What is Australia Day you ask? For most Aussies it is a day off work, a reason to whip out the old Barbie and have a few too many beers. Most Aussies venture to a nearby backyard, beach or park with an Esky and a radio to tune into the nation’s favourite radio music countdown - the Triple J Hottest 100.

It is also a day to celebrate the multicultural identity of Australia as a nation, commemorating the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of 11 convict (yes... convict) ships from Great Britain. It's a day that communities across the nation come together in parties, fireworks and celebrations and if you are lucky enough to be in Australia for the country's favourite public holiday - then you are in for a treat! Here's our guide to what's happening on the East Coast this Australia Day.

Australia Day 2019

Australia Day in Melbourne

1. The Australia Day Parade

Where: Swanston St to St Kilda Road, Melbourne City
Time: 11.00am – 11:45am

The parade will begin at 11:00am following the official Australia Flag Raising Ceremony at Melbourne Town Hall. Each year the parade welcomes thousands of people in a sea of colour, making their way over Princess Bridge and into Kings Domain. The parade celebrates the different cultural communities in Melbourne and pays respect to the ANZACS. 80 community and cultural groups take part in the annual parade.

2. Australia Day Fireworks at the Docklands

Where: Docklands, Melbourne City
Time: 6.00pm – 9.30pm. Fireworks at 9.00pm.

This is the best place to catch the Australia Day fireworks with loads going on – Take a ride on the ‘Melbourne Eye,’ or just enjoy the roaming artists, entertainment and markets

3. Hit the Beach

St Kilda Beach will be the place to be this Australia Day. Locals and travellers flock to St Kilda every year with eskies, bathers and a portable radio to catch the Triple J Hottest 100 countdown. After heading into the city early afternoon to get the ‘cultural’ things done – we suggest getting there early as it will be PACKED! If you can, take some meat and fire up one of the public BBQs by St Kilda or Elwood Beach.

4. Hit the Gardens

St Kilda Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh Gardens (in Fitzroy), Carlton Gardens or the Royal Botanic Gardens are our favs – take a picnic rug, portable speaker, an esky and chill out with the locals!

Australia Day in Sydney

1. Australia Day Live at Sydney Opera House

Where: Sydney Opera House
Time: 7:30 - 9:30pm

Aussie music stars, fireworks and a 'maritime extravaganza" for ticket holders.

2. FREE Australia Day Party

Where: Circular Quay
Time: 12:00pm - 9:15pm

Didn't get tickets to Australia Day live? Just watch the concert on the screens around Circular Quay instead! Located just a short 5 minute walk from Base Sydney, Circular Quay will be hosting a huge evening of Australia Day celebrations including the Fireworks display, all sorts going on in the water including fluboarders and jetskis as well as showing the concert. Find a good spot where you can watch the water - get there early.

3. Live Music and more at The Rocks Chill Out Zone

Where: The Rocks, Sydney CBD
Time: 10am - 4pm

Enjoy live music, gourmet food, origami workshops and maybe even get yourself a temporary Australian Flag tattoo! An excellent location to chill out before the evening ahead.

4. Australia Day at Sydney Harbour

Where: Circular Quay, Sydney CBD
Time: from 10.45am

Where are most people going to flock to when in Sydney? The Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge! The Harbour will be hosting a load of events, bars and parties... as well as a number of Boat Races – the entire harbour will be hosting a Tall Ships Race, the Ferrython, a harbour parade and even a Tug and Yacht Ballet!

5. Hit the Beach

What better way to celebrate Australia Day than by kicking back with a cold one by an Aussie Beach? Pack an esky, grab a rug and join the thousands that flock to Sydney's Beaches to celebrate Australia Day. Bondi Beach, Manly Beach and Coogee Beach will be packed so make sure you get in early (and pack your sunscreen)! The bars will be packed with locals and visitors throughout the day and night.

5. Hit the Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Pyrmont and Macquarie's Point are great places to watch the fireworks and chill in the gardens for the day. Take an esky, rug and nibbles and enjoy the sunshine!

places to visit in sydney harbour bridge
Find a spot to celebrate Australia Day

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Australia Day in Brisbane

1. Australia Day Fireworks at Southbank

Where: River Quay, Southbank, Brisbane
Time: 11:00am - 9:00pm

Head on down to Brisbane's Southbank as a part of the Great Australian Bites festival for a day of market stalls, live music, pop up bars and a fantastic fireworks display at around 7:30pm. Don't forget to pack your bathers for a dip in the Lagoon.

2. Great Australian Bites

Southbank festival with pop up food stalls and live music all day from 11am - 8pm This is on Thurs, Fri and Sat.

Hit the Gardens

The locals love to hit the gardens on Australia Day in Brisbane. Pack an esky, take a potable radio and BYO rug. Some of our favourite parks to celebrate Aus Day is Brisbane City Botanic Gardens, New Farm Park and Roma St Parklands. 

free things to do in brisbane
Head to South Bank

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Australia Day in Airlie Beach

1. Australia Day Bash

Where: Shed Bar & Down Under Bar & Grill, Airlie Beach
Time: midday onwards

If you are in Airlie Beach this Australia Day there is no where else to be! Test your Aussie Pie Eating skills to go into the draw to win $200 cash. Tune into the Triple J Hottest 100 countdown, enjoy a free BBQ at midday and then party on throughout the night with live music. Who's excited? We are!

More info: here

2. Pre Australia Day Pool Party Sessions

Where: Shed Bar & Down Under Bar & Grill, Airlie Beach
Time: 2:00PM onwards

Who doesn't love a pool party? Live DJs will be hitting the decks poolside from 2:00pm with a free BBQ on offer. The party kicks on next door at Down Under Bar & Grill with live music and all round festivities.

More info: here

Main image By Kaoz69 [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

australia day airlie beach
Australia Day at Shed Bar, Base Airlie Beach

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