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Ten things to do around Canberra this Australia Day long weekend

By Zoe Pleasants 24 January 2019

Celebrate Australia Day in Canberra with flags, yachts, music, food, fireworks and fun!

There are many ways to celebrate Australia Day this weekend. There’s music and fireworks on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, movies and fine food at Pialligo Estate, ancient culture at the National Museum of Australia and plenty of sport. The UC Capitals are playing in the semi-finals of the WNBL on Friday night, the Brumbies are warming up against the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday and the Canberra Festival of Athletics is on Sunday and Monday. If the heat is getting to you, cool off at Canberra Olympic Pool’s Australia Day Pool Party, or head out of town to Contentious Character winery any time over the weekend for a BBQ featuring locally grown native herbs and spices paired with fine wine, or to Bungendore on Sunday for its annual show.

All weekend

River Garden Cinema & Australia Day Long-Weekend BBQ

Where: Pialligo Estate
When: Friday & Saturday, from 6 pm and Sunday, 5–10 pm
To celebrate Australia Day Pialligo Estate is launching its new outdoor cinema experience with the screening of two iconic Australian films, and hosting a BBQ on Sunday night. Priscilla Queen of the Desert will be screening on Friday night and Crocodile Dundee on Saturday night. Bring a picnic rug and relax on the lawns of the Estate, but leave the picnic at home as there will be a selection of Estate-grown and Smokehouse food available for purchase as well as a variety of local drinks. Check out the menu here. Gates open at 6 pm and the movies will start at 8:30 pm. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for kids over 3, book here. The BBQ on Sunday night will start at 5 pm, with activities for kids and teenagers, including new cubby houses. Check out the buffet menu here. There will be cash bars located around the Estate. Tickets are $59 for adults and $29 for kids, book here.

Canberra Festival of Athletics

Where: Stromlo Forest Park and AIS Athletics Track
When: Sunday & Monday
The Canberra Festival of Athletics is on this Sunday and Monday and will include a range of events from cross country to track and field. Sunday will feature the 2019 IAAF World Cross Country Selection Trials at Stromlo Forest Park and Monday will feature the Supernova Invitational 10 km Track Walk and the Canberra Track Classic at the AIS Athletics Track.

Friday

UC Capitals vs Perth Lynx

Where: AIS Arena
When: From 6 pm, game starts at 7 pm
WNBL finals basketball returns to Canberra this weekend after an eight-year hiatus. The UC Capitals have had a great season, finishing at the top of the ladder, and this has secured them home ground advantage for the finals. They will be playing the Perth Lynx in the semis at the AIS Arena this Friday night. Tickets from $15, book here.

Saturday

Australia Day in the Capital

Where: Various venues around Lake Burley Griffin
When: From 9 am
Celebrate Australia Day in Canberra with flags, yachts, music, food, fireworks and fun! The day kicks off at 9 am with the National Flag Raising and Citizenship Ceremony at Rond Terrace, continues in the afternoon with the Chief Minister’s Regatta from 2:45 pm on Lake Burley Griffin hosted by the Canberra Yacht Club, and finishes with music and fireworks. From 4 pm, the live music starts at Regatta Point, headlined by the Rogue Traders featuring Natalie Bassingthwaighte, and featuring a number of local bands including The Advocates, Los Chavos and Big Boss Groove. There will be a range of sporting and other activities to keep the whole family entertained at the Patrick White Lawns—try your hand at fast bowling or practice your golf swing—and there will be food trucks at both Regatta Point and the Patrick White Lawns. The night will finish with a firework display over Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and the lake at 9 pm.

Rome Up Late

Where: National Museum of Australia
When: 8 am–9 pm
The National Museum is celebrating the ancient cultures of Australia and Rome this Australia Day. Festivities start with a Welcome to Country at 10 am followed by tours of the Museum’s First Australians’ gallery, and activities in the main hall including Indigenous straw animal and doll making with Kalkadoon woman Ronnie Jordan and Tastes of the Bush demonstrations with Wiradjuri man Adam Shipp. Also check out the Museum’s Bush Mechanics exhibition and films. Then between 1–3 pm experience the wonder of Ancient Rome with roaming Romans, Rome-inspired craft activities, large-scale Roman board games, pop-up poets and curator talks. Visit a Roman encampment and witness Roman life as recreated by members of Australia’s enthusiastic Roman re-enactment groups. Also take the opportunity to visit the Museum’s Rome: City and Empire Exhibition, open 8 am–7 pm, which closes next week on Sunday 3 February. As Australia Day draws to a close, get ready for the fireworks with music from local DJ Disca-roo, games and a BBQ by Broadbean Catering outside on the Acton Peninsula from 4 pm. Fireworks over the lake are at 9 pm.

Paper Planes

Where: National Film and Sound Archive
When: 1 pm
For a quieter alternative on Australia Day, the National Film and Sound Archive is screening Paper Planes, a family film about a young boy who realises his dream of competing in the world paper plane championships. The real-life grown-up boys the film is based on will be in the Archive’s courtyard after the film for plane-folding lessons and a plane-flying competition at 3:30 pm. Tickets are $10, book here.

Trial Match: Brumbies vs Rebels

Where: Viking Park, Erindale
When: From 5:30 pm, kick-off at 6:30 pm
The Brumbies will be celebrating Australia Day by playing a pre-season trial match against the Melbourne Rebels at Viking Park. The match will be played over three periods of 30 minutes and will be an opportunity for Brumbies to work on combinations and get most of their players out on the field. The match will also provide a great opportunity for the fans to get up close with the players as the crowd will be allowed on the ground after the game to mingle with the players. Other activities to enjoy will include thong throwing, jumping castles and a cool-down zone. Entry is free.

Sunday

Bungendore Show

Where: Bungendore Showground
When: 9 am–4 pm
Head to Bungendore this Sunday as the community celebrates its produce at its annual show. Along with the traditional beef cattle and sheep judging, working dog demonstrations and equestrian events, there will be opportunities to pat baby goats, alpacas and reptiles, a pet parade and lots of competitions for your pet to enter. There will be a pavilion full of art and craft, photography, jams, cakes, homebrew, wool, fruit, vegetables and other produce, vintage farm machines on display and a sideshow alley to enjoy. There will also be great entertainment with a Tug-O-War, sack races, egg & spoon races, an egg toss challenge, a farmers challenge and partner-carry challenge to either watch or compete in! Check out the full program here. Tickets are $15, $35 for a family of 2 adults and 3 kids, $10 for seniors, and admission is free for kids under 13, book here or on the day.

Triple J Hottest 100 Countdown Parties

Where: Various venues
When: From 12 pm
The Triple J Hottest 100 will be playing from 12 pm this Sunday and you can listen to it while enjoying a quality craft beer at both Bentspoke Brewing in Braddon and Capital Brewing Company in Fyshwick. Both breweries will be celebrating the best beers and tunes of 2018 as they stream the GABS Hottest 100 Craft Beers poll and the Triple J Hottest 100 tunes.

Play Trains!

Where: Jerrabomberra Ave, Symonston
When: 10 am–2:30 pm
Canberra’s miniature trains will be running this Sunday for the first time this year. Rides cost $3 each or $15 for unlimited rides.


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