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Australia Day Brisbane 2020: Events and information

A guide to what's on in Brisbane on Australia Day.


Australia Day fireworks in Brisbane.

Australia Day is one of the biggest days on our nation's calendar. Not only is it the day that the First Fleet landed in Port Jackson, it's also a day to celebrate how multicultural our nation has become.

And hey, being a public holiday doesn't hurt either.

From fireworks displays to all-nighters at the pub, whatever you have in mind for the day there's an event out there to cater for it. Check 'em out here.


Image: Australia Day Queensland

Australia Day Brisbane fireworks

The moment every Brisbanite waits for on Australia Day.

No Australia Day celebration is complete without that grand finale of fireworks. Brisbane annually caps the night off early, sending its light display into the night at South Bank by 7:30pm.

Recommended viewing locations are Clem Jones Promenade, the Cultural Forecourt and River Quay.

For more info: Visit Brisbane

Brisbane's best Australia Day fireworks vantage points:

Fireworks vantage pointsWhat's happening?Food and drink
Clem Jones Promenade (Main display)No events planned.Alcohol-free event. Bars and restaurants nearby.
Cultural Forecourt (Main display)No events planned.
River Quay Green (Main display)Events from 2–6pm. Live music and food stalls.Alcohol-free area. Licensed venues in the area can serve alcohol on their premises. Food and drink for sale in the festival area.
Brennan and Apex Parks (Bribie Island display)Events run from 3–8pm. Live music, performers, lamington-eating competitions and games.Food for sale through food trucks.
Suttons Beach (Redcliffe display)Events run from 3–8pm. Live music, performers, lamington-eating competitions and games.Food for sale through food trucks.

Top Australia Day events and festivals in Brisbane

You won’t be able to avoid the festivals and markets in Brisbane on Australia Day – they’ll crop up everywhere as each suburb and region celebrates in some way or another.

Here are just a few to whet your appetite:


Great Australian Bites food festival, Regional Queensland

If you're hoping to spend Australia Day away from the big city this year, follow your nose to the Great Australian Bites festival.

For another year running, this foodie fest takes to regional Queensland with posts in Bargara, Cairns, Hope Vale, Lockhart River, Rockhampton, Townsville, Winton and Warwick.

Hope Vale's event is on 25 January while all other cities will be hosting the festival on 26 January.

This free event features the best fodder of the area in the form of pop-up stalls by local providers and makers. Local entertainment accompanies.

For more info: Great Australian Bites

Long Lunch for Australia Day.

Australia Day Long Lunch, Brisbane

Don't live in regional Queensland? Prefer to eat somewhere closer to the big smoke? Then why not check out the Australia Day Long Lunch.

This is the ultimate barbeque with mates and strangers, curated by chefs Deniz Coskun, Tony Tierney, Steve Hursey and Jason Anderson and built to share. Because that's what the Australian spirit is all about.

This meal is served at The Charming Squire from 1–4pm.

For more info: The Charming Squire

Image: Visit Moreton Bay

Redcliffe Australia Day festival

For atmosphere, sun and plenty of Australia Day entertainment, Suttons Beach in Redcliffe is a popular spot for families. From 3–8pm, there will be live performances, a lamington-eating contest, sand and water activities and free inflatables.

Acts on the musical bill include Cheyne Starkie, SeaNic Sounds, Space for Two and The Bassline Studios Band.

For more info: Visit Moreton Bay

Image: Visit Moreton Bay Region

Bribie Island Aussie Beach Party

From midday on Australia Day, Brennan Park on Bribie Island is set to be the hub of activity and entertainment. That's from the first performance at 3:10pm to the nightly fireworks at 8pm.

This big beach bash will feature beach games, live music and markets galore.

For more info: Australia Day on Bribie Island


Image: Kookaburra River Queens

Australia Day Brisbane cruises

Searching for the best vantage point to catch the Australia Day fireworks? Try a view from the river.

Turn that exciting public holiday into a marked special occasion by boarding a boat and sailing down the Brisbane River to a backdrop of colourful fireworks.

River cruise companies such as Kookaburra River Queens and Brisbane Cruises offer scenic sailings timed to ensure yours is the best seat in the house when the fireworks start.

Buffets, live music and costume prizes may be included in your sailing.

Koala & River Cruise - Return cruise with Entry into Lone Pine
Koala & River Cruise - Return cruise with Entry into Lone Pine

Tangalooma Day Cruise with Brisbane Transfers
Tangalooma Day Cruise with Brisbane Transfers


Sunday Lunch Cruise on the Brisbane River
Sunday Lunch Cruise on the Brisbane River


Australia Day cockroach races

Join in this Brisbane institution – no, really!

Avoid the rat race to see the fireworks and opt to spend your day at the pub, beer in hand partaking in this local tradition. For over 36 years Story Bridge Hotel has been hosting its annual "cocky races" where punters can put their little cocky's legs to the test to try and win the big bucks. Entry is via gold coin donation, which is given to charity.

Live bands and a dunking machine are on site to provide added entertainment and the day begins at 11am with the first race starting at midday.

For more info: Cockroach races

Australia Day sculpture session.

Australia Day Sculptures and Sunday Sessions

Those who prefer to unwind and soak up the local atmosphere can do no better than paying Mt Barney Lodge a visit on Australia Day.

On top of its pristine views of Mt Barney, the lodge will be showcasing local artworks along a sculpture trail. It's best done after 5pm when the silhouettes are at their best or at sunset when the sculptures light up.

While you wait, there's plenty going on at the lodge including live music and a pop-up cafe.

For more info: My Barney Lodge


Moonlight Cinema Summer Season

Chill out under the stars at an Australian-inspired Moonlight Cinema sesh.

For a more relaxing Australia Day, book yourself a spot on the green at the Moonlight Cinema.

This summer movie festival does the rounds across Australia this month. On 26 January, it's playing Aussie classic The Castle at its Brisbane outlet at The Amphitheatre in Roma Street Parkland.

For more info: Moonlight Cinema

Top free things to do on Australia Day in Brisbane

  • Australia Day flag raising ceremony: This tradition takes place at Jezzine Barracks in Townsville and is a tribute to our nation. It features the raising of the Australian, Queensland, Townsville, Governor's, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags and a 21-gun salute. Starts at 10am.
  • Barbeque at South Bank: Pack a picnic basket or nab a barbeque early at South Bank to spend a day in the city surrounded by the lively atmosphere of Australia Day festivities.
  • Learn about the local heritage at Caboolture Heritage Village: With more than 70 historic buildings, the village is one of the biggest historic sites in the region. On Australia Day there will be toad racing, kids' entertainment and festive food stalls. Doors open at 9am. Admission is $10 for adults. Children under 16 are free.
  • Australia Day at Victoria Park: All things Aussie are on at Victoria Park on Australia Day with Aussie tug-of-war, sack races, jumping castle and giant outdoor games just a small sample of what to expect. If that's not your style, the park's putt putt and driving range are available all Australia Day weekend. In light of the Australian bushfires, all proceeds from Great Northern Super Crisp sales will be donated to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal. 25 and 26 January 2020, 9am–4pm.

Are shops open on Australia Day in Brisbane?

Here are the major shopping centres that tend to open for Australia Day public holiday (27 January) and their trading hours. Opening times are subject to change.

  • Queen Street Mall: Times vary
  • Westfield Chermside: Open from 10am–5pm
  • Westfield Carindale: Open from 10am–5pm
  • Westfield Northlakes: Open from 10am–5pm
  • Westfield Garden City: Open from 10am–5pm
  • Westfield Helensvale: Open from 10am–4pm
  • Strathpine Centre: Open from 10am–4pm

Feature image: Australia Day Queensland

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