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 changing things up this year and moving its fireworks show from Evandale Parklands to Broadwater Parklands.
Despite this change, the vibe will undoubtedly be as lively as previous incarnations and will include afternoon activities and entertainment in the Aussie Arena for the whole family. This includes food trucks, live performances, barbeques, woodchopping demos, cookoffs, zamper making classes, sheep shearing and a snake show.
For more info: City of Gold Coast
Things to do on Australia Day on the Gold Coast:
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.
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 28 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 Ball Park Music, British India, Urthboy and Luke Million.
For more info: OzFest
Australia Day True Blue Sale
The all-Australian shopping spree returns for a second year running
Among the many Aussie things you must do this 'Straya Day should be getting behind this eye-catching sale. Now in its second year running, it's an online shopping experience specially dedicated to Australian shops. That's THE ICONIC, Beginning Boutique, STA Travel, Bondi Bather and Australian Farmers Direct in case you were wondering.
If you ever needed an excuse to shop till you drop, supporting these local retailers on Australia Day is the perfect excuse.
For more info: Australia Day True Blue Sale
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 2016 SeaWorld 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 7am-late
- Pacific Fair Shopping Centre: Open from 9am-6pm
- Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre: Open from 10:30am-4pm.
- 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 10am-4pm (specialty stores), 9:30am-9pm (major stores)
- Soul Boardwalk: Times vary depending on the store
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: Visit Gold Coast