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Australia Day: Things to Do in Melbourne this January 26th

From hiking trails to boat picnics on the Yarra, here’s how to make your Australia Day public holiday count.

Image Credit - GoBoat
Image Credit - GoBoat

Australia Day holds a different meaning for all of us. For First Nations Aussies, January 26th or Invasion Day as it's known, marks the start of colonisation. For others, it's a time to come together and celebrate this great nation that we all have the privilege to call home. 

While the conversation surrounding the duplicitous nature of this holiday rightfully continues, if you find yourself wondering what to do this Australia Day in Melbourne, we've pulled together a list of fun ways to enjoy your day that rely heavily on the natural wonders of our beautiful country. Whether you're feeling a wine tasting or a scenic road trip along the coast, here's how to make the most of your extra day of freedom. 

Support Invasion Day 

While you have some time free on the public holiday, take the opportunity to educate yourself on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People's history and culture. To get you started, there is some great information and resources for you to discover at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and not-for-profit organisation Australian Together. Wanting to directly make an impact? You can donate your money or call local representatives to help the North West Alliance's fight in stopping the Santos Narrabri coal seam gasfield project that is putting land and water at risk of contamination (for more information click here).

This is only a very small list of ways you can stand alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People this January 26th. For more things you can do this Survival Day, click here to see our full list of activities.

Image Credit - ABC
Image Credit - ABC
Camp under the stars

The same goes for a laidback camping weekend. Taking the Monday off gives you the perfect amount of time to spend a few nights sleeping underneath the southern stars. For white sand and penguins, head 140-kilometres south to Phillip Island where these barrel-chested beauties are known to regularly frolic (or in this case waddle). If you prefer not to leave the city, you can always book a ‘glamping’ experience in the CBD at Notel Melbourne – here there’s no need to bring your own tent, as a full caravan set up will be ready and waiting for you. 

Photo Credit - Thredbo
Photo Credit - Thredbo
Go on a hike

Melbourne's periphery boasts a plethora of beautiful hikes to satisfy your sense of adventure. Just a short drive out of the city reveals a paradise for hikers, rewarding those who decide to trek by foot with some of the most breathtaking scenery Australia has to offer. The Mornington Peninsula's Bushrangers Bay Trail begins on the well-appointed boardwalk to the famous Cape Schanck and its lighthouse, and spoils hikers with sweeping ocean views over the wild coastline. For something a bit more relaxed, the 1.2-kilometre Sherbrooke Falls Walk guides walkers past mossy river banks and lush ferns along the path to the gently trickling falls. 


Erskine Falls, Visit Victoria
Erskine Falls, Visit Victoria
Chase waterfalls

Speaking of waterfalls — whether you fancy sightseeing or you’re keen to take a dip, stumbling upon a cascading waterfall is a sight that never tires. Take a trip toward the Great Ocean Road  and make a stop at the seaside town of Lorne where you'll find Erskine FallsWander through the lush rainforest to discover the falls, then climb down the stairs to see the waterfall from its second lookout. When TLC said don't go chasing waterfalls, they clearly hadn't seen the ones in Victoria.

Take a coastal drive

If you prefer to admire the ocean sand-free and from the comfort of your air-conditioned car, why not take a coastal drive along a scenic and sea-friendly road? After all, Australia's coastline has some of the most picturesque driving routes in the world. With its vast and varying landscapes, Victoria’s breathtaking vistas are a joy to explore by car. Running from Wangaratta to Metung, The Great Alpine Road is the ultimate driving experience. With winding roads and steep valleys on either side this is a tricky drive to master, but you’ll be rewarded with wilderness views that are out of this world. 

Image Credit - Pizzini Wines
Image Credit - Pizzini Wines
Escape to wine country

Whether you fancy yourself a wine connoisseur, or still learning your Pinot Noir from your Pinot Gris, Victoria's vast wine regions tick every box for a public holiday. For a taste of Italy, head to the High Country of north-east Victoria toward King Valley. Over the past 30 years, this destination has become renowned for its celebrated wines, crafted by Italian families that have lived in the region for generations. Just some of the go-to wineries here include Pizzini, Dal Zotto and Chrismont.

Book a stay at a beach house

Plain and simple — booking a beach house with a partner, a group, or, with family is always a good idea. Luckily here in Victoria, we’re surrounded by beautiful oceans and an abundance of charming coastal homes. Take the Sea Ranch for example – a holiday home along the Wye River, boasting 180-degree beach views that stretch from Wye Point to Kennett River and beyond. As Australia Day falls on a Tuesday this year, why not maximise your annual leave and get a 4-day long weekend for the price of one. 

Photo Credit - Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa
Photo Credit - Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa
Recharge at a spa

If the start of the New Year hasn’t quite been as healthy as you’d planned, a day at a wellness retreat may just be the reset button you need. An oldie but a goodie, Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa has been attracting visitors to its healing waters since 1895. Located within Victoria's spa country, this beloved bathhouse features communal bathing in mineral relaxation and salt therapy pools, as well as private tubs and spas. 

Image Credit - GoBoat
Image Credit - GoBoat
Rent a GoBoat

Why settle for the waterfront when you can kick back and enjoy an Australia Day lunch actually on the Yarra itself? With no boat licence required, all you need to do is pack a spread and you're good to go. Launching in January 2019, GoBoat's state-of-the-art, Scandinavian designed vessels give you the freedom to cruise along the river in style and make the most of these stunning summer days while you still can. 


Looking for more things to do for Australia Day? We've got plenty to keep your social calendars full. We've rounded up all the events you need to know about in Melbourne, to make sure this Australia Day is one to remember. From waterfalls to hikes and the best new restaurants, we have you covered,