The Top Five Australia Day Events

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January 15 Australia Day swimmers pass the Sydney Opera House

Australia Day is a time to reflect and rejoice what it means to be Australian. Whether you’re a True Blue Australian or a visitor exploring the Lucky Country for the first time, enjoy the celebrations with our guide to some of the best events taking place across the nation this Australia Day.

Featured image: Great Australian Swim Series, Australia Day in Sydney, courtesy of NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet

Darling Harbour, Sydney

Nestled in the heart of Sydney, Darling Harbour overlooks the pristine waters of Cockle Bay. As one of the city’s premier leisure and dining destinations, Darling Harbour plays host to a variety of cultural events throughout the year, including Sydney’s Australia Day Spectacular – the nation’s largest harbourside Australia Day party.

Australia Day celebrations at Darling Harbour, Sydney
Darling Harbour, Australia Day in Sydney. Courtesy of NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet

Throughout the afternoon, treat yourself to the vibrant tones of world music on the Culture Beats Stage in Darling Quarter, with performances from Tibetan, Latin and indigenous artists. Nearby, you’ll find Dancing in the Street at Pier 26, where dancers perform unique pieces to the sounds of a giant transistor radio. Tap your way back to Palm Grove past a myriad of colourful, roving performers and find your inner-acrobat with the Circus Playground. As the sun salutes the day that was, settle down for the main event as the mesmerising official NSW Australia Day Spectacular commences, complete with fireworks, digital effects and the sounds of Australia.

With a variety of events, festivities and fireworks on the agenda, make sure you don’t miss a moment of Darling Harbour’s Australia Day delights by booking a room at PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney. Located in the heart of the action, this comfortable and modern hotel is just a short stroll from the Central Business District and Sydney’s most famous tourist attractions.

PARKROYAL Darling Harbour Sydney hotel

South Bank Parklands, Brisbane

On 26 January 2015, Brisbane’s iconic South Bank Parklands will play host to an Australia Day extravaganza. With celebrations spaced out over three days, you’ll be sure to embrace the spirit of the country at the Australia Day Long Weekender.

Every year, the South Bank Parklands are transformed into a celebration of everything Australia. Enjoy market stalls, live music, children’s activities, interactive art and the best gourmet delights that Brisbane has to offer. Take a short stroll along the riverside and you’ll find Great Australian Bites – a showcase of Queensland’s finest fresh foods. Afterwards, cool off at the iconic Streets Beach, complete with panoramic views of the city skyline.

Brisbane Streets Beach
Copyright: Marco Saracco

And if you’re looking for one of those dazzling displays that Australia is famous for, on Australia Day Eve (25 January 2015), you can see a spectacular fireworks show over the Brisbane River. Watch the brilliant bursts of colour over the cityscape and bask in the knowledge that you still have a full day of celebrations to come.

Swan River, Perth

Australia Day celebrations in Perth are spread across the parks and gardens surrounding the iconic Swan River. Located south of the river, start your day in the Celebration Zone at Sir James Mitchell Park. With 100 free activities for revellers of all ages and a range of food vendors, there is fun to be had for the whole family.

On the other side of the river, Langley Park and the Supreme Court Gardens are the focal points of Perth’s celebrations. With a variety of events scattered along the shoreline, it’s easy to immerse yourself in the euphoria of the event.

Australia Day fireworks over Swan River, Perth
Copyright: Johnny Lye

While each location has an exclusive set of celebrations and activities, they share one thing in common – spectacular views of the annual Australia Day Skyworks fireworks display. As the 31st anniversary of the annual Skyworks celebration, these world-famous fireworks are set to deliver a remarkable show once again.

CBD and Docklands, Melbourne

In the country’s cultural capital, start your Australia Day in Melbourne with the Official Flag Raising Ceremony. The service will be held at Melbourne Town Hall, situated on the historic Swanston Street.

Next, follow the Australia Day Parade from Swanston Street towards the Kings Domain, a vibrant spectacle celebrating every facet of the cultural mosaic that makes up modern Australia. Families will find plenty more entertainment on arrival in Kings Domain Gardens with the RACV Picnic and Federation Vehicle Display. Boasting 400 historical vehicles, live performances, and a variety of family-friendly entertainment, it’s a wonderful way to while away the afternoon.

Melbourne CBD at twilight
Copyright: Andrey Bayda

At nearby Docklands, the party begins at midday in the NewQuay Piazza with the Sunday markets. The Docklands precinct will come alight on Australia Day with a variety of events and live performances. Be sure not to miss the Great Aussie Thong Throwing Competition, an annual highlight. As the festive spirit continues into the evening, round out the day with a spectacular fireworks display over Victoria Harbour.

Havaianas Thong Challenge

This Australia Day, Havaianas will attempt to break the world record for the largest number of giant inflatable thongs in the ocean. The event’s 10th anniversary will be held at a number of beaches throughout Australia in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.

Australia Day Havaiana Thong Challenge at Bondi Beach, Sydney
Image by oz dean

With each entry helping to support the local surf club, you can assist the local community while indulging in everything an Australian summer’s day should be about. And with a range of family-friendly activities, celebrating Australia Day with the Havaianas Thong Challenge is sure to be unforgettable.

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