Ruggers, pluggers and snags – where to celebrate the Australia Day long weekend
We’re just going to put it right out there to diffuse the tension – whilst Australia has a lot of rad qualities, it still has a heck of a long way to go when it comes to respecting the traditional owners of the land. Here at The Weekend Edition we are firmly for changing the date of Australia Day to something that every Australian can enjoy (May 8, anyone?), bringing us together in a celebration of the mateship, unity and multiculturalism that make our country great. It’s great to see these conversations in place and hopefully in the not too distant future these changes will occur, but until then there are plenty of cool events that you can take advantage of on the Australia Day long weekend to celebrate all of the things that make Australia such a fantastic place to live – just remember to take a moment to reflect on the significance of this date for Aboriginal Australians.
Story Bridge Hotel: When it comes to Australia Day celebrations, nobody does it quite like the Story Bridge Hotel. This iconic venue will be holding its 38th annual cockroach races (yep, it’s a thing), live bands and DJs, a dunk tank, prizes for dress-ups and loads of delicious food and drink.
Treasury Brisbane: If getting down to some rad Aussie tunes is what you crave, Treasury Brisbane has you covered. Friday night sees killer tribute band INEXCESS pumping out all the Hutchence-era classics, while on Saturday night you can catch the legendary Dragon tearing up the stage. The best part? It’s all free, baby. There will also be great meal deals, pop-up parties and gaming promos, so make a day of it!
El Camino Cantina: If the words ‘Tim Tam margarita’ don’t have you feeling some kind of way, we don’t know what’s wrong with you. To celebrate Australia Day, Tex-Mex party house El Camino Cantina will be slinging a special Tim Tam Rita – a smooth blend of tequila and caramel liqueur, comes topped with a caramel Tim Tam biscuit. Go for the 24oz option … you won’t regret it.
South Bank: This little pocket of paradise has garnered quite the reputation for its Australia Day celebrations, and for good reason – it’s the perfect family-friendly day out! Catch live sets from Birdman Randy and the Ivory Street Preachers and special guest DJs at River Quay, pack up a picnic or grab a bite to eat, then settle in for the epic fireworks display at 7:30 pm (we’ve heard there will be no less than six pyrotechnic jet ski performers).
Osbourne Hotel: Fortitude Valley’s Osbourne Hotel is going all-out all weekend long for its Australia Day celebrations this year. On Saturday you can take advantage of an Aussie tap takeover and meat pie eating competitions, while Sunday is dedicated to the Hottest 100 countdown and $10 pizzas all day long. You can even back it up on Monday with the Ciders’n’Sliders fest – the weekend is your oyster.
Mercado: Our great country is renowned for its seafood, so why not spend the Saturday feasting on the freshest ocean’s catch at Mercado? This luxe Bowen Hills spot is putting on a seriously impressive spread of all-you-can-eat seafood – we’re talking king prawns, mussels, oysters, calamari, baby octopus, battered and crumbed fish alongside a host of delicious accompaniments. Time to dust off those stretchy pants, perhaps …
Redcliffe: Those hanging out a little further north can take advantage of the huge range of community celebrations happening at Redcliffe. There will be a whole day line-up of live music, beach cricket, fireworks, food trucks and even free inflatables to keep the kids occupied. Oh, and we almost forgot to mention the lamington eating competition – calling all sweet tooths!
Welcome to Bowen Hills: Brisbane’s favourite street-food hang is going fair dinkum for the whole dang Australia Day weekend. On Saturday you can catch some of the city’s most ordinary rigs battle it out for the title of best dad bod, all while munching on Bunnings-style snags. Sunday is all about the Hottest 100, so settle in for a series of specials throughout the countdown.
X Cargo: Chasing a whole long weekend of fun? X Cargo can hardly contain (heh) its excitement, putting on a two-day fiesta to celebrate the extra day off. Saturday is all about the good old-fashioned Aussie barbecue, while Sunday has been reserved for listening to the Hottest 100 and nursing hangovers (or indulging in some hair of the dog).
Covent Garden: The words ‘hottest 100’ may automatically be associated with music, but Covent Garden has a different idea – on Sunday, this botanical paradise will be counting down 100 of the best gins as voted by the public. Taste your way (responsibly) through the list as you listen to the Triple J countdown, and line your tum with some delicious eats throughout the day.
The Glen Hotel: Those in the south, listen up – if you’re looking for the most true blue way to celebrate on the Saturday, The Glen Hotel is the place to be. Throw on your best pluggers and see if you can beat resident champ Matt Bell in the annual meat pie eating competition – old mate has taken it out three years running, so if you can scoff a pastry with the best of them then take a shot at the title on Saturday!
Greaser: It doesn’t get much more Aussie than an Acca Dacca tribute band, and Greaser has secured the finest for its Saturday celebrations. There will be rock. There will be VB. There will be Bundy Rum. Don your finest flanno and lean into your bogan rocker roots – it’s a night for it.
The Elephant Hotel: A three-day weekend means three separate excuses to party, right? This is the approach of the Elephant Hotel. Don your finest party shirt for a Friday filled with roast lamb on the spit, a Saturday full of live tunes, a Sunday dedicated to the Hottest 100 countdown (with Aussie tinnies and eats, of course) and then a glorious Monday of no surcharges. Cheers to that!
The Triffid: It figures that one of Brisbane’s best music venues would be putting on a killer party for the Hottest 100 weekend. The gang is putting on a classic barbecue with a free (yes, free) sausage sizzle on both Saturday and Sunday, as well as a bunch of live music and special guest DJs.
Little Big House: The old song may say something about a home amongst the gumtrees, but this Australia Day it’s all about palm trees at Little Big House. South Bank’s coolest permanent house party destination is really turning it on for its three-day Aussie fest with live tunes, Young Henrys Queenslander beer on tap, tasty bites and frosé – yassss! Loud shirts are encouraged.
Dalgety Public House: All of us have an inner bogan – how about instead of trying to repress it, we all embraced it? This is the basis of Dalgety Public House’s Australia Day Bogan Brunch, where it’s all about letting your mullet flow freely. The brunch includes three hours of the most bloody bonza food and drink to wrap your laughing gear around – think snakebites, dagwood dogs XXXX tinnies amongst other choice morsels.
Woolly Mammoth: It’s back, baby – the Hottest Mammoth Weekend is all about the countdown vibe. From 12:00 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday the Mammoth will be pumping with action and crunching the numbers – catch live music, listen to the Triple J broadcast and sip your way through the Hottest 100 beers of the past year.
Victoria Park: If we had to sum up the Victoria Park Australia Day weekend offering in one word, it would be ‘wholesome’. As well as the bistro serving up delicious Aussie-inspired meals, you can get amongst all sorts of fun activities like tug-o-war, sack races and giant outdoor games, plus the kids will be thoroughly entertained with a jumping castle and playground up and running.