Fly the Aussie flag loudly and proudly at these top Australia Day events and festivals.
In Melbourne, Australia Day starts as early as a week before with a special Australia Day luncheon. From there, it’s all uphill, with a series of exciting displays of diversity and national pride that pours throughout the city.
From lively Australia Day eve parties to that fantastic moment when Melbourne lights up the night sky, there are plenty of events to make your heart swell with pride on 26 January. Here’s a snapshot of some of the city’s best.
Best Australia Day events and experiences in Melbourne
Image: Australia Day Victoria
Australia Day fireworks
It’s not Australia Day without a fantastic fireworks display.
Melbourne offers one of the best and most dynamic fireworks displays on Australia Day.
In previous years, Melbourne's extraordinary fireworks display featured a range of pyrotechnic displays from various barges in Docklands Harbour. This year, the city has changed things up a bit and will be releasing its sparklers from Etihad Stadium making practically anywhere in Docklands an ideal vantage point.
For more info: Australia Day Victoria
Australia Day Melbourne fireworks vantage points:
|Fireworks vantage points||What's happening?||Food and drink|
|Victor Harbour Promenade and Capital City Trail, Docklands (Etihad Stadium display)||6-11pm. Food trucks, Australian BBQs, performers, live music.||Food for sale.|
|Dandenong Park, Dandenong||Starts at 3pm. Live music and cultural performances, roving acts, petting zoo, rides, market stalls.||Food trucks and stalls.|
Australia Day cruises
Capture the sights and sounds of Melbourne from the water
Sail through Australia Day on a cruise that not only celebrates the beauty of our great country, but its multiculturalism as well.
Melbourne Showboat’s special Aussie Day cruise will take you from Docklands to Williamstown, Port Melbourne and St Kilda Beach to the backdrop of an entertaining DJ set. Food and drinks are available for purchase. Both daytime and sunset cruises are available.
Australia Day Boat Cruise from finder.com.au
- Take a 3-hour cruise from the Docklands and see Williamstown, Port Melbourne and St Kilda
- Enjoy food and drinks that you can purchase on board, or join into the $24 cocktail package
- Price is per person
Australia Day True Blue Sale
Shop till you drop in support of a local creative. It's the Melburnian way.
Arguably Australia's arts capital, Melbourne is bound to get behind this one with gusto. It's a true blue online shopping frenzy that sees Australian brands big and small slash their prices to celebrate our big day.
The event is aimed to help inject more dollars into our economy and to bring new and upcoming Australian entrepreneurs into the limelight.
More info: Australia Day True Blue Sale
The RACV Australia Day Picnic and Federation Vehicle Display, King’s Domain Alexandra Gardens
There’s something for everybody at the annual RACV Australia Day Picnic
Don’t be fooled by the name of this event - it’s not purely for revheads, although there will be plenty of those around. As well as featuring veteran, vintage and classic vehicles, this Australia Day picnic is a family-friendly event packed chock full of installations, art displays and live entertainment.
For little ones, a Children and Community Precinct offers a myriad of activities to keep them busy while for older kits there are live performances on the main stage and food stalls to keep grins on faces.
More info: RACV Australia Day Picnic
Australia Day Parade
Be that face in the crowd at the annual Australia Day Parade
March along to the beat of Melbourne's drum the morning of Australia Day with this iconic parade.Starting at 11am, it welcomes thousands of people to revel in the live entertainment provided by over 90 cultural groups as they march down Swanston Street.
The parade follows the city' official flag raising ceremony and concludes at midday - just in time for you to get to that Aussie Day barbie you've been invited to. Thoughtful, eh?
For more info: Australia Day Parade
Whitehorse Australia Day Concert
There’s no better way to kick off Whitehorse Festival Season than with a stellar lineup of acts on Australia Day.
Followed by a breathtaking fireworks display, of course. In our humble opinions, the city of Whitehorse in Melbourne’s suburbs is the one to beat.
On Australia Day it’s offering a free twilight concert from 6pm-10pm featuring the music talents of Daniel Percival, the Rebelles and Australia’s Got Talent finalists Superhoodz.
When the last note has been sung and the crowd is at a hush, the sky will light up in colour in a 10-minute fireworks finale. Hot tip: Get in early and the kids will love you as there will be free rides and amusement running from 5pm-9pm.
For more info: Whitehorse Australia Day concert
Image: Memo Music Hall
Australia Day eve celebrations
Clock out of work early on the 25th to grab a beer and start celebrating Straya Day early. Here’s where the pre-Australia Day parties are at.
- Memo Music Hall: Get your INXS fix this Australia Day eve at Memo Music Hall when cover band X takes the stage singing INXS’s most iconic tunes. Doors open at 8pm.
- Musicland Melbourne: AC/DC fan? Sing along with Thunderstruck at Musicland on Straya Day in your best Aussie outfit to prove it. Entry is $20 and includes a sausage sizzle and door prizes. Doors open at 7:30pm.
- Seaford Hotel: This local favourite is all about blues, rock ‘n’ roll and top Aussie grub. Expect free entry and entertainment as well as $8 meat pies and chips and $5 VB schooners. Doors open at 7pm.
- The Village Green Hotel: Live music and cheap parmas - what more could you need to start your Australia Day on the right foot? Nothing, that’s what. Doors open at 8pm.
- Skyways Hotel: Whether you’ve a late-night flight through Melbourne Airport or are a babe of the 80s, Skyways is turning back the time with its Rewind 80s event night. Molly Meldrum would be proud. Doors open at 9pm.
- Cramers Hotel: The party at Cramer’s includes an Aussie rock show featuring a soundtrack of Australia’s greatest hits. Doors open at 8pm.
Top free things to do on Australia Day in Melbourne
- Walk into Government House: This annual opening gives Melburnians and visitors the chance to visit the State Apartments and Grounds of Government House for free. Self-guided tours are available between 10am and 3:30pm and there will be performances on the grounds throughout the day. Picnics on the grounds are welcomed.
- Be a beach bum on St Kilda Beach: When the sun is out, there’s nothing more Aussie than zipping off to the local beach. Nothing.
- Australia Day RACV Picnic at Kings Domain: Line too long at Government House to sit yourself down for a picnic on the lawn? Try the nearby Kings Domain instead. Today it features live entertainment that’s perfect for the whole family.
- Docklands: The Docklands precinct is a diverse space for entertainment and festivities. In the past, Australia Day has seen it transform into a carnival-esque space filled with face painting, kite-making and market fare that culminates in a fireworks display at 9:30pm. Details for 2017’s Australia Day are still to be finalised, but we’ll keep you updated as details come in.
- Catch the Australia Day parade: Every year, thousands line the streets of Melbourne to watch the morning parade. It includes the official flag raising ceremony and runs from 11am-noon along Swanston Street.
Are stores open on Australia Day in Melbourne?
The major shopping centres that will open for Australia Day and their trading hours.
- Swanston Street: Times vary
- Melbourne Central: Open from 10am-6pm
- Southgate Melbourne: Open from 10am-7pm
- Highpoint: Open from 9am-9pm
- Westfield Doncaster: Open from 10am-5pm.
- Northland Shopping Centre: Open from 10am-5pm
- Chapel Street: Times vary.
- Chadstone Shopping Centre: Open from 9am-9pm
- Clarendon Street, South Melbourne: Times vary
- Bridge Road, Richmond: Open from 10am-5pm
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 Victoria