New Year's Eve, Sydney, New South Wales
Australians sure do love a good party. Visitors travel from across the globe to attend these major celebrations down under.
For a country with a comparatively small population of 24 million, Australia punches above its weight with some major celebrations that rock the nation. Get ready for the festivities with fireworks, sports games, cultural events, and parties that will rock your socks off.
New Year's Eve fireworks in Sydney
Sydney’s famous New Year’s Eve fireworks spectacular is a display that wows visitors from across the globe. The captivating show ignites Sydney Harbour’s night sky to send off the year and welcome in a new one. The family fireworks kick off at 9pm, followed by the mesmerising midnight show that launches from the Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, and barges around the harbour. Before and in-between the shows, there will be a range of entertainment and activities around the foreshore and Royal Botanic Gardens to celebrate the new year.
Australian Open in Melbourne
The Australian Open brings the world’s hottest players to Melbourne for two weeks of tennis thrills during January. More than 550,000 spectators attend one of the biggest sporting events in Australia. ‘The Happy Slam’ as Roger Federer likes to call the Grand Slam tennis tournament, is an opportunity to watch tennis’s biggest sporting stars battle it out on the court and to explore the urban culture of laid-back Melbourne. Join the vibrant atmosphere in and around the city with matches broadcast on big screens, festive beer gardens, pubs and live music events.
Mardi Gras in Sydney
As part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (March), Oxford Street in the city's east transforms into a parade of pride, love and protest. After a recent referendum which resulted in a ‘yes’ vote to marriage equality, the Mardi Gras Parade is getting bigger each year. LGBTQI groups will flaunt a dazzling performance down Oxford Street with dance, music and wow-factor floats. It attracts thousands of local and global punters who gather for one spectacular night, so dress in your best glitzy attire and come join in on the festival of love.
On Anzac Day (25 April) Australians remember the lives lost in the World Wars and honour all individuals who have served the Australian military. Across the nation people rise early for moving dawn services, then cheer on servicemen and women marching in parades through the city streets. Then, in the spirit of Anzac mateship, it's time for a well-earned beer and a game of two-up. Try your luck at this national sport at local pubs and clubs, which is only played each year on Anzac Day. It’s also the best time of year to taste an Australian icon – the Anzac biscuit.
Along Brisbane’s popular Southbank precinct, the Sunsuper Riverfire will take to the night sky for a spectacular fireworks display, sending Brisbane Festival (September) off with a bang! The fireworks dazzle the night sky in explosive colours for more than 20 minutes, as well as the Australian Defence Force’s aerobatic performances, army helicopter displays, musical numbers, and a killer after party.
AFL Grand Final in Melbourne
The Australian Football League (AFL) is huge in Australia, with the AFL Grand Final being one of the biggest events on the sports calendar. It kicks off in September in the AFL heartland of Melbourne and it’s so much more than just scoring goals - the state of Victoria allocates AFL Grand Final Day a public holiday, so people from across Australia flock to the state to join the festivities. There will be the Grand Final Parade that attracts more than 60,000 fans to witness team players ride on Utes (trucks) down the city streets, AFL-themed events across pubs, parks, and Federation Square, and the MCG stadium. Once the full-time whistle has blown, the MCG welcomes the public to a free Premiership party inside the stadium with local and international musicians taking the stage.
On the first Tuesday of November, Australians across the nation stop to celebrate the Melbourne Cup, a major annual horse racing event. Whether you are cheering on horses at the track, drinking beer at a pub in the outback, or lunching at one of the many restaurants throughout the country, Melbourne Cup is an event that everyone gets involved in. You’ll never have experienced a horse race that virtually takes over a country, with each bar, restaurant, and café hosting Cup-inspired events. Dress up, place a bet, and enjoy a long lunch with a nail biting ending.
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