New Year's Day in Australia

When is New Year's Day in Australia?

New Year's Day in Australia is on January 1, 2023. It falls on Sunday.

How many days until New Year's Day in Australia?

There are 27 Days left until New Year's Day in Australia.

Is New Year's Day a public holiday in Australia?

New Year’s Day is a public holiday celebrated in Australia every 1st of January every year. Australia, together with many other countries using the Gregorian Calendar, take the day as one which marks the beginning of the new year. Along with its observance comes various festive activities held only for this day. As the country celebrates New Year, the general population is given a day off.

Although shops, shopping centres, supermarkets, theme parks, and other businesses remain open, most of the country’s establishments and companies are closed on this day. Employees are given a day off to spend the holiday with friends and families. Government offices and schools are also suspended during the occasion (students should already be in their summer holiday break at this time). In Australia, if the New Year’s Day falls on the weekend, the next working day (Monday) will be tagged as a public holiday. However, the celebration should still be observed on its actual date.

New Year's Day Origin

New Year’s Day is one of the biggest celebrations widely accepted in the global society. In the ancient times, the New Year was observed on the 15th of March back when the people used to follow the early Roman calendar. This calendar only consisted of 10 months and 304 days, with the 15th of March marking the beginning of new year at that time. It was only around the 8th century BC, when the other two months, January and February respectively, were added. Later on, the early Roman calendar was replaced by the Julian calendar, which was introduced by Emperor Julius Caesar. The new calendar was implemented in 46 BC under the regime of the said emperor. It was at this time that the New Year’s date was switched from March to the 1st of January instead. The latter date was instituted by Caesar to become the first day of the year on the Julian calendar. This calendar has been used for how many centuries until the time of the emergence of the Gregorian calendar. On October 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced a new calendar system called the ‘Gregorian calendar’ (the name is derived from the Pope’s name). It was said that Caesar’s Julian calendar miscalculated the length of the solar year by 11 minutes, thus, his created calendar is not in sync with the seasons. This then led to the formation of the Gregorian calendar. Although Pope Gregory XIII hasn’t changed the day marking the new year (in fact, he has re-established January 1 as the New Year’s Day in 1582), the switch of the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar actually resulted to the omission of more than 10 days on the Gregorian calendar’s system as per the papal bull issued by Pope Gregory XIII on that year. This is the reason why for those who are still using the Julian calendar at present, their new year’s date occurs on the 14th of January in the Gregorian calendar. Currently, since majority of the countries are following the latter calendar system, many people around the world are celebrating New Year’s Day on the 1st of January every year.

As for the Australians, they have started to celebrate the New Year’s Day on January 1st when the Gregorian calendar was introduced to them in the 18th century. Australia’s first European settlers (British settlers) are the ones who introduce this calendar system in the country upon their arrival back in January of 1788.

New Year's Day Traditions in Australia

New Year’s Day is a phenomenon observed by many countries across the globe. It’s an important day to mark the beginning of a brand-new year. For countries using the Gregorian calendar, the 1st of January marks the first day of the new year. Thus, for these countries (including Australia), New Year’s Day is celebrated every 1st of January every year. Although its observance varies depending on each country’s customs and traditions, it could not be argued that this holiday is one of the biggest celebrations in the entire year for most countries. New Year means a lot of things including a fresh start, new beginnings, new opportunities, better chances, and many others. Like other people, the Australians also love to take the opportunity of this day’s celebration to make a new year’s resolution. Goals commonly set include: a healthy diet/lifestyle, do more exercises, and have a better future and life in general. For the Aussies (this is how the Australians identify themselves), it’s important to leave all the bad things in the past and start afresh.

Field Day

Aside from the fireworks display, other fun activities are also held in Sydney during the occasion. Field Day is a perfect example to this. ‘Field Day’ is an outdoor music festival traditionally held at The Domain (an area of open space located on the eastern fringe of the Sydney central business) as part of the celebration of New Year’s Day. The event features various artists, from hip-hop, electronica, house, to indie music artists. Field Day offers a high-quality type of music which is the primary reason why thousands of people are enticed to visit the place on this day. For those who deeply enjoy music festival (especially the younger population), attending such activity might be the best way to celebrate the New Year’s Day. Another place in Sydney to take note of during the occasion is also the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel. The said hotel has become one of the most popular places to kick off the New Year’s celebration since they usually arrange for some New Year’s Day parties. With great food and beverages, added with some amazing line-up of local performers and DJs, it is another way to have an enjoyable holiday. For others who can afford, going on a cruise around the Sydney Harbour is a fine choice as well.

The Perth Cup

The Perth Cup is another event awaited by thousands of spectators and punters occurring traditionally on the country’s celebration of New Year’s Day. The Perth Cup is a horse racing activity held at Ascot Racecourse in Perth, Western Australia, covering a distance of 2400 metres. The said activity began in 1887 and has always been observed on New Year’s Day. Many people from across the country, especially those who love horse racing, take time to visit Perth to partake on this entertainment. However, recently, the event was switched to a different date. The Perth Cup organisers have decided to move the date of its observance from the 1st of January to the first Saturday of January instead. The change took effect on 2019 (event was held on January 5, 2019) and will be observed every 1st Saturday of January moving forward.

New Year's Fireworks Displays in Australia

With the occurrence of the New Year, lots of exciting activities are expected to be observed. In Australia, cities and towns from across the country celebrate the occasion by organizing some fireworks displays. Among all these fireworks displays though, the most visited and the most popular is the one held at Sydney Harbour (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia). With the spectacular fireworks lighting up the sky, over a million of Aussies choose to visit Sydney on this day to catch a glimpse of the city’s magnificent fireworks presentation. This is one of the most anticipated events during the holiday, thus, large crowds of people are expected to gather in this city.

Family Gatherings

In addition, since majority of the Australians celebrate New Year together with their families, the day is also treated as a family-day occasion in the country. New Year parties are organized at home and far away families and relatives often come at once to spend the holiday along with the whole clan. The celebration is even extended to the presence of some friends. Many Aussies take the New Year as an ideal day to have some barbecue parties alongside families and relatives. Hence, it is typical for them to prepare for the new year’s dishes with a barbie (slang word for barbecue in Australia), steak, lamb, and grilling sausage.

Although several Australians spend this day with their families at home, other people prefer to spend the holidays by going on a trip either within the country or abroad. Some also choose to enjoy the occasion by visiting theme parks, watching movies in cinemas, or going for a picnic in the parks. For many others, a trip to the beach is a better way to celebrate the first day of the year. Many Aussies actually love to spend the New Year’s Day outdoors especially since the occasion falls during the country’s summer season (Australia is located in the Southern Hemisphere, thus, its seasons are a total opposite to those countries in the Northern Hemisphere).

Dates of Observance for New Year's Day
Year Date Day Holiday
2023 January 01 Sunday New Year's Day
2024 January 01 Monday New Year's Day
2025 January 01 Wednesday New Year's Day
2026 January 01 Thursday New Year's Day
2027 January 01 Friday New Year's Day
2028 January 01 Saturday New Year's Day
Upcoming Australia Holidays
Holiday Date
Christmas Eve December 24, 2022
Christmas Day December 25, 2022
Boxing Day December 26, 2022