Life Travel Stay till stumps: 26 things to do on your Australia Day
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Stay till stumps: 26 things to do on your Australia Day

It looks good, but water from Sydney harbour is often polluted. Photo: AAP
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1. Snag a free breakfast

Australia Day kicks offs around the country with a smorgasbord of free breakfasts, hosted by local and city councils – most are barbecues and sausages are definitely on the menu.

Dress: T-shirts, shorts, favourite thongs.

2. Get wet!

Join the Great Sydney Swim at Farm Cove, right next to the Sydney Opera House. If you’re not in Sydney, breaststroke at your local pool, do the Australian crawl along the beach, or simply run under a sprinkler.

Dress: Budgie smugglers, wetsuits, Aussie cozzies.

03 WugulOra- Indigenous ceremony, Sydney, Credit David Clare & Australia Day Council NSW

3. Acknowledge Indigenous culture

The annual Yabun Festival is Australia’s largest one-day celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, held at Camperdown, New South Wales. In Melbourne’s Treasury Gardens, join the Share the Spirit Festival, featuring dance, music, market stalls and more.

4. Fire up the barbie

The gourmet food trend may be undermining tradition, but white bread, burnt chops and sausages and an iceberg lettuce salad are still standard fare. Throwing an occasional prawn on the barbie is acceptable.

Dress: Chefs must wear a silly apron.

5. Get hot and sweaty

Go on a Fun Run – they’re taking place all over the country: Bunbury, RosebudDarwin and Townsville.  

6. Join a parade

Check out www.australiaday.com.au for parade times around the capital, as well as myriad other events.

Dress: Any national costume.

01 Australia Day crowd Crowd-with-flags-watching-Parade

7. Play beach cricket

There are no hard and fast rules, but an old tennis ball is usually welcomed and the stumps are plastic, driftwood or assorted beach debris. One of the players must give a running commentary, a la Richie Benaud.

Dress: Swimming trunks, sunnies, T-shirt optional.

8. Stay till stumps 

Watch Australia vs India in a one-day match at the SCG. Buy tickets here.

Dress: Funny bucket-shaped hat, sunblock, radio.

9. Bake some lamingtons

Chocolate, sponge, jam, coconut – what’s not to love?

10. Hit the surf

At Bondi, Bells, or really… any surf beach.

11. Pop on your RM Williams

Drive two-and-a-half hours drive from Sydney for the 3-day Australia Day Weekend Taralga Rodeo. Roping and tying, steer riding and wrestling will offer some heart-thumping and – we dare say – bone-breaking action.

Sunday night (January 25) is Country Music Night. Yee-haw!

Dress: RM Williams boots, battered Akubra, cowboy shirt.

04 Taralga Rodeo, credit

12. Love the Australian Open

Don’t have tickets to the tennis? Camp outside the courts at Melbourne Park and watch it on the big screen. Tickets here. 

Dress: Funny hat, flag on the shoulders, zinc on the nose.

13. Get a line wet

Go fishing in a river, a lake, off a pier.

Dress: Your oldest gear and an Esky for the catch. 

14. Go bushwalking

Dress: Everything khaki with pockets, a hat and water bottle.

15Attend a Citizenship Ceremony

These are a moving reminder of how much people value their adopted country.

16. Settle into a deckchair

Read an Aussie classic – perhaps Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet?

17. Pack a picnic

Go to a park and take a rug, a Frisbee and your extended family.

18Go wild

Cuddle a koala at Brisbane’s Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, watch a kangaroo at at Perth’s Zoo, look at an echidna or try to spot a platypus or other Aussie critter at Victoria’s Healesville Sanctuary.

19. Mess about with boats

Sydney Harbour is chockas with boats! There’s even a ‘Tug and Yacht Ballet’ – with 10 yachts and two tugboats choreographed to tack to the tune of Ravel’s ‘Bolero’, as well as ferry races and Tall Ship races.

05 Sydney Harbour - ferry race- David Clare & Australia Day Council NSW3

20. Watch an Aussie movie

Norman Lindsey’s classic children’s tale The Magic Pudding is showing free at 11 am at the State Library of Queensland. Or get out your old DVDs: The Castle, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Muriel’s Wedding, Crocodile Dundee, Red Dog, or Wolf Creek if you’re game.

21. Wave the flag

If you’re in Perth you can help the World Record National Flag-waving attempt. 60,000 Aussie flags will be handed out. Optional BYO Aussie flag.

22. Have a look at some history

Melbourne’s Government house is open (for free).

23. Go rowing or Blundstone throwing

Hobart’s Sandy Bay Regatta ­(first held in 1849) is the spot for friendly competition for rowing, windsurfing, kayaking and even a Blundstone-throwing competition.

24. Rock on!

Free concerts – and not just rock and roll. On Sunday 25 you can see Paul Kelly and Jessica Mauboy from 4pm, on the lawns of Canberra’s Government House, while at Melbourne’s Docklands you can hear music from Strictly Ballroom the Musical and the Ministry of Dance.

25. Throw a Yard Party 

Ask your friends over. The food should be multicultural but stock the fridge with VB, XXXX, Tooheys or other Aussie bevvies.

Dress: Ultra casual.

26. Enjoy the fireworks

All over country,from Lake Burkey Griffin in Canberra to Darwin, fireworks will light up the night sky as Australia Day 2015 comes to a brilliant end.

07 fireworks at Docklands - Asutralia Day

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