Australia Day 2016



Dave and I woke up on Australia Day with absolutely nothing planned, which wasn’t ideal because we were meeting up with Josh – one of the friends we made during our 12 day stay in Port Elliot over the Christmas New Year period in 2012. He’d come to Melbourne for some sort of work training in Gembrook and we offered to spend time with him on Australia Day.


Dave drove out to Pakenham to pick up Josh and we all met back at home for a quick cuppa and some Tim Tam slams to discuss what we were going to do for the day.




We decided to do a mini tour of Melbourne and finish up at a pub in Fitzroy.  We set off shortly after midday in Dave’s old Holden Premier.


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Our first stop was at the Brownstone Brewery for lunch and a beer.  Our burger meals were perfectly portioned and went down a treat, and while they were out of their signature Pilsner, we settled for a pot of Little Creatures Dog Days Summer Ale to get us started.




We then cruised through Dandenong and headed for the coast. We’d heard of a craft brewery called True South in Black Rock. When we arrived, the venue was bustling, but they didn’t have any of their own brews on tap so we settled with a Stone & Wood Pacific Ale stubbie and some pints of James Squire 150 Lashes.  We hung out on the balcony and looked out at the haze on the horizon – from all the Straya Day BBQs we assumed.


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Back on the road, we did a quick stop at Red Bluff lookout, and watched all the Aussies sunbaking on the beach, cooling off in the clear waters of Half Moon Bay, zooming over the water on their jet skis or simple lazing on their boats in the bay. It was a magnificent sight.


Red Bluff Lookout


The next leg of our cruise lead us through colourful St Kilda. Luna Park was open for business and there were plenty of people hanging out on the foreshore or at one of the many pubs. We also saw that the Espy Hotel had closed down– it’s always sad when a live music institution closes down so hopefully it’s reopened to maintain its legendary reputation.


Once we got to the northern suburbs, we knew it was time to sit and chill out.  We met up with our old mate Parksy at the Rainbow Hotel for a few beers. The luscious beer garden was full but not packed and the cold beers were constantly flowing.





Dinnertime rolled around quickly so we made our way to the Commercial Club for some great pub grub. Dave satisfied his pork schnitzel craving while Juz and Josh had the chicken parma. Another perfectly portioned meal.




With the sun setting over the still-hazy horizon (from all the Straya Day BBQs), we set off towards Pakenham and dropped Josh off. It was great to hang out with him on Australia Day. We hadn’t seen him for three years, since we left Port Elliot in January 2013, and maintaining that connection is really special to us.


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Happy Australia Day to everyone – we hope you had fun, celebrated with the people you love, and demonstrated the true colours of Australia Day.



Australia Day 2015 Cairns

Australia Day in Cairns

Australia Day 2015 Cairns


Wow – what an epic day!


With all of our mates back at home in Melbourne, we occupied ourselves by trying to have the most Australian Australia Day possible, and that meant checking out all of the fun community events that were on offer.


Pie Eating and Bull Riding at Cazaly’s

Our first stop was Cazaly’s, a massive entertainment and function complex.  They were hosting a huge Australia Day bash, complete with jumping castles, face painting and the staff dressed up as iconic Aussie characters.


We watched a few rounds of the pie eating competition, downed our first beer of the day, and just as we were getting ready to leave, we were intercepted and convinced to have a crack on the mechanical bull – YEEHAW!



Sausage in Bread on the Esplanade

It was surprisingly easy to find a free parking spot in the city (nobody wants to park under the trees where the smelly bats live).


The Esplanade was packed full of picnickers and people cooling off in the lagoon, with the scent of BBQ wafting through the air.  The members of the Cairns Surf Life Saving Club were doing a sizzle so we pulled out a few bucks for a sausage in bread – a cheap snack before our next stop.


Australia Day 2015 Cairns


Thong Tossing at the Court House

Our next beer was at the Courthouse Hotel, and the main bar was packed with fellas wearing green and gold or donning Aussie flags as capes.  We were just in time for the Rubber Thong Toss so we signed up and took our beers outside to prepare.


This thong throwing competition was all about accuracy, as opposed to the Whyalla comp which was all about distance.  Whoever got their thong in the fountain scored, particularly if the thong landed in the top, central tier.   Dave made it through two rounds while Juz tossed her second thong right over the back fence and was declared 6 and out!  In fact, she was the only one to throw a thong over the fence, thus making her the unofficial winner for distance.



Pool Party at Gilligan’s

The heat and humidity lured us to our next location – Gilligan’s – who were having a massive pool party with Triple J playing over the speakers.  Juz had a dip in the pool and a few pina colada slushies, while Dave picked up another pair of sausage sizzles for snacks.



Cocktails at Salthouse

With the Hottest 100 approaching the top 20, we walked over to the Salthouse to chill out with a cocktail by the marina.  We scored some limited edition Australia Day XXXX Gold stubbie holders and Juz sipped on a Lady In Red concoction as the day started to come to a close.


Australia Day 2015 Cairns


Australiana Triviana at The Red Beret

We popped home briefly to shower and compose ourselves before heading to our final destination – the Red Beret for Australia Day trivia with our trivia teammate Philip.  Our team’s name was the Budgie Smugglers and we ended up in 5th place.


Australia Day 2015 Cairns


Getting to sleep wasn’t difficult.  We got home at about 9:30pm, watched rage briefly and passed out as soon as our heads hit the pillow.  Happy Australia Day!



How to Celebrate Australia Day


Australia Day is a day of celebration, to embrace all the things that makes Australia unique – our beautiful landscapes, our kooky wildlife, our love of sports, live music, gorgeous beaches, and the great Australian spirit.  The awesome thing about Australia Day is that it’s a public holiday so you score a day off work or a long weekend!


Back in Melbourne, we celebrated Australia Day in a variety of ways, but whatever we did, it was with mates and with the Triple J Hottest 100 was always playing.  Below are some pictures of our previous celebrations (BBQ kiddy pool party, picnic in the park & winery camping weekend).



Since we’ve been on the road, we’ve celebrated two Australia Days.

The first was in Whyalla SA, and we got involved in the town’s community celebrations down at the foreshore – sandcastle building, dummy spitting, market stalls, and some goon before bed. Dave even came second in the thong throwing competition!


Dave accepts his trophy at the Australia Day presentations


The second was in Darwin NT.  Juz was sick unfortunately but we still managed to do as much as possible.  Toad races, the Annual Australia Day Ute Run, a pool party and chicken parmas at the pub.


Australia Day


Here are our favourite ways to celebrate Australia Day…


Listen To Triple J’s Hottest 100 On The Radio

For us and a lot of other Aussies, this is the ultimate playlist for your Australia Day celebrations.  Trying to pick which songs will make it into the top 10 always makes for great conversation and debate!  You can also listen to the Hottest 100 countdown whilst doing any of the other activities listed below.


Have A BBQ With Your Mates

You can’t get much more Australian than putting on your best pair of thongs, getting together with your mates, firing up the barbie and knocking back a few cold beers from the esky.  The humble sausage in bread is a BBQ standard, as well as caramelised onions cooked with that secret ingredient (beer), but Dave’s favourite has to be lamb chops.


Don’t forget to BYO camping chair and esky.  Inflatable kiddie pools are optional, but they’re a great way to keep the kids entertained or your feet cool.


Hang out at the beach or Inflatable playtime in the pool

Australia Day is right in the middle of summer so staying cool is not only important but super fun.  Load up your car with a full esky, towels, umbrellas, chairs and various sporting equipment, and drive to the beach.  Once you find a semi-shady parking spot 500m away, gather up everything you crammed into the car and awkwardly carry it all to the closest available patch of sand.


If you’re not a huge fan of sand in your bum crack, there always seems to be at least one mate having a pool party at their place.  Expect giant inflatable thongs, pool noodle fights, backyard cricket and plenty of beer.  Fair chance they’ll be having a BBQ too, so remember to bring some snags along.


Check out all the awesome inflatables you can get on eBay.


Picnic in the park

Fill one esky with food and another esky with beer, grab a picnic blanket and a portable radio and head to the park.  For those who like being active, take a footy, soccer ball or Frisbee, or even a humble hacky-sack.  One time we brought our volleyball set along, formed teams and got really competitive – lots of laughs.


Community Events

Wherever you are in Australia, there will be a community event happening on Australia.  Activities can range from citizenship ceremonies, sausage sizzles and fun runs to thong throwing competitions, dunny races and parades.   Many events also hold fancy dress or best hat competitions!  Find a winner on eBay…


Look for an event near you at http://www.australiaday.org.au/



If Australia Day in the city isn’t your style, load up the car with your camping gear and go bush.  If you don’t have reception to listen to Triple J, you might have to sort out your own tunes, but all the other staples are there – mates, eskies full of beer, fun games, a campfire for snags and marshmallows and a tent closeby to welcome you after an awesome Australia Day.






* Drink responsibly and don’t be a tosser on Australia Day… or any day for that matter.


Australia Day

Australia Day in Darwin

The best way to celebrate Australia Day is with your best mates, but because all of our best mates are back in Melbourne, we focused our attention on how Darwin celebrates Australia Day.  We wanted to do as much as possible so we did some research on what was going on about town and made a day of it.



First up was to tune in to Triple J and start listening to the Hottest 100.  It wouldn’t feel like Australia Day without it.  We then drove to the Nightcliff Sports Club for some sausage sizzle, thong throwing and cane toad racing.  This was our first time looking at cane toads close up and they are pretty ugly with their warty skin and grumpy faces.  We munched on our free snag as we watched the toads jump over the yellow line and try to make a run for it.  We had a laugh watching women and children shriek as toads jumped in their direction and one toad had to be chased across the footy field to be retrieved.  Before long, thongs were being handed out and the toss was over before we realised what was going on!  Dave’s thong was a dud but we shrugged it off and left for the next event.


Australia Day Cane Toads!


The 12th Annual Australia Day Ute Run departs from Hidden Valley at lunchtime and cruises around town before settling at the Winnellie Greyhound Racecourse.  We were lucky enough to catch the precession heading down the Stuart Highway and got plenty of toots and waves from proud Aussies and their utes.



Before dinner, we ducked into a house party in the northern suburbs.  Everyone was in the pool, even a cute little bub with a floatie on each arm.  We stuck around for a chat and a few songs on the Hottest 100 before heading into the city.  The Precinct was supposed to be having a lawn party but because of the afternoon rain, it was more like a verandah party.  The outdoor area was dedicated to the Hottest 100 but once we went inside, the live act took over.   We were starving but the kitchen didn’t open for another 15 minutes so we went across the way to Fiddlers Green for allegedly the best chicken parmigiana in Darwin.  It was pretty good, with a big slice of ham, great tasting sauce and tasty cheese, but the chips really let the whole thing down.



We wrapped the day up with a night in front of the telly – the ABC News showed footage of the day and we saw ourselves on TV – three times!  Samson and Delilah was the movie of the evening, and after Juz put some moisturiser on her sunburn, we went to bed.  The end!





Happy Australia Day!


Are you ready with your snags and your flip flops and your beer?  Are you close to a body of water like the beach or a pool? Do you have your radio tuned to the Triple J Hottest 100, ready to crank out some wicked tunes?  Well you better because today is Australia Day and it’s time to party!


About Australia Day

Australia Day is our national day and marks the anniversary of the arrival of the first fleet of British ships at Sydney Cove in New South Wales.  Because of this, Australia Day is also known as Anniversary Day and Foundation Day.


To others, Australia Day is known as Invasion Day, particularly within the indigenous population of Australia.  Invasion Day celebrations occur almost every year to promote awareness of their presence and their desire to resolve land rights issues.  There have been suggestions to change the date of Australia Day to make it more inclusive and nationally significant.


To many Australians, this national public holiday has a more contemporary meaning and is all about celebrating what’s great about being Australian.  People go to the beach or have BBQs with their friends and families.  It’s also a day that we officially welcome new Australians who have been granted citizenship.


Australia Day 2013

Last year, we were in Whyalla for Australia Day and it was one of the best Australia Days yet.  We took part in the community activities and Dave came second in the Thong Throwing Competition.


Second place at Thong Throwing in Whyalla


Later in the evening, we met an older couple who invited us into their home for a few drinks and some show and tell.  The wife was an animal lover and bred bearded dragons, as well as making some of the most beautiful porcelain dolls Juz had ever seen.


We hope to have another ripper Australia Day this year in Darwin.


If you’re keen to see some amazing shots of Australia and the world, check out the photography of Kieran Stone. This great Australian photographer discovered his passion after travelling the world, and now we all get to benefit from his stunning images.




A dolphin followed fishermen into the marina

City Profile : Australia Day in Whyalla

About 100km southwest of Port Augusta is Whyalla, a great city filled with friendly people, clean parks and a welcoming atmosphere. With a population of 22,500 people, it’s a growing city with a building boom in recent years and lots of new development, making it the third most populous city in South Australia.



The area was explored in 1840 by Edward John Eyre, who reported the presence of iron stone 50km west of Whyalla.  The city started as a small camp atop Hummock Hill in 1901 and gradually expanded until it was officially proclaimed a town in 1914.  With BHP extending its arm into Whyalla and building shipping yards and a blast furnace, the town grew to a city in 1961.


It was here that we celebrated Australia Day, and we couldn’t have hoped for a better day.  The city had planned a whole afternoon of festivities that kicked off at 4pm – sandcastle making, thong throwing, and the Great Australia Day Dummy Spitting Championships.  There was also a great live band, heaps of food stalls and free flags and tattoos so everyone could show their Aussie pride.



We participated in the thong throwing contest and Dave won second place by only a few centimetres behind the reigning champion!  Dave was awarded a silver plated blue thong at the presentation ceremony later in the day. GO DAVE!



After the presentations, we left the dry zone of the city and found a nice park in the centre of town to finish off our cask of Banrock Station White Shiraz.  We were supposed to go back into town at 9pm for the fireworks but we met a great couple who invited us into their home for drinks, nibbles and a great chat.  A pair of Grey Nomads, Chris and Tina gave us a ton of advice, like how to stop the dust from accumulating in the truck and which towns to watch out for up north.


Chris and Tina, we had a wonderful night and thank you so much for your generous conversation and hospitality.  Your stories and tips were fantastic to listen to and we hope to cross paths again in the future.



Ada Ryan Park

This green and shaded park is the most popular park in the city, offering soft, lush lawns, free electric BBQs, toilets, tennis courts and a playground.  There is also a large aviary with talking parrots, budgies, cockatiels and a pied peacock.  The birds provided a great soundtrack as we had lunch in the park, with the occasional “Hello Cocky!” echoing through the trees.


Whyalla Marina & Jetty

We had a stroll along the jetty and watched fishermen drop a line or crab net, and on the way back to the car, we noticed a boat coming into the marina, trailed by two dolphins.  These playful creatures usually follow the fishermen into the marina and if you’re there, you can get close enough to pat them on the nose.



Flinders & Freycinet Lookout

This lookout overlooks Spencer Gulf and has two sculptures, one of Matthew Flinders and the other of Louis-Claude de Freycinet.  Flinders was the first to explore the coastline of this area in 1802 aboard HMS Investigator, while Freycinet charted the area in 1803 for the Baudin expedition.


The sculptures were installed in 2002, and the spot was renamed the Flinders & Freycinet Lookout, which gives a nice view of the Spencer Gulf.



Hummock Hill Lookout

The place where Whyalla started – this lookout provides panoramic views of the town, the OneStell operations, the foreshore, marina and Spencer Gulf, with various lookout platforms to choose from.  It was developed by BHP as a gift to the city to commemorate the company’s centenary year.


The Loaded Dog

Outside of the Whyalla Veterinary Clinic is a metal sculpture of a large dog holding a stick of dynamite.  The sculpture was unveiled in 2008 and is based on Henry Lawson’s story, ‘The Loaded Dog’, about a cheeky retriever that drags dynamite through a campfire, causing the fuse to ignite with mayhem and hilarity to ensue.


Sempre Italian Market & Cafe

This great little café in the Civic Centre offers great coffee and Italian goodies.  The business won Outstanding Business of the Month in December 2012, and the reason for this was evident in the quality of their food and customer service.

Dave’s strong latte came out as a skinny latte, and even though the manager offered to remake it, Dave still drank it and it was delicious.



Overall, we really enjoyed our time in Whyalla. The people were all friendly, there was a real community spirit which was vibrant and united, and we felt right at home amongst it all. We will definitely visit Whyalla again when we have the opportunity – maybe for Australia Day so Dave can challenge the thong throwing champ again!


The Loaded Dog