It’s that time again! From cockroach races and epic burger challenges to fireworks and backyard cricket, here’s what’s on the menu in Brisbane for Australia Day.

“Brisbane is the place to be this Australia Day, with a wide range of events, activities and facilities on offer to help people of all ages and interests celebrate our great country,” says Lord Mayor Graham Quirk.

“The Story Bridge will be lit up in green and gold on Australia Day, providing a vibrant spectacle for people venturing into the city to celebrate.”

Here are a few of our favourite ways to celebrate Australia Day in Brisbane!

Party On

South Bank Fireworks

The Southbank Parklands will become an alcohol free-zone for Australia Day, making it nice and safe for young families. Get in early to snag a good spot for the 7:30pm fireworks.

Australia Day Wynnum

At Brisbane’s bayside, families can cool off from the summer heat at Wynnum Esplanade Bandstand Park with free celebrations planned including entertainment, rides and a sausage sizzle!

The Story Bridge Hotel

It wouldn’t be Australia Day without the famous Cockroach Races. You can even book a corporate box for an unprecedented view! Don’t forget to dress up too, you could win the Miss Cocky Competition or Best Dressed Group. The race starts at midday and entry is just a gold coin donation to Youngcare.

The Normanby Hotel Esky Races

Ever wanted to spend your Australia Day racing a 1000W Esky around a carpark for your chance to win $5000 worth of prizes? Of course you have! Your wish is granted thanks to the Normanby’s annual Esky Races. The free event also includes live entertainment and Triple J’s Hottest 100 playing loud. Strap on those knee pads and get racing.

Australia Zoo

Australia Zoo is holding a special Australia Day show in the Crocoseum from 11:30am. John Williamson will be performing live followed, of course, by a live croc feeding. There will also be plenty of activities including pavlova decorating, a pie eating contest, face painting, free damper and many prizes to be won. Ticket purchase is essential!

Taps Fortitude Valley

If the thought of being able to drink craft beer on tap (or buy an Esky full of it) tickles your fancy, Taps’ Australia Day party is the place to be. You can also compete in thong-throwing contests, play Beer Pong and listen to Triple Js Hottest 100 all day long. The party kicks off from 10am until late.

The Pineapple Hotel

Around since 1886, the Pineapple Hotel is no stranger to a great Australia Day bash. With delicious food, XXXX buckets, the Hottest 100 countdown, live tunes, and the famous Pineapple Throwing Contest, the Pineapple Hotel is an Australia Day tradition worth maintaining.

The Fox Hotel

Listen to the Hottest 100 while you enjoy a spit roasted lamb roll and an esky of Young Henry’s or Green Beacon Beer for $25, and don’t miss the sausage sizzle! Once your appetite has been satisfied, give the thong throwing competition a whirl to claim true Australia Day glory.

The Flying Cock

Kick off your Australia Day celebrations a little early at this Fortitude Valley venue’s Spot On event. Party from 6pm on Monday 25 January with live music from local up and comers and not to mention a ripper selection of craft beers and ciders on tap. You will need a ticket for this one, so head to Moshtix for yours (don’t worry, they’re only five bucks).

Pig Out

Great Australian Bites

More than just a catchy name for the South Australian coastline, the Great Australian Bite is a showcase of local culinary masters at Southbank’s River Quay from 23-26 January. Experience live entertainment from local artists while devouring taster plates and sipping drinks from pop-up food stalls. If you stick around until 7:30pm you will also have a perfect view of the fireworks.

Chur Burger Challenge

From 23-29 January, Chur Burger in Fortitude Valley will host its annual Australia Day Burger Challenge Week. Participants will need to eat their way through a 16-pattie burger, complete with a brioche bun, cheese and sauce, in 30 minutes. Winners will get the burger for free, a t-shirt, and their name in the Chur Burger Hall of Fame. The Chur Burger Challenge commences at 11am daily.

Getta Burger

The American-style burger joint will be offering its Australia Day special, the Getta Hopper Knocker, at its Carina store on 26 January and at all other stores for the rest of the week after that. Kangaroo, emu, lamb and vegemite, all between two buns? We’re not sure about this one, but Getta Burger’s famed That BBQ Sauce will help it go down easy.


Got a sweet tooth? Cowch has you covered from 7am-10pm. In addition to their usual menu, they’re offering a ‘Lamington Naked Pop’ from January 22 to 29 in honour of Australia Day. That’s a signature Cowch Naked Pop sandwiched between two slabs of Lamington and drizzled with strawberry coulis!

South Bank Beer Garden

Enjoy a beachside BBQ of low and slow meats to kick off Australia Day in style. Open from 8am until late, the venue’s full a la carte menu will be available all day, as well as jugs of beer and the Triple J Hottest 100 on tap.

Kookaburra Showboat Cruises

Enjoy a three course meal for lunch or dinner with fabulous views of the city by day and fireworks by night. There will be competitions for the best Aussie costume as well as lucky door prizes to win. Ticket prices range from $39-$79 and you can find more information here.



Having a BBQ or a picnic at one of the parks around Brisbane is a fun and affordable way to get your mates together on Australia Day. There’s no need to book a spot and all barbecues are serviced on a weekly basis at minimum (the most popular spots are serviced on a daily basis). Brisbane City Council has barbecues in over 400 parks and natural areas — click here to find the one closest to you!

Walkabout Creek picnics

In the natural surrounds of the D’Aguilar National Park, just 12kms from the city, you can enjoy a picnic, walking trails, swimming spots and maybe even a game of backyard cricket. The best part is, you don’t even have to pack your own hamper! Hampers can be ordered online from Cuisine on Cue and collected from the Green Tree Frog Cafe on your arrival. Too easy!

Palace Barracks & Centro Cinemas

Palace Cinemas have announced that all movie tickets will be $5 on Tuesday 26 January at Barracks & Centro in celebration of Australia Day. Films like The Hateful Eight, The Big Short, Carol, The Revenant, Looking For Grace, The Danish Girl, Goosebumps, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be showing, as well as preview screenings of the Academy Award-nominated Room. With the money you save on tickets, you could treat yourself to a gourmet choc top!

How will you be celebrating Australia Day? Let us know in the comments below!