Woolgoolga Curryfest

After a 3 year hiatus due to Covid, Curryfest came back in 2022 even bigger and better than before!

Transforming the streets and main beach area around Woolgoolga into a festival of sight, colour, taste, sound and dance, this major local event is a celebration of diversity, culture and community.

Aiming to embrace kindness, humanity and happiness, as well as the eclectic differences that render us all the same, this year’s event was the 17th year the carnival has run and was undoubtedly one of its most successful yet.

A vibrant, energetic yet congenial celebration, it took place on Saturday 24th September and was attended by well in excess of 15,000 people. Some of whom came from as far away places as the UK, America, Canada, New Zealand and, of course, India to attend.

Here is how it went down.

What are the origins of Curryfest

What are the origins of Curryfest?

Woolgoolga has had a notable community of Sikhs ever since around 1890. When a small number of Indian migrants moved down from Queensland, most probably for the purposes of banana farming, and settled in the area.

These Sikhs were descendants of others who originally moved from India to Queensland in the 1830s to work in canefields.

Curryfest celebrates the unique Punjabi heritage of the town of Woolgoolga, through a mix of food, culture and dance.

Curryfest 2022 layout

There were major concerns that Curryfest 2022 might have to be cancelled at the last minute as persistent and stormy weather played havoc with the preparations.

Thankfully, blue skies and the sun appeared during the day and stayed for pretty much most of it. Which enabled the event to go off smoothly.

Starting at 9 am the event was centred around Beach Street and the perimeter of the Woolgoolga Beach Reserve, which was both pedestrianised for the day.

This enabled over 100 stalls, two stages and a separate dining seating section to be set up within this cordoned-off zone. Thus allowing people to walk freely without having to worry about cars.

Admission to Curryfest 2022 was $10 per adult, though children were allowed in for free.



Food is a massive part of the celebrations, and arguably the main thing most people come to the Curryfest for.

This year there were plenty of food trucks and stalls available (although the inclement weather did put some vendors off from taking up their residency).

In terms of Indian food, you could buy a wide selection of delicious curries including lamb rogan josh, butter chicken and spicy chicken curry. Other side dishes like samosa chat, chole and naan were there to tantalise your taste buds too.

Contrary to what you might think, the food options were not just solely related to Indian food. Other eats you could get included an Ethiopian food truck, as well as ones that sold burgers, sausage rolls potato slinkys, pies, and a plethora of sweet treats.


Bollywood dancers

The festival had two main stages, one of which was set aside for family entertainment, while the other was set up for cooking demonstrations.

Much of the entertainment took the form of Bhangra and Giddha dancing, with various troupes in bright colourful costumes thrilling the crowd with their wonderfully choreographed traditional routines, some of which involved props.

When the dancers weren’t on, other acts took to the stage including a band, and the acclaimed, Aria nominated, Australian hip hop artist L-Fresh Lion. He wowed all with a fantastic set of his best tunes.

Cooking demonstration

The second stage set up for cooking demonstrations was reserved for Curryfest’s special celebrity guest. This year it was none other than Miguel Maestre.

Best known for appearing on TV shows like The Living Room, Miguel’s Feast, Miguel’s Tropical Kitchen, and Boys Weekend, the famous Spanish-born chef hosted three separate Cooking Demonstrations during the day. Charming the crowd of onlookers with his inimitable style and warm, infectious personality.

When he wasn’t doing that he took the time to have his photo taken with lots of the general public and even went onto the entertainment stage to have a turban wrapped around his head!


Other elements

As well as the stalls and two stages, there was also a dedicated Kids Zone, which featured family-friendly rides.

In addition, there were also local yoga teachers, Indian healers and vendors selling Curryfest merchandise like T-shirts, caps and aprons located around the area.

See the temples

Although they are not part of the Curryfest directly there are two temples in Woolgoolga that you can choose to visit.

Situated not far from where the event takes place, the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple is located on River Street, while the First Sikh Temple Of AUSTRALIA is on Hastings Street.

You are free to visit either, but if you do be sure to remove your shoes and cover your head.

The next event!

Next year’s Curryfest is due to take place on 22nd September 2023.

It will take place at the usual venue of Beach Street, right next to the ocean in Woolgoolga, NSW.

Preparations for the event are already underway.

So, if you would like to find out more about it, either from the perspective of a visitor or a vendor, you can call 0400 271 739 or email [email protected].


How to get to Woolgoolga

Woolgoolga is an easy destination to get to.

Situated just a 25-minute drive north of Coffs Harbour, it will take you about six hours to drive from Sydney on the M1, and about three and a half hours from Brisbane.

If you would prefer you can fly directly to Coffs Harbour Airport from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

QantasLink operates regular direct flights from all of these destinations, while Virgin runs flights from Sydney and Melbourne. Rex also operates direct flights from Sydney and Link Airways will get you to Coffs Harbour from Brisbane.

The airport is situated about 4 km from the town centre of Coffs Harbour. You can hire a car from the airport, or take a taxi, Uber or shuttle bus into the city.

From the main town centre, buses run regularly to and from Woolgoolga.

For those coming from Sydney, you can even catch the train up to Coffs Harbour too, if you would rather not drive.

Where to stay?

If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Woolgoolga you’ll find a plethora of accommodation options to suit all budgets and tastes.

This includes everything from camping, caravanning and holiday parks to motels, B&Bs and beach houses. All of which are likely to get booked out very early. So if you want to make a reservation at any of them it is well worth doing so as far in advance as you can.

Should you prefer, Coffs Harbour or Grafton, the latter of which is about a 40-minute drive away, also has an abundance of overnight accommodation options you can choose from.