Great Garden Egg Hunt, Australian Botanic Garden, Sydney, New South Wales
From egg hunts in city gardens to “egg” hunts in Outback opal fields, here’s how Australia will be celebrating Easter this year.
By Katrina Lobley
Published: 13 April, 2017
Hunting for Easter eggs is a tradition in many countries, but Australians have added their own twist to the concept.
EGGS FOR ALL!
Private egg hunts have been a tradition in Australian homes for decades – but in recent years the public Easter egg hunt has been widely embraced. Australians turn out in their thousands to hunt for eggs in parks and gardens across the country. Some of the biggest and best known hunts include the Great Garden Egg Hunt, the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt and the Great Centennial Parklands Egg Hunt. This year, man’s best friend got in on the action too, with Australia’s biggest ever Easter egg hunt for dogs taking place. Sydney’s Mad Paws Easter Fair not only offered a chocolate-free egg hunt for dogs, but puppy pedicures, an interactive course for pups with lots of energy and even photo “pawtraits” for doting puppy parents. Of course.
DIG FOR AN OUTBACK EGG
Australia is the world leader in opal production, producing 95 per cent of the precious gemstones, and the town of Lightning Ridge in Outback New South Wales produces one of the rarest of them all: the black opal. Each year the town’s Easter Festival (14-16 April 2017) puts on the Big Dig, a very special egg hunt in which $10,000 worth of these rare Australian “eggs” are up for grabs for those who win spots to dig for prizes in the opal dirt. There’s also a more traditional Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday, when chocolate eggs are hidden in the nearby opal fields for kids to find. Other zany events during the Easter festival include piglet races, a miners’ rickshaw challenge and a weird beard competition.
NOT BUNNIES BUT BILBIES
Australians have their own version of the Easter bunny: the Easter bilby. The bilby is an endangered cute native animal with big ears and silky blue-grey fur, and has been adopted as an icon of the Easter holiday to raise awareness of its plight. You’ll find chocolate bilbies on sale next to Easter eggs in supermarkets across Australia – they raise money for the Save the Bilby Fund. Some cultural institutions also get in on the act, including Sydney’s Australian Museum, which puts on a fundraising Easter egg hunt each year. Kids are handed a trail map to the museum’s galleries, which they use to locate native egg-laying animals such as frogs, snakes, insects and dinosaurs, before receiving chocolate bilbies and meeting a real bilby on completion of the trail. Meanwhile, at Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast, the Easter bilby hands out Easter eggs and hot cross buns from 14-16 April to visitors who swing by to say g’day. A zoo-wide egg hunt is held on Easter Sunday.
EGG HUNTS FOR BIG KIDS
In Sydney it’s a much-loved tradition to head to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, an enormous country fair that’s been held since 1823. It has expanded over the years to include carnival rides, woodchopping competitions, farm dog showcases (in which Australia’s working dogs show off their intelligence in competitions of skill and agility), oversized produce displays, and the Poultry Pavilion, featuring Australia’s prize-winning show chickens (Australians call chickens “chooks”). There’s no egg hunt here – unless you count watching chooks lay eggs – but you can see what goes into the birds’ beauty routines at their daily shampoo and blow-dry sessions. For chocolate eggs, join the egg hunt at the Melbourne Easter Show (14-17 April). Different rules apply for different ages: teens have to hunt chocolate eggs in a pit filled with plastic Easter eggs, while little kids have an easier task of collecting balls of the same colour or balls bearing the same picture.
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