Here in the land of Oz we love to celebrate our national pride in our laid-back way of life with, well, a public holiday! Make the most of January 26 falling on a Thursday in 2017 and take a long weekend in Sydney. It’s where you’ll find the best places to relax, eat awesome Aussie food (another fine tradition of ours) and feast on free family-friendly festivities in the city and surrounds.
BBQ by the bridge
Nothing says Australia Day like a barbecue and where better to hold it that under one of the nation’s most iconic landmarks the Sydney Harbour Bridge? And in great Aussie tradition, the fare will have a multicultural flavour too. Get along to Bradfield Park in Milsons Point – a spectacular vantage point to watch the the Sydney Harbour festivities – for a scrumptious serve of barbecued cuisines from around the world, from traditional Australian to American, Malaysian and Middle Eastern. North Sydney Council is also putting on live music and free entertainment. You can cuddle up to a native critter, try your hand at circus skills or let the kids loose on a jumping castle.
Bradfield Park, Milsons Point.
10am – 4pm.
Sydney city celebrations
Grab all sorts of eats, catch plenty of beats and savour the spectacle that is Australia Day on Sydney Harbour and across the city. From the Quay to The Rocks, Hyde Park to Darling Harbour, you’ll be spoilt for choice. From the food to the ferrython, the cruising concerts and celebs on stage outside the Opera House, salutes to the nation and indigenous ceremonies, there’s no stopping us Aussies when we get to blowing our own trumpets, in the nation’s number-one city no less! Australia Day in NSW has all the details to plan your day.
Snags at Sydney Olympic Park
A traditional Aussie sausage sizzle (if you’re visiting from overseas, just ask for a snag and sauce on bread – trust us, it’s awesome) and international street food are on the menu at Sydney Olympic Park come January 26. The celebration of the nation includes plenty of free festivities from live music, carnival rides, face-painting, kids’ craft and sports clinics. Australia Day fireworks will set the night off with a bang at 8.50pm, before the latest instalment of the movie series chronicling the life and times of a loveable and legendary pup, Red Dog: True Blue, is shown under the stars on the big screen from 9pm.
Cathy Freeman Park, Olympic Boulevard, Sydney Olympic Park.
4pm – 10.30pm.
Sydney Fish Market
If it’s shrimp on the barbie you’re after, there’s a top spot where all the locals go to get their fresh seafood for festive occasions from Christmas to Easter and Australia Day. Sydney Fish Market is a destination in itself. As a working fish market and the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, there’s plenty to see and do any day of the week, from auctions and behind-the-scenes tours. You can even channel your inner-chef at Sydney Seafood School. And then of course there’s the delicious fresh fish and other ocean fare, with plenty of spots to eat in or take away. By sure to pick up some prawns, an Australia Day favourite.
Bank Street and Pyrmont Bridge Road, Sydney.
Beer at 4 Pines Manly
We’re all for responsible drinking and while we’re proud to acknowledge beer as a favoured national drink, it’s about savouring not skolling! So on our national day we make sure it’s a special brew, best enjoyed in God’s country. We first discovered 4 Pines some years ago at their first micro brewery and bar at Manly. The chilled atmosphere and even colder beer won us over. Evidently it satisfied a few other palates too: this mob now has four venues (with a fifth coming soon) around Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Head to Brew Pub Manly, where it all began, for an Aussie ale, a Manly mega burger, or our (admittedly English) favourite, a ploughman’s platter.
29/43-45 East Esplanade, Manly.
Monday – Sunday, 11am – late.