Australia Day 2021: What’s open, what’s closed and what’s on in Melbourne

Australia Day will look different this year, with many events including the traditional city parade cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

But with the public holiday falling on a Tuesday and the temptation of a four-day weekend too much for many, the mood is certain to still be buoyant.

No parades: Australia Day will look a little different this year.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

Here's a list of what's happening on Australia Day and what will be open on the public holiday.

Official ceremonies

Day of Mourning Dawn Service: NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) will host a service from 5am at King’s Domain Resting Place. The service is free but registration is required and people need to bring a printed or digital copy of registration. It will also be live streamed. More details here.

Flag-raising ceremony: This year the official flag-raising ceremony will be live streamed via YouTube from 9.30am, hosted by the Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau AC and Premier Daniel Andrews. More details here.

21-gun salute: The 21-gun Australia Day salute is fired from the Shrine of Remembrance at 12.10pm by the Royal Australian Artillery. Visitors who are noise-sensitive may want to keep their social distance plus a bit extra, as the salute is pretty loud. Details here.

Roulette aerial display: With no fireworks this year, people can still enjoy the Air Force Roulettes aerobatic display over Kings Domain Gardens and the Shrine at 12.30pm. There will be tons of excitement with aircraft flying as low as 80 metres and at speeds up to 540km/h. This is a free event and details can be found here.

Invasion Day rally: More than 5000 people are expected to join the Invasion Day rally this year, calling for sovereignty and social justice for indigenous Australians and the abolishment of Australia Day. It kicks off from the steps of Parliament House on Spring Street at 10.30am. Protesters will need to comply with strict COVID-safe requirements, including being separated into groups of 100 with groups keeping 10 metres apart, wearing face masks and BYO hand sanitiser. More details here.

Thousands marched through the streets of Melbourne to protest against Australia Day last year.Credit:Chris Hopkins

Family fun

Share the Spirit Festival: Victoria’s longest-running Aboriginal music, culture and dance festival begins at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl at 12pm. The line-up of music acts includes Archie Roach and Alice Skye. Sadly, there are no more tickets available due to limited COVID-19 capacity but it will also be live streamed on the Fed Square big screen and the Share the Spirit Facebook page. More information here.

Reflect, Respect, Celebrate at Fed Square: This family-friendly event features Don’t Mess With The Dummies, an all-female circus at 11am, a screening of PG film Bran Nue Dae at 8pm and art installation Collision projections and “digital apparitions” from 8.40pm. More details here.

Victoria Park, Kew: Rotary Clubs of Boroondara are hosting a family-friendly, inclusive Australia Day event from 11am to 5pm, with song and dance performances, food stalls, a craft market, jumping castle and climbing wall. Entry is free. More information here.

Australia Day celebrations have been held at Dandenong Park for years.Credit:Sam Stiglec

Dandenong Park: This free annual council-run event is going ahead this year but sans the usual nightly firework display. Family-friendly activities include a fun run, a kids hub and a day-long cricket cup. While the event is free, you’ll need to pre-register for some of the activities for contact tracing purposes. More details here.

Wyndham Park: Rotary International is hosting this free family-friendly event, which will include performers, magicians and showbags. Spots are capped and you’ll need to register. More details here.

Mornington Peninsula: There won’t be the usual foreshore festivities or fireworks this year, but the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council has dreamt up some COVID-safe activities to pick from. Check out the Rosebud Virtual Fun Run, the Sorrento Portsea RSL’s flag raising circles and a ‘Change the Date’ ceremony with local Indigenous communities. More details here.

Other events

Reflect, Respect, Celebrate at NGV: The NGV is showcasing the 2021 Australian of the Year award recipients from Victoria by projecting their images onto the St Kilda Road facade from 6pm. More information here.

Grace Tame is this year’s Australian of the Year.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Public holiday trading hours


Coles: Normal trading hours (except McCrae 8am-8pm), check local stores here.

Woolworths: Stores may have different hours. Check local stores here.

Aldi: Normal trading hours, check local stores here.

IGA: IGA stores are independently owned and operated. For Australia Day opening hours, check local stores here.

Shopping centres

Melbourne Central: 10am-6pm (Level 3 retailers may be open until late)

Melbourne Emporium: 10am-6pm

Chadstone: 10am-6pm

Highpoint: 10am-5pm

Northland: 10am-5pm

Westfield Doncaster: 10am-5pm

Westfield Southland: 10am-5pm

The Glen: 10am-5pm

Myer Melbourne: 10am-7pm

Public transport

Most public transport will be running to a Saturday timetable, more information here.

Remember to wear a fitted face mask when travelling on public transport, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. You are also encouraged to register your myki for contact tracing here.

Trains: Services will run to a Saturday timetable and Night Network services will not run. Check specific services here.

Trams: Trams run to a Saturday frequency, but times may differ slightly from the normal Saturday timetable and the last tram will run about an hour earlier. Night Network services will not run. Check specific services here.

Buses: Most services run to a Saturday timetable, but some services may be altered or will not run. Check specific services here.

V/Line: Services will run to a Saturday timetable, with the Bendigo and Swan Hill services running to an altered Saturday timetable. Check specific services here.

Regional coach: Scheduled services will run to an altered Saturday timetable, and Night Coaches will not run. Check specific services here.

Queen Victoria market will be open on Australia Day.Credit:Getty Images


Our famous Queen Victoria market will be open on Australia Day, but most of Melbourne’s other food markets are closed.

Queen Victoria Market: Open 6am – 3 pm

South Melbourne Market: Closed

Preston Market: Closed

Prahran Market: Closed

Pet services

24-hour Vet: Centre for Animal Referral and Emergency (CARE), 5 Hood Street, Collingwood, 9417 6417.

Melbourne attractions

Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium: 9.30am to 5.30pm, last entry at 4.30pm.

Crown Entertainment Complex: Open 24 hours. Most restaurants open, 9292 8888.

Eureka Skydeck 88: 12pm-10pm, last entry 9.30pm, 9693 8888.

O’Brien Group Arena (formerly Medibank Icehouse): public skating 9am-10pm, 1300 756 699.

Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary: 9am-8pm except Healesville Sanctuary (9am-5pm), 1300 966 784.

Royal Botanic Gardens: Melbourne open 7.30am to 7.30pm; Cranbourne open 9am to 5pm, 9252 2300.

IMAX Melbourne Museum: Open 10.30am, and the last screening begins at 6.45pm.

Melbourne Museum: 10am-5pm, 131 102.

National Gallery of Victoria: 10am-9pm, 8620 2222.

Puffing Billy Railway: Open, trains leave Belgrave at 10am, 11am, 12.30pm, 2.45pm, and 2.30pm. 9757 0700.

Take a day trip to see Puffing Billy.Credit:Joe Armao

Visitor information services

Melbourne Visitor Hub at Town Hall: 10am-4pm

Melbourne Visitor Booth: 9am-5pm

City Ambassadors: Not operating.

Melbourne Greeter Service: Not operating.

Melbourne Town Hall Tours: Not operating.

Airport transfers

Skybus: Services to and from Melbourne Airport and Avalon Airport are running a little differently until flights are back in full swing, click above on airport name for latest information, 1300 759 287; Starbus operating hours have also changed (from CBD 5am-7pm, from airport 6am-7pm), 8378 8700.

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