What to do on Australia Day

by Dominic 11/01/2013 15:14:00

Australia Day 2012, Christmas, New Year
and your cool, rich mate's birthday rolled
into one.

Australia Day is celebrated every year on the 26th of January. A public holiday, the celebration commemorates the arrival of the first 11 ships at Sydney Cove from England in 1788. Today, it presents a great excuse for a booze up, especially if you're Australian, and even more so if you're not.

As the biggest city and site of the First Fleet's landing, Sydney is the main hub of the celebrations but if you won't be in Sydney on the 26th don't worry, there's plenty to do.


  • AGWA Yacht Club - what better of enjoying the delights of Sydney Harbour than from a glass boat? Throw in a couple of DJs and a lot of alcohol and you might be lucky enough to not remember any of one of the best nights of your life.
  • Green Beats - If raving to some pretty hard dance music in the sun sounds like your idea then head to Green Beats. Plenty of cheap beer and barbecue are on offer to round off the day too.
  • MS Colour Run - Spending the public holidays is something we're all happy for someone else to do. However, colour runs have become one of the most popular forms of fundraising for a good reason: they're awesome. Whether it's a walk, a gentle jog or a run for your life, getting pelted with a myriad of coloured powder is enough to put a smile on anyone's face. Wear white, and don't expect the stains to come out.
  • Festival of the Voice - A budding tradition, the Festival of the Voice has grown in to six figure audience figures. Get on over to the Rocks to see some of the most famous Aussie musicians, not to mention getting good and boozed up in the process.
Sydney Harbour

Where else better to be than Sydney's most famous location on Sydney's most celebrated day? There is a full program of events taking place throughout the day including boat races, gigs and of course fireworks. Some of the most promising are the Ferrython boat race at 11am and an aerial display from some awesome fighter jets thanks to the RAAF.

All the people in Borat costumes have been
cropped out.

Australia Day Thong Challenge

The thong challenge (not the Sisqó type) is fast becoming an Aussie Day tradition. Thousands of people gather on the nearest beach in every city and try to set a record for the most people in the water on giant inflatable thongs. 

The Havaianas Australia Day Thong Challenges are taking place in Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Melbourne.

Sisqó type thongs are optional.


  • Big Day Out - One of the biggest, and many would say best, events going on this Australia Day is Melbourne's Big Day Out. With a massive line-up, the names don't stop coming including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Killers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend, Band of Horses and plenty more. Tickets are still available but for how much longer who knows.
  • Australian Open Screening - If you fancy a bit of sport the Australian Open, one of tennis' big four events, takes place in January with the finals falling conveniently around Australia Day. If you've missed out on tickets, an open air screen will be set up on the banks of the Yarra for both men’s' and women’s' finals.
  • Australia Day at Docklands - Getting over to the river nice and early before the evening tennis starts will allow you to enjoy some of the other attractions on offer including barbecues, boozing, fishing and kite flying.
  • Elvis Costello at Day on the Green - If you like a bit of the silky smooth crooning from one of England's most enduring stars, head on out to Healesville for the Day at the Green.

- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor with the Australian Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to Australia.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

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