Australia Day

Held each year on 26 January, Australia Day is the country’s official national day. It’s a time to celebrate the Australian way of life and reflect on what it means to be Australian. There will be events held all over Sydney to mark the day, from indigenous ceremonies to street parties and races on the harbour.

Women celebrating Australia Day 2016 by Sydney Harbour

Around the Harbour

Welcome the sunrise with a traditional Aboriginal smoking ceremony, dancing and the national anthem at the Wugulora Morning Ceremony at Barangaroo Reserve. Then head to The Rocks for the all-day street party with markets, interactive games, roving street performers and food trucks.

There will be a full day of entertainment around Sydney Harbour as well. Watch the famous Sydney Harbour ferries race across the water in the Ferrython. Yachts and tug boats will dance on the water in a choreographed ballet and a fleet of tall ships will battle it out to win the coveted Tall Ships trophy.

Over at Darling Harbour, Tumbalong Park is transformed into a Summer playground with fun activities for kids. After dark, Australia Day Live kicks into action at Circular Quay, featuring musical performances choreographed to sensational pyrotechnics, a flotilla of yachts, jet-ski displays and more.

If you want to be part of the action, get out on the harbour. Hop aboard one of EastSail’s yachts as they join in the Yacht Ballet. My Fast Ferry runs cruises for the Ferrython and the nighttime fireworks. You can also watch the spectacle from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge with BridgeClimb.

Ferrython event on Sydney Harbour during Australia Day 2019, Sydney City

Inner Sydney and the East

In Glebe, the Yabun Festival celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures with musical performances, dance, and talks from leading artists and authors. If you’d like to celebrate Australia Day with a swim, Bondi Beach is always popular and has a party atmosphere. There are also events on at Coogee and Maroubra.

Northern Beaches

Start your Australia day with the Big Breakfast on Dee Why Beach. Tens of thousands of people attend each year for the entertainment, rides, waterslides and Thong Throwing Competition. At Manly and Freshwater beaches, see top surf lifesavers in action at the Open Carnival with swimming, boat and sand races.

People celebrating Australia Day 2016 on Sydney Harbour

Western Sydney

There’s plenty happening out west too. 1980s rock legends Choir Boys will headline Australia Day celebrations in Blacktown. In Parramatta there will be hot air balloon displays, the Big Barbecue Competition, vintage car displays, carnival rides and entertainment. Beat the heat at the festivities at Cables Wake Park in Penrith.

At Sydney Olympic Park, enjoy an afternoon of entertainment, kids’ activities and sport, followed by an outdoor movie and fireworks. You’ll find more fun, free events happening all day at Koshigaya Park in Campbelltown, Woodward Park in Liverpool and Carss Bush Park on the banks of the Georges River in Carss Park.