Public holidays in Australia

Traditional Holidays


Clownfish with Anemone off Port Douglas, Qld.  Photo credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Public Holidays In Australia

Easter in autumn. Christmas and New Year at the height of summer. The Southern Hemisphere seasons make the traditional holidays excitingly different. But Australia has plenty more public holidays to call its own.

Australia Day – 26th January

The national day of Australia commemorates the landing of the First Fleet at Botany Bay in 1788 and the proclamation of British sovereignty. It’s Australia’s biggest annual party, with coast to coast concerts, barbecues, sports competitions, festivals and fireworks.


Anzac Day – 25th April

Marches in all state capitals commemorate those who served in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). The Dawn Service is traditionally only attended by veterans, while family and well-wishers can join the Day Service.


Melbourne Cup – 5th November

Only an official public holiday in Victoria – not that you’d know it as Melbourne Cup day is celebrated across the country. While its centrepiece is the horse race, this is a day for parties, BBQs, food, drinks and the occasional flutter. Makes Grand National Day look like a donkey derby.


The Queen’s Birthday

This is effectively a bank holiday weekend in celebration of the Queen’s official birthday. It’s held on the second Monday in June in every state except Western Australia. There, the celebration takes place on the last Monday in September or the first Monday in October to avoid clashing with Western Australia Day (on the first Monday in June).


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Celebrate The Newest Of New Years

New Year’s Eve/Day is a big deal for Australians.

Head to Sydney for the festivities and you’ll be among the first on the planet to welcome in the New Year.

That’s because, Wellington aside, Australia’s east coast cities are the closest major populations to the International Date Line – the point from which each new day begins.

So unlike the UK, which won’t start its celebrations until 10 hours later, when you celebrate New Year in Australia, it really is new.

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