News National Australia Day events: Your essential guide

Australia Day events: Your essential guide

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It’s the day that was put in the diary to celebrate all things Australia – our way of life, our past and future, and all the people who have made contributions big and small to the nation, their local communities or their families over the past year.

While the day has been set aside to acknowledge an entire country and its people, there is no single way of going about the celebration. From humble backyard barbecues to lavish public ceremonies, there are many ways to say ‘hooray’ on Australia Day.

Here is The New Daily’s guide to celebrations across Australia, both national and local.

Australia Day awards

Nationally we recognise the Aussies who inspire us and made us proud. Who will be Australian of the Year? Check out the state and national nominees, which includes footballer Adam Goodes and anti-bullying advocate John Caldwell.

This year’s Australian of the Year awards will be presented at a public event on the lawns outside parliament house in Canberra from 6pm – 7pm on Australia Day eve. From 7.30pm there’s a free concert. ABC will cover the event live on ABC1 and ABC24.

Adam Goodes
AFL footballer and Australian of the Year nominee Adam Goodes. Credit: Getty

Fireworks and families


Sit on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin and enjoy the show. The free entertainment starts at 7pm with the fireworks at 9pm. Details here.

New South Wales

There’s a fireworks spectacular in Darling Harbour with the crowds gathering at Cockle Bay. Kicking off from 11.30am, there’s indigenous dance, world music and children’s entertainment.

Western Australia

In Perth there’s no fireworks for New Year’s Eve, they save all their pyrotechnics for Australia Day. The organisers say it’s the largest community event in the country with entertainment at Langley Park from 3pm and the sky show starting at 8pm.


Victorians from all walks of life get patriotic in the annual Australia Day Parade from Swanston Street to Kings Domain Gardens in the colourful march. The Docklands hosts the Night Market from 4pm with a Nova DJ on site and of course, fireworks from 9.30pm. Details for both events here.

Altona: Presented by the Altona Villiage Traders Association, Australia Day in Altona is a fun-filled day for the whole family. The event will feature live music, stalls, kids activities and a fireworks show.Queensland

Fireworks are just part of the celebration at the South Bank Parklands which also hosts music, interactive art installations, family entertainment, Young Designer Market, and a traditional flag raising ceremony, which concludes with the thunderous RAAF flypast and twenty-one gun salute at noon. there’s also a unique street art project with local artists creating a human collage mural wall. Check out this site.

South Australia

There’s a lot happening on the banks of Adelaide’s River Torrens. The cricket’s on across the road, but for everyone else there’s the fireworks in Elder Park, which this year will launch from the roof of the Convention Centre. The main entertainment will be a parade from 6pm and Timomatic headlining a free concert from 7pm.

Up at the Convention Centre’s Regatta’s Bistro + Bar lawn is the Snazzy Sizzle a gourmet buffet style BBQ followed by an Australia Day in the City

Sports mad


Australian Open men’s final

The Australian Open final. There are no Aussies in it, but Rod Laver will still host the most sought after seats in the country on Sunday. If you haven’t got a ticket, you can watch it from the comfort of your living room on channel 7.

South Australia

Australia Day One Day International

What could be more Aussie than cricket and beer (or Pimms) at the new Adelaide Oval.  Sure, Australia has wrapped up the One Day series, but you can still watch the game and enjoy a bevvy or two. It’s already sold out so you’ll need to pull some strings to get in.  Otherwise, turn on your TV.

Tour Down Under

If you prefer lycra over cricket whites, the final stage of The Tour Down Under speeds though the Adelaide CBD. The new city circuit will tour through all quarters of the city. If you want to check out something a little different there’s the Port Adelaide Cyclocross on in Victoria Park. All details here.

New South Wales

Ferry racing

Like Mark Webber on an F1 track, Sydney’s green and yellow ferries are being unleashed for Ferrython. It’s the only day of the year they can show what they are really capable of as the boats race from Circular Quay to Shark Island and back to Sydney Harbour Bridge. Head to the harbour and cheer on your ferry.

Community events

New South Wales

Wollongong Aquathon

Australia’s largest and friendliest swim and run (and charity walk) the Aquathon turns 15 in 2014, with more than 2000 people take the swim/run Aquathon’s or three kilometre Walk for Charity.


Swim team

In Victoria, Australia Day seems synonymous with jumping in the ocean with a lot of other people.

At Portsea on the Mornington Peninsula they are doing it a day earlier with the Portsea Swim Classic. On Sunday at Williamstown in Melbourne, there’s the 24th Annual Australia Day Swim in Port Phillip Bay.

While in Brighton there’s the Great Australia Day Swim with five competitive swim events, as well as on shore entertainment.

Colour Run

This is the brightest way to spend Australia Day we can imagine MS Australia are hosting the Colour Dash at Albert Park. It’s a non-competitive race that raises money for charity and looks like so much fun – you wear white and end up plastered in colour.

Colour run
Go beyond green and gold for Australia Day, and help the MS Society at the same time. Photo: AAP

All about the music

On your radio

Triple J’s Hottest 100. Need we say more. Set up your BBQ, get your friends around and put on the radio. Pool or beachside location preferred. If you want a sneak preview of what it may look like check out the Warmest 100.

Western Australia

Raft Up

Fireworks from the shore are pretty, but seen from a boat party is something special. The “Massive Raft Up Boat Party” is held on four themed boats with licensed bars includes a floating trampoline. Yes. Really. There’s six hours on the boats with bevvies and DJs to fill the time. Details here.



One of the world’s biggest DJ’s, Swedish act Avicii is taking his True Tour to Melbourne playing at the Melbourne Showgrounds – doors open at 5pm.


If live music is your thing, get to Shortlisted! Hermitude headline the free music event at Sidney Myer Music Bowl, with a host of other local acts, including Jen Cloher and Dialectrix.

New South Wales

The Rocks

There’s a lot going on at the Rocks annual Australia Day festivities. Headlined by Cloud Control, there’s also a pop up Tiki Bar bar, volleyball, a paddling pool, a karaoke stage, an interactive music making station and the Rocks Markets.

Yabun Festival

Australia’s premier one-day Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander festival, Yabun showcases the best of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander arts and culture in the heart of Gadigal country at Victoria Park in Camperdown.

Sydney Festival

It’s the last day of the Sydney Festival and there’s a lot to do. If you’ve yet to see an act check out their calendar with acts from Beatboxing virtuoso Tom Thum, acclaimed theatre like The Shadow King or legendary British DJ Andrew Weatherall.


There’s activities galore at pubs on Australia Day. We suggest checking your local for details.

South Australia

Sunday Sessions

Get down to the Riverbank on Australia Day for a barbecue overseen by SA meat master Richard Gunner. The “Sunday Session”, an event run by the Adelaide Food and Wine Festival, will also feature local beer, cider and wine. The event runs from 11am to 10pm at the Blue Hive, near the Dunstan Playhouse. More details here.