We Australians love our country, and we love to celebrate BIG when Australia Day comes around. But if you don’t want to throw a backyard bash, burn the snags, end up in a paddling pool that’s 40% water and 60% beer (and other fluids…), or just don’t want to clean up the aftermath, there’s a whole bunch of options out there so that you can still celebrate the day. The focus in recent years has moved nicely away from a simple acknowledgement of the arrival of the first British fleet on a certain day; most Australians now see January 26 as a time to salute the aboriginal people who originally occupied this land, as well as rejoice in the wacky blend of foreigners who later joined the party and also came to call the continent home.
So if you're keen as for a good ol' fashioned Aussie throw down, here's an overview of some of the best Australia Day events around Brisbane, along and a few other suggestions on how to organise your own fun. Warning: You may see the letters B, B and Q repeated in sequence fairly frequently.
Little Big House
That’s right, the newest bar you need to check out ASAP will be open this Australia Day. In fact, Little Big House will be open every day of the long weekend—in case one day of celebrating all things Aussie wasn’t enough. Expect DJs and cold beers out on the deck on Thursday eve, live music and more fresh bevvies on Friday itself, the iconic Hottest 100 countdown on Saturday, and then the ultimate house party on Sunday to wrap things up. And let’s not forget that all these shenanigans will take place in Little Big House’s gorgeous, sun soaked Queenslander house setting. Sign. Us. Up.
The Breakfast Creek Hotel
No-one does Australia Day quite like The Breakfast Creek Hotel and this year the event is looking better than ever. The main event is centred around the idea of bush tucker, which the hotel has turned into a menu slathered in fresh Queensland flavours. Think The Brekkie Creek’s iconic porterhouse steak, combined with lemon myrtle smoked oysters, finger lime prawns, salad and chips. Opt to pair your meal with the in-house lemon myrtle martini, or go for something a little less tropical with a specialty Australian Rum cocktail available from the Substation no41 Rum Bar. Oh and that truly epic feed will only cost you a measly $35. If you need us, you know where to find us. Get all the details here.
The Defiant Duck
We love a pub-based Australia Day party as much as the next person, but sometimes you just want a more modern take on a favourite. That’s where The Defiant Duck comes in, offering up classic Aussie eats with a gourmet twist. We’re talking roast lamb rolls with gravy and chips and prawn buckets, amongst other mouth-watering nibbles courtesy of the grill. Our recommendation: grab yourself a frozen cocktail from the bar (because summer in Queensland is extra), then pick a spot with your mates and listen to local legend NSLV belting out old-school Aussie faves. Friday afternoon plans = sorted. For all the details, click here.
The New Globe Theatre
The New Globe Theatre will be open on both the 25 and the 26 of January. Thursday will play host to the theatre’s Aust-Failure Day 2018, which will bring together the crème de la crème of Brisbane’s music scene in support of changing the date of Australia Day. The 26th, instead of a traditional Australia Day bash, will see The Watchers Long Weekend Blues Party take place from 7:30pm. This event aims to kick off the long weekend with smooth tunes from some of Brisbane’s best blues musicians. The current line-up includes Daryl James, The Watchers, Black Wagon and ROO. Oh and did we mention it’s totally free? For more information, click here.
The Victory Hotel
Ah, The Vic. The champion of chilled beer gardens everywhere, The Victory Hotel’s Australia Day celebrations are about as Aussie as they get. The hotel promises to deliver $5 steaks all day, a vegemite eating championship, sweet tunes from Caillin Malley, from 5pm, and a beach-themed dress code that reeks of summer. Seriously, we can smell the sunscreen already. Plus, that totally gives you an excuse to wear as little clothes as is polite to beat the heat while you sip on an ice cold beer and bask in our home girt by sea. Sign us the heck up! For all the details, click here.
We’re still in mourning for the tragic loss of the Triple J Hottest 100 on Australia Day this year. So when we heard that Birdees was putting together the next best thing, we had to share the good news. Based on input from an online poll, Birdees will be counting down the most popular songs from the Triple J list over the past 25 years at one killer Australia Day party. In addition to the music, you can expect a true-blue Aussie BBQ with prawns and lamb, a belly flop competition and a pool to escape the heat into. Plus, Birdees will be raising money all day for the McGrath Foundation, so you can celebrate in style while supporting charity. Birdees, you spoil us. Check out the full details here.
Sofitel Brisbane Central
Adding a touch of class to your Australia Day festivities, Sofitel Brisbane Central will be keeping the doors to their Cuvee Lounge Bar and Prive249 restaurant open on the 26th. Drawing inspiration from the Sofitel’s French origins, the Prive249 menu boasts such dishes as beef sirloin with pomme mousseline and a red wine and mustard jus, tropical panna cotta with the freshest summer produce and enough champagne to keep your Australia Day buzzing. The Sofitel will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For all the details, click here.
The Oxley Hotel
The south side’s favourite bovine-themed hotel, The Oxley Hotel, is pulling out the big guns for Australia Day this year. Expect one killer Aussie barbeque from 12pm, with local cover band Karma Duo doing their thing to accompany your feast from 3pm. For the young, or the young-at-heart, face painting will be available inside the hotel, just in case your Oz-themed outfit wasn’t complete without an Australian flag painted on your face. For the full scoop, click here.
The Charming Squire
If you’ve never been to The Charming Squire, nestled right next to the Convention Centre on Grey Street, you’re not doing life right. Putting a foodie twist on classic pub food - accompanied by the perfect beer or cider, of course - The Charming Squire’s Australia Day BBQ is not to be missed. The menu offerings this year include smoked sovereign lamb with mac and cheese and picked onions, prawn skewers with grilled peach, soft herbs and chilli salad and coffee crusted beef brisket with corn and black bean salsa and jalapeno. Or, if traditional is more your style, you could always opt for the rosemary and lamb sausages with English ale onions and potato salad. And that’s all before we get to the limited-edition speciality brews on tap for the event. Fat pants at the ready, friends. Check out all the details here.
Eagle Street Pier
If your idea of the perfect Australia Day involves sipping ice cold beer while overlooking the lazy meander of the Brisbane River, Kingsleys Brisbane might just be your soul mate. The cosy, waterfront restaurant will be dishing up an Aussie-inspired menu with a focus on tender lamb and fresh seafood. The exact details of the event menu are under wraps for now, but if Kingsleys’ everyday menu – curating the freshest beef and seafood Queensland has to offer – is anything to go by, we’re completely on board. Pacific South Australia oysters with tempura, soy and ginger dipping sauce and 100 day grain fed Angus rib on the bone, anyone? For the full details, click here.
The Morrison Hotel
The exact details are scarce at the moment but you can bet Woolloongabba staple, The Morrison Hotel, will be throwing open the doors this Australia Day long weekend. We’re going to go out on a limb and guess that sausages and beer will be only a small part of the festivities. We’re talking about The Morrison, after all. Stay up to date with the latest developments here.
The Normanby Hotel
Known far and wide as the home of an Australia Day party to top all others, The Normanby Hotel is back in 2018 with festivities you won’t soon forget. We’re talking three days, three outdoor stages and enough Aussie DJ’s and local performers to leave your music-loving heart skipping a beat. Big names include Brisbane local-Rore and direct-from-Melbourne SALVY. Afterwards, grab your bestie and enter the beer pong competition for the chance to win a venue voucher to use on the day. But do you want to know the best part? Everything is advertised at student and backpacker friendly prices – a.k.a cheap AF. Brisbane, you know what to do. Check out the full details here.
Green Beacon Brewing
While not exactly an Australia Day bash, Green Beacon Brewing just so happens to be celebrating their fifth birthday on the 26th. Oh boy, is it going to be a party. An afternoon of beer, swish tunes and chilled vibes are a given but the food is where things get even more interesting. Think freshly-made lamb pies, gourmet sausage rolls, char-grilled lamb, chicken baguettes and, the ultimate Aussie delicacy, homemade lamingtons. To top it all off, Green Beacon Brewing is rolling out a specialty brew for this event only: an IPA flavoured with mango and vanilla, backed up by a tropical hop character and a creamy texture. We’ll just leave the details over here.
Mount Gravatt Hotel
Do you know what’s better than Australia Day parties in general? Australia Day parties with your favourite fur child. That’s where the Mount Gravatt Hotel comes in, offering up a chilled party in their beer garden that you can celebrate with your real best friend. A free sausage sizzle will be underlining the whole event, with dog treats and toys available for the start of the show. Entertainment for the humans includes giant Jenga, which is really all you need from a lazy Friday afternoon with your pupper. Australia Day = sorted. For all the details, click here.
Putting the backyard BBQ back into Australia Day, The APO has all your Aussie backyard needs covered with their Australia Day party. Transforming their beer garden into a true-blue Queenslander backyard experience, The APO will be offering up live bands and DJs blasting all your favourite jams. Did some say INXS, Icehouse and maybe even a cheeky Savage Garden thrown into the mix? On the food side of the festivities, expect to see all the tuckshop classics you remember from your childhood, plus sangas and beer jugs a-plenty. Top tip: grab your mates and take over one of the oversized backyard games dotting the venue for the ultimate Australia Day experience. For all the details, click here.
That’s right, Doomben Racecourse will be open this Australia Day so you can combine your day off with a chance to get all gussied up at the races. We knew there was a reason we hadn’t retired our fanciest hats quite yet. The exact details of what to expect from this Australia Day special event are top secret at the moment, but rumour has it there’ll be plenty of activities to keep you entertained. You know, just in case the live racing wasn’t enough. For all the details, click here.
The Wickham Hotel
Taking place over four epic nights, The Wickham has got your entire Australia Day long weekend plans sorted. Spanning the whole weekend, expect live music from both DJs and local musical legends. Starting on Thursday the 25th and kicking on until 9pm on the 28th, The Wickham will be combining this musical bonanza with their signature menu and ice cold drinks, all served in the stunning surrounds of their beer garden. Now that sounds like our kind of party. Live music + Australia Day + a sun-dappled beer garden = bliss. For all the details, click here.
Next Hotel Pool Party
Located right in the heart of Brisbane on Queen Street, if you haven’t been to the Next Hotel’s gorgeous rooftop-pool-come-bar you’re not doing life right. Luckily, Next has decided to make your decision to go even easier by throwing a pool party this Australia Day. We know, we’re excited too! Opening at 11:30am, expect to see am array of deals on Aussie-themed burgers, beer and summer cocktails while a DJ serenades you into a state of complete relaxation as the afternoon drifts on. It’s official: if you need us we’ll be living our best lives in the Next Hotel’s pool while sipping a mimosa. If you’d like to join us, check out all the details here.
Can’t get enough of those Australia Day feels? This Gold Coast icon has created a wagon wheel doughnut and it’s as Aussie as they come.
Image credit: Grace Elizabeth Images for The Urban List