Australia Day, or “Straya Day” as it’s sometimes pronounced by thick-accented Aussies, is the official national day of Australia. Every year on the 26th of January the country celebrates with a public holiday. This year in Melbourne, Monday the 26th of Jan was a bright and sunny Monday.
Many people celebrate Australia Day with a good ol’ barbie (barbecue) in the back yard with their nearest and dearest, but for those who ventured beyond their garden fences, the popular beachside Melbourne suburb of St Kilda delivered on all accounts.
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Australia Day is about more than just the 26th of January – it’s about the long weekend. Sunday the 25th, Australia Day Eve, offered up a great build-up with a Beach Party festival adjacent to St Kilda Beach. Headlining the event was Melbourne DJ duo Nervo, who were joined by KazJames, Finnebassen, Grant Smilie, Generik, Andy Murphy, Winston Wolf, Jesus and Josh Brown. Some of Melbourne’s favourite food trucks joined the party, too, serving up international fare to the hungry masses between dances.
Republica is the epitome of cool. It’s a bar that fuses Aussie beach life with the lounge ambience of Café del Mar in Ibiza. A mix of hanging egg chairs, picnic-style benches and dining tables dot an outside lawn nestled right along St Kilda Beach. And being right along the promenade, it’s the perfect spot to people watch.
Lounge music plays throughout the day, and at night a band often comes on to get the crowd dancing. Fill your belly with some great seafood dishes or tapas while sipping away at a crisp white wine or beer as you watch the sun dip behind the sea.
Hitting St Kilda Beach is a great day out regardless of the day, but over the Australia Day weekend the atmosphere gets a serious boost. You’ll see families, groups of young people and tourists all loving this sandy beach. It’s located just off the main St Kilda strip, too, where you’ll find a great selection of quirky coffee shops, froyo stores, hipster bars, restaurants and fashionable shops. You’ve got everything you need for a fun day at the beach.
Those with kids, or who are kids at heart, piled into Melbourne’s iconic beachside theme park, Luna Park. The park operated extended hours, too, in order to keep people entertained for longer (it was open from 11am till 11pm). Both Aussies and travellers enjoyed a bit of adrenaline-pumping fun followed by a snag (Australian slang for a sausage) and snow cone to refuel and refresh.
Luna Park is famous for its entrance – you walk through a giant mouth – and this whimsical entrance sequence is befitting of the carnival vibe that ensues. There are historical carousel rides as well as those that are not exactly for the faint hearted. It might not be the largest theme park going, but it certainly has lots of character and unique flair.
With all of these sun loving Australia Day festivities, beach parties, and barbie events, your day is spent commemorating with the natural beauty of my beautiful country. Happy “Straya Day!”
Article by - Christina Wylie