Australian style: Celebrating Australia Day downunder

Question: What is there to do on Australia Day?
Answer: Plenty!

On January 26 every year Australians celebrate their national day at the beach, in backyard cricket, at barbecues, cockroach races, flag raising and fireworks. All and sundry are welcome to a number of key public events, or you can simply make up your own. The key is to enjoy yourself. You don’t have to be an Aussie. Here are some of the big events:

* Head to the World Championship Cockroach Racing at the Story Bridge Hotel in Brisbane. Bring your own roach or buy one on the day, get yourself a beer and away you go. Loads of thrills and a few spills too! Gates open at 11am.

* To appreciate the Aboriginal role in Australian history start the day with the Woggan-ma-gule Morning Ceremony from 8am at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney.

* Fireworks will be held in all major cities but the ones in Sydney Harbour should go off. They start about 7pm so go early to get a good spot. If you’re in Brisbane see the fireworks at around 7.30pm from Southbank, in Melbourne at Federation Square at approx. 9.15pm and in Perth at Fremantle.

* Tune in for the naming of the Australians of the Year – people that have made a difference to the nation.

* Read up on the Australia Day address, a national tradition since 1997.

* Head to your nearest beach to enjoy the fine summer weather. Fun places to go include Brisbane’s Southbank beach, the Gold Coast’s Surfers Paradise, Sydney’s Bondi Beach, Darwin’s Mindil Beach or Melbourne’s Brighton Beach.

* Take part in the Great Australia Day Swim, a 1.2km open water swim from Middle Brighton Pier to the beach beside the Middle Brighton Baths.

* If you’re in Perth head to Fremantle for entertainment, activities and fireworks. Or if bush poetry is more your thing Wireless Hill Park in Ardross has got a Bush Poetry Showcase from 1pm.

* If you’re in the far north of the country you can get sweaty on the big day in Darwin by joining in the Australia Day Fun Run/Walk. You only have to shuffle along for 3-5km and afterwards participants can take part in the Aussie Sausage Sizzle. Registration starts at 6am on Mindil Beach, the race starts at 7am.

* Join in the Barefoot Bowls Competition in Toowong, Brisbane held the 25th and 26th.

* To discover more of what’s on around the nation go to the Australia Day official website.

If you decide to have a quieter day there are still some things you could do on the day that are particularly Australian:

* Fly the Aussie flag – attach it to your car or your house
* Staple a few corks to your hat or get an Akubra
* Learn the national chant “Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi!”
* Throw a cricket ball around and endulge in some backyard action
* Chuck some snags on the barbie (sausages on the barbecue)
* Enjoy yourself!

If that’s not enough to choose from then see a full list of events and a scrollable map here.

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Hope you’re enjoying the VIP Backpacker’s Travel Blog. There’ll be an update added every other Friday, so keep tuning in to keep your travel dreams alive! If there are any travel topics you want covered feel free to contact me, Jo, at viplounge@vipbackpackers.com

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