Australia Day Gold Coast 2018 | Fireworks, events and more things to do

Fireworks, sailing trips, pop-up festivals and, of course, the beach. This is how the Gold Coast does Australia Day.

With sun, surf, bronzed bodies and a lively atmosphere, you can't beat the Gold Coast as a setting on Australia Day. You can pretty much guarantee that wherever you turn, the flag will be flying, eskies will be strewn and the nation's pride will swell.

Searching for something more than a towel-sized space on the beach to spend your day on today? There’s more you can do on Australia Day than sunbake.

Gold Coast's Australia Day Fireworks at Broadwater Parklands


Image: City of Gold Coast

The City of Gold Coast is hosting its Australia Day fireworks show for the second year running in Broadwater Parklands.

Local musical talent takes to the stage while little ones shall remain amused all afternoon long at the entertainment playground. Pack the picnic rug and tuck into a feast of food trucks and watersport displays while the fireworks crack overhead.

For more info: City of Gold Coast

Australia Day ]Gold Coast celebrations and events:


Image: Champagne Sailing Cruises

Australia Day cruise on the Gold Coast

From gondola and canal to scenic and island cruises - the Gold Coast has all the options to make your Australia Day.

Cap off the holiday period with a bang and board a river cruise to take in the sights and sounds of the Gold Coast. With Australia Day events ruling the city today, there’s no better excuse to pop the bubbly in celebration. If you want, you can even up the stakes and make yours a private charter for a romantic day out on the water.

Morning express with coffee and cake
Morning express with coffee and cake

Experience Oz



One of Australia’s best pop-up festivals is also an Australia Day fave.

OK, you caught us. OzFest doesn’t fall bang on Australia Day this year - but that’s only because it's an event that begs to claim a Saturday all to itself. If you’re still celebrating on 27 January (you will be) OzFest is the music festival to top off your Australia Day.

As the name suggest, the line-up is Oz-mazingly local. Acts in this year's festival include One Day, Polish Club, Cosmic Psychos, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets and Rackett.

For more info: OzFest

Image: Movie World

Gold Coast theme parks

Where the fun begins on the Gold Coast

Synonymous with a trip to the Gold Coast is a trip to its large network of theme parks. Whether you’re a SeaWorld lover or a Warner Bros. Movie World fan, each theme park will be transform itself into an Australian paradise on the 26th.

Full events and activities for the date have yet to be released but to give you an idea of what you can expect, in the past SeaWorld has hosted roving entertainment and a barbeque in its plaza while Dreamworld hosted a shearing show and sausage sizzle and sold lamingtons and ANZAC biscuits in its cafe.

Top free things to do on Australia Day on the Gold Coast

  • Play beach cricket: Up your game on the beach this year and pack the cricket set in the car for a match on the sand.
  • Host a barbeque: No room in your backyard? No worries! The Gold Coast is home to over 380 public barbecues in its parks and beaches. One has your name on it today.
  • Get to know your local pub or RSL: If your local pub or RSL isn’t doing something to commemorate the founding of our nation, we’ll eat our hats! Want to keep it local? Wander in your local to say "G’day".
  • Play barefoot bowls: Have a few laughs with mates new and old with a barefoot bowls friendly. Some Gold Coast faves include Burleigh Heads Bowls Club, Broadbeach Bowls Club, Southport Bowls Club and Tugun Bowls Club.
  • Catch the Burleigh Pro: This world famous surfing comp kicks off on Australia Day this year. Get behind your fellow Aussie and sing "C'mon Aussie, C'mon" in support of your fave sporting hero.

Are stores open on Australia Day on the Gold Coast?

The major shopping centres that will open for Australia Day and their trading hours.

  • Harbour Town Outlet Shopping Centre: Open from 10am-5pm
  • Robina Town Centre: Open from 10am-4pm
  • Paradise Centre: Open from 9am-10pm
  • Pacific Fair Shopping Centre: Open from 9am-6pm
  • Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre: Open from 10am-4pm (Supermarkets and cafes open earlier).
  • Australia Fair Shopping Centre: Open from 10:30am-4pm
  • Marina Mirage: Open from 10am-6pm
  • Westfield Helensvale: Open from 10am-4pm
  • The Strand at Coolangatta: Open from 10am-4pm (Timezone and the cinema will open later)
  • Southport Park Shopping Centre: Open from 10:30am-4pm (specialty stores) and 9am-6pm (major retailers)
  • Runaway Bay Centre: Open from 8:30am-8pm (major stores)
  • Soul Boardwalk: Times vary depending on the store

Feature image: Visit Gold Coast

Stephanie Yip

Stef is the Travel Editor at and has been writing about travel for over a decade. She's visited over 50 countries and has had some incredible experiences, including hot air ballooning over Cappadocia, hitchhiking across Romania and seeing the Northern Lights (twice!). And while she’d never say no to a luxury escape, she's far more likely to stretch her travel dollars as far as they can go by keeping her ear to the ground for unbeatable travel bargains. And she'll tell you all about them, too! Stef has had articles featured on Travel Weekly, Escape and Hostelworld.

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