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Australia Day
Australia Day

Australia Day

One of the largest celebrations held throughout the country year after year is Australia Day.

Australia Day, celebrated on January 26th, is a public holiday honouring the arrival of the first British Fleet on Australian soil.

Australia Day 2025 Sydney Harbour Event Celebrations & Fireworks

Visitors to Sydney often join in the festivities to commemorate the day. Many community events are held nationwide yearly, including barbecues, ceremonies, parades, live entertainment and fireworks.

Australia Day recognises that on 26th January 1788, the first British fleet arrived at Port Jackson in Australia. The event is celebrated to reflect Australia’s rich history, diverse society and unique heritage. In Sydney, Australia Day is celebrated by all residents and visitors. The Australian of the Year Awards is also held on this day, where people who have made outstanding contributions to Australia are recognised on this special day.

On 26 January, Sydney comes alive with locals celebrating the Aussie way of life in the middle of summer. With events at the harbour, family festivities, boat races, and a generally vibrant party atmosphere, there’s something for everyone.

Don’t miss the Ferrython race, one of Australia’s most iconic events, when Sydney’s iconic yellow and green ferries race from Fort Denison to Shark Island and back to a glorious finish at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Spectators can watch the extravaganza on a boat cruise or cheer on their favourite ferry from free onshore vantage spots, including Milsons Point off Jeffrey St Wharf, Circular Quay and Lavender Bay.

Darling Harbour is a fantastic hive of activity for families on Australia Day when it transforms into a summer playground. This year’s line-up encompasses pedal boat rides on the harbour, putt-putt, a kids’ electric train, a water playground, and countless places to eat and drink. Finish the day off with the Australia Day Live concert, broadcasted on the Tumbalong Park screens from 7:30pm to 9:30pm.

In one of the oldest parts of Sydney, The Rocks, the annual and popular Australia Day street party starts with a vibrant carnival atmosphere. The historic cobblestone streets are overrun with market stalls brimming with local fashion, jewellery and crafts, gourmet food stalls and live music.

On the Vintage Bus Ride – run annually on Australia Day by the Sydney Bus Museum from morning until 5pm — all ages will have a ball travelling like it’s 1949 on a double-decker vintage bus from the Leichardt bus depot across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to St Leonards and back again.

Join Sydney locals and head to the beach for a barbecue picnic. You could take a hamper full of goodies to a harbour cove or fry up on one of the beautiful eastern beaches like Coogee or Bondi. Alternatively, Government House opens its staterooms and gardens for the day, making a great place for a long lunch with live music.

In the evening, Australia Day Live kicks off at 7:30pm and showcases some of Australia’s best-loved performers. While the event is free, it’s ticketed. Held on the forecourt of Sydney Opera House with the iconic sails in the background and the harbour beyond — this is a once-in-a-lifetime concert experience.

Parramatta’s popular Australia Day celebrations are scheduled to return to Parramatta Park with hot air balloon rides, delicious barbecue food, family-friendly activities and much more.

Australia Day Harbourfest is an exciting lineup of free events and activities taking place on, above and around Sydney Harbour and Circular Quay. The all-day event includes the Royal Air Force Roulettes’ aerial display and Great Aussie BBQ.

Head to Yabun Festival for Australia’s largest one-day gathering and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. The free event in Victoria Park encompasses live music, bustling market stalls, panel discussions and community forums on Aboriginal issues, plus children’s activities and traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural performances.

Australia Day also falls on the final day of the Sydney Festival – a vibrant cultural celebration that boasts theatrical performances, dance, cabaret, music and big ideas.

Even though Australia Day is a public holiday, plenty of attractions are open, including the SEA Life Sydney Aquarium, Taronga Zoo, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb.

About the author

Michael Jones

Michael created and runs the Sydney Point website, as well as the Holiday Point travel brand that incorporates a network of 16 location based travel information and attraction websites around Australia, Asia, and around the world.

With 25+ years of online experience and a passion for travel (having visited Sydney many times and seeing a lot of the city in the process), Michael not only researches and writes content for the website, he also tinkers behind the scenes with the website functionality & design.

Please reach out if you have any questions or suggestions.


Click Here to Ask a Question

    • Hi Clem,

      According to the official event website, the fireworks and a concert will be held at Circular Quay from 7:25pm – 9:45pm. Im guessing the fireworks will be held towards the end of the event.

      It mentions “Australia Day Live is a two-hour concert based at the Sydney Opera House Forecourt and broadcast live nationally on ABC TV and iview. At key moments of the concert, Circular Quay stages activations synchronised to live musical performances that incorporate a flotilla of yachts, tugs, jet skis, fly-boarders, lit vessels and the grand finale, a spectacular choreographed fireworks and light show.”


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All Around Sydney, including: Sydney Opera House Parramatta Park Walumil Lawns Barangaroo Reserve Darling Harbour Sydney Harbour The Rocks, Sydney, NSW

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