Winning on ‘Straya Day

A last minute guide to celebrating Australia Day in Sydney

Aussies are renown straight talkers, especially when it comes to naming our stuff. When a native species of snake is brown, we’ll call it a Brown Snake. When a mountain range appears to have a blue tinge when viewed from afar, we’ll call it the Blue Mountains.

So while the Americans have Independence Day and the French have Bastille Day, we Aussies named our national day of celebration… Australia Day. Tadaaa… we are seriously uncomplicated.

Oh but there are a few exceptions… Aussies can seem pretty elaborate and at times downright complex when it comes to celebrating our public holidays.

Skeptical African Kid MemeSo in the spirit of Australia Day – a celebration of all things great about this country – SIBT Students are proud to present this handy last-minute guide to winning on Australia Day in Sydney.

So if you’re new to Sydney, don’t worry… this guide only has two points. Any more would be complicated and, well… un-Australian.

1. Get out on the water

Whether it’s lazing on a beach or getting amongst it on the harbour, there is something quintessentially Sydney about celebrating public holidays by a massive body of water. We do it on Christmas, we do it on Boxing Day, and for good measure we bloody do it on New Year’s as well.

So why should Australia Day be any different? From Bondi to Belmore, hundreds of thousands of Sydneysiders make their annual 26th of January coastline pilgrimage. Join in the action by hitting one of Sydney’s beaches for a day in the sun and surf, or secure a good harbour-side vantage point for watching the evening’s spectacular fireworks.

Oz Day 2015Photo credit:;

Hot tips

  • Head in early to secure prime real estate. You snooze you lose.
  • Catch public transport and travel light. Traffic and parking in Sydney on Australia Day is like a jellyfish sting on your eye-ball – it will be a cute story to tell your friends at dinner, but at the time it will surely hurt like hell.
  • Get your Australia Day swag on – wigs, facepaint, flags, the lot. If it has the Australian flag, wear it proudly.

The plan B

It is tragically un-Australian to spend ‘Straya Day indoors. Unless of course it’s spending it indoors watching outdoor Australia Day events on TV (we’ll get to that).

So if mega crowds aren’t your thing, get a couple of mates together for a backyard BBQ or a day in the park. Grab some sausages, fire up the barbeque, fill up the eski with ice and drinks… you’ll be celebrating ‘Straya Day like a local in no time.BBQ 3

2. Or get out to a sporting event

Sydney’s obsession with beach and harbourside recreation is only matched by our love affair with sports. Oh, and hipster dining… i.e. paying outrageous amounts for eating mediocre food at quirkily-styled establishments, all just to maintain street cred on Instagram. But I digress…

Australia in general is sports-mad, and at the epicentre of the lunacy is Sydney (sorry Melbourne… but that coffee though). So naturally, Sydney is awash with some international sporting events on Australia Day, including:

ODI Cricket – Australia vs India, Sydney Cricket Ground

AFC Asian Cup 2015 Semi-Final – Korea Republic vs Iraq, Sydney Olympic Park

Australian Open Tennis – streamed live at Customs House Square, Sydney

Oz Day SportsPhoto credit:;

Hot tips

  • Grab your last minute tickets online through Ticketek.
  • In some cases, your sporting event ticket entitles you to free public transport.

The Plan B

If you can’t get out to a sporting event, grab a couple of mates and watch the game live at one of Sydney’s many reputable sports bars.

Sports barsPhoto credit:;

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