Australia Day has several names and meanings for different people – for some it’s a family day in the backyard with a BBQ, for indigenous Australians it marks the beginning of colonisation and for others like recent migrants it is a day of citizen ceremonies. In the end it’s a day to reflect, respect and celebrate.
Whatever you call it and however you choose to spend it, here are three handpicked destinations to celebrate this national day!
Like all other major happenings in the country, Australia Day takes centre stage in Sydney and its glorious harbour. Starting off with a powerful First Nations artwork on the sails of the Opera House, the day primarily focuses on embracing the power of unity as people are welcome to pause, reflect and remember by watching this eye-opening display.
This, along with the flag raising on the Harbour Bridge is followed by the WugulOra smoking ceremony which signifies the importance of Australia’s oldest continuous culture and their role in caretaking the land. By 10 O’clock, the Australia Day cruises will start to show up on Sydney Harbour, packed with national day celebrators!
If you’re looking to embrace being a true Aussie, while being away from the busy crowds onshore, then these cruises are your best pick. Choose from extensive packages that feature all-inclusive cruises, BYO cruises, and the like, and enjoy close-up views of events including Ferrython, Tall Ship Parade, Maritime Mayhem and much more!
These Australia Day cruises in 2023 also offer dinner options that act as the perfect vantage point to witness the nighttime fireworks display! You can round off the night with live concerts and choreographed acts that take place on The Quay.
Melbourne is the ultimate destination for culture vultures in Australia, so it is easy to understand why this colourful city pops up in this list. While the events aren’t as flashy as other cities, you can still find several fun ways to spend the day with your favourite groups!
Connect with the country’s indigenous roots with guided tours in the city centre and the surrounding regions. You can gain a keener insight into Melbourne’s rich past and better understand the indigenous culture that dates back to over hundreds of thousands of years!
Another Melbournian way to celebrate the national day is to head to an art exhibition – Beating About The Bush is one such new exhibition. Explore the creative works of contemporary female photographers including numerous indigenous artists! Another family-friendly way to go about the national day is head to the waters and relax by the waterfront! If you’re new to town, this will be the best opportunity to check out the heaps of splendid lakes in Victoria.
This year, the national day falls on a Wednesday – a mid-week holiday for the family to make the most of their time together. Scarborough Beach is an underrated gem when it comes to ‘Things to do in Brisbane’ but on Australia Day, this changes drastically. Here you can have bonzer time with the whole gang – bring your picnic accoutrements and fold-up chairs, find the best spot and relax as the kids frolic in the sands and water!
Brennan Park on the other hand, is ideal if you’re looking for the typical easy-going Aussie vibes. This free-to-attend event features live music, fireworks display and more, which the whole family can enjoy. Feel free to join in on the many public parades and celebrations – don the gold and green, and scream out your lungs singing the national anthem!
The events mentioned above are subject to change or cancel without any warning. Be sure to check the official websites before planning!