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Australia Day: Friday 26th January

Australia Day is celebrated in (yep, you guessed it) Australia on the 26th of January, and the day was created to commemorate the 1788 landing of the First Fleet in New South Wales.

A governor called Arthur Phillip led the expedition from the UK, in which eleven ships of convicts were brought to Port Jackson, heralding their arrival as the start of a new British colony. Since 1979, Australia Day has been promoted not as a colonial event, but rather as a time to celebrate what it means to be Australian and acknowledge the contributions, history, and achievements of the people who make the country what it is today.

Across the nation, Australia is honoured mostly with community events and social gatherings. Officially, there are awards ceremonies and sporting events, along with concerts, parades, and festivals. But of course we all know the best celebrations aren’t the professionally-organised ones! Set in the height of summer, the 26th of Jan sees Australian citizens of all backgrounds spending time with their immediate communities - neighbours, family, friends - and it’s the perfect time to (sorry!) throw a shrimp on the barbie. You must don your festive apparel, plaster every surface with the Australian flag, put the cricket on, and crack open a cold one in the garden. Or, do the same at the beach! Australia Day invites thousands to flock to the coast with a rug and an esky (blanket and coldbox), to enjoy their day off basking in the 30° heat and listening to the Triple J Hottest 100, which is apparently sacrilegious to miss out on.

Lamingtons, Tim-Tams, Vegemite, meat pies, beetroot and pineapple burgers: eat Australian food to your heart’s content, and recover just in time for the evening fireworks! You’ll find magnificent displays in the likes of Perth and Melbourne, but make sure you tune it at some point to Australia Day Live, hosted at Sydney Opera House and accompanied by spectacular pyrotechnics displayed at midnight. A quick internet search will give you a list of all the best vantage points to watch this dazzling display, and if you happen to find yourself on a cruise at this point, you can watch them from the deck of the ship or the comfort of your cabin. Bliss!

22nd January 2024