Australia Day is a national holiday that means different things to different people. For some, the event is Invasion or Survival Day. For others, it’s a day to celebrate what they love about Australia. Wherever you sit on the issue, there are events going on across Melbourne on January 26 that will entertain and educate, from food festivals to celebrations of Indigenous culture.


A food truck festival in Coburg
More than 30 food trucks will be open at Coburg Velodrome from January 26 to 29. There will also be live music, art installations, performances (such as aerial acrobatics) and an inflatable outdoor cinema. Register online for free entry.

Coburg Velodrome, 30 Charles Street, Coburg North

Lamington cocktails at Four Pillars Whisky
If anyone can get a lamington-inspired cocktail right it’s the folks at Four Pillars. Try their creation of roasted-coconut-infused gin, creme de cacao, vermouth, lemon juice and orange marmalade after lunching on pork ribs by Kansas City Bill’s BBQ.

Four Pillars Distillery, 2A Lilydale Road, Healesville

AusFest Cider Festival
Now in its sixth year, turn up at The Cider House and have your personal stein filled on entry with one of 12 craft ciders or beers on tap ($9 refills thereafter). Tickets are $28 and include a pulled-pork roll or a vegan option. Note that a lifesaver will be present for the 2017 Apple Bobbing Championships.

Register for tickets here.

A modern Aussie barbeque on the Mornington Peninsula
As part of its Summer Winery Lunches series in Red Hill, Food + Wine is hosting an Australia Day Barbeque with a five-course set menu that’s all about cooking on charcoal. A new take on the classic iced vo-vo is on the menu, as is a local version of an Americano using only Australian spirits. Tickets are $47.50.

Avani Winery, 98 Stanleys Road, Red Hill South

Aussie Pizza Party
Small Print Pizza is opening early, and serving up its regular mix of sustainably-minded pizza as well as two specials: a Vegemite and Cheese option, and a dessert pizza loaded with Tim Tam, Milo Sauce, Caramello Koala and ice cream. Small Print also delivers to the park nearby, so you can add the pizzas to your picnic menu.

388 High St, Windsor

Small Print Pizza


Australia, painted at the NGV
In Land of All Sally Gabori depicts the Australian landscape in white and bright red, or in a flurry of yellow and purple spots. In John Olsen’s The You Beaut Country, his famous paintings of Australia from the sky are shown alongside ceramics and tapestry. Who’s Afraid of Colour? presents a different view of Australia, covering myriad Indigenous women’s experiences and perspectives, from the political to the traditional, from the angry to the forgiving.

Federation Square, Melbourne

Australian films at ACMI
Le Ride is a documentary retracing the 1928 Tour de France as experienced by cyclists from Australia and New Zealand who made up the first English-speaking team to compete in the iconic race. (Down Under, a dark comedy set after the Cronulla riots in 2005, is playing on January 28. There’s a Q&A after the screening). Tickets are $12–$18.

Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia

Reconciliation Comedy Gala
This event at the Malthouse Theatre will raise money for the City of Yarra’s Stolen Generations Marker project. The line-up includes MC Uncle Jack Charles, Eddie Perfect, Bunna Lawrie, Shiralee Hood and the Koori Youth Will Shake Spears dance group. Standard tickets are $60.

Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt Street, Southbank

Spear at Shimmerlands
Spear is a bold, Aussie film that communicates through dance and movement with barely any dialogue. It’s written and directed by acclaimed choreographer Stephen Page of Bangarra Dance Theatre and follows the journey of a young Indigenous man living in inner-city Sydney. It’s a cinematic tribute to the Australian landscape, too.

Shimmerlands at the University of Melbourne


Australia Day fireworks
From 6pm on Harbour Esplanade at the Docklands, there will be entertainment and food trucks. The fireworks (released from Etihad Stadium, not a water barge) begin at 10.15pm, so get a spot before then.

Docklands Park, 1–91 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands

Share the Spirit Festival 2017
This is Victoria’s longest-running Aboriginal music festival, with dance, live music and market stalls, as well as food trucks.

Treasury Gardens, 2–18 Spring Street, Melbourne

Bowled Over Hottest 100 Party
There’ll be beer, barbeque, barefoot bowling and live music at The St Kilda Bowls Club. In the venue’s secret garden you can play a game of bocce, or kick back in a deck chair for the afternoon and listen to the Triple J countdown. Tickets are $10.

St Kilda Sports Club, 66 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda

Belgrave Survival Day
This year is the 10th anniversary of Belgrave Survival Day. There will be live performances including a traditional Wurundjeri dance troupe, the Mullum Mullum Indigenous Community Choir and Hip Hop Crew, plus headliner Benny Walker. There will be market stalls, food trucks and a traditional bush-foods barbeque and didgeridoo meditation. Take a picnic rug and settle in.

Borthwick Park, Benson Street, Belgrave

Tennis and tunes at the Australian Open Festival
Relax on the grass at Birrarung Marr and watch some grand-slam semi-finals on the big screen with food from Hotel Jesus, Jimmy Grants, Tokyo Tina and Huxtaburger.

Birrarung Marr, Batman Avenue, Melbourne

Triple J Hottest 100 Party at The Corner Hotel
If you’re at a bar or restaurant (or pretty much anywhere) on January 26, you’ll hear Triple J’s Hottest 100 playing in the background. But this party is entirely devoted to the annual countdown. There’ll be a rooftop barbeque and food and drinks specials. You should probably book a table. Email to reserve your spot.

57 Swan Street, Richmond

Plan on taking it easy tomorrow? Here's our round-up of cafes, bars and restaurants that are open on your day off.