Australia Day. It’s the first public holiday of the year and a most patriotic day at that. In traditional Aussie style, most of us will spend it partying, swimming and barbecuing. It’s that time of year where you can hear the sounds of water splashing and wannabe cricketers battling it out across backyard pitches to the shouts of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi, oi, oi!”. Sure you can spend your day off at home listening to Triple J’s annual Hottest 100 while working on a groovy thong tan. But if you’re looking to do something different this year, then haven has some options for you. Here is our guide to what’s on between Brissy and Byron for the ultimate, true blue, Aussie Day off.
Great Australian Bites
South Bank will be one of three locations across Queensland hosting simultaneous Great Australian Bites events (the others being Airlie Beach and Port Douglas) from January 23-26. The event will feature local culinary leaders and will showcase quality Queensland ingredients, with a variety of taster plates and drinks available from pop-up food stalls. There will also be a program of live entertainment on offer across the four days, as local artists take the stage. The event culminates with the official Australia Day fireworks.
When // January 23-26
Where // South Bank River Quay, South Bank
Visit // www.visitbrisbane.com.au
Australia Day Fireworks
Where // Clem Jones Promenade, South Bank Parklands, South Bank
When // January 26, 7.30pm
Visit // www.visitbrisbane.com.au
19th Century River Cruises
Come and experience life aboard Queensland’s Tall Ship ‘South Passage’ for a relaxing sail along the Brisbane River on Australia Day.
Where // Departure from Mowbray Park Jetty, Lytton Rd, East Brisbane
When // January 26, 11am-3pm or 4-8pm
Cost // Adults $65, Children U12 $30, $50 for a group of 5 or more, $150 for a family (2 adults 2 children)
Visit // www.southpassage.org.au
The Kookaburras are celebrating Australia Day with two cruises around Brissy. Indulge in the delicious Aussie-inspired, three-course menu for lunch or dinner, take in the views of the city and enjoy the live music. The dinner cruise also offers a sensational view of the Australia Day fireworks display.
Where // Kookaburra Showboat Cruises, Eagle Street Pier, Brisbane
When // January 26, 12.30–2.30pm or 5.30–8.30pm
Visit // www.showboat.net.au
Cockroach Races at the Story Bridge Hotel
This iconic day includes great food stalls and cold drinks, live music, entertainment, prizes and more, as well as a 14-race program featuring the finest creepy-crawly athletes. Story Bridge Hotel takes over the side street and neighbouring block for this huge street party, all directly beneath Brisbane’s landmark bridge.
Where // Story Bridge Hotel, 200 Main Street, Kangaroo Point
When: January 26, 11am–6pm
Cost // Gold coin donation
Visit // www.storybridgehotel.com.au
Australia Day Breakfast
Free rides, sausage sizzle, pancakes, snow cones, popcorn and more can be found here at Manly. Come down to Wynnum Manly foreshore for a morning to celebrate our great nation, hosted by the local councillor and local community groups.
Where // George Clayton Park (known as Bandstand Park), Lower Esplanade, Manly
When // January 26, 7.30–12.30pm
Aspley Court Australia Day Celebration
Bring the family, brush up on Advance Australia Fair, and come join the fun on our national day at Aspley. There will be a free sausage sizzle from 8.15am, Australia Day address and flag raising ceremony at 9am and an Oz Trivia competition from 9.15am.
Where // At the flagpole, 5-7 Aspley Court, Aspley
City of Gold Coast Celebrations
There’s loads going on at the Gold Coast on Australia Day. Check out the world’s largest inflatable waterslide, JJ Richards Woodchopping Championships, $10,000 Griffith University Gift Track Footrace, The Playground ($4 kids rides, animal nursery and pony rides) and The Bush Track (sheep shearing, sheep herding, pig races, whip cracking, snake shows, blacksmithing plus a wide range of historical displays).
An Australian Citizenship Ceremony will be held as well as three stages of non-stop entertainment. Try some traditional Aussie tucker and more.
When // January 26, 10am–4pm
Where // Evandale Parklands, 35 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise
Visit // www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au
Crab Racing at Fisherman’s Wharf Tavern
Have a drink and a laugh watching the much-loved Aussie sport of crab racing at the iconic tavern at Marina Mirage at 1pm.
Slater and Gordon Burleigh Swim Run
Open to all – from kids as young as six, to adults 60+ years. The event involves swimming and running, with distances that can be achieved by all ages and abilities. ‘The Challenge’ will be a 400m ocean swim and 4km path run, while the ‘Taste tester’ is a 200m ocean swim and 2km path run. There’s also a ‘Young Guns Challenge’ including a 400m wade and 400m path run (5-12 years).
When // January 26, 6-10am
Where // Burleigh Lifeguard Tower, Burleigh Beach
Cost // $40
Visit // www.burleighswimrun.com.au
Breakfast in the Park (Rotary Club of Byron Bay)
Enjoy light refreshments, free Australian flags and live entertainment
When // January 26, 7.30-11am
Where // Next to the Byron Bay Surf Club, Main Beach
Official Ceremony (Rotary Club of Byron Bay)
Watch the Australia Day ambassador, Australia Day address, Community Awards presentations and the citizenship ceremony.
When // January 26, 11am–1pm
Where // Byron Bay Services Club
Celebration of the Survival of Indigenous Culture (The Sisters for Reconciliation)
An alcohol-free event offering music, dancing and kids’ activities.
When: January 26, 11am–2.30pm
Where // Byron Bay Main Beach Park, Byron Bay
For your full guide to what’s on and all things Aussie Day in Queensland, visit www.qld.australiaday.org.au.
Words // Amanda Jacobson