Australia Day is much more than a three-day weekend and a day off from work. The national holiday celebrates the country’s important history. You’ll gain an insight into how Australia ticks. Our guide covers everything you need to know about Australia Day, including where and how to celebrate.
What is Australia Day?
Australia Day officially commemorates the arrival of the first ships to Sydney on the 26th January 1788. However, it has since been adapted to also include the history of the hardship that this meant for Australia’s indigenous Aboriginal communities. Australia Day now celebrates the diverse mix of cultures that call Australia home.
What events happen on Australia Day?
You may anticipate a wide variety of community celebrations to honour Australia Day across the nation. There are celebrations, parades, community fairs, and citizenship ceremonies. The Australian of the Year Award is given, and it is both nationally televised and attended by thousands of people. There are other ceremonies where the Australian flag and the flags of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are flown simultaneously.
There are many venues to go to enjoy the festivities because each council or region holds its own distinctive kind of festivities. We’ve outlined what you can anticipate to do to celebrate Australia Day in a few of the more well-liked destinations below.
Go to Sydney’s Barangaroo neighbourhood if you wish to learn about Aboriginal history and pay respect to Australia’s indigenous people. A smoke-burning ceremony accompanies the WulgulOra ceremony, which begins at 7.30 am. During this ceremony, the Koomurri Aboriginal people will perform a dance piece in honour of Australia’s indigenous landowners. The hoisting of the Australian and Aboriginal flags marks its commencement.But the city’s celebrations are just getting started. A performance at the historic Sydney Opera House, family fun at Darling Harbour, a ferrython race to Sydney Harbour, or some much-needed BBQ in Bradfield Park are all options for you to choose.
In addition to exploring these locations, you can also attend the Yabun Festival in Victoria Park between 10am and 10pm to learn more about Aboriginal culture.
If you want to skip all the parties and festivities and head for a more laid-back vibe, make yourself a picnic, grab a slab from the bottle-o and hit the beach. Avoid Byron Bay and make a beeline for Gordon’s Bay or Shelly Beach and get some snags on the barbie.
Celebrate Australia Day in Australia’s unofficial European capital! The festivities kick off with a diverse parade representing over 80 of Melbourne’s community and cultural groups circling the city from Swanston to St Kilda. If you are looking for an excuse to party stay in St Kilda and catch a huge lineup of some of Australia’s best DJs.
Start off the festivities in Brisbane at the Australia Day flag-raising ceremony. Taking place at the Jezzine Barracks in Townsville, the Australian, Queensland, Townsville, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags are raised with a 21-gun salute.
After this, grab a barbie and head to South Bank for some food and drink in amongst the hustle and bustle of the Australia Day atmosphere. If you fancy something more entertaining then head to Victoria Park, which will be showcasing everything Aussie from tug of war to the sack race.
If you fancy brushing up on some culture, then head to Caboolture Heritage Village. Home to more than 70 historic buildings you can take a step back in time and learn about the history of the region. There are plenty of activities going on here, including toad racing and a food market.
A popular tradition for Australian Day is a free breakfast and there are plenty to choose from in Adelaide. Head to Port Lincoln from 7 am to enjoy a hearty breakfast made by town councillors or head to Victor Harbour where you can enjoy a barbie breakfast and can watch live entertainment from 8 am including citizenship ceremonies and the citizens of the year award.
The Australia Day Parade kicks off a little later in Adelaide. The festivities begin at 6 pm, starting from Victoria Square to Elder Park. This year it’s expected over 4,000 people will take part. From 7 pm the Australia Day concert gets underway and includes a flag-raising ceremony, 21-gun salute and cutting of Australia Day cake.
If all this sounds like too much work, then there’s nothing better than hitting the beach. A favourite Aussie pastime and the perfect way to celebrate Australia Day.
If you want to escape the celebrations and make the most of your three-day weekend, then why not head to Tasmania? With cooler temperatures allowing you to leave the heat of the mainland behind, why not go on a road trip around the island? Take in the sights of Cradle Mountain, Freycinet National Park, Burnie Island and Coles Bay. If you want to take part in some of the Australia Day fun head to Hobart. Where you can witness a unique inflatable thong race, that you can find in no other city in Australia.
If all you want is a holiday away from the crowds, then head to Hamilton Island. These idyllic islands are more common with honeymooners and families. With plenty of activities and private beach-side bungalows, enjoy the ultimate break away from the festivities. Go on a day trip to the Conway National Park and Whitehaven Beach. Try your hand at snorkelling, diving and sailing. Spend your Australia Day weekend relaxing and unwinding in Australia’s secret paradise.
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