the east Australian current meets the nutrient rich upwellings from the cool south, creating a wild coastline and a pantry that has sustained people for tens of thousands of years.
Rock oysters are native to New South Wales and are renowned for their merrior, a distinct blend of flavours that for the experienced palate reflect the estuary they were grown in, the hands that tended them and even the time of day they were harvested.
Festival goers can discover these unique flavours in a number of gastronomic food experiences. The most notable is a Sydney Royal Ultimate Oyster Experience, which will feature the very best in show from this year's Sydney Royal Aquaculture Competition. You can even glide by the oyster farms on a champagne and oyster cruise with Wagonga Princess Cruises.
Whatever you do, leave lots of time for Oyster Alley, a farmer's oyster market that showcases the best estuaries of rock oyster country through natural and topped oysters. Last year just over 75,000 oysters were eaten during the festival and many were from Oyster Alley.
In 2022 a new conversation-style event, hosted by the Deep in the Weeds food podcast network, will dive deep into the world of produce, food and beverages with industry royalty while you enjoy oysters and matched beverages. There are four sessions scheduled, each one a live recording with a focus on genuine conversations with farmers, champion shuckers, chefs and festival ambassador Paul West (known for presenting TV shows such as River Cottage, Back Roads, and Catalyst).
The popular Betta Home Living Cooking Demonstration Program will be hosted by Courtney Roulston (a host of Farm to Fork) and features celebrated chefs including Colin Fassnidge (Four in Hand, Kitchen Nightmares), Corey Costelloe (Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney), Toby Worthington (Merivale) and Kelly Eastwood (Eastwood's Deli and Cooking School).
The festival starts on the afternoon of Friday May 6 with waterfront picnic vibes, live tunes and fireworks. Graze on oysters and other snacks, watch the sun set over the inlet, and groove to Chloe Kay and the Crusade, the Guitar Case Troubadours and others.
Saturday May 7 is a huge day of tastings and exploring the foreshore. Pack a picnic blanket and leave room for market treats. Take the free shuttle bus around Narooma or a ticketed coach from further afield. The festival will have special routes between Merimbula and Batemans Bay. There's live tunes all day with SunBears, Escapdo Sol, Dust and Echoes and more.
Separately ticketed events and experiences that are new this year include Narooma Rocks After Party, the Merivale Seafood Long Lunch, and Conversations with Deep in the Weeds food podcast.
Other ticketed events include Sydney Royal Ultimate Oyster Experience, the Whale Coast Realty Long Table Dinner, the Southern Phone Rock Oyster Lounge, and champagne and oyster cruises aboard Wagonga Princess.
Also note that the festival is a cashless event and tickets must be pre-purchased.
For tickets and bus timetables visit naroomaoysterfestival.com.
Tumut is looking forward to hosting some great events in April.
On Sunday April 10 they will have the Tumut River Tap Fest.
Hosted by the Tumut River Brewing Company, this will be a celebration of craft beer and live music.
Intended to be a family-friendly event, "this is the mini version of our annual Craft Beer Festival Tumut River Tap Days which is held on the last weekend in November annually," said Michael Cichocki from Tumut River Brewing Company.
Tumut River Tap Fest "brings together a variety of musicians from near and far for a cruisy Sunday session at the brewery.
"Enjoy a day of live music, craft beer and food in the company of your mates."
Confirmed performing artists at the time of writing included Riley Catheral and his band visiting from Melbourne, Corey Legge from Wollongong, Tumut local Andrew Wortes, and Jess Crossman from Kiama.
Tumut will also host the Falling Leaf Festival Comedy Gala on April 29, followed immediately by the Falling Leaf Festival itself on April 30.
With markets, music and wonderful food available, "the Falling Leaf Festival is a celebration of everything Tumut and surrounds has to offer at this magical time of year," the organisers said.
"With the everchanging colours, crisp sunny days, a rocking stage, delicious food and drinks, kids entertainment, market stalls and so much more, our festival is the perfect way to celebrate Autumn.
"Come and explore beautiful Tumut, in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains, on our favourite weekend of the year."
The Falling Leaf Comedy Gala begins at 8pm Friday April 29 at the Montreal Community Theatre, Tumut.
"The Riverina's own Dane Simpson will be steering the Falling Leaf Comedy Gala ship as MC and our very special guest.
"It will be a highlight of his career," they added in jest, "even though you may have seen him at Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala, on Have You Been Paying Attention, Australia Debates, Celebrity Letters and Numbers, The One Hundred, Question Everything or in Aussie feature film The Merger and soon he will appear on Netwotk Ten's Would I Lie To You".
America's Mike Goldstein is also on the bill. Mike "has done it all; toured all over Australia and abroad, appeared on ABC's Tonightly and Hughesy We Have a Problem, opened for legends Doug Stanhope, Tommy Tiernan and Jim Jefferies, and been a finalist in RAW Comedy, Green Faces and Catch a Rising Star in NYC."
Plus there's Nick Capper, "cult favourite on the Australian comedy circuit, having toured across the country and cementing himself as a regular in the festival scene. Self described as Australia's favourite agricultural comedian."
Also see Floyd Alexander-Hunt, "a comedian, writer, performer, and law graduate. In 2021, she performed in Melbourne International Comedy Festival's prestigious Comedy Zone, and debuted her solo hour at Sydney Comedy Festival to sold-out audiences."
Plus there will be Emo Parsonson, "an ex-shearing comedy maverick and father of three hailing from Wee Jasper. Is there anybody else in the world who can say that? No. Faster than he would like, Emo is becoming a comedy veteran with 15 years' experience performing and touring shows throughout Australia, as well as entertaining our troops deployed overseas."