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Australia Day in Sydney 2024 | Fireworks, events and more

Celebrate everything that makes us Australian on 26 January 2023. Onya, 'Straya!

Sydney fireworks.

Top deals on Australia Day activities in Sydney

Australia Day – it's the day that commemorates when the First Fleet arrived in Port Jackson in 1788.

It's also a public holiday and in 2024 it falls on a Friday. The perfect excuse to take Friday off and have a long weekend? We think so.

If you're searching for ideas and activities to fill up this no-work, all-play day, we know a few.

Australia Day fireworks in Sydney

Ahead of the pyrotechnics display, fill the day with some of the many events listed below.

The fireworks fill the sky from 9pm in a 15-minute demonstration of pyrotechnics, a flotilla of yachts, and jet ski and flyboard prowess.

Vantage points include First Fleet Park, Hickson Road Reserve, Circular Quay East, Overseas Passenger Terminal, Sydney Opera House and from on the water.

Most events are free.

Fireworks vantage pointsWhat's happening?TimeFood and drinkCost
Sydney HarbourSelect Australia Day fireworks cruises will be on the water during the fireworks. This includes Fantasea Cruises and Vagabond Cruises (see below).7.30pm–9.30pmFood and drink may be includedFrom $59 per person
Sydney Opera HouseThe Australia Day Live concert at the Opera House features Australian artists, including Dami Im and Casey Donovan.7.30pm–9.30pmFood and drink for saleFree; tickets are required
Hickson Road ReserveEvents run from 9am–6pm, including the Salute to Australia 11:30am–12:05pm. No events running during the fireworks.N/AN/AFree
Circular Quay restaurantsGraze MCA, Park Hyatt and The Squire's Landing are a few top spots where you can dine out and see the fireworks from your table.Until closeFood and drink for saleVaries

Our top picks for Australia Day fireworks cruises

sydney opera house

Australia Day 2024 events in Sydney

EventDetailsLocationTimeCostLearn more
Dawn ReflectionBefore the sun rises the sails of the Sydney Opera House will be lit with a First Nations Artwork.Sydney Opera House5:20am–5:40amFreeMore info
WugulOra Indigenous Morning CeremonyA smoking ceremony clears the way for new beginnings while song and dance celebrates the original custodians of the land and over 65,000 years of history.Walumil Lawns Barangaroo Reserve7:30am–8:30amFreeMore info
Yabun FestivalYabun Festival is the largest 1-day celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in Australia. Attend in person or see what's happening at the Yabun Stage, Corroboree and Speak Out via Yabun.org.au. You can listen at Koori Radio 93.7fm or via the Koori Radio app.Victoria Park, Broadway10am–6pmFreeMore info
Australia Day Live at the Sydney Opera HouseEach Australia Day, the Opera House hosts an Australia Day concert in its forecourt. A stellar line-up of true blue Australian musical acts will take the stage to belt out beloved hits, accompanied by a full orchestra.Sydney Opera House7:30pm–9.30pmFree (ticketed)More info
Australia Day Address and Family Fun FairTBCTBCTBCTBCMore info
GIO Oz Day 10K Wheelchair Road RaceTBCTBCTBCTBCMore info
188th Australia Day Regattaopen to every type of vessel from ocean racers and classic gaff-riggers to radio-controlled yachts and historic skiffs. This event gives sailors across NSW the opportunity to enjoy friendly sporting competition on the world's most beautiful waterways. Open to people of all ages and abilities.Sydney HarbourTBCTBCMore info
Salute to AustraliaTBCTBCTBCmTBCMore info
Sydney Harbour SplashBack for its 8th year, the iconic swims start at Rose Bay and follow the coastline giving participants stunning views to the Harbour Bridge.

The harbour provides predictable conditions for the open water first-timers and gives the competitive ones a chance to have a good crack at their PBs.

Rose Bay, Sydney Harbour6am–11amTickets from $55More info
Australia Day @ the HouseFancy a picnic at one of the most picturesque settings with stunning gardens and a view of Sydney Harbour? Here's your chance.Government House12:00 PM - 06:00 PMFree accessMore info
Family Fun with Surf Life Saving AustraliaTBCTBCTBCTBCMore info
Vintage Bus RideRide a 1949 vintage double-decker over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and back. Bus rides start at Macquarie Street and head to North Sydney and back with no stops.Circular Quay and North Sydney10:30am–5:30pmDonation to rideMore info
Australia Day FerrythonFerrython is back for another Australia Day – and this year, the ferries will be racing faster than ever!Sydney Harbour Bridge12:05pm - 12:30pmFree accessMore info
Australia Day at The RocksTBCTBCTBCTBCMore info
Navy Helicopter flag displayGlance skyward to see the powerful Seahawk chopper tow a giant Australian flag in an aerial celebration of the spirit of our nation.Sydney Harbour12pm–1.30pmFreeMore info
Australia Day at Darling HarbourEnjoy family fun activities and grab a bite to eat during the day before watching the Australia Day Live concert on the big screen in the evening.Darling Harbour12pm–9:30pmFreeMore info
Maritime MayhemDescribed as a monster truck race on water, watch jet skis perform stunts and tricks, a tug handling display and finally an all-out showcase of manoeuvrability performed to a soundtrack.Circular Quay12:15pm–12:25pmFreeMore info
Australia Day Harbour ParadeThis annual tradition sees boats and crews parade in their Australia Day finest as they challenge other vessels for best dressed and other prizes.Sydney Harbour11:30pm–2:00pmFreeMore info
Tall Ships RaceA fleet of historic and charter ships will race from Bradley's Head to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It's a sight to see.Bradley's Head to Sydney Harbour Bridge1pm–1:30pmFreeMore info
Working Harbour FestivalTBCTBCTBCTBCMore info
Sydney Lord Mayor's Citizenship CeremonyTBCTBCTBCTBCMore info

Things to do on Australia Day in Sydney

Australia Day harbour cruises

The best seat in the house is on the water. Lucky for you, there are stacks of cruises throughout the day as well as at night to catch the fireworks from this prime position.

Sydney Harbour Luxury Sailing Trip including Lunch
Sydney Harbour Luxury Sailing Trip including Lunch

Tripadvisor

Head to the beach

The most Aussie thing you can do on Australia Day is hit the sand and the surf. Some may be crowded, so you may have to hone in on quieter beaches if you wish to lay down your towel with room to spare.

Otherwise, why not get on the water? Watersports such as stand up paddleboarding and kayaking are heaps of fun.

Enjoy the sunshine with a picnic

Fire up that barbie at your local park or pack a gourmet meal for you and your loved ones on the green today. It's super relaxing and a great way to catch up with mates or pop the question, if that's your game.

Mystery Picnic in Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
Mystery Picnic in Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

Klook

Go to the movies

Summer and movies go hand in hand. For something extra special, why not check out an outdoor cinema or drive-in? Westpac Open Air and Moonlight Cinemas both run over the summer period.

This year's Westpac Australia Day showcase is Elvis, while Moonlight Cinema is showing The Banshees of Inisherin.

Alternatively, why not try something a little different and visit the opera? The Sydney Opera House offers fantastic views of the harbour. This year Velvet Rewired, led by Marcia Hines, is showing at 7:30pm.

Check out a festival

Festival season is here and with it are stacks of arts and cultural events that you can tuck into. Our picks include Yabun Festival, which is the largest 1-day celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and Sydney Festival, which is an arts festival filled with themed events and productions.

Top free things to do on Australia Day

  • Host a barbecue. Pick up some snags and a couple of 6-packs and invite your mates over.
  • Bake on the beach. Australia Day is notorious for being one big swelter fest. The best way to cool down? At the beach, naturally.
  • Catch the Sydney Harbour fireworks. When it comes to pyrotechnical displays, Sydney doesn’t hold back. So for a crackin’ good end to an awesome day out, flick on the TV and catch the action at 9pm.
  • Visit an art gallery or museum. Art galleries and museums don't tend to close on Australia Day. The Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Australian Museum are a handful of options in the city that have free entry on 26 January.

What's open on Australia Day in Sydney?

AttractionAustralia Day trading hoursWhere to book advance tickets
Blue Mountains Day Trip Including Parramatta River CruiseAll dayTripadvisor
Luxury Hunter Valley Wildlife & Wine Tasting Tour from Sydney730am–730pmTripadvisor
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium10am–4pmKlook
Jet Boat Tours10am–3pmAdrenaline
Tandem SkydivingAll dayExperience Oz
Virtual Room Sydney10am–9pmAmazed
Escape Hunt10am–8.30pmEntertainment
TreeTop Adventure Park7am–7pmAdrenaline
WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo10am–4pmRedBalloon
Taronga Zoo9:30am–5pmEntertainment
Sydney Opera House – guided tours10:30am, 12pm and 2pmViator

Are shops open on Australia Day in Sydney?

Here are the major shopping centres that are typically open on the Australia Day public holiday (26 January) and their trading hours.

  • Westfield Sydney (Pitt Street Mall): 9:30am–9pm
  • Westfield Bondi Junction: 10am–6pm
  • Broadway Shopping Centre: 10am–9pm
  • Westfield Warringah Mall: 10am–5pm
  • Supa Centa Moore Park: 10am–5pm
  • Westfield Miranda: 9am–6pm
  • Chatswood Chase: 9:30am–9pm
  • Westfield Chatswood: 9:30am–9pm
  • Macquarie Centre: 9:30am–9pm
  • Westfield Parramatta: 10am–6pm

Individual store opening times may vary.

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Stephanie Yip was the travel editor at Finder and has been writing about travel and lifestyle for over a decade. She has written for a range of travel publications including Thomas Cook Magazine and Showpo. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Communications from the University of Technology Sydney, Australia, and has visited over 50 countries (and counting). She has a passion for sharing her experiences and knowledge of travel and helping consumers stretch their travel cash while on holiday. See full bio

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