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People dancing at People at Yabun Festival 2018
Photograph: Supplied/Danny Dalton | Yabun

Things to do in Sydney on January 26

Whether you know it as Invasion Day, Survival Day or Australia Day, here are things to do on the public holiday

Written by
Time Out editors
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In Australia, January 26 has very different meanings for different people. For First Nations people, the day marks the beginning of colonisation and is sometimes called Invasion Day or Survival Day. For recent migrants, January 26 is the day of many citizenship ceremonies across the country. However you choose to spend it, we've picked out the main events taking place on the public holiday in 2023. 

If you've scored extra time off, spend it seaching for the best public art in the city, hit a less-travelled road on one of Sydney's best walks, or go bush with the best bushland swimming holes near Sydney.

Things to do on January 26

  • Museums
  • Darlinghurst

The Australian Museum celebrates First Nations culture in the astounding permanent shows of  Baylala Nura: Yarning for Country, and Garrigarrang: Sea Country. Each one of these diverse exhibitions each features fascinating artefacts, unknown stories and gorgeous art pieces that all turn what you thought you knew about this country on its head. Head here on January 26 to look back on this country's untold history, interrogate the lasting impacts of colonisation and the denial of Indigenous sovereignty. Level up your visit by joining one of the tours led by knowledgeable First Nations guides.

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  • Things to do

It’s important that every single Australian is reading, learning, doing research, speaking up and donating to causes that work to minimise everyday injustices and make serious moves to change institutionalised racism. We’ve gathered together a list of some of the charities and organisations supporting Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and PoC voices around Australia and the world. If you aren’t in a position to help financially, there are other ways you can show your support. 

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  • Film
  • Outdoor cinema

Looking for something fun to do on your public holiday? Feel like enjoying a film in a park, on a rooftop, or by the water? From blockbusters to tearjerkers, rom-coms to thrillers, you can catch them all in the great outdoors across the city thanks to a proliferation of popcorn-offering spots popping up across the city. We've rounded up the best of them.

 

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  • Attractions
  • Beaches

Any day is a good beach day if you've got the right attitude. To help you pick from Sydney's wealth of sandy stretches, we’ve cast our discerning eyes across almost every beach in the city, awarding points for accessibility, natural beauty, range of facilities and unique charms. We’ve tallied the results, tabulated the scores and can now reveal our definitive rankings of the 50 best beaches in Sydney.

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens

Sydney is one pretty city, but it’s got nothing on the breathtaking vistas of the Blue Mountains. Just two hours west of Sydney's bustling urban heart, this vast, largely untouched wilderness, spanning some 11,400 square kilometres, is crisscrossed with walking trails that take in some of the most spectacular corners of the region. From forested canyons to towering rocks and majestic waterfalls, you’ll find them all on these top bushwalks in the Blue Mountains.

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens

There's nothing quite like a relaxing swim in a cool, clear swimming hole surrounded by glorious nature, and thanks to the vast swathes of national parks and bushland just a stone's throw from Sydney, you won't have to travel very far to find such a dip.  If you and your mates have well and truly done the beach thing, a visit to one of these little-known swimming holes is the perfect alternative. Round them up, pack some supplies and head off for a day at one of these stunning natural pools.

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  • Restaurants

Plenty of restaurants will still be open on the public holiday! And although this city ain’t cheap, it's also overflowing with restaurants serving up stellar stuff at prices that won’t burn a hole in your wallet. From banh mi to tonkotsu ramen, biang biang noodles to vegan burgers, and pretty much everything else in between, some of Sydney's greatest culinary hits are the cheapest. Click here to find out about the eateries we reckon are well worth their salt.

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