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How to Spend the 2014 Australia Day Long Weekend in Sydney

Home > Sydney > Lists | Australia Day | Beaches | Chinese New Year | Family | Free
by Manuel (subscribe)
Freelance writer and street photographer
Published January 21st 2014
Last hoorah for the summer on Australia Day weekend
This year, the Australia Day weekend is a 3-day weekend. The Monday following Australia Day is a public holiday. For some, this is a chance to escape the city. For others, though, the city is the place to be, and for good reasons. Over the 3 days, here's an itinerary which will suit the whole family, and is friendly on the budget.

Day 1: Saturday

Sydney Festival runs from 9-26 January, and if you have not checked out its various activities and attractions yet, today is a good day to do that.

First stop is Sacrilege, a life-size inflatable jumping castle for people of all ages. It is the work of Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller, and is located at Hyde Park North, next to the Archibald Fountain.

The Stone Henge
Sacrilege, the Stone Henge as life-size inflatable jumping castle

Photo from the Sydney Festival website.

Next stop is Merchants Store, the perspective-skewing interactive art installations of Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich. It is located at the Palm Grove by the IMAX Theatre in Darling Harbour.

Leandro Erlich's Merchants Store in Sydney Festival 2014
The Merchants Store at the Sydney Festival 2014

Photo from the Sydney Festival website.

And if that is not enough for the day, head on to the Sydney Festival website for a variety of things to do and see.

Day 2: Sunday

Australia Day. Today marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Sydney Cove, New South Wales in 1788. Governor Arthur Phillip first raised the Flag of Great Britain at that site. Indigenous people, on the other hand, call this day the 'Invasion Day' and is not a reason for great celebration. This article is not meant to have political signification, however, and Australia Day is celebrated by Australians and non-Australians alike. For immigrants, it is usually the day they swear allegiance to the commonwealth and become Australian citizens, while those citizens already, particularly those born in Australia and did not have to swear an oath to obtain citizenship, have the option to participate in affirmation ceremonies.

The Havaianas Thong Challenge on Australia Day
Breaking the world record on Australia Day

Photo from the Havaianas Thong Challenge website.

For the vast majority, however, Australia Day is a celebration of the Australian way of life, and that means barbies and beaches. The Havaianas Thong Challenge is on again, and it would be fun to witness this event. Head on to Bondi and join the attempt to break the world record, or if that is too late now because it requires registration, you can just relax, sit back and enjoy the sun.

Head out to the beach on Australia Day
Enjoy the last days of summer at Bondi


With little kids in tow, Bondi might not be a good idea. Fret not, there's an all-day entertainment hosted by Jimmy Giggle at the Hyde Park. It will be graced by 9.00am Blinky Bill, Bob the Builder, Blinky Bill, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Angelina Ballerina, Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam, The Octonauts, and at 3.00pm, yes, The New Wiggles! Check out the Australia Day website for details.

Day 3: Monday

The Sydney Festival runs until Australia Day only, but don't think for one second that there is nothing interesting happening elsewhere. It may be good to wind down at this time after a couple of days of activities, particularly that school is about to start again. Winding down, however, need not be bland. The Sydney Chinese New Year Festival is on from 24 January to 9 February, and the Lunar Feasts is back! Check out the participating establishments at the Sydney Chinese New Year website and satisfy your palate.

The Lunar Feasts
The Lunar Feasts

Photo from the Sydney Chinese New Year website.
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Why? Celebrate Australia Day
When: 25-27 January 2014
Where: In and around Sydney
Cost: Varies
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