Ah, Australia Day. The day the First Fleet came to our shores. The day that marks the end of holidays when you’re a kid (boo). The day to celebrate this freakin’ awesome country we are lucky enough to call home. I did some hard core research and compiled this list of 15 ways to celebrate Australia Day.
1. Listen to the Hottest 100
I mean, this has to be first as it is how millions of Aussies spend their day. Triple J’s Hottest 100 counts down, you guessed it, the top 100 indie songs of the year before. You won’t find Bieber on this list, but previous winners have included Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Mumford and Sons, and our very own Vance Joy. I just love listening to it as you discover so many new artists.
2. Have a BBQ
Who wants to be in the kitchen on Australia Day? No one. Head outside and cook some snags (sausages), burgers or steaks on the BBQ. Bonus points for caramelising some onions to put on your sanger (sandwich). Before you ask, there are no shrimps on the barbie, just prawns. Paul Hogan is a liar.
How good does Bondi Beach look? Check out other things to do in Sydney.
3. Be in, under or on the water
Australia is blessed with some of the world’s best beaches, so it is kind of criminal not to enjoy the beach on the nation’s day. Growing up in North Queensland, I personally spent most Australia Days by the backyard pool. As long as your Australia Day includes some kind of water, you are celebrating correctly.
4. Work and be paid LOTS
Okay, I have also chosen this option when available at my casual jobs over the years. In Australia, if you are working casually on a public holiday you should technically be paid 2.5 times your normal rate. I know this isn’t always the case, but if it is at your workplace, working on Australia Day ain’t so bad.
5. Watch some sports
This year I will be spending my Australia Day working at the Australian Open, which is our Grand Slam tennis tournament. If you’re in Melbourne, why not check out a match? Elsewhere in the country you can also tune into TV. There is also guaranteed to be some kind of cricket match on — it’s Australia after all.
A roo moment in Tasmania
6. Be one with Australian nature
Find a koala to hug. A kangaroo to try and take a selfie with like T. Swift. A crocodile to photograph from a safe distance. Australia may be known for its wide variety of deadly creatures, but we are home to some pretty damn adorable ones too.
7. Chow down on some Aussie sweets
I never realised just how much I loved Tim Tams until I moved to Canada and squealed with delight when we got a big box of them to share with customers. A Tim Tam is a chocolate biscuit covered in chocolate with a layer of chocolate inside. Yes, it’s choc-riffic. The Aussie way to enjoy them is biting the ends, dipping it into your coffee or tea and sipping through the biscuit. This is called a Tim Tam Slam. If you want to get crazy, try it with Milo: our favourite chocolate drink. Other desserts to consider are lamingtons (sponge cake smothered in chocolate and coconut) or pavlova (meringue topped with cream and fruit). Yes, we do good sweets, I know.
Exploring beautiful Melbourne
8. Go to an Australia Day event
Most cities in Australia organise an event to celebrate the day. This can include a citizenship ceremony, musical performances, food and fireworks. Check out the official Australia Day website to find out what is happening in your area. Sydney has fireworks and Sneaky Sound System performing at Darling Harbour. Melbourne has a parade through the CBD and fireworks in Docklands. Celebrate Australia Day with your community.
9. Watch the Australian of the Year Awards
So every year, an amazing Aussie is named Australian of the Year on Australia Day Eve. There is always a concert in Canberra in front of Parliament House and some pretty sweet music too. This year Jimmy Barnes is performing (a.k.a. an Aussie music icon) and the concert will be broadcast on ABC.
Tangalooma Wrecks off Moreton Island, Queensland
10. Go camping
Now, camping wouldn’t be my ideal way to celebrate Australia Day, but if it’s your cup of tea, the public holiday is a great time to head to the country/bush/beach. Just be warned, camping in some places and on the side of the road is illegal, and police are out in force on Australia Day, so stick to designated campsites.
11. Watch a classic Aussie movie
Let’s be honest: Australia isn’t known for its amazing films. But there are some classics that will make you laugh/shudder at their ridiculousness. Firstly, The Castle. This was the film that put Eric Bana on the map. Crocodile Dundee will make you second guess going to the Outback. Muriel’s Wedding will have you calling everyone Muriel afterwards. Australia just needs to be watched for Hugh Jackman (that man is a god). I also believe it is totally acceptable to watch any movie starring Heath Ledger.
Australia’s most famous bridge at Sydney Harbour
I mean, we are Aussie. It is kind of criminal not to have a beer (or five) when celebrating Australia Day. Bonus points for sticking to Aussie drinks, which shouldn’t be too hard. There are plenty of Australian craft beers stocked in bottle shops.
13. Play a game of backyard cricket
I don’t like to watch cricket, but backyard cricket is a lot more fun. All you need is a bat, ball, and something to act as a wicket. If you want to spice things up, celebrate Australia Day with a game of AFL or rugby with friends.
Road tripping along the Great Ocean Road
14. Choose your colour scheme
Now, this is a hard one. To fully celebrate Australia Day, you need to dress the part. Now, you could go blue and red, the colours of our flag. Or you could go green and gold, our official sporting colours. I am partial to blue and red myself. It is also compulsory to wear thongs (on your feet).
15. Explore your country
Yes, this country is massive. But why not celebrate Australia Day exploring another part? You don’t have to take a flight — go on a road trip and see what beauty you can find in your own backyard. Check out my Australia archive for inspiration, and my 9 favourite places.
Cuteness overload found on Magnetic Island
One last suggestion…
When I was younger, there was this advertisement on TV telling us to slip, slop, slap: “slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat.” Welcome to Australia, seriously. But if you are going to be out, always remember the 3 S’s. The Aussie sun is ruthless — says the most pale Aussie ever. If you want some killer sunburn horror stories, I can tell you a few.
Whatever you get up to this Australia Day, I truly hope you enjoy yourself. I may have seriously itchy feet and want to travel the entire world right this very second, but I will always call Australia home. Aussie Aussie Aussie (Oi Oi Oi).