Brisbane’s Australia Day Best

Following on from our comprehensive guide to Melbourne’s best bets for January 26, I thought it only fair to also give Brisbane its time in the sun. The key events on offer in the city are indicative of its character; there’s pomp and ceremony, but also a lot of fun, and what some would call some perplexing, uniquely Brisbanian offerings.

brisbane-govt-houseVisit Government House

An important part of Australia day is the history of our nation and its colonisation. Significant government buildings can help us to understand the gradual development of Australia to its current form.

Brisbane’s Government House was built in the mid-19th century, and was christened ‘Fernberg’ by its original owner. The building didn’t come under the ownership of the government until 1911, with numerous renovations and additions occurring over the decades since. The building’s ongoing development means that its architectural intricacies offer an insight into a great span of time. Guided tours and free entry make this a fairly tempting option.

Be warned, though: stately homes can  provoke unrealistic expectations about the normal domestic sphere. It’s a bit like when you check in to an impressive Brisbane hotel, and then return home disappointed at the humbleness of your own abode. Try not to let this sort of thing get you down.

Cockroach and Esky Races

Each year on January 26, thousands of Australians indulge in activities that they probably wouldn’t condone usually. Cockroach racing as been an Australia Day staple in Queensland since the 1980s, and continues to this day despite potential ethical problems.

Motorised esky races make for a less morally dubious activity, with the only stakeholders at real risk of being hurt the passangers and the spectators. This video demonstrates that care should still be taken, but it’s doubtful that the injury sustained had long-term implications, right?

It should be noted that these sorts of events tend to go hand-in-hand with fairly heavy alcohol consumption. For that reason, punters might want to book a room at somewhere like Hotel Urban Brisbane rather than driving home.

South Bank Celebrations

South Bank Parklands, in the heart of Brisbane, will be hosting what is sure to be among the city’s most family-friendly options, with music, food, fireworks, art, and other fete-meets-market kinds of fare. An RAAF fly-over and flag raising are also sure to induce patriotic sentiment for most attendees. Given the span of time that the South Bank events will cover – from dusk till dawn, if not longer – it makes sense to book into one of the many hotels in the CBD of Brisbane. Who knows – you might even be lucky enough to see some esky race winners celebrating in style.

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