Australia Day in Sydney is something every Australian should experience at least once in their lifetime. With 26 January just around the corner, and a host of activities set to take place on and around the water, now is the time to start planning a long weekend of fun, sun and celebration in the spectacular Harbour City.
Sydney will once again play host to a city-wide celebration, and Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism and Major Events Troy Grant said the 2015 program will feature music, maritime activities, cultural events and entertainment for the whole family.
“Visitors to Sydney on Australia Day are always in for a treat, with activities and entertainment, much of which is free, taking place from early in the morning right through to the evening, making it an affordable day out for families celebrating our national day,” Mr Grant said.
“Each year, our Harbour City welcomes thousands of visitors to its spectacular foreshore for the festivities, contributing millions of dollars' worth of visitor expenditure to the State's economy.
“There is no better time than 2015 to experience Australia Day in Sydney, and I look forward to once again welcoming visitors from across Australia to enjoy the events,” he said.
Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said the WugulOra Indigenous Ceremony at the Sydney Opera House, which celebrates Australia's traditional landowners, will mark the official start of a diverse program that lasts into the evening.
“Music lovers can enjoy the Cruising Concert along the Sydney Harbour Foreshore featuring The Voice superstar Darren Percival performing live from a barge out on the water, which will settle into Cockle Bay for a show at 6pm,” Ms Chipchase said.
“Those lucky enough to have secured a ticket through the ballot will enjoy The Australia Day Concert at the Sydney Opera House, presented by the NSW Government through Destination NSW, which will feature some of our finest Aussie talent including Jessica Mauboy, Sheppard, The Veronicas, Justice Crew, James Morrison and Russell Morris, and will be hosted by David Campbell.
“The kids will not miss out either, with The Wiggles Australia Day Concert, also balloted and presented by Destination NSW, taking place at the Sydney Opera House earlier that morning. Nickelodeon's Hyde Park Summer Playground is sure to be a hit, providing interactive entertainment throughout the day,” she said.
Of course, Australia Day in Sydney would not be complete without a maritime spectacle. This year, three P&O Cruise Ships will be docked in Sydney Harbour and will light up beneath a spectacular fireworks display at 8.30pm.
The world's oldest continuously conducted annual sailing event, the 179th Australia Day Regatta, will once again delight spectators, as will the Tall Ships Race, the Ferrython, and the Salute to Australia which will include a 21 Gun Salute by the Australian Army, Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force.
Here's a more detailed guide to what's on in Sydney this Australia Day:
7am, P&O Cruise Ships
Approximately 6,000 guests will be on board three of the world's most impressive cruise ships that arrive in Sydney; Pacific Dawn, Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearlwill join in the celebrations this Australia Day. The ships will stand in the midst of the Harbour activities providing passengers a birds-eye view.
7.30am, WugulOra Indigenous Ceremony
A special moment to commence Australia Day, WugulOra celebrates Australia's traditional landowners in a ceremony on the Northern Forecourt of the Sydney Opera House. The ceremony will see the Aboriginal flag raised along with the Australian flag on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This will be followed by a performance by the NSW Public Schools Aboriginal Dance Company.
8.30am, The Great Australian Swim Series – Great Sydney Swim
More than 1,000 participants are expected to take the plunge in the 2.2km final event of the swim series. The final takes place around Farm Cove – right alongside the Sydney Opera House and the Royal Botanic Gardens.
9am – 5pm, Hyde Park Summer Playground
Hyde Park North will come alive and transform into a Summer Playground for a fun-filled day for the whole family. Nickelodeon is taking over Hyde Park offering a host of kids' favourite characters, live performances, superheroes, character meet and greet and sporting activities.
10am – 11am, The Wiggles Australia Day Concert
Australia's biggest, brightest and wiggliest entertainment group The Wiggles are all set to hit the Sydney Opera House stage this Australia Day. The Wiggles' first show of the year will see them wiggle and sing alongside Dorothy the Dinosaur, Henry the Octopus, Wags the Dog and Captain Feathersword. Please note, the ballot for this event is now closed and is at capacity.
Sydney's beloved First Fleet ferries will line up for one of Australia's most popular and iconic free events. Cheer on your favourite ferry as the vessels make their final dash to the finish line under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. For the best vantage points head to Shark Island, Milsons Point or Lavender Bay.
12pm, Salute to Australia
Audiences at the 12pm to Salute to Australia can sing the national anthem in harmony with synchronised choirs, and the Australian Army, Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force will combine their efforts in a ceremonial display of respect. A 21 Gun Salute will be fired from Bradfield Park, under the north side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, followed by an aerial flyover of RAAF jets to complete the Salute.
1pm, Sydney's Tall Ships Race
A fleet of historic and charter vessels will capture attention, slicing their way through the harbour waves in the Tall Ships Race, starting from Bradley's Head and travelling on the northern side of Fort Denison to finish under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The best vantage points to catch the race are from Bradley's Head to the Harbour Bridge on the northern side of Sydney Harbour.
1.30pm, 179th, Australia Day Regatta
The 179th Australia Day Regatta is the world's oldest continuously conducted annual sailing event and will turn Sydney Harbour into an aquatic spectacle. Up to 700 vessels, including traditional and classic yachts from around the nation, will take part in the Regatta.
11am – 7:00pm, Cruising Concert
This year's Cruising Concert will make its way around Sydney Harbour throughout the day, entertaining crowds at different locations. The custom-built floating stage will be hosted by entertainer Darren Percival and his band. Starting at Bradfield Park from 11:00am the Cruising Concert will visit Blues Point Reserve, Dawes Point, the Sydney Opera House, Farm Cove, Mrs Macquarie's Chair, Cremorne Point and the Athol Bay Playground before a special performance at Cockle Bay at 6pm.
7pm – 8.30pm, The Australia Day Concert at the Sydney Opera House
The Australia Day Concert at the Sydney Opera House will see some of Australia's brightest stars come together, including Jessica Mauboy, Sheppard, The Veronicas, Justice Crew, James Morrison, Russell Morris and host David Campbell. Please note this event is at capacity.
8.30pm, P&O Cruise Fireworks
See the spectacular fireworks display between the three P&O cruise ships which will be a real treat for passengers and foreshore spectators.
Visit www.australiaday.com.au for further information about events happening around Sydney this Australia Day.
For more information on Sydney go to www.sydney.com