It’s Australia Day! Get Down (Under)!

by Alyssa Daniells

Today, Flight Centre goes back to our roots and celebrates Australia, as the country commemorates its roots.

(Writer’s note: the term “roots” in Australia has a cheeky colloquial meaning, so exercise caution when using the word around Aussies!)

Flight Centre began in Australia, the land of kangaroos, kookaburras, koalas and Kylie Minogue (and many other awesome things that don’t start with “K”.)

To honour the birthplace of our company, and one of our favourite destinations, we’re tipping our travelling hats to a place that’s unlike anywhere else in the world.


Everyone’s stoked about Australia Day! Well, almost everyone.

Kind of a Big Deal

Every year on January 26th, the land down under observes Australia Day. A national holiday,  it marks the anniversary of when the first fleet of British ships arrived in Port Jackson, New South Wales, in 1788.

Similar to our Canada Day, Australia Day is a celebration of national pride and unity. You’ll find large outdoor venues featuring live bands, cultural performances and children’s entertainment. There are parades and high-profile events, like announcing the Australian of the Year. Citizenship and indigenous ceremonies are also hallmarks of the celebrations.


Australia, like its commonwealth cousin, Canada, highlights ceremonies of multiculturalism when celebrating national pride. While Australia Day acknowledges British sovereignty, indigenous ceremonies and performances are an important part of the celebrations.

Citizenship ceremonies also reinforce the welcoming nature of the country, and serve as a reminder that Australia is an inclusive and tolerant place.

Like our July 1st festivities, Australia Day is also celebrated with fun in the sun (January, of course, is summer in the southern hemisphere) and like our civic holiday, barbecues are a big thing. Although, Aussies take it up a notch. Their barbies are enormous, as are many of the items they grill on them. While you average Canada Day BBQ might feature comparatively pedestrian fare: hot dogs, hamburgers and ribs, the Aussie barbie is something to behold. Jumbo prawns, sides of beef, shellfish, freshly caught fish, racks of lamb, even crocodile, emu and kangaroo (incidentally, they’re the only nation that eats its national mascot.)


For those of us in the Great White North, check out these Canadian cities ready to party for Australia Day.

Top 3 Spots to Celebrate Australia Day in Canada

Vancouver: With so many Aussie ex-pats residing in Vancouver, there’s a variety of choices for the eager celebrant. Moose’s Down Under is the place to go for meat pies, an Aussie favourite, washed down with a pint of Tooheys or Australian wine. The Pint Public House is also hosting an Australia-themed party. Show your Aussie ID  or passport for free entrance. Canadian friends of Aussies can still enjoy Australian beer specials and a free pound of wings with the purchase of a 20oz pint.

Whistler: Ready to party hard? Hit up Whistler. Those with an extreme thirst for fun (and beer) travel from Vancouver just to celebrate Australia Day in Whistler. Expect to see a blur of red, white and blue as Aussie-flag bearing ex-pats speed by on the slopes. The apres-ski becomes an all-day boozy event. In fact, it’s two days, due to the time differences in Oz and Canada. Aussies flock to Whistler for its world-class skiing, snowboarding and lifestyle. This is where you might also hear the term “root” used in its context.

Toronto: The TRANZAC Club in the Annex neighbourhood hosts its annual Australia Day festivities, replete with Tim Tams and Vegemite sandwiches, washed down with some Aussie fine wine. Don’t miss their Australia Day karaoke at 7pm (who doesn’t want to belt out Midnight Oil’s Beds are Burning?) and Aussie brews flowing on tap.


We love Australia! (And you will, too.)

If “everyone’s Irish” on St. Paddy’s Day, then we’re all Aussie on Australia Day. Grab your favourite Aussie, South Oz shiraz or INXS album and raise a toast to Down Under! If you’re not into that sort of a toast, there’s always the Aussie staple of Vegemite on toast. Cheers, mates!

australia jpeg

Ex-pat Flighties celebrate Australia Day.

Want to experience Australia for yourself, but not sure where to start? Contact a Flight Centre travel expert online, in-store, or at 1 877 967 5302.