Are you ready for Australia Day in Perth?
What does this mean for you? Everyone celebrates differently, depending on whether you're an early bird, a family fun fan or a party prince(ss). Alternatively, you might prefer to toast Australia on the 27th instead.
The ways in which we remember all the good things about the land of Oz have become as diverse as the country itself. Australia Day celebrations involve so much more than flags and fireworks, although these remain crucial to the entertainment.
This guide has something for everyone - family fun from sun-up, high energy action, dining with a view of the Australia Day Skyworks, plus a unique once-in-a-lifetime tour.
The main event remains the Australia Day Skyworks over the Swan River from 8.00pm. Along with Kings Park and South Perth, one of the best spots to be is the Perth foreshore. There will be lots of entertainment happening in Langley Park, and from 3.00pm the festivities move into high gear in the Supreme Court Gardens, with music, dance, art and food celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures - the origins of Australia.
Eat, Drink & Be Aussie
Be quick to enter a competition for one of the best spots in Perth this Australia Day! Crowne Plaza, which overlooks Langley Park and the Swan River, is offering a two night package for two in a Queen River View balcony room, including a bottle of bubbles and tapas for Australia Day.
You can be in the running to win one of these enviable deals by entering the prize draw: Win an Australia Day Celebration Weekend in Perth City. The competition closes on 14 January.
A little further along the foreshore The Point Bar and Grill rooftop bar and lounge will be among Perth's most sought-after Australia Day venues, so book now to make sure you don't miss out!
Situated right next to Langley Park with uninterrupted 270 degree views of the Swan River, The Point is selling ringside 'seats' (you'll probably be standing) at $50.00 for entry from 5.00pm, including two drinks vouchers. A cash bar and special Australia Day menu will be available throughout the night, and the party vibe will be pumped up by DJ Georgio.
The wonderful Wildflower rooftop restaurant in Perth's State Buildings is another top location, situated on St Georges Terrace with views across to the Swan River. Australia Day celebrations at Wildflower consist of a five-course tasting menu by Executive Chef Jed Gerrard, with sommelier matched WA wines, for $280.00. Alternatively, pay $230.00 for the same menu with matched non-alcoholic beverages. The rooftop terrace will be open for drinks from 5.30pm onwards.
A little further along the Swan River, on Mounts Bay Road, The Old Brewery will be marking Australia Day in traditional fashion with a gourmet barbecue, including whole lamb spit roast. The bar will be open from 4.00pm and the food will begin to roll out about an hour later. Food stations will be serving delicious seafood starters, salads and veggies, plus some good old Aussie desserts - get your pavlova and lamingtons here! This package costs $120.00 per adult and $50.00 per child.
Australia Day celebrations at BWG Steakhouse on Heathcote Reserve begin with lunch from 11.00am, and dinner will be served from 5.00pm. The three-course share style menu covers all bases, putting together a mix of starters, followed by seafood, lamb or sirloin for mains accompanied by all styles of veggies, and ending with delicious desserts if you have room. Food plus a drink on arrival costs $100.00.
The high vantage point of Heathcote Reserve gives you a view of the fireworks beyond the South Perth foreshore. No doubt guests will wander outside to take in the scene and evening breeze from 8.00pm. This promises to be an easygoing and refreshing way to celebrate Australia Day.
In true Freo style, Australia Day celebrations will take place on Sunday 27 January out of respect for the Indigenous experience of European settlement. This will be the second year for One Day in Fremantle, a smorgasbord of live music, family fun and international cuisine between 2.00 and 8.00pm on the Esplanade Reserve.
In 2018, the event was a huge success, drawing some international music acts and kicking off with an Aboriginal smoking ceremony. Great things are expected for the day after Australia Day in 2019 too - keep an eye on the City of Fremantle website for updates.
Families who are up with the sun can spend a fantastic morning at the Australia Day Coogee Beach Festival south of Fremantle.
The action begins at 8.00am with the sandcastle competition, rides and slides. Kids can try their hand at basket weaving, have their faces painted and meet some furry friends at the petting zoo. Look out for some real life mermaids too! Entertainment on the stage will be a mix of dancing, music and hilarity. This event is free and runs until midday.
Meanwhile, from 8.30am in Perry Lakes Reserve, a free barbecue breakfast will be served, followed by an Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony, live music and kids' activities throughout the morning, including a water slide, camel rides and sheep shearing.
Perry Lakes is a beautiful spot in Floreat with shady trees, a short drive from some of the best beaches in Perth. Spend the morning here, go for a swim in the ocean after lunch, then head up to Kings Park and grab a piece of grass ready to watch the fireworks.
Sir James Mitchell Park in South Perth is an ideal location on Australia Day. The view from here directly across the Swan River to the city is spectacular, and there will be heaps to do from 3.00pm onwards.
The South Perth Australia Day Celebration Zone will feature around 100 free energetic activities for all ages, an Art Tent where kids can create treasures to take home, children's roving entertainment and a wide range of food trucks. Wander along the foreshore at sundown to find a spot ready for Skyworks.
For real energy-busting action, the crazy obstacle fun run called 5K Foam Fest still has places available. This hilarious Australia Day event is at the State Equestrian Centre in the Swan Valley and has room for up to 5,000 runners and walkers, all raising funds for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
There's no need to take it too seriously - just enjoy running through masses of foam, tackling as many obstacles as you like and having a good laugh. Kids under 8 can't enter, but they can enjoy their own mini obstacle course in the free Kids Fun Zone.
Groups set off at 15 minute intervals, starting at 8.00am and finishing around 2.30pm, so you can join in and still have plenty of time to get to a good vantage point closer to Perth for the Australia Day Skyworks.
Entry is $100.00 but look out for special reductions on the website (the5kfoamfest.com). As well as supporting a great cause, you'll get to experience the world's largest inflatable water slide, and have plenty of stories to tell afterwards!
Serious exercise junkies will be taking part in Perth's Australia Day Triathlon, which includes the WA State Sprint Championships and Triathlete of the Year Series. Any fit person can join in, so if this is for you, make sure you register before the closing date of 19 January.
This challenging event begins with a swim in the Swan River at the Point Walter jetty, followed by cycling along the river and roads (including plenty of hills), then a run along the foreshore, ending with a 200 metre uphill sprint.
All finishers receive medals, and the whole family can get involved by enjoying the barbecues, playground and cafe at Point Walter Reserve. Keep an eye out for dolphins!
And Now for Something Completely Different ...
Get a totally different perspective on Australia's place in the world by visiting neighbouring Antarctica on a full-day scenic flight out of Perth on Australia Day.
If visiting the great white continent is on your bucket list, you can achieve it now in a day, while remaining warm and dry! A Qantas 747 will depart from Perth early on Australia Day for a 12-hour sight-seeing flight over Antarctica.
On the 10,000km round trip, expeditioners will tell you everything you could want to know about the Antarctic. The breathtaking ice-scape below you comes into view around three hours into your flight, and changes from icebergs to mountains as you approach the South Pole.
You are welcome to get up and move around the aircraft during the Antarctica viewing segment of the flight, however the pilot will follow large figures of 8 over the most interesting areas so that they can be viewed clearly from both sides.
After around four hours of this extraordinary experience, you begin to leave the ice behind and head back to Perth.
Included in your flight are a full bar and meals service, videos about the Antarctic and an explorer kit for you to take home - a truly memorable Australia Day experience!
Prices start at $1,199.00. Visit antarcticaflights.com.au for more information.