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Australia Day on Sydney Harbour 2013

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by Geraldine Massey (subscribe)
I'm an experienced corporate communicator and editor with an eye for interesting events and an attachment to my trusty Oxford dictionary.
Australia Day shows, ships & shenanigans on the harbour
Sydney Harbour, the stuff of picture postcards, Australia's modern birthplace, tourist mecca, home of Australia's architectural icons, and symbol of the great Aussie lifestyle. Is there a better place in the whole country to celebrate Australia Day? You should come and find out this January 26 when, as cricket commentator Bill Lawry has been known to say, "It's all happening", for Australia Day on Sydney Harbour.

[ADVERT]There'll be plenty of spectacular action on the water but events are not confined to the marine environment. The sky and shore will also be buzzing. You can either compete in events or become a 'harbour potato' for the day and take your place at some of the best harbour vantage points like Sydney Opera House, Darling Harbour, The Rocks or Bradley's Head, depending on which events take your fancy.

Following are some of the day's highlights.

Great Sydney Swim

great sydney swim, australia day, sydney harbour
Image from Australia Day website.

If you're feeling energetic you can start the day with a brisk dip in Farm Cove for the Great Sydney Swim at 8.30am. This isn't necessarily as taxing as it sounds, though there is a race for swimming elite like Iron Man and Olympian, Ky Hurst. There are swims for all ages and levels of ability ranging from the 300metre Junior Kids Swim to a 2.2 Km swim for the more adventurous. Visit the website here for more details and to register.


ferrython, australia day sydney harbour
The ferries come out to play. Image from Australia Day website

The ferries come out to play at 11am on Australia Day for the popular Ferrython, now in its 37th year. The colourful race pits four of Sydney's Lady Class ferries against each other in a race from Fort Denison, around Shark Island to the Harbour Bridge. Prizes are also awarded for the Best Dressed Ferry.

Darling Harbour

darling harbour australia day
Image from Darling Harbour website.

Darling Harbour Australia Day kicks off at 11.30am with kids entertainment headlined by Jay Laga'aia and continue throughout the day with world music and street music, concluding with the Australia Day Spectacular from 7pm to 9pm. The Spectacular includes the Boat Parade at 7.30pm, the Harbour Hero Parade and Tall ships at 8pm, and the obligatory fireworks at Cockle Bay from 8.45pm.

21 Gun Salute and F/A18 Hornet Flyover

raaf fa18 hornets, australia day sydney harbour
Image from Australia Day website.

Australia Day wouldn't be the same without the involvement of our armed forces. The customary 21 Gun Salute will blast your eardrums at noon from Fleet Steps North, near Mrs Macquarie's Point, and the Royal Australian Air Force's F/A-18 Hornets will fly over Sydney Harbour at 1.30pm.

The Rocks Australia Day Festival of the Voice

the rocks australia day festival of the voice
Image from Australia Day website

The Festival of the Voice is a free event which runs from 12 noon to 8pm at various venues at Sydney's historic The Rocks. You can listen to new and emerging bands, participate in the karaoke competition or attend the outdoor twilight concert featuring Gurrumul and Ash Grunwald.

Floating Concerts

floating concerts, australia day sydney harbour
Image from Australia Day website.

This new event will see a renowned musical artist perform on a floating stage that will travel around the harbour, stopping at a number of vantage points. This one is still under wraps and the artists and stop off points haven't yet been announced, but we do know that the event will run from 1pm to 4pm. Check the website here closer to the date for further details.

Tall Ships Race

tall ships race, australia day sydney harbour
Image from Australia Day website.

Those grand old dames of the sea, the tall ships, will race into Sydney Harbour with all the pomp and pageantry they can muster. The Tall Ships Race begins at Bradley's Head at 2pm and finishes with a flourish around 3pm under the Harbour Bridge.

For more information about all the action visit the website or view the schedule.
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Why? There's no better place in the country to celebrate Australia Day.
When: Saturday 26 January 2013
Where: Various venues around Sydney Harbour. See article and websites for details
Cost: Most events are free
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