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.
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 South Bank by 7:30pm.
Recommended viewing locations are Clem Jones Promenade, the Cultural Forecourt and River Quay. Keep an eye out this year for six pyrotechnic jet ski performers, which is a new spectacle for the celebration.
Alternatively, there are also events capped off with fireworks displays on Bribie Island and in Redcliffe, both at 8pm.
For more info: Visit Brisbane
Brisbane's best Australia Day fireworks vantage points:
|Fireworks vantage points||What'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 1-5:30pm. Live music and food stalls.||Alcohol-free area. Licenced 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 starting from 3pm (fireworks at 8pm). Live music, beach games and activities.||Food for sale through food trucks.|
|Suttons Beach (Redcliffe display)||Events starting at 3pm (fireworks at 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’s 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 Airlie Beach, Bundaberg, Hope Vale, Rockhampton, Townsville and Warwick.
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 3-8pm, there will be live performances, a lamington-eating contest, sand and water activities and free inflatables.
Acts on the musical bill include James Taylor, Asa Broomhall, The Lighthearts and The Shine. The festival concludes at 8pm with the annual fireworks.
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
Brisbane Sightseeing Tour and Brisbane River Cruise
Moreton Bay Marine Park Dolphin Cruise Including Lunch
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
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 playing Widows 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
- 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, 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 today with Aussie tug a war, sack races, jumping castle, face painting and giant outdoor games just a small sample of what to expect. Today especially the Bistro were serve up true blue Aussie meals. 26 and 27 January 2019, 10am-5:30pm.
Are shops open on Australia Day in Brisbane?
Here are the major shopping centres that tend to open for Australia Day public holiday (28 January) and their trading hours.
- Queen Street Mall: Times vary.
- Westfield Chermside: Open from 10am-5pm (2019 hours TBC)
- Westfield Carindale: Open from 10am-5pm (2019 hours TBC)
- Westfield Northlakes: Open from 10am-5pm (2019 hours TBC)
- Westfield Garden City: Open from 10am-5pm (2019 hours TBC)
- Westfield Helensvale: Open from 10am-4pm (2019 hours TBC)
- Strathpine Centre: Open from 10am-4pm
Feature image: Australia Day Queensland