Australia Day falls on a Sunday this year, which means two of our favourite words – long weekend!
It may commemorate Captain Phillip landing here in Sydney in 1788 with the First Fleet, but over time it has come to mean so much more. Today, Australia Day is about celebrating a diverse nation and its achievements.
I know every year they say it is bigger and better than before, but this time is is actually true! There is plenty happening, for people of all ages, from children to the young at heart. If you want to make the most of the 3 days off, but are not sure what to do, we have the whole weekend covered here:
Australia Day celebrations in Sydney:
- Sydney Harbour: WugolOra Indigenous Ceremony, The Body Science Great Australian Swim, Ferrython, NRMA’s FREE Australia Day BBQ by the Bridge, Picnics by the Point, 21 Gun Salute, Habour Parade, Tug & Yacht Ballet, Tall Ships Race, Australia Day Regatta, Tinnie Muster, Harbour Concert Series (including Samantha Jade and Jessica Mauboy), Red Berets Australian Army Parachute display and a fireworks display at 9.15pm.
- Darling Harbour: Live entertainment all day from 11.30am, including Prinnie Stevens and Mahalia Barnes, Luke Carroll from Playschool, a World Music stage and culminating in the famous fireworks. The event will also acknowledge the significance of the Anzac Centenary which marks 100 years since our nation’s involvement in the First World War.
- CBD: GIO Oz Day 10k Wheelchair Race, Sample Sydney (many cultural institutions and tourist attractions are opening their doors for free or at a reduced cost), MS Colour Dash, CARnivale, Vintage bus service for a gold coin donation etc.
- The Rocks: The Essential Summer Street Festival, with live music on two outdoor stages, Rocks Markets, Easy George astroturf relaxation zone, Karaoke Green, Tiki Hut, Games Lawn and Interactive Sound Garden.
- Hyde Park: Summer Playground, Blinky Bill’s Singalong, Animal Farm, Food Trucks, Lord Major’s Citizenship Ceremony, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Angelina Ballerina Lucky Shoes show, Peppa Pig in Taking Turns, Fireman Sam show and of course The Wiggles.
- Sydney Olympic Park: The jam-packed Australia Day 2014 programme will include an array of food stalls, live entertainment and rides and a dazzling display of fireworks to finish the festivities with a bang! Off-stage entertainment will include sheep shearing, whip cracking, sheep dog trial shows, an animal farm, pony and amusement rides, roving performers, Indigenous dance and craft workshops, face-painting and a community bazaar. On-stage entertainment will include an Aboriginal dance ceremony, multicultural dance and music performances by South American flute players, Japanese drummers and Polynesian dancers, an 1800s themed colonial dance performance, the Wild Armadillos, Gang of Brothers and for the kids, a great new show called Butterscotch’s Playground by Greg Page, one of the original Wiggles.
- Ultimately Sydney: Their Australia Day Special Gourmet Event includes touring in modern air-conditioned comfort, friendly and professional guides, generous tastings at all locations followed by lunch and a glass of wine or beer.
- The Glenmore: They’ll be celebrating all long weekend…in true blue Aussie style! With a countdown the Triple J Hottest 100 on their rooftop, a DJ on the rooftop after the countdown and Aussie Day t-shirts available for sale at the Bar in the lead up to Australia Day.
- The Australian Heritage Hotel: with over 130 Aussie beers, a special Australia Day menu including their famous pizzas (anyone for a Coat Of Arms pizza?), and live entertainment.
- Cafe del Mar: Watch the fireworks overhead and party into the night to summer beats. Includes: an UBER code to the value of $50 to ensure you arrive in style, drink on arrival (3-4pm)and sexy Baleric beats from DOLSO, Saville, CHUX and Softwar. The first 200 guests to arrive will also receive a FAMOUS magazine goodie bag packed with essential summer delights. VIP tickets include 2 hours of beverages (3-5pm), canapes, access to a raised VIP section and goodie bags.
- Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel: Entertainment, fun and games including Every Man & His Dog Stand Up Paddling event, Beach cricket, epic Aussie BBQ, DJ Andy Mathers and The Silver Lining and a best dressed dog lookalike competition! Also, on 27/1, they are hosting Kid’s Day Out with $10 Kids meals, crab races and beach games.
- Oztralia Beach: Forget Bondi and Manly! This Australia Day the Sydney Opera House plays host to Sydney’s newest beach – and first of its kind – Oztralia Beach! Soak up the sunshine and enjoy the spectacular views of the harbour as you celebrate Australia Day and Oz Lotto’s 20th Birthday at Oztralia Beach! Sydneysiders are invited to join in the free celebrations at one of the best spots on the harbour for viewing the day’s events. Bring a towel or laze on a deck chair and spend your Australia Day feeling the sand between your toes at Oztralia Beach. Oz Lotto’s family friendly Oztralia Beach is open to the public between 10am and 6pm on the Northern Boadwalk at Sydney Opera House.
- Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel: Australian Craft Brewing Week
Other events in Sydney that weekend:
- Sydney Festival, including Fast Festival Feasts (Choose from $30, $55 and á la carte options), until 29/1
- The Big Issue Street Football Festival, 16-27/1
- Garden Bar by Cornerhouse
- Architects of Air: Exxopolis, until 27/1
- Sydney’s Backyard at Opera Bar, until 27/1
- Big Day Out, 26/1
- Crane Bar, $35 ALL YOU CAN EAT lunch buffet from 1pm, featuring some of their signature dishes from our À la carte menu
- Openair Cinema with good ole Aussie movies such as The Castle at Moonlight Cinema and Crocodile Dundee at Ben & Jerry’s Cinema (St George Cinema is taking a break on 26/1
- $25 tickets for shows at the Opera House
- Australia Day Body Attack class at Fitness First Dee Why, everyone is to dress in Oz Day colours and there will be prizes for best dressed and most aussie spirit, 26/1 at 9.15am
Events throughout the rest of New South Wales:
- Oysters in the Vines, Port Macquarie, 26/1
- Saltwater Freshwater Festival, Taree, 26/1
- The Leura Shakespeare Festival, Blue Mountains, until 26/1
- Thredbo Blues Festival, until 31/1
- Toyota Country Music Festival, Tamworth, until 26/1
- Wines of the West, Blue Mountains, 25-26/1
- Seabreeze Beach Hotel: with face painting for the kids, crab racing, a prawn shelling competition and live music from local artists Paul Clement and Mark Wells. The Seabreeze also offers a wide range of comfortable and spacious rooms, all at an affordable price, making it the perfect long weekend getaway, South West Rocks
- Central Coast: So much going on, including: Australian Blues singer/songwriter Jack Derwin at the Kincumber Hotel; live entertainment and fireworks at Canton Beach as well as The Entrance; Hamster Ball and free laser tag at Davistown RSL; ‘Bogan Night’ at Avoca Beach Theatre; Beach races, Fairground, Sausage Sizzle and Brass Band at Pearl Beach and a Pyschic Fair at Doyalson RSL. Gosford also has celebrations including The Banana Boat Family Fun Day, Coastie The Pelican True Blue Aussie Show, Christine Anu and fireworks!
If you live, or are travelling, interstate:
- Australia Celebrates Live with Matt Corby, Megan Washington and Lior, Canberra, 25/1
- The Men’s Final of the Australian Open falls on Australia Day this year – can Andy Murray equal his Wimbledon success?, Melbourne, 26/1
- Fed Square: Festival of Musical Busking on 25/1 and loads happening on 26/1 including: Freestyle Academy Hip Hop Dance Jam, World Dwarf Games 2013 Exhibition, Fed Square Car Club Showcase, and Australian Unity Pop-Up Street Art Event, Melbourne
- Australia Day Multicultural BBQ, Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne, 26/1
- Australian Day at South Melbourne, Prahran and Dandenong Markets, Melbourne, 26/1
- The Races at Hanging Rock, Macedon Ranges, 26/1
- Summer of Prosecco pop-up bar, Melbourne, 23-25/1
- Eureka Tower is the perfect spot to watch the Docklands fireworks at 9.30pm, Melbourne, 26/1
- Avicci, Sydney – 25/1, Melbourne – 26/1, Perth – 27/1
- Great Australian Bites, Brisbane, 24/1
- U-NITE for Australia Day: Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC, Melbourne, 26/1
- Medibank Icehouse: Proudly wear green and gold to receive half price entry, plus you can also write a message of support to the Australian Winter Olympic team on their giant skate, which will be presented to the athletes ahead of their arrival in Russia. Medibank Icehouse will also be offering free ice skating lessons all day plus free ‘Wonderballz’ on ice sessions 11am-3pm, 26/1
- The Cockroach Races at The Story Bridge Hotel, Brisbane, 26/1
- Australia Day – a play written by Jonathan Biggins, Brisbane, 25/1-16/2
- The Village’s Australia Day Garden Party, The event will also celebrate the arrival of Blue Moon Brewing Company to The Village, with taster flights and matched snacks accompanying a fun Aussie BBQ, Melbourne, 26/1
- Festival of Sails, Geelong, until 27/1
- Gourmet Traveller Pop Up Restaurant, Red Hill, Mornington Peninsula, until 26/1
- Snazzy Sizzle BBQ, followed at 10pm by an official Australia Day Concert After-Party, Adelaide 26/1
- Fluid Festival with 50 top craft brewers and cider makers on board, they will be celebrating Australia Day by honouring the fine beers and ciders coming out of this country, Brisbane, 25/1
- The Village Markets celebrates all things Australian, Paradise Point Parklands, 26/1
- Australian of the Year awards, 26/1
- Chester Street’s Australia Day Feast, Brisbane, 26/1
- Alfred & Constance’s Australia Day House Party, Brisbane, 26/1
- Triple J’s traditional Hottest 100, no matter where you are in the country, 26/1
If you think we have missed anything, please do let us know. And of course, contact us if you don’t fancy any of the above, we have plenty more ideas!