Held each year on 26 January, Australia Day is the country’s official national day. It’s a time to celebrate the Australian way of life and reflect on what it means to be Australian. Check with your local council to find out what events will be held.
Local councils will host their own activities with invited Australia Day Ambassadors – more than 100 will be out and about across NSW, taking part in local events and festivities. Below are some highlights from regional NSW.
Friends enjoying Australia Day
This hub of the Central West hosts a number of community events and activities, including a fair, fireworks display and the Bathurst Australia Day Awards. There’s also free entry to the pool at the Manning Aquatic Centre.
Australia's favourite swim-run is back for the 22nd annual edition. Held at the picture-perfect Wollongong Boat harbour, the Aquathon offers a mix of events for all ages, with four swim and run distances which can be enjoyed by kids to adults, as well as the 5km Blue Mile Fun Run for those keen to stay on dry land.
Up for a challenge? Start the day with the Newcastle Harbour Swim – the only day of the year you’re allowed to swim across the city’s harbour. There are celebrations along the foreshore all day once you are finished, or for those that would rather watch the athletes.
For a day of music, exhibitions and displays of what’s great in the region, head to Centennial Park in Cooma for the town’s Australia Day celebrations. Pop up food stalls also feature, so bring a picnic blanket to set up in a shade for a leisurely afternoon.
The Gunnedah Shire puts on a variety of free community activities for all residents and visitors to share on Australia Day. Highlights include triathlon events, free family breakfast sausage sizzle, a raft and craft race, PCYC duck race, people and pets parade, cake bake-off, chess game, dash for cash and athletic events.
With free entry to Maitland Aquatic Centre, stalls, amusement rides, arts and crafts, beach activities and more, Australia Day in Maitland is a perfect day out for the whole family. Due to construction, the event location for 2022 is yet to be announced.
In the small town of Wombat, the locals have a particularly quirky way of celebrating the national day. From 12-1.30pm, come watch the vintage tractor sledge pulling competition and linger longer to peruse the market stalls, watch the street parade, eat a barbecue lunch and more. Make a day of it by joining the Australia Day Breakfast in nearby Harden, under 20 minutes away by car. The family-friendly barbecue begins at 8am in Newson Park.
Sydney is the place to be for Australia Day in 2022, with the Harbour City offering visitors great cultural experiences and world-class events.
Following the Dawn Reflection, Australia Day starts with the WugulOra Indigenous Morning Ceremony at Barangaroo, honouring the world’s oldest living culture. This will be followed by an exciting series of free activities spanning Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour, The Rocks and Darling Harbour.
WugulOra Ceremony in Sydney
Don’t miss the Ferrython race, one of Australia’s most iconic events, when Sydney ferries race from Circular Quay to Shark Island and back to a glorious finish at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. From 1pm, Sydney's Tall Ships will lead a fleet of historic vessels from Bradley's Head to the Harbour Bridge, joined by the 182nd Australia Day Regatta, the world’s oldest continuously conducted annual sailing event, from 1.30pm.
Parramatta’s popular Australia Day in the Crescent concert is scheduled to return to Parramatta Park in 2022 with a star-studded line-up of Aussie musicians and performers. With the Sydney Opera House as backdrop, Australia Day Live is a music event with Aussie music legends performing live and a thrilling fireworks display.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the traditional owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.