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10 ways to celebrate Australia Day (including some you may not have thought of!)

Amanda Whitley

This weekend sees an explosion of national pride, as we celebrate this great country we call home. We’ve got 10 ideas on how to spend Australia Day – including some you may not have thought of!


Australia Celebrates Live

Australia Celebrates Live is a national tribute to everything that is great about Australia on Australia Day eve. Pack your picnic rug, cover yourself in Australian colours and come and enjoy 2014’s great evening of entertainment. Look out for the Family Area; a glass and alcohol-free zone especially for families.

The celebrations kick off with the Australian of the Year Awards and will be followed by all the excitement of the Australia Celebrates Live concert with some of Australia’s favourite performers: Matt Corby, Megan Washington, Lior and Havana Brown.

At Federation Mall, Parliament House from 5pm on Saturday 25 January.

Australia Day in the Park

It’s all happening in Commonwealth Park this Australia Day with loads of fun for the whole family from 7:30am to 9:15pm.

Australia Day in the Park will feature entertainment and activities all the familiy can enjoy including the amazing Children’s Concert, featuring free, live entertainment. The kids can enjoy rides, amusements and games, make something crafty or be painted with Aussie faces and tattoos.

Wander down to Rond Terrace if you want to watch the National Flag Raising and Citizenship Ceremony.

Australia Day Festival

Head along to the National Museum of Australia (NMA) for Australia Day Festival – a fun day out for the whole family. Experience new exhibitions Old Masters: Australia’s Great Bark Artists, and On Country: Connect, Work, Celebrate, with curator talks, engage in hands-on craft and enjoy great entertainments.

Back by popular demand, Move it Mob Style will be running some deadly hip-hop dance workshops. Say hello and sing along with best friends Yamba the Honeyant and Jacinta Price, as seen on Yamba’s Playtime on TV. Be brave and handle a scaly critter with the Canberra Reptile Zoo.

It’s all happening from 10am to 2pm on Australia Day, at the NMA.

Australia Day Fireworks Spectacular

There’s no better way to end Australia Day with your family and friends than by enjoying the Australia Day Fireworks Spectacular on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin.

At 7pm view the lake based entertainment from Regatta Point, the lawns of the National Library or Rond Terrace. See the sky above Lake Burley Griffin come to life with a dazzling fireworks display to a truly Aussie soundtrack at 9pm.

Pack your picnic and a rug and enjoy the range of entertainment and tucker on offer at the spectacular fireworks display over Lake Burley Griffin for Australia Day 2014.

Australia Day Northside

Celebrate Australia Day at Belconnen Arts Centre and participate in free, fun activities for all ages and abilities throughout Australia Day  – Belconnen style!

Choose to sing, dance, take a gallery tour of the exhibition, try some arts and crafts – there is something for all the family. A barbeque will be sizzling from 11:00am, chilled drinks and snacks available from the kiosk all day, and free ice-creams on offer from Gelatissimo!

Hot live music will be performed as well from As Famous as the Moon, Blue Moon Cafe and The Famuis. This is a free gig not to miss and it’s happening from 10:30am–4pm this Sunday 26 January.

Celebrate with 100% local ice cream!

Get yourself to Stripey Sundae in Gold Creek for some of their special ‘Australia Day’ themed flavours! Not only will there be “Tim Tam”, but loads of other Australian-inspired flavours, including lamington, pavlova and wattle seed…and they’re all made by local ‘ice cream alchemist’, John Marshall of Frugii.

They’re open from 10am to 5pm all long weekend at ‘Ginninderra Village’, 11 O’Hanlon Place, Gold Creek.

Strewth – Free Macarons!

When are macarons Aussie? When they come in Lamington, Pavlova and Iced Vovo varieties!

To celebrate Australia Day Lu’mon Macarons and Farmers Daughter in the Canberra Centre (located within cooee of Jamie’s Italian have teamed up to offer two days of Australian macaron flavours – for FREE!

Just grab a coffee from the Farmer’s Daughter Café on Sunday 26 or Monday 27 January, and you’ll get a free Australia Day Macaron. Fair dinkum!

Go to the movies!

Celebrate with discount $5 movie tickets this Australia Day long weekend at Palace Electric at New Acton. Yep, that’s right! Just $5 for any movie from Friday 24 to Monday 27 January! Don’t miss out, sessions will sell out quickly, so book online now.

If you’re there on Oz Day afternoon between 1pm and 6pm, pop over to A.Baker’s Sunday Sipper Sessions – grab a drink from the outdoor bar, pull up a deck chair and settle in with a plate of charcuterie to the sounds of some cool local DJs.

Get patriotic with our unofficial national anthem

Waltzing Matilda  is Australia’s unofficial national anthem. And the National Film and Sound Archive’s (NFSA) Graham McDonald is the international expert on recordings of Waltzing Matilda (there are 713 different recordings of Waltzing Matilda in the NFSA collection!)

At 11am this Sunday 26 January, Graham will discuss and present a range of Waltzing Matilda  recordings. From classic to country, from big band to punk, from …. you name it. It’s free and it’s in the NFSA’s Theatrette. 

In the swim

How Aussie is a pol party? From noon this Sunday 26 January, Olims Bar and Beer Garden is hosting an Australia Day Pool Party – and it’s a little bit different… A $4 schooner of beer buys you three minutes in the pool, with a lifeguard watching guard for safety’s sake.

There’s also an ‘Iron Man’ comp where the winner takes out a $100 bar tab, and the Triple J Hottest 100 will be playing all day (an Australia Day tradition in itself). Plus there’ll be live music from 6pm if you’d like to continue the party in ‘Australia Night’.

So, there we have it – 10 great ways to spend Australia Day. How will you be celebrating?


Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author