From ferry races to light shows and fireworks displays, whichever state or territory you’re in on January 26 there will be events to mark Australia Day.
For those spending the public holiday on the couch, the Australia Day Live event at the Sydney Opera House will be shown from 7:30pm AEDT on ABC iview, and 7:30pm local time on ABC TV.
It will feature musical stars performing some of Australia’s favourite songs, pyrotechnics, a flotilla of lit vessels, jet skis, fly boarders and a parachute display. It climaxes with a fireworks display and light show.
Jump to your capital city to find out what’s on near you. All events are in local time.
Australia Day in Sydney will dawn with a display of artwork by Kamilaroi woman Rhonda Sampson projected on the sails of the Sydney Opera House. This will be followed by a WugulOra Indigenous Morning Ceremony at Barangaroo Reserve, which will be broadcast live on ABC TV, featuring performances by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dancers and singers, including the Koomurri Aboriginal Dance Troupe.
Darling Harbour will be a hub of activities all day, with live music, cultural performances, a cooling tent, outdoor games and a huge barbecue cook-up. A children’s festival will also run from 11am to 3pm.
The Rocks, one of Sydney’s oldest areas, will host a street party complete with market stalls, live music, wheelchair races, a kid’s corner and roving street performers.
Up until 5pm, revellers can take a 1949 vintage double-decker bus from the Leichhardt bus depot across the Harbour Bridge to St Leonards and back again, while Government House will open its staterooms and gardens for the day.
The Yabun Festival, which recognises and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, will be held in Victoria Park, Camperdown, between 11am and 6pm. It will feature live music, a market, panel discussions and community forums on Aboriginal issues, children’s activities, and traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural performances.
On the water, Sydney’s famous yellow and green ferries will race from Fort Denison to Shark Island and back to the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the annual Ferrython race. Spectators can watch on a boat cruise or from a number of vantage spots including Milsons Point off Jeffrey St Wharf, Circular Quay and Lavender Bay.
Starting at 1pm, a fleet of historic vessels will race from from Bradley’s Head to the Harbour Bridge in the Tall Ships race. The best vantage points to watch the race are Bradfield Park, Blues Point, Hickson Road Reserve, Overseas Passenger Terminal and the Sydney Opera House.
Following that, more than 100 boats will compete in the Australia Day Regatta — the oldest continually held annual sailing race in the world — on the harbour.
Outside Sydney’s CBD, Parramatta Park will host celebrations that will include hot air balloons, First Nations workshops, a native animal display and more.
Further west, the Rooty Hill historic site will host festivities from the afternoon into the evening, including live stage performances, amusement rides, food stalls and culminating with a fireworks display.
A light and laser show at Lake Burley Griffin will be projected on to two giant water screens as part of the Lights on the Lake event from January 25 to 28. There will be a night market on Commonwealth Place with food, drinks and crafts from 5pm. The light show will run for 12 minutes each night at 8:30pm, 9pm and 9:30pm. Organisers have worked closely with members of the local Ngunnawal community to reflect their culture. Families are encouraged to take a picnic blanket for some fun by the lake.
Regatta Point precinct will host a community barbecue on January 26 from 10:30am to 2pm with live music and activities for kids.
The National Museum of Australia will be open featuring the 2023 Australian of the Year awardees from each state and territory.
Fed Square in the centre of the city will be action-packed from 10am until late. There will be free music performances including the Alphabet of Awesome Science, which will do 26 science experiments in under an hour.
The Australian Open women’s semi final will play on the Fed Square big screen from 7:30pm.
The Royal Australian Air Force’s aerobatic display team, The Roulettes, will fly over Fed Square and Government House at 12:15pm.
The Victorian government confirmed the Australia Day Parade would not go ahead this year.
Government House will be open for self-guided tours, live music and dance, children’s activities and food and drink stalls. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own picnic to enjoy in the historic gardens.
There will be a 21-gun salute by the Royal Australian Artillery at the Shrine of Remembrance lower forecourt from 12:15pm.
For those feeling energetic, there is a fun run (or walk) at Dandenong Park with a free barbecue for registered participants.
Brisbane has plenty of events to choose from across the city this Australia Day.
Head to South Bank for live music, market and food stalls, and a fireworks display as night falls.
At Caboolture historical village, revellers can enjoy classic cars, antique machinery, blacksmithing, wood turning and a Scottish pipe band.
Closer to the centre of the city, Victoria Park in Herston will host a jumping castle, games including sack races and tug of war, live music, food stalls, face painting and other activities.
Oxley Bowles Club will host a community day from 12pm, with lots of kids activities, barefoot bowls and of course, raffles.
Between 1pm and 6pm at Scarborough beach park, revellers can swim and play in the sand, while also catching live music and eating from food trucks and market stalls.
Brennan Park on Bribie Island will host a celebration between 5pm and 7:30pm culminating in a fireworks display.
Outside Brisbane, celebrations at Tulmur Place in Ipswich will include a performance by the Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal Dance Company, pavlova making, live music and a water play zone.
Reconciliation is a major theme of Adelaide’s events schedule, with Elder Park/Tarntanya Wama acting as the focal point.
Prior to the day itself, a traditional Tindo Utpurndee, or Sunset Ceremony, will be held on the evening of January 25 to share and showcase stories of recovery from First Nations peoples.
The next day, Mourning in the Morning at the same venue will include a smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country, and will also feature performances by the Iwiri Choir and singer-songwriter Nancy Bates.
At 6pm, a colourful procession celebrating SA’s cultural diversity and featuring more than 60 communities will make its way towards the park, where food trucks and live music will entertain the crowd.
A vibrant lights display on ecological themes will illuminate the park, its rotunda and the nearby Festival Centre, on both Wednesday and Thursday.
More than 60 councils across the state are also expected to hold their own events, from Roxby Downs, Marree and Leigh Creek in the far north to the state’s southern coastal regions.
At Torrensville in Adelaide’s west, SA’s Ethiopian community will hold an ‘Ethio-resilence day’ featuring Ethiopian singers and dancers, and Aboriginal artists.
There will be festivities in Carisbrooke Park in Salisbury from 8am to 1:30pm with an array of activities including Weet-Bix eating and thong throwing contests, cornhole toss, sack races, egg and spoon races, water slides, a petting zoo, cricket and a pop-up library.
There will also be a flag raising ceremony, presentation of the Australia Day citizen of the year awards and a citizenship ceremony.
For the first time in nearly four decades, there will not be a Skyworks display in Perth, with the council citing community sentiment and expense.
The fireworks spectacle over the Swan River will be replaced by a scaled-down event, featuring a drone and small fireworks display in Langley Park from 8:15pm.
Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas said people don’t want to “party” on January 26 anymore and the more modest approach was aimed at finding the “middle-ground” that would be respectful to families, new citizens and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
From 3pm, the Langley Park and Terrace Road car park grassed area will host an entertainment zone, which will include free activities, ticketed rides, games and a selection of food options.
The Birak Concert at Supreme Court Gardens will celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture with a variety of home-grown entertainment, including headline acts Red Ochre Band, Pipeline and Phil Walleystack, from 3pm-7:30pm.
Smaller crowds are expected at the South Perth foreshore, which was a key vantage point to watch the Skyworks extravaganza in recent years.
The City of South Perth’s celebrations will be more modest this year, with a citizenship ceremony from 8am to 9:30am, followed by a Great Aussie Breakfast from 9.30am to 10.30am.
The City of Vincent and Town of Cambridge have changed the dates of their Australia Day citizenship ceremonies, while the cities of Belmont, Bayswater and Stirling are sticking with January 26.
In Northam, north-east of Perth, stargazers can view the night sky with the help of astronomy experts, local Aboriginal guides and professional telescopes from 7pm at Bernard Park.
Down south, the City of Busselton is hosting an event on the foreshore featuring free kids entertainment and live music from 7am, while the City of Bunbury’s annual Skyfest event will also kick off bright and early at 6.30am on the Koombana Foreshore.
Hobart’s Salamanca precinct will feature live music and food. There will also be a women’s international cricket match between Australia and Pakistan at Bellerive Oval. Tickets cost $5.
At Sandy Bay, the regatta and citizenship ceremony will take place. The regatta has been running since 1849 and has come to be associated with Australia Day, along with the City of Hobart citizenship ceremony.
The Kingston Beach Australia Day Swim gives participants the option of a 500 metre or 1.5-kilometre circuit.
Attractions including MONA, Hobart Convict Penitentiary, Salamanca Arts Centre and Cascade Brewery are open on the national holiday.
Wrest Point Casino will be open for lunch and will feature live music over the Australia Day weekend.
Hobart does not host Australia Day fireworks.
Australia Day in Darwin will open with an early morning smoking ceremony at the Darwin Waterfront, conducted by the Larrakia people.
The ceremony will acknowledge the Northern Territory’s First Nations people and will be followed by storytelling and performances by Larrakia and Rirratjingu dancers.
Afterwards, the annual OzRun, an early morning fun run at the Darwin Waterfront is expected to draw up to 4,000 people.
The annual Ute Run, starting at Hidden Valley Raceway, is set to bring a winding trail of decked out vehicles through the streets.
The city’s main Australia Day event, the Festival of Us, will kick off late morning.
On from 11am to 8pm at the Territory Netball Stadium, it will feature live entertainment, food and activities for the kids.
Community event OzFusion will offer a host of multicultural performances and activities from 4pm in celebration of the Northern Territory’s diversity.
Darwin’s official Australia Day citizenship ceremony will be held at the Northern Territory’s Parliament House in the morning, and will also include a fighter jet flyover.
Palmerston, Litchfield, Alice Springs, Katherine and Tennant Creek will also have citizenship ceremonies and community events.
A fighter jet flyover and a 21-gun salute will take place at the Cenotaph on The Esplanade at 12pm.