Things to Do for Australia Day in Sydney

What is Australia Day?

The 26th of January marks a special day for every Australian, as we come together to celebrate our beautiful country. The annual event marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales.

On this renowned day in history, Captain Arthur Phillip arrived at Sydney Cove and raised the Union Jack to signal the beginning of the colony. Originally referred to as ‘Foundation Day’, the 26th of January is a time for reflection, celebration and to acknowledge our history. Now a celebration of all the incredible people that call Australia home, Australia Day is a chance to recognise the past, celebrate the present and envision the future.

As the biggest annual event in Australia, many of us find ourselves looking for the best things to do to celebrate this day. We’ve put this mini guide together to showcase just some of the amazing things going on around Sydney this year.

What to do in Sydney for Australia Day?

If you’re in Sydney for Australia Day, then you’re in luck – the city has a range of great activities and events to help you get the most out of this day. From BBQs and music events, to activities on the water, there’s something for everyone to have a fantastic day.

If you’d like to ensure this year’s Australia Day is unforgettable, look no further than hiring a private boat on Sydney Harbour. Karisma Cruises offers luxury experiences on the Harbour, right in the centre of all the best things happening in Sydney. Spend the day swimming with our new inflatables, sunning yourself on the island raft, lily pad or floating dock. Or indulge in out onboard spa facilities and indulge in a celebratory glass of bubbly (or two).

If you and your friends don’t want to miss out on this unique way to celebrate Australia Day, get in touch today.

Best Things to do for Australia Day in Sydney

Wugulora Indigenous Morning Ceremony

For the early risers, this cultural ceremony starts at 7.45am at the Walumil Lawns Barangaroo Reserve in Sydney. Enjoy the world’s oldest living culture dance and celebrate with ancient stories and spectator performances.

For anyone who has never seen this ceremony close up, it is a highly recommended way to begin the celebrations of Australia Day.

184th Australia Day Regatta

Regarded as the world’s oldest annual sailing regatta, this prestigious event is a great spectacle for all. Boats of all sizes partake in the event, from large ocean-racing yachts, to small remote-controlled model boats. With around 700 boats on the waters in recent years, it has become one of the country’s favourite events for the day.

Charter with Karisma Cruises

Be at the heart of the action with your own private charter. Get up close and personal with the many incredible ships, yachts and boats paraded on Australia Day. Whether you want to stop off at one of the many stunning secluded coves and have a BBQ, or spend a day celebrating on the water with loved ones, the doting crew will ensure you have a dream day. Go all out and get your family and friends in the water! Karisma Cruises have a selection of inflatables, including an island raft, a lily pad and a floating dock, guaranteed to get everyone giggling.

Combine this with our on-board six person heated spa, fully stocked bars and dancefloor, and you’re in for a great day!

Sydney Opera House

This iconic building boasts one of the best spots in town for Australia Day. With live music from some of the world’s top artists, this event is one of the most sought-after things to do in Sydney. It’s a ticketed event so make sure you get your tickets as soon as possible as it’s likely to sell out.

The Wiggles Australia Day Concert

If you’re looking for a family event, look no further than this famous group performing all their greatest hits at Tumbalong Park stage. It’ll be a fun event for parents and kids, and a great way to get the whole family celebrating in style.

Tall Ship Race

This event showcases a fleet of historic ships battle it out for victory in the Harbour. An amazing race and spectacle, it’s something not to be missed.

Sky Shows

During the day, the skies will host 3 Hawks F18’s and a Qantas A380 fly over the Harbour Bridge. This is an incredible scene and the view from on the water is unforgettable.


The city puts on some of the best firework displays in the world. If you’re at Sydney Harbour at 9pm, you’re perfectly positioned to see these amazing fireworks. Hiring a boat on the harbour gives you an unrivalled view of these world-class displays.

Australia Day in Sydney with Karisma Cruises

If you’d like to enjoy any of the ideas mentioned above, from the comfort of one of Sydney’s top rated private boat hires, then get in touch with Karisma Cruises today. There’s so much going on, from the air force plane shows and boat races and parades during the day to fireworks in the evening, as well as other attractions. All of this combined with great drinks, food and entertainment on board Karisma and you’re guaranteed to love every minute.

We’ll help you avoid the traffic and chaos on the streets, and give you a VIP experience of Sydney on one of the best days to be on the Harbour.

Get in touch today to learn more.