Australia Day is a weird one. On one hand, having a day where everyone gets together and celebrates their country is brilliant and I wish the English got into the same spirit for St. George’s Day, however Australia Day also has a rather dark side to it.
Australia Day, celebrated on 26th January each year, commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships to Oz in 1788. This date in history also marks the day that these new English settlers began displacing the native Aborigines from their land. Therefore many with aboriginal heritage often use the day to protest against the government and sometimes these demonstrations can get a bit ugly.
Whatever your political views, Australia Day is a national holiday and so there are loads of activities and events happening all around the country.
One of these events is “The Thong Challenge“ – a World record attempt held by Havaianas. Each Australia Day, Havaianas coordinate each of the states to compete against each other in an effort to try and break the World record for the largest number of giant inflatable Havaianas out on the ocean at the same time!
In NSW, the Thong Challenge is held on our door step at Bondi Beach, so we decided to take part. Unfortunately, due to dangerous surf conditions, the organisers were forced to cancel the event at the very last minute, just an hour before it was due to start in the morning!
It was still fun to see a Bondi Beach full of giant orange inflatable thongs though!In the afternoon we headed to The Rocks in the CBD to meet up with some friends for a street festival that was being held. There were loads of stalls selling food and drink, and a music stage with live acts playing all day.
After a few hours in the sun, we all headed to meet up with some more friends at Darling Harbour for food and the Australia Day Firework Display over the marina.
We arrived 3 hours before the fireworks were due to start, but already there were at least 10,000 people taking their places at the best vantage points!
We were looking for somewhere to eat and noticed that the Hard Rock Cafe had a balcony. So we headed there and after we’d eaten, we grabbed some beers and headed out onto their balcony which gave us a perfect view of the marina.
Sydney has a history of putting on epic firework displays, and in the short time we’ve been here we have already seen many of them, and Darling Harbour’s Australia Day show was no less spectacular. The display lasted for a whole 30 minutes and was accompanied by music, a rousing rendition of the Australian national anthem and lasers.
To finish Australia Day in a very Australian way, on our way back we walked through Hyde Park and by chance were greeted by a friendly family of wild possums!
Happy Australia Day, everyone!