Now that Christmas is out of the way, and we’ve seen all of the fireworks that New Years Eve has to offer, it’s time to start thinking about the next holiday already – Australia Day. And you if you haven’t already, you had better get a move on in making your plans, because with so much happening and on around Sydney, you are spoilt for choice.
While many people will spend the day at home, celebrating with friends around the pool, BBQ’s a blazing and Triple J’s Hottest 100 in the background, to the intermission of backyard cricket, for those of you considering a trip to the city, it is definitely worth your while.
If you want to start your day with a bit of sporty action, then why not register for the Great Sydney Swim which is in Sydney’s best pool – the Harbour. Freestyle, backstroke, whatever; as you dive in right next to the Opera House and complete a 2km loop of Farm Cove.
Close by, but already sold out are two massive events at the Opera House, including the Wiggles who’ll be getting the kids singing and dancing to all of their hits along with the likes of Captain Feathersword and Dorothy the Dinosaur. This is their first performance of the year and is sure to please the kids. But little ones are not the only ones catered to as later in the day, the pop styling’s of Jessica Mauboy, Sheppard, Justice Crew, Russell Morris, The Veronicas and James Morrison are all on display at the Opera House also.
Not too far up Macquarie Street is the annual CARnavale where you will find the largest free display of vintage vehicles in the Southern Hemisphere. Including vintage cars, trucks, motorcycles, buses, fire engines, from the really old to the mid-1980’s; it is a car enthusiast’s dream.
For those who want to celebrate he history of the City, Sydney Living Museum’s is opening up some of the cities historic buildings where you can get amongst the history of years gone past. Visit the Hyde Park Barracks Museum and The Mint, followed by a stop in to Sydney’s Government House and its stunning gardens. Or discover Sydney’s shadowy past at the Justice & Police Museum at Circular Quay or join a tour at Susannah Place to discover the stories of the hard working families who lived in The Rocks.
For more learning opportunities there’s also ½ price entry to the Australian Museum. The Reserve Bank of Australia in Martin Place will also be hosting information on the history and stories of our national currency, while the Observatory will be hosting sessions explaining the Southern Cross.
If history isn’t your thing, what about politics ? After sidling up to the PM in the Great Sydney Swim earlier, you’ll be all informed to make government decisions when you visit the Parliament of New South Wales. With free entry, visit the historic Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council Chambers and other heritage rooms of the Parliament. Find out about the traditions shared with the Westminster system and how laws are made and amended today.
Just nearby Hyde Park will be hosting Summer Playground. A variety of events and entertainment throughout the day – absolutely free – to keep the kids entertained all day long. Dora and Friends, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Hi-5, and Spongebob Squarepants, will all be making an appearance to keep the kids entertained all day long.
Back down at the Harbour, at 12:00pm, a 21 gun salute and the singing of the National Anthem by choirs from our Armed Services stationed around the area will take place, echoing throughout the city combined with a flyover from the RAAF and salute from a Naval Flagship stationed between the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
For a sailing extravaganza, make sure that you are not far from the water because starting at 11:00 is the Ferrython where Sydney’s fleet of Ferry’s all decked out and colourful will race across the Harbour finishing below the Harbour Bridge. This is a great time to stop for a picnic and ensure that you’ve got a great vantage point for the afternoon as at 12:45pm the Australia Day Parade floats through the Harbour with vessels of all shapes and sizes, celebrating some of our most iconic vessels which will be dressed up to the nines, decked out with colours, flags and decorations of all sorts – an absolute must-see.
Then at 1pm, the Tall Ship Race gets underway with historic ships under full sail racing from Bradley’s Head in the East, finishing just below the Harbour Bridge. This is not to be missed and is an absolutely mesmerizing event for the whole family, conjuring up images of First Fleet arrivals.
Finishing off at 1:15pm, the 179th Australia Day Regatta gets underway with up to 100+ traditional and classic yachts racing up and down Sydney Harbour. It’ll be a busy time on the water, but an amazing view if you’ve got the right vantage point.
Keep your eyes to the skies, as the aerobatic planes of the Russian Roolettes will be doing a flypast at 1:45pm, and the Red Beret’s will be parachuting safely to ground at 2:00pm.
Besides the edges of the Harbour, the Rocks will have several areas on the go throughout the day with live music, street stalls, markets and activities. There is literally so much going on in this hub that you might find it hard to leave this area for any where else.
Hit the Rocks Markets first for a browse through an eclectic array of local purveyors of everything from collectables, souvenirs, jewellery, fashion and food. Head on over to The Green at First Fleet Park where a spate of home grown music will bustle in your ears including Dustin Tebbutt, Saskwatch, Thelma Plum, The Bombay Royale and Benny Walker; washed down with cold beers from the Rocks Brewing Company Open Air Bar. A little more intimately, on the cobble stoned Atherden street, you’ll find the fiercely independent live sounds of artists like Little May, Winterbourne, Fishing, and The Lulu Raes. And before leaving the area, check out the change in George Street as it swaps tarmac for Astroturf and its name for The Common. Kick off your shoes and strike up some friendly rivalry on the games lawn. Party on down at the Pit Stop to lively beat boxers playing rhythmic interludes between counting down with Triple J’s Hottest 100.
And while the Rocks might have a lot happening, Darling Harbour boasts so many events that you might wish that Australia Day was a two-day event. It’s all action with a Circus Playground teaching kids of all ages to juggle, stilt walk and generally clown around. Elsewhere you’ll sight roving street performers, actors, musicians and entertainers making their way through the crowd. While in Darling Quarter you will be able to groove to Latin, Tibetan and Indigenous sounds. There will also be Buskers a plenty in the Harbourside Amphitheatre and Dancing in the Street in front of the giant transistor radio at Pier 26. And to top it off the Voice’s Darren Percival will be performing on a floating stage in Cockle Bay right before a dazzling extravaganza of fireworks, digital effects, multi-media and music from 7:00pm as the day draws to a close with the Australia Day Spectacular.
Back in the Water, if you’ve decided to avoid the Harbour crowds, Bondi Beach will be hosting the 10th Havaianas Australia Day Thong Challenge. And for those of you who know that we’re talking about footwear and not skimpy underwear still might be a little perplexed as to the event. To clarify, it involves participants getting on giant inflatable thongs (provided by the organizers) and floating out to make the largest line of floating thongs possible.
And if all of that family fun isn’t your thing, then you don’t forget that Australia take on India at the Sydney Cricket Ground for the One Day International from 2:20pm. There isn’t anything more reminiscent of an Australian Summer than having a pie, counting seagulls and watching 11 mean try to bowl out 2 while they try to hit a red ball for a 6. Even if you don’t understand the rules, it will be an amazing day of sport.
Also on the 26th is the Asian Cup Semi Final. While too early to tell just yet who’ll make the semi finals, the winner from this match will go through to the Final – hopefully it’ll be Australia’s own Socceroos. From 8:00pm at Stadium Australia, Homebush; what a fantastic way to round out a day of activity.
What better way to celebrate Australia Day than in the city. For more tips advice and recommendations, ask Victor, or any of his team at the Concierge who will be more than happy to give you all of the in’s and out’s of the city we live and love.
Finally don’t forget to book your accommodation at 5-star Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney.