Australia Day on the Gold Coast 2021 | Fireworks and events
Fireworks, sailing trips, pop-up festivals and, of course, the beach. This is how the Gold Coast does Australia Day.
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With sun, surf, bronzed bodies and a lively atmosphere, you can't beat the Gold Coast on Australia Day. You can pretty much guarantee that wherever you turn, the flag will be flying, eskies will be strewn about and the nation's pride will swell.
Searching for something to do on Australia Day? We've got some ideas.
Australia Day fireworks on the Gold Coast
Image: City of Gold Coast
The City of Gold Coast hasn't confirmed whether its annual fireworks show will be going ahead this year. We'll update you with the details when they come in.
Typically, though, the event is staged at Broadwater Parklands and features local musical talents along the lines of The Road Mountain Girls, Electrik Lemonade, San Mei and Liv Heyer.
While you're busy revelling, the little ones will 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.
The event starts at 4pm and ends at 8pm with the Australia Day fireworks.
For more info: City of Gold Coast
Australia Day Gold Coast events for 2021
Image: Champagne Sailing Cruises
Australia Day pool party
No matter which way you look at it, Australia Day on the Gold Coast is going to be a hot one. Cool down at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre and its pool party.
Make sure you're there bright and early for the big party from 11am-3pm. There will be giant inflatables, a sausage sizzle and a DJ on deck until 2pm.
Normal gate entry charges apply.
For more info: City of Gold Coast
Image: Champagne Sailing Cruises
Australia Day Gardens Discovery
Reconnect with nature by discovering the vast range of local flora showcased at the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens. Those bringing kids on the day – or if you've got a competitive streak – can download the app to take on the discovery challenge on the day to win a random prize.
To make this an Aussie Day affair, a free sausage sizzle will be available on the day, too.
For more info: Discover the Gardens on Australia Day
Attend an Australia Day party
Throughout the Gold Coast, restaurants and bars are hosting green and gold events with family-fun entertainment such as thong tosses and good ol' Aussie grub and drinks. Here's a selection of our favourites:
- Australia Day @ Elite Gold Coast: This family-friendly outdoor event has everything from that all-important Aussie BBQ and a swimming pool to a jumping castle and thong throwing competition. The event runs from 11am-8pm, tickets are $15 and for kids it's free.
- Australia Day Big BBQ @ Diggers: On top of the BBQ meats and beers there will be live music playing from midday, thong throwing, sanga throwing (because you can never throw too many things in friendly competition today) and prizes galore.
- Australia Day @ Sanctuary Cove: Head to the waterfront to bask in that summer sunshine and be regaled with live music and free gelato (yes, free!) at Sanctuary Cove. Wes Taylor will be leading the music on The Village Green from 10am-2pm, though if Mark Divola is more your style, he'll be singing his heart out on The Docks from midday to 4pm. Free gelato is available from 11am on The Village Green until sold out.
- Australia Day @ Southport Sharks: Keep those little ones entertained with a free reptile show and kids disco and keep the big ones entertained with late-night music by Acoustic BBQ Duo and a hearty feed of chops, bangers, steak, roast and pav. Tickets are $40.59 per adult and $20.79 per child over 5.
- Australia Day @ Coolangatta Hotel: Live music is always on at the Coolangatta, and on Australia Day, it's got to be an Aussie behind the mike. Mark Shells starts the night off at 3:30pm, while Agent 77 caps it off from 8pm. Tucker includes Aussie beef burgers, and XXXX Dry schooner meal deals are on sale for $20.
- Aus Day W Kath & Kim @ Nightcap Nobbys: Don your most fabulous glasses ladies and celebrate Australia Day, Kath and Kim style. Music plays from 8pm. Entry is free.
- Aussie Outback Party @ Bine Bar & Dining: Kath and Kim not your style? Why not try an outback costume party? Benny O'Dwyer and Kate McKay will bring the music while the bar brings the craft beers and Aussie food specials. Entry is free.
Things to do on Australia Day on the Gold Coast
Sail away on an Australia Day cruise
From gondola and canal to scenic and island cruises, the Gold Coast has all the on-the-water options to make your Australia Day.
While you're there, why not pop the bubbly in celebration? After all, you're not driving.
If you want, you can up the stakes and charter a private vessel for a romantic day out on the water.
Surfer's Paradise River Lunch Cruise
Gold Coast Sunset Cruise
Visit a Gold Coast theme park
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 transforms itself into an Australian paradise on 26 January.
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 has hosted a shearing show and sausage sizzle, and sold lamingtons and ANZAC biscuits in its cafe.
3-day Pass: Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, Wet'n'Wild
7-day Pass: Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World and Wet'n'Wild
Dreamworld 1-Day Ticket
Cool down on the water
Summer on the Gold Coast calls for one thing: a beach, a pool or an ocean adventure. Choose from scuba dives, jet boat rides, jet skiing, kayaking or even splash parks if you have little kids.
Gold Coast Fliteboard Guided Tour or Lesson
Fly Board on the Gold Coast
Group Surf Lesson
Jet Boating Experience
Gold Coast Diving
Snorkel at Wave Break Island
Head to the rainforest
Not much of a beach bum? Prefer to stay away from the crowds this public holiday? Head west to the Gold Coast Hinterland and you'll discover relaxing walks, adventurous climbs and nature unparalleled.
Mt Tamborine Outback Tracks Half Day Tour
Tree Top Adventure Park Experience
Springbrook and Tamborine Rainforest Glow Worm Tour
Encounter local critters
Animal lovers and kids alike will adore the myriad animal encounters to be had on the Gold Coast. To keep with today's Australiana theme, our pick is Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, which houses koalas, crocodiles, emus and echidnas.
Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary Entry
Dolphin Deep Water Adventure at Sea World
Penguins Antarctic Adventure Sea World
Forget throwing another "shrimp" (prawn) on the barbie and instead throw a mammoth catch of the day on it instead. Need some direction? Book a spot on a dedicated fishing charter where you'll be led by an expert to all the best spots – and get some tips while you're there, too.
Deep Sea Reef and Game Fishing Charter
Tweed River Fishing Charter
Fishing in the Marina Mirage
Fly high in a hot air balloon
Want to start the new year off on the right foot? Tick off this bucket-list activity on Australia Day and marvel at the wonderful land we live in from your view from above.
Gold Coast Hinterland Hot Air Balloon Flight with Breakfast
Hot Air Balloon Ride with Breakfast
Hot Air Ballooning Brisbane
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 with you 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.
- 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 into your local to say "G'day".
- Play barefoot bowls. Have a few laughs with mates new and old with a barefoot bowls session. Some Gold Coast faves include Burleigh Heads Bowls Club, Broadbeach Bowls Club, Southport Bowls Club and Tugun Bowls Club.
What's open on Australia Day on the Gold Coast?
|Attraction||Australia Day trading hours||Where to book|
|Wet 'n' Wild||10am-5pm||RedBalloon|
|WhiteWater World||10am-5pm||Experience Oz|
|TreeTop Challenge Mount Tamborine||10am-5pm||Finder|
|Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary||9am-4pm||Adrenaline|
|Tropical Fruit World||9:30am-1pm||Viator|
|Outback Spectacular||7:30pm show||RedBalloon|
|Infinity Attraction Gold Coast||From 10am||Adrenaline|
|Zero Latency Gold Coast||11am-9pm||RedBalloon|
|Skypoint Observation Deck||7:30am-7:30pm||Experience Oz|
Are shops open on Australia Day?
These are the major shopping centres that typically open for the Australia Day public holiday (26 January) and their public holiday trading hours. These may be subject to change.
- Harbour Town Outlet Shopping Centre: Open 10am-5pm
- Robina Town Centre: Open 10am-4pm
- Paradise Centre: Open 9am-10pm
- Pacific Fair Shopping Centre: Open 9am-6pm
- Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre: Open 10:30am-4:30pm (supermarkets and cafes open earlier)
- Australia Fair Shopping Centre: Open 10:30am-4pm
- Marina Mirage: Open 10am-6pm
- Westfield Helensvale: Open 10am-4pm
- The Strand at Coolangatta: Open 10am-4pm (Timezone and the cinema will open later)
- Southport Park Shopping Centre: Open 9am-6pm (major retailers) and 10:30am-4pm (specialty stores)
- Runaway Bay Centre: Open 9am-5:30pm (major stores)
- Soul Boardwalk: Times vary depending on the store
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