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What to do for Australia Day 2016

HerCanberra Team

Getting geared up for ‘Straya Day? Here’s where to party, relax and celebrate around our city and surrounds this 26 January (and the night before).

Whether it’s an all-out pool party, a concert headlined by an Aussie legend, a breakfast for a good cause or just some really great fireworks, you’ll find the perfect way to celebrate Australia right here.

Australia Day at the NFSA

What: A day of cinematic nostalgia and Australian classics // Best for: Groups of mates, couples, families with teenagers and cinema enthusiasts // Cost: $Free – $20

The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) is the place to be this Australia Day, with a program full of Aussie movie and TV classics on the big screen, an Aussie-themed menu including a sausage sizzle, Triple J Hottest 100 Countdown party in the sunny courtyard, a mini exhibition of costumes and props from the digitally restored film Starstruck, and a Q&A with its director, the acclaimed filmmaker Gillian Armstrong.

The big screen classics include the hit films Crocodile Dundee and The Castle, as well as the 1966 comedy They’re a weird Mob (Tickets $5 each, available online).

The evening continues with a screening of Starstruck ($14/12). Re-discover an Australian musical that was ahead of its time, now digitally restored by the NFSA, and join director Gillian Armstrong, for a special Q&A session. Don’t miss the Australia Day-only mini-exhibition, featuring original costumes and other items from the film, and dress up in your favourite 1980s outfit for your chance to win prizes!

The Australia Day event will be Canberra’s best option, filled with family films, entertainment and the ultimate guide for any new Australian citizen.

The Bench Room café will be selling food and beverages through the afternoon, including a sausage sizzle BBQ. The sunny courtyard will be broadcasting the annual Triple J Hottest 100 Countdown to keep you up to date on the favourite songs of 2015 while enjoying the sunshine.

Throughout the day, the Theatrette will also show episodes of the iconic Australian TV program Skippy (free, no booking necessary).


12 noon – 5pm: Skippy, FREE in the Theatrette
12 noon: Crocodile Dundee (1986, 97mins, M), $5,
2pm: The Castle (1997, 85mins, M), $5,
4pm: They’re a Weird Mob (1966, 112mins, G), $5, trybooking/JJFF
6.30pm: Starstruck (1982, 105min, PG), $14, . Followed by a Q&A with Gillian Armstrong
All day: Day pass for all four films $20,

Australia Day CBR Hottest 100 Beach Party

What: Pool Party at Westside Acton Park // Best for: Big groups of mates and families with kids // Cost: $25-35

Want to cool off on Aus Day but avoid the Clyde? Get set for Australia Day’s ‘coolest’ party.

Bring your swimmers, Havi’s and beach towel. Feel the sand between your feet, and relax in the baby pools, or head down the giant water slide, all while listening to Triple J’s Hottest 100.

Stick around after the countdown for a sunset screening, of the Aussie classic movie, THE CASTLE.

Early Bird Tickets – $25 + Booking Fee
Early Bird Tickets + Movie – $30 + Booking Fee
GA Tickets – $30 + Booking Fee
GA Tickets + Movie – $35 + Booking Fee
Tickets –

All Westside vendors will be open and serving food all day and there’s a free Shuttle bus to and from Civic running every hour.

Damsel and Sprout (the team behind the CBR Santa Pub Crawl) have teamed up with UBER to make sure you get home safe.

Use the code word CBRAUSDAY when booking, and all new users will receive $20 off the first ride.

January 26 from 12pm at Westside Acton Park, Barrine Drive, NewActon.

Lamington cocktails at Highball Express

What: An afternoon and evening of delicious cocktails and boutique rum // Best for: Couples, groups of mates, cocktail enthusiasts and rum connoisseurs //Cost: Drink prices vary 

Highball Express are putting a twist on Australia Day. Enjoy a good ol’ summer sausage sizzle out on the balcony and their bartender’s special ‘Straya Lamington Cocktail’ up at the bar.

Taste the spirit of Australia with their All Aussie Rum Flight, featuring:
– Substation No.41 (Qld)
– Bundaberg Small Batch (Qld), and
– Hoochery Distillery (Ord River WA)

Served with hand chipped ice, sugar and Angostura bitters on the side for only $40.

This is a great way to experience a selection of Aussie rums as you wish; neat, on ice or mix yourself a quick rum Old Fashioned.

From 4pm January 26 at 1/82 Alinga Street (access via staircase in the laneway behind the building). Visit the website for more details.

2016 Australia Day Fireworks Spectacular

What: A variety of firework shows // Best for: Families with kids, people who want to picnic // Cost: Free

Grab a picnic and head to Regatta Point or to the lawns of the National Library to secure your spot for the Australia Day Fireworks Spectacular.

The annual fireworks show promises to be the perfect way to cap off a fun-filled Australia Day with family and friends.

Enjoy a dazzling fireworks display which will light up the sky above the lake and surrounding national icons as Canberra’s Australia Day Fireworks Spectacular concludes the day’s celebrations.

Fireworks are best viewed from Regatta Point and the lawns of the National Library of Australia.

Entertainment starts from 6.30pm and the fireworks are at 9pm.

The Australia Day Fireworks Spectacular is proudly presented by the ACT Government and the National Australia Day Council.

Tuesday 26 January 2016, 6.00pm to 9.30pm on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin, Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra. Click here for more information.

Australia Day Festival | Continuing Culture

What: A heritage and history based celebration // Best for: Families, groups of friends, people who want to escape the heat // Cost: Free and small donations

With the incredible Encounters exhibition as a backdrop, meet new generations of Indigenous artists and practitioners who are keeping culture alive and strong.

Enjoy talks, film, demonstrations, craft, music, dance and performances by B2M (Bathurst to Melville), a unique seven-piece R’n’B band from the Tiwi Islands. Free event (some activities may request a small donation)

Tuesday 26 January 2016, 10am to 2pm at the National Museum of Australia, Lawson Crescent, Acton. Click here for more information.

Dinosaur Train Live Stage Show

What: A stage show with plenty of dinosaurs // Best for: Families with small children // Cost: Free

Jump aboard the ‘Dinosaur Train’ this Australia Day!

Come join Buddy T-Rex and Tiny Pteranodon in this fun-filled, interactive and immersive live trip back in time to an age when dinosaurs roamed the earth….and rode in trains.

Tuesday 26 January 2016, 10.30am to 10.50am. Stage 88, Commonwealth Park, Albert Street, Parkes. Click here for more information.

Salute to Nation

Be sure to head to Stage 88 at midday for the Salute to the Nation, where you can sing the national anthem in harmony with popular local duo Dos Locos.

Tuesday 26 January 2016, 12pm to 12.10pm. Stage 88, Commonwealth Park, Albert Street, Parkes. Click here for more information.

Great Aussie Day Breakfast

What: A huge breakfast with a charitable aim // Best for: Everyone // Cost: Free but gold coin donations encouraged

Let ActewAGL and Canberra Milk pick up the tab for the most important meal of the day at the Great Aussie Day Breakfast.

Even though breakfast is free, gold-coin donations are encouraged, with all money raised going to Pegasus Riding for the Disabled. Pegasus is a not for profit charitable organisation which relies on donations, volunteering activities and gifts to provide therapeutic horse-facilitated programs and activities for people with disabilities.

This year, the breakfast menu is sure to offer the perfect start to an exciting day, with sausages; flavoured milk ensure even the hungriest little vegemites are satisfied.

Tuesday 26 January 2016, 7:30am to 10:30am. Stage 88, Commonwealth Park, Commonwealth Park, Albert Street, Parkes

Click here for more information.

Festival Fun for all the Family

What: A whole day out for the whole family // Best for: Families with children of all ages // Cost: Varied

Head to Commonwealth Park West for loads of free family fun and entertainment!

Kids of all ages can throw themselves at the inflatable Stick Up Wall, race down the Jump ‘n’ Slide, negotiate their way through the inflatable Worm, or jump to their hearts content on the Party Castle.

There will be face painters and glitter tattoo artists, giant games to play with friends and family including chess, tug of war, egg and spoon races and two water bomb toss challenges at 9:30am -11am and 12 noon to 1:30pm.

Explore the HMAS Harman rigid hulled inflatable and the ACT Fire and Rescue truck or learn about one of the many critters at the National Zoo and Aquarium.

Tuesday 26 January 2016, 9am to 2pm. Commonwealth Park West, Commonwealth Park, Albert Street, Parkes. Click here for more information

Amusement Park Activities and Rides

What: A boatload of fun for littlies // Best for: Families with children of all ages and teenagers // Cost: $25 for unlimited rides until 2pm

From the fast and furious to the family friendly, run wild and enjoy the festival atmosphere on a range of exciting rides in Commonwealth Park. Tickets from $5 or buy an unlimited pass till 2pm for $25.

  • Supa cha
  • Cups
  • Flying chairs
  • Jumping castles
  • Slide 3 slides

Tuesday 26 January 2016, 9am to 2pm at Commonwealth Park West, Commonwealth Park, Albert Street, Parkes. Click here for more information.

Workshop with Wiradjuri Echoes

What: A celebration of and education about indigenous art // Best for: Heritage, history and art enthusiasts // Cost: Free

Create a remarkable artistic story at the hour long Aboriginal dot workshop and learn about Indigenous culture and storytelling with well known local Aboriginal dance, music and art group, Wiradjuri Echoes.

Tuesday 26 January 2016, 9.30am to 10.30am. Commonwealth Park West, Commonwealth Park, Albert Street, Parkes. Click here for more information.

Sing Australia Concert

What: An uplifting morning concert // Best for: Early risers, families, musical enthusiasts // Cost: Free

Be entertained and sing along with the Sing Australia choir as they perform iconic Australian songs on Australia Day morning

Tuesday 26 January 2016, 7.30am to 8.15am at Stage 88, Commonwealth Park, Commonwealth Park, Albert Street, Parkes. Click here for more information.

Australia Day National Carillon concert

What: A rare carillon concert // Best for: Families, musical enthusiasts and people wanting to picnic or be outdoors // Cost: Free

There is no better place to be this Australia Day than in the heart of the nation’s capital – Lake Burley Griffin.

Bring a picnic lunch and join carillonist Leonard Weiss for a free lakeside concert at 12:30pm, celebrating new and old Australian favourites in an all-Australian performance.

Tuesday 26 January 2016, 12.30pm to 1.20pm at the National Carillon, Aspen Island, Canberra, Aspen Island, Parkes. Contact Leonard Weiss at [email protected] for more information.

Make sure to share ‘Australia Day Your Way’

From 12am Tuesday 26 January 2016 to 8am Wednesday 27 January 2016, join us for Australia Day Your Way as the National Museum of Australia, Twitter and the National Australia Day Council create a digital snapshot of our national day in 2016.

No matter where you are or how you are celebrating, you can be part of history by taking a photo and using the hashtag #australiaday on Twitter.

Check out the live curated feed on the Australia Day Your Way website.

National Museum of Australia, Lawson Crescent, Acton.


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