I'm a freelance writer living in Perth. Having 2 young kids with endless energy, we are always on the lookout for new outdoor activities.
City of Perth Skyworks, Indian Ocean Skyshow, and more
Australia Day is arguably the mother of all celebrations in Australia. And the Australia Day Skyworks is unarguably the mother of all Australia Day celebrations in Perth. Year after year, hundreds of thousands of people enjoyed this spectacle, even when there was a thunderstorm looming on the day in 2012.
This year the theme for the 28th City of Perth Australia Day Skyworks is celebrating 'Our Country in Colour'. The morning will kick off with Citizenship Ceremonies in South Perth, Victoria Park, and the CBD.
In the afternoon, Langley Park Entertainment Zone (Riverside Drive, Perth) will open at 3pm and activities there will start with a family concert. When choosing where to go on the day, it is worth noting that Langley Park will be the only location to watch the new Water and Laser Spectacular that will run in sync with the pyrotechnic display.
Across the Swan River, South Perth Celebration Zone at Sir James Mitchell Park (Coode St, South Perth Foreshore, opposite Forrest St) will also start in the early afternoon. There are a whopping number of seventy rides, workshops, and multicultural performances planned here, all free of charge and in a location guaranteed to secure you one of the best spots for the Skyworks.
Kings Park will also be an excellent vantage point from which to view Skyworks. Entry is by gold coin donation to the Friends of Kings Park and you have to stay on approved lawn areas behind the safety tapes. Dogs are not allowed and a total fire ban is in place, so barbecues or sparklers are not permitted. Apparently in the late 1990s several fires erupted in the Kings Park due to people igniting sparklers when watching Skyworks. This led to the eventual total fire bans at the event.
On either side of the river, remember that the surrounding areas will be closed to traffic, so be prepared to walk quite a bit from your parking spot. Note also that many areas will be deemed alcohol-free and glass-free (thanks to some unruly drunken spectators in the past Skyworks events). So unfortunately there will be no ice-cold six-packs or clinking of champagne glasses to accompany your picnic dinner.
Photo: Nachoman-au (wikimedia commons)
The main menu of the evening will of course be the fireworks show starting at 8pm along Riverside Drive. It will generally run for about half an hour with fireworks launched from bridges, sky scrapers and barges. Bring your portable radio with you if you'd like to listen to the accompanying soundtrack broadcasted by MIX 94.5FM. For more information about road closure, exact timing of each activity, and more, check out Australia Day Skyworks' webpage.
For those who are not so keen to travel all the way to the CBD or South Perth and rub shoulders with too many people, then there are other options out there, some with free food and their own fireworks.
Cockburn Aussie Day BBQ Brekky When: 7-11am. Where: Coogee Beach Reserve (Powell Rd), Coogee. Brought to you by:City of Cockburn
They say there's no such thing as a free lunch but apparently there's such a thing as a free brekky. Come along and celebrate the Australia Day with activities, games, entertainment, and of course, the BBQ Brekky (with healthy options available). What a great way to spend a holiday morning at the beach.
Mandurah Australia Day Celebrations
When: 7-11am. Where: Eastern Foreshore (Mandurah Tce), Mandurah. Brought to you by:City of Mandurah
This celebration will offer breakfast, flotilla, markets, and entertainment. The celebrations will get underway with the Lions Club Great Aussie Breakfast at 7.00am followed by the Citizenship Ceremony and Awards. The Mandjar Markets will be open on the foreshore near the Rotunda from 9.00am too. The traditional Australia Day flotilla starts at 10am from Comet Bay, travelling through the estuary and Port Mandurah canals into Mandjar Bay.
The Australia Day celebration at Esplanade Reserve, Fremantle will start at 4.30pm with live entertainment including The Chemist, Grace Barbe' and the Black Penny Project. The fireworks are going to be set-off starting around 8pm from a barge off Bathers Beach. So when the time is near and you wish for a closer vantage point, head across the railway towards Fishing Boat Harbour and turn right along Mews Rd.
City of Armadale Australia Day Festivities
When: 5.30-10pm. Where: Minnawarra Park (Armadale Rd) and surrounds, Armadale. Brought to you by:City of Armadale.
City of Armadale's festivities will include carnival rides, entertainment, and of course, a fireworks display. Live entertainment on the main stage starts at 5.30pm and carnival rides will be available across the road in Sanctuary Lake.
City of Bunbury's Fireworks Spectacular
When: 3-9pm Where: Bicentennial Square (Blair St) and Queen's Garden, Bunbury. Brought to you by:City of Bunbury
The City of Bunbury will be hosting a community celebration with something for all ages. Bicentennial Square will come alive with various entertainment and workshops starting 3pm, with sideshows and rides for the younger members of the community also at hand. At 4pm the Youth Zone will get underway at Queen's Gardens, with activities including skateboarding, exhibitions, and bungee trampolines. The finale will be the biggest fireworks display outside Perth metropolitan area.