There are hundreds of activities and festivities across Sydney to celebrate Australia Day. The Harbour is a central focus of the festivities, of course. Australia day is for many people a simple celebration of our country.
Many indigenous people do find the day offensive, however, being a celebration of their peoples’ invasion. Hopefully there is room for commiseration and celebration of Australia’s best points.
Local councils put on events and almost all of them have citizenship ceremonies as part of their program. Check with your local council to find events in your suburb.
How to find your local council
Click on the Find Your Council webpage and put in your address to find your local council.
Then just do a google search on ‘….your… council’ and ‘Australia Day’ to find out what is on.
Parramatta Council, click here, puts on a massive Australia day Party with a hot-air balloon display, classic vehicles, kids activities, live entertainment, delicious food, amusement rides and more.
Northern Beaches Council, click here, throws BBQ Breakfasts, thong throwing, face painting, live entertainment at Dee Why, Narrabeen and Newport. The Warringah Aquatic Centre and Manly Andrew Boy Charlton Swim Centre throw pool parties and the official Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony isheld at Glen Street Theatre.
Barbeque by the Bridge at North Sydney: enjoy delicious barbecue cuisines from around the world, including American, Brazilian, Middle Eastern and many more.
There will also be live music and free entertainment for all ages at Bradfield Park between 10am and 4pm on Friday 26 January, with the ARIA-nominated funk and soul band The Bamboos headlining at 12.20pm. Also performing are the Evergreen Collective, High Rollers and the Martini Club.
Visitors can get up close with some Australian native animals, learn some circus skills or simply enjoy the view. There will also be free face painting and jumping castles to keep the children entertained.
Bella Vista Farm Australia Day Event: there’s music, food, kids activities, roving convicts and loads more on at Bella Vista Farm. from 12pm – 9pm, the days ends with fireworks.
Here’s the list of what is happening in central Sydney and on the Harbour on Australia Day.
Wugulora Morning Ceremony
When: 07:45am – 08:30am
Where: Walumil Lawns at Barangaroo Reserve and Sydney Harbour Bridge, NSW, 2000
Celebrate with indigenous Australians at the start of the day. The Koomurri Aboriginal Dance Troupe will perform a smoking ceremony and Aborginal and Australian flags will be raised on Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Yabun Festival Camperdown
When: All day
Where: Victoria Park, Camperdown
You’ll find dance performances, children’s craft, workshops, music, food and craft stall at this celebration of indigenous culture.
The Children’s Festival at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour
On the Tumbalong Stage:
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM — The Wiggles Australia Day Concert (*ticketed* but tickets are free, being released on 16th January, click here to subscribe to newsletter to stay informed.)
12:15 PM to 1 PM — The Vegetable Plot
1:15 PM to 1:45 PM — The Beanies
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM — Big Science – Fizzics Education
TRUE BLUE BUSH GAMES (12:00 PM TO 3:00 PM)
Throw a thong, see how much watermelon you can chomp your way through or chuck a steak on the barbie. Get involved and win a prize!
CIRCUS WORKS (12:00 PM TO 3:00 PM)
Have you ever dreamed of joining the circus? Here’s your chance!
Join the fun and interactive circus playground for kids and adults.
Peddle your heart out on a unicycle, try your hand at juggling, test your balance on sky-high stilts, and keep things balanced and spinning.
ROVING PERFORMERS (11:00 AM TO 3:00 PM)
Darling Harbour will be full of zany and peculiar characters once again. Can you find them? Try to catch the giant bouncing roos, stilt pirates and roving seagulls.
AFTERNOON SUMMER SESSIONS (3:00 PM TO 8:00 PM)
Ok mum and dad, now it’s your turn to party. Check out the Afternoon Summer Sessions. Darling Harbour comes to life all afternoon with fine-dining and fantastic outdoor venues. Grab a drink at the pop-up bar then cut loose to some essential funk and soul music – including nine-piece funk-soul powerhouse band, The Bamboos, live on the main stage.
On The Harbour: Ferrython, Tall Ships race etc
Ferython Race 11am – 11.30am
21 Gun Salute 11.30am – 12.105pm
Tug and Yacht Ballet 12.15 – 12.15pm
Tall Ships Race 1pm – 1.30pm
Planes + Parachutes
- 12:02 PM — F18 fast jet fly past and handling display
- 12:18 PM to 12:50 PM — Helicopter flag display
- 1:15 PM — Qantas A380 fly past
- 2:00 PM — Red Beret parachute display
Australia Day Live Concerts + Fireworks
When: 6.30pm – 9.30pm
Where: Circular Quay
Watch Australia’s biggest music stars rock out on the big screens around Circular Quay as everything else hits the water – a flotilla of yachts, jet skis, flyboarders and much more. Get to Circular Quay with time to spare and don’t miss the spectacular fireworks throughout the show.
Position yourself where you can see the water at:
First Fleet Park
Hickson Road Reserve
Circular Quay (western or eastern promenades only)
Overseas Passenger Terminal
Sydney Opera House western boardwalk.
Please note that you, your bags and other items may be searched or screened for safety and security purposes.
Viewing will NOT be available from:
Circular Quay train station and wharf
Circular Quay southern promenade
Cahill Expressway Walkway.
There are no fireworks on the Sydney Harbour Bridge or outside Circular Quay.
6:30 PM to 7:30 PM — Pre-concert entertainment
Heritage and Working Boats Parade of vessels that call Sydney home
NSW Australians of the Year do a loop of Circular Quay by boat
Aussie classic hits sing along
7:30 PM to 9:30 PM — Concert live and televised around the country
7:30 PM — Welcome to Country performance with local Aboriginal elders, dancers and singer
8:00 PM — Tug and Yacht Ballet performed by a flotilla of maritime vessels
8:20 PM — Sunset Ceremony featuring performances by special guests and a dazzling lighting and fireworks spectacle
8:45 PM — Tribute to Opera sung by special guest and choir, accompanied by a stunning yacht ballet and lighting display, jet skis and fireworks
9:00 PM — Quay-wide party with an exciting on-water show and fireworks
9:15 PM — Spectacular finale with live musical medley of Australian classics synchronised with jet skis, flyboards and a breathtaking lighting and fireworks display.