Australia Day in Sydney 2021 | Fireworks, events and more

Sydney's Aussie pride comes alive on 26 January 2021 for Australia Day. Onya, 'Straya!

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Australia Day – it's the day when the First Fleet arrived in Port Jackson in 1788.

It's also a public holiday. And in 2021 it falls on a Tuesday. The perfect excuse to take the Monday off and have a four-day long weekend? We think so.

If you're searching for ideas and activities to fill up this no-work all-play day, we know a few...

Australia Day fireworks in Sydney

The acclaimed Australia Day fireworks are held in Sydney Harbour at 9pm, with a demonstration of pyrotechnics and a flotilla of yachts and jetski and flyboard prowess.

Due to the pandemic, only a limited number of people will be given access to the area on 26 January 2021 after 5pm.

This includes frontline workers as well as members of the general public who have secured tickets to the official Australia Day Live concert. Tickets are being released in January. Stay tuned for more.

Restaurant and venue patrons will also be allowed into the area on the night.

Australia Day events in Sydney for 2021

Australia-Day-live-at-the-opera-house-300

Australia Day Live at the Sydney Opera House

Each Australia Day, the Opera House hosts an Australia Day concert in its forecourt.

This is a free though ticketed event that runs from 6:30pm–9:30pm and features some of Australia’s best-known artists.

In the past, this has included the soulful Kate Ceberano, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and rocker Jon Stevens.

Tickets are being prioritised for frontline workers. General public tickets are released at 10am on 20 January here.


 WugulOra Morning Ceremony

WugulOra Indigenous Morning Ceremony

Held at 7:45am, this annual traditional performance by the WugulOra Indigenous peoples is one of song and dance in recognition of the original custodians of the land.

Attendance is free but this year is ticketed. These go on sale at 10am on 20 January 2020 here.

Otherwise, you can watch the ceremony for free on ABC TV or the official Australia Day Facebook page.

Stay online to catch the Australia Day Address 2021 at 12.30pm, which is also being televised on Facebook.


Oz Day 10K Wheelchair Race

GIO Oz Day 10K Wheelchair Road Race at 8am

This is a ripping race on wheels through The Rocks and is the fastest street circuit race in the nation.

Warm up begins at 8am, though the race doesn't start until 9am from outside the Museum of Contemporary Art.

All are welcome to attend, though social distancing may be in place, with the best vantage points being George Street in The Rocks and Hickson Road.


185th Australia Day Regatta

185th Australia Day Regatta

Now in its 185th year, this regatta sees over 100 boats race around the harbour to compete for the gold.

We're talking big, small, new and old vessels, and you don't have to be a professional to participate.

If you've got a boat you can sign up to participate in the race on the Regatta website.


Government House in Sydney.

Salute to Australia

The Australian Army, Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force pay tribute to our nation with a 21-gun salute, the national anthem and a handling display.

The 2021 event is being held at Government House instead of Sydney Harbour, as this year it's a private event with only a small group of new citizens and frontline workers attending.

You can watch the salute from 2pm-2.30pm on ABC TV or iView.

Things to do on Australia Day in Sydney

Australia Day harbour cruises

The best seat in the house is on the water. Lucky for you, there are stacks of cruises throughout the day as well as at night to catch the fireworks from this prime position.

Go to the movies

Summer and movies go hand-in-hand. For something extra special, why not check out an outdoor cinema or drive-in? Westpac Open Air and Moonlight Cinemas both run over the summer period.

On Australia Day, there's always an Aussie flick at both. This year's Westpac showcase is Penguin Bloom, while Moonlight Cinema is showing The Dry.

Alternatively, why not try something a little different and visit the opera? The Sydney Opera House's shows are back up and running and from its doorstep it offers fantastic views of the harbour.

Head to the beach

The most Aussie thing you can do on Australia Day is hit the sand and the surf. When you do, social distancing may be in place, so you may have to hone in on quieter beaches if you wish to lay down your towel safely.

Otherwise, why not get on the water? Watersports such as stand up paddleboarding and kayaking are well distanced and heaps of fun.

Harbour Bridge and Opera House Paddle
Harbour Bridge and Opera House Paddle

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Enjoy the sunshine with a picnic

Fire up that barbie at your local park or pack a gourmet meal for you and your loved ones on the green today. It's super relaxing and a great way to catch up with mates or pop the question, if that's your game.

Check out a festival

Festival season is here and with it are stacks of arts and cultural events that you can tuck into. This year, things may be a little different, with some events going online, but that just means you can relax at home on the day with a drink in hand while enjoying the festivities.

Our picks include Yabun Festival, which is the largest one-day celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and Sydney Festival, which is an arts festival filled with themed events and productions.

Top free things to do on Australia Day

  • Host a barbecue. Pick up some snags and a couple of six-packs and invite your mates over. Before you send out those invites, double-check what the current gathering limits are in your area.
  • Bake on the beach. Australia Day is notorious for being one big swelter fest. The best way to cool down? At the beach, naturally.
  • Catch the Sydney Harbour fireworks. When it comes to pyrotechnical displays, Sydney doesn’t hold back. So for a crackin’ good end to an awesome day out, flick on the TV and catch the sparklers at 9pm.
  • Visit an art gallery or museum. Art galleries and museums don't tend to close on Australia Day. The Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of NSW and the Australian Museum are a handful of options in the city that have free entry on 26 January.

What's open on Australia Day in Sydney?

AttractionAustralia Day trading hoursWhere to book
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium10am-4pmAdrenaline
Jet Boat Tours10am-3pmAdrenaline
Tandem SkydivingAll dayAdrenaline
Virtual Room Sydney10am-9pmAdrenaline
Escape Hunt10am-8.30pmAdrenaline
TreeTop Adventure Park7am-7pmAdrenaline
WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo10am-4pmRedBalloon
Madame Tussauds10am-4pmRedBalloon
The Star of the Show – Darling Harbour Ferris Wheel12pm-11pmGroupon
Taronga Zoo9:30am-5pmViator
Moonlight CinemaSundownGroupon
Cables Wake Park10am-3pmGroupon
Sydney Opera House – guided tours10:30am, 12pm and 2pmViator
Australian National Maritime Museum9:30am-5pmExpedia
Chinese Garden9:30am-5:30pmExpedia
Calmsley Hill City Farm9am-4pmScoopon

Are shops open on Australia Day in Sydney?

Here are the major shopping centres that are typically open on the Australia Day public holiday (26 January) and their trading hours. Note that these are subject to change.

When shopping you must wear a mask in Greater Sydney.

  • Westfield Sydney (Pitt Street Mall): 10am-6pm
  • Westfield Bondi Junction: 10am-6pm
  • Broadway Shopping Centre: 10am-6pm
  • Westfield Warringah Mall: 10am-5pm
  • Supa Centa Moore Park: 9am-5pm
  • Westfield Miranda: 10am-6pm
  • Chatswood Chase: 10am-5pm
  • Westfield Chatswood: 10am-6pm
  • Macquarie Centre: 10am-6pm
  • Westfield Parramatta: 10am-6pm

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