Australia Day marks the anniversary of the country’s first European settlement. In 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet placed a flag on Sydney Cove (Port Jackson), and was the beginning of what would eventually become the nation of Australia.
Contemporary Australia Day is a public holiday and still follows a wholly patriotic theme. It’s a time to spend quality moments with family and friends, and to celebrate all that’s great about being a fully paid-up Australian. Here are just some of the things that take place Down Under on this day of fun in the sun:
Family, friends, fun and food
Summer’s in full swing during Australia Day, so friends and family put on outdoor parties or head down to the local beach. BBQs and beer are often on the agenda, as are meat pies, strawberry pavlova and lamingtons. Lamingtons are an Australian treat, consisting of squares of sponge cake coated in chocolate sauce and sprinkled with coconut flakes.
Lamingtons – a tasty Australian treat
Awards and welcoming ceremonies
Each year, the country celebrates the achievements and contributions of its people through the Australian of the Year awards. Categories range from Young Australian of the Year to Australia’s Local Hero, and it’s down to the public to nominate. The winners are announced on Australia Day at Parliament House. Australia Day is also a time to celebrate citizenship, welcoming those who’ve officially joined the nation.
Sydney Harbour celebrations
The buzz around Sydney Harbour on Australia Day is unbeatable. Family and friends pack a picnic and congregate along the harbour’s edge to enjoy the day’s festivities. Fun activities are put on for the kids, and flash mobs, dancers and concerts featuring big musical acts take place throughout the day. And of course, in true Sydney style, the celebrations culminate with a spectacular fireworks display.
Sydney Harbour – photo by Adam Campbell used under creative commons licence
Hottest 100 songs of the year countdown
Australian radio station Triple J holds the world’s biggest annual music poll, named the Hottest 100. More than a million Australians place a vote for their favourite song of the last 12 months, and the countdown is the soundtrack of the day for many. This year Chet Faker’s Talk Is Cheap made the top of the chart.
Australia Day cricket
Australia Day cricket is something of a tradition. Sports-lovers tune into the one-dayer to watch the nation’s test cricket team compete against another of the world’s leading teams. The event has traditionally taken place in Adelaide, but 2015 saw the match being hosted at the redeveloped Sydney Cricket Ground.
If you’re keen to get a feel for the Aussie way of life, join us on one of our tours of Australia. On our 8-day Contrasts of Australia tour, you’ll get to see all the must-see sights and enjoy lunch with Bondi Beach locals. Or on our 9-day Discover Australia tour, you’ll have the chance to try your hand at traditional dot paining with Aboriginal artists.