The 7 best Australia Day events in Sydney for 2016

The Ternary on Australia Day. Photo credit: Nikki To

While Australia Day events for this year are beginning to emerge, we’ve sifted through Sydney’s plans to bring you seven of the most exciting happenings on January 26th. Most make full use of their day off to get down to the harbour and help celebrate this nation, but there are worthy events happening all around the city this year, from the inner-west to Barangaroo. Keep these ones in mind for Tuesday.

The Ternary at Novotel on Darling Harbour (Pyrmont)

Darling Harbour is always a hot spot for Australia Day in Sydney, with perhaps a little too many people heading down to the area in the lead up to the late evening fireworks, making venues just off the famous horseshoe-shaped walk better options. Just a short stroll from the famous harbour-side walk is long-standing hotel Novotel on Darling Harbour, and the properties restaurant, The Ternary, will be the site of their Australia Day celebrations this year. The floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the harbour will be the perfect view on the day, and the kitchen have a huge day of buffets and special menus planned to make the hotel’s 25th Australia Day their biggest yet.

The concept restaurant, which offers three kitchens each specialising in a different cooking style, will be kicking off their Australia Day for 2016 with a full buffet breakfast, with live indigenous music from 8am-10am, after which they will start offering their exclusively designed menu for the day, featuring fresh prawns, buckets of beer, and three different jugs of sangria. There will be live music again from 5:30pm till late.

For dinner, The Ternary will be offering two different Australian inspired buffets, the first from 5pm to 7pm, sticking close to tradition at a cost of $65 per adult and $25 per child (4-12 years) with an add-on option of a fresh seafood platter for two at $80.

The second buffet will run across the 8:30pm fireworks which will be in full view from the restaurant. This buffet will start at 7:30pm and end at 9:30pm, focusing on a fresh assortment of seafood for $110 per adult and $45 per child (4-12 years).

That should be more than enough food to dig into while you hide away from the swarms of people out celebrating on Darling Harbour. Bookings can be made via (02) 9934 0000. The Ternary Restaurant is located within Novotel on Daring Harbour, 100 Murray Street, Pyrmont. For more information head to The Ternary’s official website HERE.

The Rocks’ Australia Day Festival

Led by Tuka and recent lineup addition The Grates (replaced Jinja Safari), The Rocks’ annual, free Australia Day festival promises a jam-packed program of food, drink, and market stalls, and live music all day. You also get to spend the country’s day of the days in one of the city’s most historic suburbs, with entertainment spread throughout the laneways, First Fleet Park, and Atherden Street.

For more information plus a full timetable click HERE.

Barangaroo Reserve (Barangaroo)

Of course, Sydney’s newest parklands will be the site for one of the city’s most essential Australia Day celebrations. The new Harbour headland park will be spreading events throughout the day on January 26th, starting with a WugulOra morning ceremony from 7:30am to 8am at Walumil Lawn on the northern side of the reserve. In previous years, this symbolic ceremony was held at Sydney Opera House.

In addition, there will be a concert from Ellie Drennan, Joe Moore, and Luke Antony at the sandstone Nawi Cove from 5pm. Other activities include watching the Ferrython and the Tall Ships under the Sydney Harbour Bridge at 11:40am; live music from the Junkyard Beats Cruising Concert barge as it sails past Barangaroo Reserve at 12:35pm; and a finishing Aboriginal Sunset Ceremony featuring dancers and music to say goodbye to Grandfather Sun from 7:50pm to 8:10pm.

For more information click HERE.

Vic on the Park (Marickville)

This inner-west institution will be putting on a live music event to raise funds for the Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Womens Legal Centre this Australia Day, calling on help from Bad//Dreems, Polish Club, Flowertruck and ADKOB to stage an epic day, with entry by donation, matching donation dollar for dollar.

Founded in 1994, Wirringa Baiya is a women’s legal centre managed by Aboriginal women. From its headquarters at the Addison Road Community Centre, it provides legal representation, advice and referral services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children who have been victims of violence.

It will kick off at 1pm and last until 8pm. The Vic on the Park is located at 2 Addison Road, Marrickville. For more information on Wirringa Baiya click HERE

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Pei Modern at Four Seasons Hotel (The Rocks)

Just before you hit The Rocks, which will undoubtedly be packed for Australia Day, you can step inside the Four Seasons Hotel where the property’s acclaimed restaurant Pei Modern will be offering up several Aussie favourites, carefully curated by Exec Chef Mark Best and Head Chef Joachim Borenius. Using locally sourced ingredients, the culinary duo will be offering Ewan McAsh Signature Rock Oysters ($4 each) as an entree, Lamb Saganaki Burger ($32) with house pickles and vadouvan onion rings as a lunch main, 1.2kg Milly Hill Lamb Shoulder ($75 for 2 to share) sourced from the family sheep farm of Sally and Peter Strelitz in Armidale, and Mile Chocolate Sorbet ($16) with orange jam and Anzac biscuit.

We suggest making a booking on (02) 9250 3160. Pei Modern is located inside Four Seasons Hotel Sydney on 199 George St. For more information click HERE.

Goat Island (Sydney Harbour)

From last year’s Wine Island to this, Sydney Harbour seems to be making good use of their many picturesque islands lately, and this Australia Day will see Goat Island host their very first music festival. With the apt title of Goat Island Sounds, the small-scale festival will see food and drink handled by Mary’s and Young Henry’s while some of Sydney’s freshest producers come on board to play sets in between a huge Hottest 100 listening party. Klue, Just a Gent, and Kilter are just some of the names set to appear.

Full details can be found HERE.

Zoolander 2 Ridiculously Fun Fan Event at State Theatre (Sydney CBD)

What’s more Australian than hanging out with Ben Stiller? Don’t answer that.

Sydney’s State Theatre are hosting a “Ridiculously Fun Fan Event” ahead of the release of Zoolander 2 are it’s going down on Australia Day. Details are scarce right now with surprises in store for the day but you can be rest assured that if belly laughs are your thing for Australia Day then this event is essential. Tickets are $35 and sparkling wine, beer, or water is complimentary on arrival.

You can find full details and buy tickets HERE


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.