Eight dates you need in your travel diary right now

Alice Springs bursts even more into life for Parrtjima, starting early April. Picture: James Horan
Alice Springs bursts even more into life for Parrtjima, starting early April. Picture: James Horan

Best in show

The annual Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show returns, celebrating its 25th year.

Held in the exquisite World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens, the five-day event showcases the best landscape and floral talent from Australia and around the world. With a major focus on emerging lifestyle trends, the show is set to inspire crowds with breathtaking floral displays and spectacular show gardens.

You can attend masterclasses with floral designers, meet key landscape designers, exhibitors and industry experts, as well as peruse the avenues of exhibitors selling everything from bulbs, plants, tools, trinkets and garden accessories. The event will be held 25-29 March.

Explore more: melbflowershow.com.au

New flights to the Land of the Rising Sun

All Nippon Airways (ANA) has added a second daily Sydney service to Tokyo's Haneda Airport, starting next month.

Japan is the eighth most popular destination for Australians, many of us drawn to the country's beautiful natural environment, high-tech cities and ancient culture. The new daytime service will be operated by 246-passenger Boeing 787-9s and will add 180,000 seats annually to the Tokyo-Sydney route. The flight will augment the airline's existing evening departure to Haneda, which was introduced in 2015.

To launch the route, ANA is offering sale fares starting at $725 return for travel between 29 March and 30 November 2020. Book before 11 February 2020.

ANA's new service will increase the total number of flights between Sydney and Haneda to four daily, including Qantas's flight and a new JAL service, which starts 29 March 2020 and will replace its current route to the more distant Narita Airport.

Explore more: ana.co.jp

Vino-lovers unite

Calling all bubbly-lovers: Sparkling Sydney 2020 will be held at Pirrama Park in Pyrmont, Sydney, on Sunday 24 May.

This is the second year the event has been held and it's set to deliver a jam-packed itinerary of food and wine. There will be the chance to sample over 60 sparkling varieties from top local and international labels, including Hungerford Hill, Tulloch and more. While entry to the event is free, tasting packages are available for purchase on the day starting at a mere $26.

If you're more into beer, there will be craft offerings from breweries Frenchies and Six String. To soak up all that fizzy goodness, you'll find tempting bites such handmade pasta from The Gnocchi Way, vegan snacks from the Vege for Love food truck, or freshly shucked oysters from Ralston Bros.

Spiegeltent Hobart returns

For the seventh year running, the beloved Spiegeltent will be assembled in Hobart 5-29 March 2020.

The favourite pop-up venue will take up its waterfront location at Princes Wharf No.1 and the program oozes excitement, talent and variety - with a mix of old favourites and brand new acts.

Headlining the 2020 season is world-acclaimed sell-out cabaret sensation Blanc de Blanc. The adults-only show brings together the world's finest cabaret and acrobatic talent in an intoxicating blend of vintage glamour, high-end spectacle and titillating acts. It's designed to infatuate, illuminate and delight.

Explore more: spiegeltenthobart.com

Sultan swings into Alice Springs

The lights will still be on at the Parrtjima festival. Dan Sultan will headline this year's line-up at Parrtjima: A Festival in Light, which runs from 3-12 April at Alice Springs Desert Park and Todd Mall.

Set against the 300-million-year-old natural canvas of the MacDonnell Ranges, the free public festival and two-kilometre light show brings to life the stories of Australia's oldest living culture through technology, music, storytelling and art.

Singer-songwriter Sultan will perform under the vast desert skies of the Red Centre on Friday 3 April, and other performers include beats group OKA which hails from Coolum Beach.

New installations, showcasing this year's theme of Lifting Our Spirits, include Werte (pronounced woord-da), which is inspired by local Arrernte artist Kumalie Kngwarraye Riley's paintings, including an ethereal glowing sphere, Grass Seed, suspended three metres overhead.

Other elements of Werte, include Alatye (Bush Yam), reinterpreted into a dramatic four-metre high flower, and Emu Laying Eggs at Night - an eight-metre high emu-inspired artwork.

New to 2020 is a series of talks, Deep Listening, plus a program of films from Aboriginal filmmakers.

Fun and fluffy falafel buns

Brioche and beetroot are not on the menu at new burger joint BunBar in Manly, the first stop for tourists on Sydney's Northern Beaches.

The new Darley Road venue, just off the Corso, has three new burger "buns" on offer - a falafel bun, a rice bun and a lettuce-cup bun.

Burger classics, including beef brisket, are encased in BunBar Burger's other creation, a steamed bun called the Soft AF (which stands for "and fluffy"). The falafel bun burger is plant-based while there are also grilled vegan "beef" or "chicken" wraps on offer. Plus, there's homestyle (skin-on) fries, falafel bites and southern fried chicken bites.

Explore more: bunbarburgers.com

Momo Fest is coming to town

After successful festivals in Melbourne, the momo festival will be heading to Sydney for the first delicious time this April.

Momos are the Nepalese/Tibetan version of dumplings, and the festival will offer more than 30 varieties, from buffalo, goat, lamb, beef, chicken and pork to vegan and vegetarian options.

The event, on 18 April from noon to 10pm at Wyatt Park, Lidcombe, will also offer a full spectrum of entertainment, including international and local bands, DJs, multicultural performances, roving performers, kids entertainment, workshops and momo competitions.

Explore more: momofest.com.au

Building a head of steam

SteamFest hopes to break more records this year after its record-breaking festival last year - the event's 25th anniversary.

From humble beginnings in 1994, SteamFest, which celebrates Tasmania's pioneering spirit, has now become one of the state's major festivals.

The event takes place at the Sheffield Steam and Heritage Centre, just outside Devonport, and is home to several hundred metres of rail tracks along with sheds of rolling stock and historical machinery.

This year's event, from 7-9 March, will feature pioneering skills such as blacksmithing, steam-powered chaff cutting, rock crushing, ploughing, a working bullock team and an 1890s Letterpress printing machine.

Each day there is a kids vs steamroller tug-o-war, archery and a steampunk costume competition. There will also be re-enactments of historic military combat, such as the Tasmanian Light Horse and medieval jousting. More than 100 stalls will be set up, selling arts and crafts, food and local produce.

A number of camping areas in the Sheffield area will be opened up to cater for people travelling in self-contained motorhomes and caravans.