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Australia Day Brisbane 2018 | Events and information

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

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, amirite?

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.

In short: Australia Day Brisbane information:

  • Australia Day fireworks: Various fireworks displays are held throughout Brisbane. The most popular are at Southbank, Redcliffe and on Bribie Island. They run from 7:30pm–7:40pm.
  • Annual Australia Day events: Australian of the Year Awards, the Australian Citizenship ceremony and flag raising ceremony.

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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 caps the night off early, sending its light display into the night at River Quay Green, South Bank by 8pm.

Alternatively, there are also events capped off with fireworks displays on Bribie Island and in Redcliffe. These also begin at 7:30pm.

For more info: Australia Day Queensland

Brisbane's best Australia Day fireworks vantage points:

Fireworks vantage pointsWhat's happening?Food and drink
South Bank Parklands (Main display)No events planned.Alcohol-free event. Bars and restaurants nearby.
River Quay Green (Main display)Events starting from 11am. Live music and food stalls.Food and drink for sale in the festival area.
Brennan and Apex Parks (Bribie Island display)Events starting from midday (fireworks at 7:30pm). Live music by local artists and beach games and activities.Food for sale.
Suttons Beach (Redcliffe display)Events starting at midday (fireworks at 7:30pm). Live music, performers, lamington eating competitions and beach and garden games.Food for sale.

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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 the second year running, this foodie fest takes to regional Queensland with posts in Airlie Beach, Longreach, Charters Towers and Rockhampton.

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


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 midday until 8pm, there will be live performances, a lamington-eating contest, sand and water activities, giant jenga, and a hilarious toilet race.

Acts on the musical bill include Ben Timmings, Juzzie Smith, Dosed and Silk 'N' Oak. The festival concludes at 7:30pm with the annual fireworks.

For more info: Visit Moreton Bay


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Image: Visit Moreton Bay

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 12:10pm to the nightly fireworks at 7:30pm.

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

For more info: Australia Day on Bribie Island


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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.

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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 35 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 kicking off at midday.

For more info: Cockroach Races


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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 going true blue with a screening of Red Dog at its Brisbane outlet in New Farm Park outside Brisbane Powerhouse.

For more info: Moonlight Cinema


Top free things to do on Australia Day in Brisbane

  • Australia Day at Work: This Australia Day initiative encourages workplaces to show their national pride by decorating their offices and hosting morning teas or barbeques in the week leading up to Australia Day. All participants go into the draw to win catering packages.
  • 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 cane toad racing, wood chopping and festive food stalls. Admission is $10 for adults. Children under 16 are free.
  • Australia Day at Victoria Park: All things Aussie are on at Victoria Park today with Aussie tug a war, sack races, jumping castle and giant outdoor games just a small sample of what to expect. Today especially the Bistro were serve up true blue Aussie meals and all kids receive a free Maleny Dairies soft service ice cream and watermelon slices.

Are shops open on Australia Day in Brisbane?

Here are the major shopping centres that will open for Australia Day and their trading hours

  • 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

You can also spend this public holiday shopping from the comfort of your own home. We're throwing a True Blue Sale, celebrating Australian retailers, were you can save big on your favourite Aussie brands. Check it out here!


Feature image: Australia Day Queensland

Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at finder.com.au. On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal on hotels or a sale on flights, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too. Though probably not before she buys her own ticket.

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