Monday, May 17, 2021

Festivals & Holidays in Australia

Australia and OceaniaAustraliaFestivals & Holidays in Australia

The national holidays in Australia are:

  • 1 January: New Year’s Day
  • 26 January: Australia Day, marking the anniversary of the landing of the first fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788.
  • Easter weekend (“Good Friday”, “Easter Saturday”, “Easter Sunday” and “Easter Monday”): four-day weekend in March or April, set according to the Christian dates of the Occident.
  • 25 April: ANZAC Day (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) in honour of military veterans.
  • Second Monday in June: Queen’s Birthday Celebration (celebrated in Western Australia in September, with WA celebrating Foundation Day a week earlier).
  • 25 December: Christmas Day
  • 26 December: Boxing Day

Many states celebrate Labour Day, but on different days. Most states have one or two additional public holidays, with Victoria and South Australia having a day off for horse racing (the Melbourne Cup and the Adelaide Cup). In Western Australia, Foundation Day is usually celebrated on the first Monday in June (in recognition of the founding of the state since 1829), but the Queen’s Birthday is also celebrated on a different date to the rest of the country, in late September or early October, as the usual date in June is so close to Foundation Day.

If a public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday (and Tuesday if applicable) is usually declared a public holiday instead, even though there are celebrations and shop closures on the same day. Most tourist attractions are closed on Christmas Day and Good Friday. Supermarkets and other shops may open for limited hours on certain public holidays and compensation days, but are almost always closed on Christmas Day (25 December), Good Friday, Easter Sunday and the morning of ANZAC Day.

Main holiday periods

Most attractions in Australia are open all year round, although some operate with reduced frequency or shorter opening hours in the low season.

Employed Australians have four weeks of annual leave and school children in major population centres have the month of January as a long break. Domestic tourism is strongest after Christmas and in January and during the Easter school holidays.

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Summer is generally the peak travel season in much of the south, while winter (dry season) is the peak travel season in the tropics.

Australian teenagers celebrate the end of school in late November and early December during 3 weeks called “schoolies”. The number of teenage partygoers can completely change the character of some of the towns and villages they visit, especially in coastal towns such as Byron Bay in New South Wales, the Gold Coast in Queensland and various communities along the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.