What’s not to love about Australia Day? It’s the perfect excuse to crack open a beer or two, wear your nicest pair of thongs and put a few lamb chops on the barbeque (to eat any other meat on 26 January would be considered un-Australian, as Sam Kekovich would have us believe).
If you don’t have plans yet, here’s our guide to where to go in Canberra on Australia Day 2015.
Australia Celebrates Live
25 January 2015, 5.45pm to 10.30pm at Federation Mall, Parliament House
Australia Celebrates Live takes place on the day before Australia Day, and the organisers claim it’s a national tribute to everything that is great about Australia on Australia Day. The free celebrations kick off with the Australian of the Year Awards, followed by the Australia Celebrates Live concert with performers including Jessica Mauboy and Paul Kelly. There’s also a glass and alcohol-free zone especially for families.
Australia Day in the Park
7am – 2pm, Stage 88, Commonwealth Park
Head to Stage 88 for some free Australia Day family fun including a children’s concert, rides, amusements, games, crafts and face painting. Stage 88 is also the place to be if you’d like to belt out Advance Australia Fair at the top of your lungs at lunchtime. (It’s part of the National Australia Day Council’s new campaign to encourage Australians to sing the national anthem together at noon on Australia Day.)
A Spirited Australia Day
10am – 3pm, National Museum of Australia, Lawson Crescent, Acton
Inspired by the exhibition Spirited: Australia’s Horse Story, A Spirited Australia Day at the National Museum of Australia celebrates Australia Day and all things horse. There will be country music, horse rides, puppet shows and performances by X Factor star Caitlyn Shadbolt and country musician Warren H Williams. Entry is free but costs apply to some activities.
Australia Day Hottest 100 Party
12pm – 9pm, National Portrait Gallery
Looking for something different this Australia Day? Head to the Portrait Gallery for drinks, a barbecue, vintage games, fashion and entertainment. Triple J’s Hottest 100 will be counting down on the stereo too. This event is free and bookings aren’t required.
Australia Day Cocktail Cruise
2pm onwards, Canberra Southern Cross Yacht Club
Why watch fireworks by the lake when you can watch them from a privileged position aboard the M.V. Southern Cross? Tickets are $99.55 per person and include canapés, cocktails and drinks. Tickets are available from Ticketek.
Australia Day Fireworks Spectacular
6pm-9.30pm, Lake Burley Griffin Central Basin
End Australia Day by enjoying the Australia Day Fireworks Spectacular on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. You’ll apparently get the best views from Regatta Point, the lawns of the National Library and Rond Terrace, but set your picnic blanket down early to get a good spot for the 9pm show.
UPDATE (22 January 2015): Here are some events we missed earlier in the week:
- Little Brooklyn in Kingston is hosting a Triple J Hottest 100 party
- Hopscotch Bar are finally firing up the spit and will launch it this weekend (there’s live music all weekend too)
- Smoque in Civic and Woden have a special Australia Day smoqued kangaroo tasting plate and $25 buckets of beer – available all weekend
- Knightsbridge is celebrating Straya Day Eve with XXXX Gold and maybe even the odd Shandy on Sunday night
- Duxton is open from 12pm on Monday and playing the Triple J Hottest 100. It’s also the place to go for $35 Corona buckets, $5 house wine and $5 Coopers
- Thredbo will host the nation’s highest Australia Day barbecue at the summit of Mount Kosciusko
- DEEKS Café and Lounge at Pearce Shops is celebrating the Aussie spirit with a family fun day on Saturday 24 January from 10am to 2pm. Rob de Castella will be on hand to fire up the barbecue alongside fellow DEEKS co-founder Bill Giles
Have a good long weekend!