Australia Day is a time to come together – and because Aussies are such a diversebunch, our program includes events that encourage everyone to participate in ournational day in a way that is meaningful to them.From getting to know Indigenous culture, taking part in wheelchair basketball and AFL,tantalizing your taste buds with cuisine from around the world, to kicking back to enjoythe many free activities and shows taking place around Sydney Harbour, there is truly something for everyone.
Plus, it’s the end of the school holidays, so Australia Day in Sydney is putting on an unmissable show.
1. WugulOra Morning Ceremony at Barangaroo Reserve
Begin your Australia Day with a unique and symbolic ceremony – WugulOra, meaning ‘One Mob’, is an event that acknowledges our shared history and the traditional custodians of the land.
It recognises the strength and resilience of the world’s oldest living culture, with localelders sharing stories of the Aboriginal people, special performances by Aboriginaldancers and singers, performances by Isaiah Firebrace and KARI, the singing of theAustralian National Anthem in English and Eora language, and the raising of theAboriginal and Australian flags on Sydney Harbour Bridge to mark the start of the day.
2. It’s all happening on Sydney Harbour
Sydney Harbour transforms and takes centre stage all day with a buzz of activity onthe water and spectacular aerial displays. The fun kicks off with the annual Ferrython>extravaganza, followed by the Harbour Parade delights with a convoy of vesselsdressed in their Sunday best creating a festival atmosphere, plus the majestic TallShips that race to the Sydney Harbour Bridge finish line.Then there’s the showstopping Tug and Yacht Ballet, where a graceful company ofyachts, tugboats, jet-skis and ferries glide in precision across the water, accompaniedby helicopters, in an epic spectacle of musical magic. A show like this can only beexperienced on Australia Day and the best vantage points are to be found at HicksonRoad Reserve, Circular Quay, Overseas Passenger Terminal and Sydney Opera House.But the fun doesn’t just take place on water. Cast your eyes to the sky above the Harbour as it comes alive with a repertoire of aircraft, featuring a Qantas A380 fly over.The aviation marvels are topped off by a magnificent Red Berets parachute display, showcased by the Australian Army over Farm Cove.
3. Sydney Street Party
The Rocks comes alive with a carnival atmosphere for the Sydney Street Party.George Street will be transformed with market stalls featuring locally designed fashion, jewellery and original art, and of course an epic range of gourmet street food celebrating cuisines from all over the world. Then when it’s time to groove, head over to First Fleet Park to the Warrane Stage where you can kick back to some of Sydney’s best local bands while enjoying food and drink from the pop-up bar.
4. Chill Out Zone at the Overseas Passenger Terminal
Go overboard at the Overseas Passenger Terminal this Australia Day and immerse yourself in the fun events taking place both inside and out! This location is one of thebest vantage points to view the Circular Quay activities. Don’t miss the exciting opportunity to experience an interactive journey of Indigenous history.
5. Basketball and AFL on wheels
Test your skills at wheelchair basketball, and for the first time this year, wheelchair AFL. This is an exciting opportunity for individuals to partake in one of the fastest growing sports for people with disabilities. Suitable for people of all abilities, get involved to learn some new skills, delve into drills, shoot some hoops and play a game or three.
For all basketball fanatics, wheelchair basketball is similar to the stand-up version, except competitors must throw or bounce the ball after every two pushes of the wheels on the chair, otherwise you’ll be penalised for travelling.
6. Look Like an Aussie Legend
P&O Cruises is inviting you to dress up like an ‘Aussie legend’ to be in the running to win a 2021 Australia Day cruise. Make sure you head down to the Look like an Aussie legend photo both at the Overseas Passenger Terminal dressed as Dame Edna, Steve Irwin, The Sydney Opera House, a jar of Vegemite or even a ‘hometown hero’.
7. Discover your inner-child at the Children’s Festival
The Darling Harbour Summer Playground is your go-to for all-day family fun and activities. Learn new skills at the Circus Playground, compete in the interactive ‘True Blue Bush Games’, show off in the thong-throwing contests and indulge in
Don’t miss the opportunity to wander through the Sydney Festival installation Dodecalis Luminarium, an immense, radiantly lit, inflated labyrinth of winding paths and soaring domes. Roam the otherworldly interior of enormous air-filled domes and mazes inspired by natural forms, geometric solids, and Islamic and Gothic architecture.
Head to Darling Harbour from 11am to get in on the action, along with enjoying all the great food and activities around the precinct.
8. Travel across the bridge in style on a vintage bus
Vintage buses are breaking out of the Sydney Bus Museum this Australia Day to help you travel in style over the Sydney Harbour Bridge! Hop-on a bus at Macquarie Street near the Sydney Opera House and hop-off at Milsons point, or anywhere in between.
Why not dress up in your best 50s-inspired outfit to truly travel in style and enjoy the experience – imagine the awesome selfies!
9. Roll out a rug and take in the view
Known as Sydney’s “Castle by the Harbour”, Government House in the heart of the city is one of Australia’s oldest and most impressive buildings, and the home of the NSW Governor. Don’t miss the opportunity on Australia Day to explore the exquisite state rooms including the drawing room, formal dining room and grand ballroom. Then wander through the astonishing gardens – and make sure you pack a picnic so you can really
take in the spectacular surroundings. If you’re looking for a traditional Aussie feast but with a multicultural twist head to BBQ By the Bridge. From Filipino to French, Indonesian to a Brazilian grill, sample delicious cuisines from around the world while chilling on your picnic rug. Settle in and enjoy tunes from amazing local bands and DJs, a jumping castle, face painting, circus activities and native wildlife displays – you can even bring your pooch!
Bradfield Park is one of the most spectacular vantage points for the Sydney Harbour Australia Day festivities and a wonderful place to watch the Harbour Parade, Ferrython, Salute to Australia, Tug & Yacht Ballet, Tall Ships Race, and of course, the 184th Australia Day Regatta.
10. Australia Day Live
A fitting finale to our national day – Australia Day Live is a breathtaking maritime and entertainment extravaganza. Boasting some of Australia’s best artists performing on the Sydney Opera House forecourt stage, accompanied by synchronised performances on Circular Quay including jet-skis and fly-boarders, a flotilla of dancing yachts and a dazzling light show and fireworks that will transform the water and skies between 7.30pm-9.30pm with pre-show entertainment from 6.30pm.
Everyone is welcome to gather around Circular Quay to experience this show.