By Hayley Simpson | Published on July 29, 2022
Australia is known for many things, like its breathtaking beaches, stunning Sydney skyline, and outback Australian vacation adventures. But did you know it's also one of the world's top kite-flying destinations? Thanks to the perfect combination of wind and warmth, people flock to Australia's sandy shores from all around the world to fly kites. Learn all about kite flying in Australia and get the inside scoop on its kite-flying festivals, including the internationally recognized Festival of the Winds.
Fortunately, there aren't too many rules you need to adhere to before launching your kite in Australia. However, most important is the Australian Civil Aviation regulations, which state that you can't fly a kite more than 400 feet above the ground or within 3 miles of an airfield. The best practice is to avoid take-off and landing flight paths altogether. Kite flyers need to be aware of low-flying helicopters and paragliders at all times, as well.
There are also local by-laws at play, depending on where you intend to fly your kite while traveling on your Australian vacation. Some public places, like parks, have a ban on kite flying, so double-check on the local government website to play it safe. In Victoria, flying a kite and creating a public nuisance has actually been an offense since 1966, with penalties of up to $800. Therefore, it's in your best interest to choose an open, clear area for kite flying, away from people, animals, and trees.
Besides these rules, there are many kite-flying safety tips to be aware of. For example, avoid overhead power lines at all times and flying in stormy and windy conditions. You ideally want to aim for a wind speed between eight and 24 mph since stronger winds can lead to severe kite damage, which is enough to ruin anyone's day.
On your Australia vacation, you have your pick of several great kite-flying spots, no matter what corner of the country you're in. With the number of people who flock to Bondi Beach daily, kite flying isn't allowed here outside of the annual festival held there. Instead, head to the vast open green spaces at George Kendall Riverside Park in Ermington. You likely won't be alone here in your quest to catch some air, as it's a popular spot for local kite-flying clubs to meet. Then, honor the roots of kite flying with a visit to Stanwell Park in Wollongong. Here is where Australian aviation pioneer Lawrence Hargrave made history when, in a world-first, he launched into the air lifted by four box kites.
Near Melbourne, you have the picturesque Rosebud Foreshore, and further up the coast, you'll find Elwood Foreshore, home to clear space and flawless wind conditions made for kite flying.
Meanwhile, across the coast in Western Australia, you have Perth, the world's third-windiest city. This means that sometimes the winds in Western Australia can be too powerful, but if you get a good quality day, you can enjoy kite flying along the pristine white sand beaches from Exmouth to Esperance.
There's no better way to welcome spring in Australia than by attending the Festival of the Winds. This is one of the world's biggest kite festivals and one of Sydney's most beloved events, attracting an average of 70,000 people annually. It was established in 1978 by an avid group of wind energy enthusiasts. What started with 50 kites has now grown to an event featuring 500 kites dotting the blue sky above scenic Bondi Beach. The free international festival is held every year on the second weekend in September and is run in conjunction with The Australian Kiteflyers Society and the Waverly City Council. Kite flying is actually only allowed on Bondi Beach for these three days every year, so time your travel to Australia accordingly.
Bondi is postcard-worthy on any given day, but there's nothing quite like witnessing a vibrant sea of colorful kites dance above the rich blue sea and white sand below, with surfers riding waves and beachgoers looking up in awe. The event's most recognized attraction is the competitive demonstrations that show off the sharp skills of professional kite flyers from both Australia and around the world. The festival typically runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with competition winners being awarded at 3 p.m.
The whimsical kite-flying festival has to be seen to be believed, as these aren't just regular store-bought kites being flown. For kite-enthusiasts, this event is a chance to show off, so expect to see so many types of kites of all shapes and sizes. Massive kites shaped like sea creatures and farm animals hover above you alongside vivid abstract designs and small handmade kites blowing in the Bondi breeze. Children will love watching the kites hang in the air and pointing out carefully crafted birds, dinosaurs, unicorns and life-sized whales.
While kite flying is the main attraction, this is a fun-packed family event. Below the sea of kites, check out the kite-making workshops, demonstrations, roaming carnival performers, amateur kite-flying competitions, and kid-friendly activities. This includes craft-making stalls, art shows, face painting, an animal farm, a pop-up library, a puppet show and a jumping castle.
The festival is also a chance to explore Australia's cultural side. Grab a bite to eat at the diverse food market, then head to the main stage for live music, entertainment, and cultural dance acts from Maori, Indigenous Australian, Sri Lankan, and Cook Island performers. The Festival of the Winds is a great way to get to know Sydney, Australia.
Bondi Beach doesn't get to have all the festival fun, though. From Redcliffe to Rosebud, there are several other exciting annual kite festivals in Australia. Queensland is home to the free Gold Coast International Festival of Kites, which takes place every September. Held on Kurrawa Beach, it's the region's most colorful event, as national and international kite flyers show off their impressive handmade kites and even more impressive skills including giant cartoon characters and stunt kites that do tricks and dips.
Up the coast, you can't compete with Redcliffe KiteFest, one of Australia's biggest kite festivals. With a picturesque Moreton Bay backdrop, the weekend event features international kite flyers, colorful kite displays, entertainment, market stalls, stunt shows, and activities to keep the whole family entertained.
Then, you have the aptly named Festival of the Winds in Central Queensland's Emu Park, not to be confused with the similarly named festival on Bondi Beach. One of Australia's original and most popular family kite festivals, the free community event attracts kite designers from across the country. The vibrant spectacle of hundreds of kites flying over Fisherman's Beach is a sight to see. If you visit Australia for a cruise vacation and want to take part, the Festival of the Winds offers online kite plans so you can learn how to build your own ahead of the big day.
Whether you're a pro at flying kites or you haven't tried since you were a kid and got yours stuck in a tree, kite flying in Australia may just reignite that child-like wonder in you. Basking in the sunshine on a gorgeous beach on a serene day watching kites sway through the skies is an experience like no other.