Parramatta’s Australia Day on 26th January is one of the largest and longest Australia Day celebrations! It’s a wonderful opportunity for all Australians and residents to come together and celebrate our incredible country and its diverse multicultural community. We love that you can pick and choose when to come, with so much wonderful entertainment over 15 hours.
The Australia Day celebrations in Parramatta Park kick off at 6am, with the ever-popular hot air balloon display. They then continue all day with kid’s activities, classic car display, live entertainment (featuring headline act Sheppard), delicious food and amusement rides.
Our Family Guide has everything you need to know to make your Australia Day at Parramatta Park a wonderful day out with the kids.
Key Details – Parramatta’s Australia Day Event
- There is non-stop free entertainment from 6am to 9pm!
- The Playground is the spot to be for kids – it’s right near the George Street entrance. Aussie icons Bananas in Pyjamas will perform live on stage (from 9am), as well as Sesame St Down Under. Plus, there’ll be special meet and greet sessions.
- Head to Old Government House from 10:30am to 5pm for plenty of kids workshops, including mask and jewellery making and mural painting.
- The music program will feature a fabulous line-up of Aussie music stars. The evening concert will be headlined by indie pop group Sheppard, whose global hit “Geronimo” is a fan favourite. Rising star and Triple J Unearthed winner Asta and X Factor grand finalists and ARIA award winners Jess & Matt will also be performing.
- There’s lots of room to spread out at the event in Parramatta Park. Bring a picnic rug and picnic or grab a bite to eat from the many food stalls.
- You can bring eskies, low lying beach chairs and pop up beach style tents. But no glass.
- There’s the Domain Creek playground, near the Queen Road entrance, for kids to enjoy. Plus the newish Paperbark Playground near George St Gatehouse.
- There’s food trucks selling a variety of food in each of the different entertainment areas.
- Take public transport or ride your bike there, with free valet bike parking from 10am to 9.30pm. You can also drive and park your car at one of the many nearby carparks and then walk to the park. Remember, Parramatta Park will be vehicle-free all day.
- Dogs are welcome at the event but must be on a lead and under the control of an adult at all times.
- Parramatta Park is a no smoking zone.
- All entertainment, activities and workshops are free. You just need to pay for amusement rides and food.
- Fill up your water bottle at the free Sydney Water tap stations.
- There are two ATMs – near the George Street entrance and at the back of the Crescent.
Our Top Picks
There really is something for everyone at Parramatta’s Australia Day event! And you can pick and choose when you come depending on what your family is interested in.
Our top picks for things to do at Parramatta’s Australia Day event are:
- The Playground: This is THE PLACE to be with kids on Australia Day! From 9am Bananas in Pyjamas take to the stage and perform a few times throughout the day. Along with Sesame Street and comedian Sean Murphy. Plus, there’s the CircusWorks Playground, where you can try your hand at juggling, twirling, hula-hoops, walking beams and more.
- Aerial: For the early risers, watch Sydney’s largest hot air balloon display from 6am to 9am.
- Old Government House: There are plenty of workshops available here from 10:30am to 5pm to keep the kids (and yourself) entertained throughout the day.
- Crescent Stage: Enjoy 3 hours of free live music headlined by Aussie indie pop group Sheppard, who are sure to ‘bring the house down’ with their global hit Geronimo.
- Amusement Rides: On the Pavilion Flat, near the George St Gatehouse, get some thrills and let out some squeals from 10am to 9pm.
Full Day of Free Activities at Parramatta’s Australia Day Event – 6am to 9pm
Enjoy a 15-hour marathon celebration this Australia Day, across six areas with a great mix of entertainment, kids activities, live music and yummy food.
1Aerial – 6am to 9am
As the sun rises, start your day marvelling up in the sky at Sydney’s biggest hot air balloon display (6am to 9am). Plus enjoy a range of tasty treats and catch the colourful roving performers as they wander around.
Note: Hot air balloons may be cancelled in the event of high winds or inclement weather.
2The Playground (8am to 5:30pm)
Enjoy a wide range of roving performers and live entertainment in the Playground.
CircusWorks (10am to 4pm)
Get in on the action with an interactive circus workshop and try your hand at juggling, twirling, hula-hoops, walking beams and more.
The Playground Stage
Featuring family-friendly entertainment and live performances from Bananas in Pyjamas, Sesame Street, Circular Keys Chorus, comedian Sean Murphy, reggae outfit Green Hand Band, four-piece rock band SUNFLOWER and pop-rock artist Hallie.
- 8am – Welcome to Country
- 8.30am – Citizenship Ceremony with Circular Keys
- 9am – Bananas in Pyjamas
- 9.30am – Sesame Street Down Under
- 10am – Bananas in Pyjamas
- 10.30am – 11.30am – Sean Murphy
- 10:40am – Bananas in Pyjamas – Meet & Greet
- 11.30am – Sesame Street Down Under
- 12pm – Sean Murphy
- 12.15pm – Sesame Street Down Under – Meet & Greet
- 2pm – Green Hand Band
- 3.15pm – SUNFLOWER
- 4.30pm – Hallie
3Old Government House
You’ll find several hands-on kids activities, like mask and jewellery making and mural painting, at Old Government House from 10:30am to 5pm.
You can also enjoy a tour of Old Government House, Australia’s oldest public building, from 10am to 4pm. Followed by a sausage sizzle and cold drink, kindly provided by the Friends of Old Government House. The tour is by gold coin donation.
Plus, you can also kick back, grab a deckchair and relax under the shade in the courtyard as DJs and live musicians spin music late into the afternoon.
4The Crescent Stage
Enjoy 3 hours of free live music headlined by indie pop group Sheppard. Kick the evening off with a performance by X Factor finalists Jess + Matt. Then revel in the musical stylings of Triple J Unearthed winner Asta. And end the night with a bang as Sheppard bring the house down with their global hit Geronimo as well as more recent hits. NOTE: The concert will no longer end with fireworks.
- 5.30pm – Welcome to Country
- 5.45pm – Jess & Matt
- 6.40pm – Asta
- 7.40pm – National Anthem
- 7.45pm – Lord Mayor’s Speech
- 7.50pm – Sheppard
- 9pm – Fireworks (CANCELLED)
5Amusement Rides – 10am to 9pm
The Pavilion Flat, near George St Gatehouse, will be full of amusement rides to enjoy from 10am to 9pm. Keep in mind that the queues get longer as the day goes on.
6CARnival – 9am to 3pm
Enjoy the annual showcase of the ultimate collection of 300+ classic vehicles, including cars, fire engines, trucks, coaches, motorbikes and vintage speedway cars. The race cars and fire trucks are sure to be a hit with the kids… they always are with ours! CARnival is located near the Macquarie Street entrance.
Plus this year there’ll be live music at the Carnival Stage.
- 9am – Straw Dogs
- 10am – The Ukelles
- 11am – Straw Dogs
- 12pm – The Ukelles
- 1pm – Straw Dogs
- 2pm – The Ukelles
Whether you’re looking for something naughty or nice, Australia Day Parramatta has got you covered with food trucks spread across the different entertainment areas. From an impressive line-up of food vendors who cook with fire (think flame-grilled delights), to kombucha and other healthy and fresh foods, there’s something to curb every hunger pang.
8Fireworks – CANCELLED
Parramatta’s Australia Day celebration usually finishes with a massive fireworks spectacular over Parramatta Park. Thankfully this year, City of Parramatta Council has decided not to proceed with the fireworks display in light of the ongoing bushfire crisis. And as a mark of solidarity with the many communities affected by the fires across the country.
Council will be donating $40,000 to the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), in addition to the $10,000 they donated in December. Plus, there’ll be a stall at Parramatta’s Australia Day event where you can write a message of thanks to our firefighters as well as donate money to the Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA).
Getting to Parramatta’s Australia Day Event
Australia Day in Parramatta Park is a vehicle-free event. Make sure you plan your trip and arrive early – around 80,000 people are expected to attend over the day.
- The closest train stations are Parramatta and Westmead, both about a 10min walk to Parramatta Park.
- The free Parramatta Shuttle Bus (900) will run from 6am to 8:30pm. And there will be a special event bus stop right outside Parramatta Park (O’Connell Street / George Street). It’s a fast, free transport offering that operates on a continuous loop every 10 minutes, starting from Macquarie Street near Centenary Square.
- Ride your bike and park it at the free bike valet service from 10am to 9:30pm, thanks to Camwest. The bike valet is just inside George Street Gatehouse, at the O’Connell Street entrance.
- There are more than 7,000 metered on and off-street parking spaces available across the Parramatta CBD. We usually drive to either the Hunt Street or Eat Street carparks and then walk into the Park.
The nearby carparks are:
- Hunter Street Car Park – closest carpark to the event but there will be delays in leaving. (exit only between 8pm – 10pm)
- Eat Street Car Park – entry via Erby Place. This car park is about a 400m walk down George Street to the event.
- City Centre Car Park – entry via George Street. This car park is about a 400m walk down George Street to the event.
- Parramatta Station Car Park – entry via Wentworth Street.
- Riverbank Car Park – entry via Phillip Street, Dirrabarri lane.