Celebrate the big holidays Down Under
There’s nothing quite like a true blue Aussie celebration, and no better time to experience one than during the country’s most beloved holidays - the Christmas season, Australia Day, Anzac Day, New Year’s Eve and Easter weekend, to name a few. We have highlighted a few places that make these occasions even more fun and festive than they are elsewhere, so you can decide where to go to experience the best of Australia’s holidays.
Image: sv1ambo (Sydney Town Hall - 2011 Christmas illumination), CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The 25th of December and the month leading up to it are a big deal in many countries around the globe. While falling snowflakes and families gathered indoors around cosy fires are the typical motifs of the season, Christmas in Australia falls over summer, so you’re more likely to see beachballs, bikinis and BBQs - and it’s prime time for a Christmas motorhome roadie.
Sydney is the place to go for festivities, with choirs on Pitt Street Mall, light shows on the city’s iconic buildings, elegant yuletide high teas available at several top hotels, various Christmas markets and a lovely carol service at Scots Church on Christmas Eve. There’s nothing quite like being amongst a crowd of Christmas lovers, and the size of Sydney means you’ll never be lacking for festive events or lights.
Another big holiday with religious roots, Easter happens in March or April and is popular largely due to the four-day weekend it brings with it - and the exorbitant amount of chocolate.
Adelaide is usually still pleasantly warm during this part of the year and is home to Haigh’s Chocolates, a chocolatier founded in 1925. A tour of the factory with tastings included would be an excellent way to enjoy Easter, especially when combined with sampling the famous wines of the nearby Barossa Valley - reminiscent of Jesus at the Last Supper.
Byron Bay gets a special mention too, as it hosts the Byron Bay Bluesfest each Easter weekend.
The 26th of January marks Australia Day, designated the national day of Australia. It falls during what is usually the most scorching part of summer and is often celebrated with BBQs, cold beverages, community events, concerts, citizenship ceremonies and a public holiday. Aussies are partial to a good party, and that’s never more apparent than on Australia Day.
One of the best places to be for Australia Day - if you don’t have an invite to a backyard BBQ - is Melbourne, where the annual Australia Day Parade is held on Swanston Street. It showcases the varied and diverse cultures and faces of Australia and gathers a crowd of revellers for a great atmosphere. A short road trip in your motorhome from Melbourne is the Mornington Peninsula where you can experience the festivities of smaller towns - six different communities on the peninsula host free BBQs for breakfast or lunch.
This holiday on the 25th of April serves as a kind of war memorial, a sombre occasion but an important one. It is not a celebration like the others listed but a commemoration, remembering those who have fought in wars globally for Australia, and is marked with parades and poppies around the nation.
Canberra is without a doubt the place to be to understand what Anzac Day is about. The nation’s capital is home to the Australian War Memorial which is the centre of the action on April 25th, beginning with a dawn service, then a ticketed breakfast event, a National Ceremony and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commemorative Ceremony.
New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve is almost universally a huge celebration, and Australia does not buck the trend. You’ll find a good party just about anywhere, from the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge fireworks to the jovial revelry in any small-town pub.
The Gold Coast is full of fun during the entire year, and particularly so on the evening of December 31st. The many bars, restaurants and entertainment venues here are always buzzing for NYE, but it’s down at the border with New South Wales where the real excitement is to be found. Daylight savings in different states mean that at the end of December, Queensland has its clocks set an hour behind those of New South Wales. Many partiers flock to Tweed Heads to ring in the new year once and then cross the border to Coolangatta to do it all again an hour later - one of the few places in the country you can get two NYE countdowns in one night.
Are you ready to celebrate like an Aussie during one of the nation’s most significant holidays? Pick up your Australia motorhome rental, read our top tips and start planning a memorable journey. We recommend booking well in advance for any holiday periods - the Aussies do!