What's On

Australia Day in Melbourne

By Ella Pleasant
22nd Jan 2014

Each Australia Day in Melbourne, patriotic folk don their finest flag-themed finery and flock to the nearest beach, bar or backyard to celebrate The Best Country In The World. We're a pretty unique country with an edible coat of arms, a former PM famous for necking beers, various Big Things decorating our highways, and a general 'the bigger, the better' attitude towards food and drink.

This January 26th, there are a host of Australia Day parties and events around town absolutely bursting at the seams with delicious food and brews. From Triple J's Hottest 100, to live entertainment and amazing fireworks, here are the top things to do on Australia Day in Melbourne.


As you probably know, we love nothing more than downing an ice-cold cider when the mercury rises (if you haven't seen our list of favourite summer ciders, check it out here). So imagine our excitement when we found out Brunswick Street Cider House, the first venue in Australia completely dedicated to our favourite thirst-quencher, is hosting the ultimate cider fest this Australia Day! Meet and greet the creative geniuses behind your favourite brands and sample a range of different ciders from the traditional French barrel-aged to the more experimental, fruit wine infused varieties. For just $28, you'll get your own personal stein filled with cider (or beer, if you're that way inclined), a slow cooked pork roll, Calvados custard apple crumble AND $8 refills of any cider or beer on tap. Happy Australia Day!

Brunswick Street Cider House | 386 – 388 Brunswick Street in Fitzroy

12:00pm 'til 1:00am | Tickets $28 (available at venue)

For more info, please click here


If you're like me and absolutely loathe running/jogging/anything puff-inducing, this one's for you. Open to all ages and fitness levels, MS Colour Dash is putting the 'fun' back into fun run, with a colourful, non-competitive 5K around Docklands. With four colour stations around the track, you'll be showered with rainbow dust before arriving at the finish, where live music, food, drinks and #selfies await you. All proceeds raised will go towards supporting Aussies living with multiple sclerosis.

Docklands Park? | 1 – 91 Harbour Esplanade ?in Docklands 

9:00am 'til 1:00pm | $50 for adults, $25 for under-16s, $100 for family entry

To book, please click here


Fireworks, ripper entertainment, backyard games and Aussie nosh: there's a whole lot of fun happening at Docklands this Australia Day! Kick things off (quite literally) at the Great Aussie Thong Throwing Competition (5:00pm 'til 6:00pm) for the chance to win some great prizes and the ultimate bragging rights. There's more free fun to be had with a Nova 100 DJ spinning the best Aussie tracks, a barbeque serving up snags, and roving performers, balloon artists and magicians doing the rounds until the fireworks display at 9:30pm. Kiddies will be kept entertained throughout the day with free face painting, kite making and giveaways. It's free, fun and perfect for the whole family. 

NewQuay Promenade | 439 Docklands Drive in Docklands

4:00 'til 10:00pm

For more info, please click here


This Australia Day, Village Melbourne is hosting a garden party in, you guessed it, their insanely good beer garden. The party celebrates the arrival of Blue Moon Brewing Company with taster flights and matched snacks accompanying a true blue Aussie barbeque. So grab a snag, down a beer and chill out to DJ Aydos' retrospective mash up of Triple J's Hottest 100.

Village Melbourne | 557 St Kilda Road in Melbourne

12:00pm onwards

For more info, please click here


Enjoy all of the Caulfield equine action from the Matilda Bay Beer Garden, with a selection of Matilda Bay brews (geniuses behind the much-loved Dirty Granny Cider), Mr Burger nosh and sweet acoustic tunes between races. Yep, all that right on the front lawn at Caulfield! There are also free activities for the whole family running from 2:00pm 'til 6:00pm, including Australia-themed face and body painting, badge making, pony rides and a whiz around on the trackless train. While it may technically be held on the day before Australia Day, it's too good not to mention!

Matilda Bay Beer Garden | Caulfield Racecourse, Station Street in Caulfield

25th January | 1:00pm 'til 8:00pm

To book, click here


Along with supplying Australia Day barbeques with delicious meat, Melbourne's most loved markets are putting on a number of fantastic activities over the national holiday. Head to the Queen Victoria Market to browse through String Bean Alley, sample global barbequed dishes from international food vendors, and be entertained by a host of roving performers. Prahran Market also promises a day of fun with a bunch of family-friendly activities; jumping castles and face-painting will keep kiddies entertained, while live music, beer tastings and tips on how to make get the most from your barbeque will appeal to the adults.  South Melbourne Market is kicking off the day with an Aussie-inspired breakfast, while Dandenong Market's bakery traders are taking part in the ultimate pie off, after which you can sample homemade meat pies and vote for your favourite. And what's more Australian than a meat pie, I ask you?!

Queen Victoria Market | Corner Victoria Street & Elizabeth Street in Melbourne

Prahran Market | 163 Commercial Road in South Yarra

South Melbourne Market | 322 – 326 Coventry Street in South Melbourne

Dandenong Market | Cleeland Street in Dandenong


Add a Spanish flair to this year's Australia Day with $20 sangria jugs 'til 6:00pm and live music playing from 3:00pm to get you in the fiesta mood.  Not a fan of the spicy liquid perfection that is sangria? There'll be jugs of beer going for just $12 from 3:00pm 'til 6:00pm. Australia Day win!

Bohemian Bar & Restaurant | 35 Dukes Walk in Southbank

12:00pm 'til 10:00pm

For more info, please click here


Left Bank has a few ripper deals on offer, with all Australian beers selling at $7 a bottle, pints at $9 and an Australian Lamb Burger and a schooner of domestic beer for $23. You'll be able to chill out to live music throughout the day and catch the men's tennis final live over two screens from 7:30pm. Drink the night away, head home for a couple of hours kip and then do it all again the next day (with the same deals!)

Left Bank Melbourne | 1 Southbank Boulevard in Southbank

Open 8:30am for breakfast, lunch from 12:00pm and general drinking and debauchery 'til 1:00am

For more info, please click here


First up is Tidal Rhythms at the Bowl, a vibrant mix of coastal and island cultures. Headlined by the Melbourne Ska Orchestra, the free concert is a celebration of Australia's rich mosaic of artistic talent, with acrobats, street dance performers and global percussion groups keeping the soulful island rhythms alive all afternoon. 

Stay parked on the grass 'til 6:00pm for Shortlisted! – a free music event where the nine Shortlisted! artists for this year's Coopers Australia Music Prize will be announced. Winners of the 2012 prize, Hermitude, are headlining the concert, joined by Beaches, Jen Cloher, Dialectrix and a host of other musicians. Co-hosted by Ella Hooper (from Killing Heidi fame) and Tim Levinson (aka Urthboy), Shortlisted! will be a killer concert, free to the public and free from Triple J's Hot 100.

Sidney Myer Music Bowl | Kings Domain Gardens, Linlithgow Avenue in Melbourne

Tidal Rhythms at the Bowl | 2:30pm 'til 5:00pm (Gates open at 2:00pm)

For more info, please click here

Shortlisted! | 6:00pm 'til 8:00pm

For more info, please click here


Snags, white bread, greasy onions with a big ol' squirt of Heinz Big Red.  Add to the mix kangaroo steaks and their famed pizza and you've got yourself a winning Australia Day lunch. There'll also be a paddling pool filled to the brim with Melbourne Bitters (each one costing you a measly $5). 

Henry and the Fox | 525 Little Collins Street in Melbourne 

11:30am 'til 6:00pm

For more info, please click here


The summer footwear of choice of all Aussies, Havaianas are once again trying to beat the world record for the longest line of giant inflatable thongs. This year, Victoria's joining in on the fun, with thousands of inflatable Havaianas set to be paddle out across Torquay on Australia Day. There's also plenty of fun to be had out of the water, with beachside activities, giveaways, DJs spinning Aussie tunes and snags aplenty. If that doesn't make you want to whip on your togs and jump on an inflatable thong, just know that all this fun in the sun is for a good cause: $10 from every registration goes towards the local Nippers club. Can't make it to the beach? Buy the Havaianas backyard pack and get inventive with four of your very own giant thong inflatables. Thong cricket? Toss the thong? Oh, the possibilities are endless!  

Torquay Beach in Torquay 

8:00am 'til 2:30pm | Single entry $30 (incl. inflatable thong) | Backyard pack (incl. 4 inflatable thongs + more)

To register, please click here


Just can't wait to get into the Australia Day spirit? Start your celebrations early with a BBQ lunch at Queen Street Rescue on Friday the 24th – you can eat your snags on the street or dine on your BBQ plate in the restaurant (sure beats the usual weekday food court lunch!). Australian beers and Dirty Granny Cider will be selling at just $6 and all the Grand Slam action will be played live all weekend. 

Queen Street Rescue | 189 Queen Street in Melbourne 

7:30am 'til late

For more info, please click here


You'll be feeling the serenity at Maltesers Moonlight Cinema this Australia Day – the most quotable Australian film ever written, The Castle, will be screening in all its fair dinkum glory. Make sure you pack a picnic (meatloaf, darl), pull up a patch of grass and enjoy this Australian cult classic. This one's going in the pool room. 

Maltesers Moonlight Cinema | Royal Botanic Gardens in South Yarra

8:30pm – late | Tickets $12 | $10 for members

To book, please click here


This free afternoon event features arts and craft activities, community stalls, roving performers and circus acts that are sure to keep you amused right into the evening. To top it all off, there'll also be a giant slide, huge inflatable jumping castle and mini-golf course. Great for little kids and big kids alike. 

Dandenong Park | Corner Pultney and Foster Street in Dandenong

3:00pm 'til 9:30pm

For more info, please click here


Test your knowledge with a true blue quiz, have a crack at bocce on the balcony or perhaps try your hand at volleyball in the vines. You can also BYO cricket bat and soft footy for a bit of friendly backyard competition. Peckish after all that sport? Lunch is a fabulous gourmet BBQ supplied by local producers. Couldn't think of anything better!

Oakridge Wines | 864 Maroondah Highway in Coldstream 

10:00am 'til 5:00pm | $50 for two courses | $60 for three courses | Children's meals $17 (incl. two courses & activity bag)

For more information, please click here  | To book, please call 03 9738 9900

Main Image Credit: Jim Tzinganos

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

You May Also Like