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Australia Day 2018 - Sydney CBD

Australia Day Harbour events

Sydney Harbour Foreshore

Darling Harbour, Sydney

WugulOra morning ceremony at Barangaroo
OzDay 10k wheelchair race start
Summer Playground at Darling Harbour start
Ferrython and Harbour events
Sydney Street Party, The Rocks
Afternoon Summer Sessions, Darling Harbour
Live at the Quay!
Australia Day concert at Sydney Opera House
Fireworks at Circular Quay

Important event information

New for the 2018 programme to accommodate larger crowds, the annual fireworks during the ‘Australia Day Spectacular’ previously hosted in Darling Harbour’s Cockle Bay will be relocated to Circular Quay, as part of a new free, public event Live at The Quay!.

Live at the Quay! will start from 18:30 with a fireworks display at 21:15 to wrap up the days events. The best vantage point for the show is at The Rocks and along the western side of Circular Quay. The show will only be viewable from Circular Quay as there are no fireworks on the Sydney Harbour Bridge or outside Circular Quay, so arrive early to secure a good spot. See the event site map for locations. On the eastern side of the quay viewing will still be available alongside the traditional Australia Day Live concert hosted at the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House.

On the water, a series of events will take place in the Harbour including the annual Ferrython race. 

While there won’t be fireworks at Darling Harbour this year, there are still plenty of events and entertainment being hosted in Darling Harbour precincts including Tumbalong Park throughout the day and night until around 20:00.

There are plenty of ways to celebrate Australia Day with events and festivities on throughout the day at various locations. 

All the tools you need to plan your trip are available here:

  • Detailed service information will be available in the Trip Planner 14 days out from the event. You can also download a real-time travel app to track your service on the night.
  • An interactive road closure map will be available to help you plan your movements around the road closures in the city and the location of the nearest major transport hubs to event precincts.
  • Top up your Opal card ahead of time to avoid queues at Opal top up machines. Top up online using the Opal Travel app or visit one of 2,100 Opal retailers.
  • Stay connected - get real-time updates on transport services, vantage point capacities and road closures online.

You need an Opal card or single trip ticket to travel on public transport. Once you have yours, just add value then tap on and off to travel. Adult and Child/Youth Opal cards are available over the counter from 2,100 Opal retailers. To find one near you, look out for the Opal symbol at nearby stores or locate an Opal retailer.

Top up your Opal card by downloading the Opal Travel app, going to a top up machine or Opal retailer.

Due to road closures and large crowds, walking between key CBD stations and bus terminals towards vantage point viewing areas will be different:

  • The Rocks / Hickson Road Reserve: arrive via Wynyard or Martin Place Stations or Barangaroo Ferry Wharf (via Wynyard Walk) and walk towards The Rocks using George St. After the event, head back to Wynyard via George St and via George, Bridge and Pitt streets to Martin Place for buses and trains.
  • Circular Quay West (Overseas Passenger Terminal & First Fleet Park): arrive via Wynyard or Martin Place Stations or Barangaroo Ferry Wharf (via Wynyard Walk) and walk towards the Western Promenade of Circular Quay using George St. Use the same route when heading back to these transport hubs after the event. Note: due to Light rail construction compounds in place on Alfred St you won't be able to walk between George St and Pitt St at Circular Quay.
  • Circular Quay East: you can arrive via Circular Quay Station but keep in mind it will be busy, particularly after the event as large crowds leave at the same time so consider using other nearby stations. From Wynyard or Barangaroo Ferry Wharf (via Wynyard Walk) head to the Quay via George, Hunter and Pitt streets. From Martin Place head there via Elizabeth and Phillip streets. From St James head there via Macquarie, Bridge and Phillip streets.
  • Sydney Opera House: you can arrive via Circular Quay Station but keep in mind it will be busy, particularly after the event as large crowds leave at the same time so consider using other nearby stations like Martin Place or St James. From Martin Place head there via Elizabeth, Phillip, Bridge and Macquarie streets and from St James use Macquarie St.
  • Darling Harbour / Tumbalong Park: arrive via Town Hall Station and walk to the precinct via Bathurst St. From Barangaroo Ferry Wharf, walk south along King Street Wharf. By Light rail from Dulwich Hill get off at Convention and walk across the road to the precinct.

A number of stations in the city are within easy walking distance of Australia Day event precincts. Trains will run to a Saturday timetable and run frequently on the City Circle Line and major lines.

Getting there

Trains run approximately every 5 to 8 minutes on the City Circle Line throughout the day into the evening. Trains to the city on all other lines run approximately every 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Catch a train to Town Hall or Central for Darling Harbour events during the day and night.
  • Catch a train to Wynyard for events at The Rocks and Circular Quay.

Note: while trains will operate to Circular Quay Station throughout the day and night, services will be busy and attendees are encouraged to consider using Wynyard, St James or Martin Place stations instead, particularly on your way home as large crowds will be leaving the city at the same time.

Enhanced and additional services: Central Coast & Newcastle Line and most Blue Mountains Line services will be built up to 8-cars between 08:00 and 20:00.

Getting home

Trains will run frequently through the night on the City Circle Line and major lines to help you get home.

Additional and enhanced night time services will also run on some lines including:

T4 Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line:

  • An additional service to Mortdale will leave Martin Place at 23:07, stopping at all stations to Mortdale.
  • Services between Central and Bondi Junction will run every 10 minutes from 21:30 until 00:30. Catch a train towards Bondi from Town Hall (platform 4).
  • Services from Cronulla to Sutherland will run every 15 minutes from 22:00 until 01:00.

Central Coast & Newcastle Line and most Blue Mountains Line services will be built up to 8-cars between 08:00 and 20:00.


No trackwork is scheduled to take place on Australia Day. Check trackwork service updates or use the Trip Planner to find the latest information before you travel.

From 14:00 until 01:00 buses in the city will be leaving from and terminating at different bus stops while road closures are in place. Refer to the Getting Home on Australia Day map (pdf 330KB) to see if your bus is affected. All bus diversion information is also available in the Trip Planner so you can plan your bus trip in advance.

Sydney Buses

Additional Sydney Buses services will run on popular routes into the city from the Northern Beaches, Inner West and Eastern Suburbs.

From 14:00 until 01:00 buses will be operating out of temporary bus terminals in the city due to road closures in the CBD for various events.

  • Buses to the South East and Eastern Suburbs will leave from Martin Place at Elizabeth St with stops along Hyde Park.
  • Buses to the Lower North Shore will leave from Wynyard.
  • Buses towards Ryde, Macquarie Uni and Parramatta will leave from Martin Place at Elizabeth St with stops along Druitt St.


Hillsbus will run extra services on the following routes to help you get to and from the city for the celebrations:

  • 607X - Rouse Hill Town Centre to City and return
  • 610X - Rouse Hill Town Centre to City and return
  • 620X - Dural via Cherrybrook to the City and return
  • M61 - Castle Hill to City (Metrobus) and return

Special Event Vintage Buses

Sydney’s iconic Vintage Buses will operate in a loop of the city from 10:30 until 17:00 making stops at key destinations including Macquarie Street, Market Street, Clarence Street and Elizabeth Street. Services are free to use with a gold coin donation. See the bus stop map

Australia Day is one of the busiest days of the year for Sydney Ferries and services will reach capacity early. There are also various impacts to ferry services throughout the day and night due to events on the Harbour so customers are strongly encouraged to have a backup plan and consider catching a train or bus instead as delays are expected on ferries.

  • Harbour Exclusion Zones will be in effect from 11:45 to 12:30 and 19:00 to 21:45 while events take place on the water.
  • During exclusion zones, most ferries will be unable to operate at all while other services will still run but will terminate at wharves outside of Circular Quay instead.
  • F7 Double Bay services will not operate at all on Australia Day.
  • Ferry services may also experience delays due to events taking place on the Harbour so allow for extra travel time.

Changes to ferry services on Australia Day:

F1 Manly:

  • Services will continue to operate as normal outside of the exclusion zone periods.
  • Services between 11:20 and 12:20 will not run due to the morning exclusion zone. in the evening services between 18:20 and 21:30 will not run.
  • The first service to Manly after the evening events will leave Circular Quay at 22:00.

F2 Taronga Zoo: some services will follow changed stopping patterns and make stops at Mosman and Cremorne Point during the morning exclusion zone.

F3 Parramatta River:

  • Services will operate to and from Barangaroo instead of Circular Quay while both the morning and evening exclusion zones are in place. From Barangaroo Wharf, use the escalators at Barangaroo South to join Wynyard Walk and continue through Wynyard Station to George St and Circular Quay.
  • No additional services will run back along the Parramatta River after the evening events, the last ferry towards Sydney Olympic Park will leave Barangaroo at 21:37. Ferry passengers will need to use the train or bus instead.

F4 Cross Harbour:

  • Services will operate to and from Milsons Point instead of Circular Quay during the morning exclusion zone. No services will run during the evening exclusion zone.
  • Services will not operate to Rose Bay and Watsons Bay during the day but services will continue to operate between Pyrmont and Circular Quay until 18:17.
  • After the evening events, two additional services will run to Rose Bay from Circular Quay at 22:25 and 23:00.

F5 Neutral Bay:

  • Services are limited and will run to a public holiday timetable.
  • After the evening events two additional services will run to Neutral Bay leaving Circular Quay at 22:00 and 22:30.

F6 Mosman Bay:

  • Services are limited and will run to a public holiday timetable.
  • After the evening events two additional services will run to Mosman Bay leaving Circular Quay at 22:00 and 23:00.

F8 Cockatoo Island

  • Some services will operate to and from Barangaroo instead of Circular Quay during the morning exclusion zone. No services will run during the evening exclusion zone.
  • After the evening events two additional services will run to Woolwich leaving Circular Quay at 22:05 and 23:05.

For Ferry alerts and disruption information visit travel alerts. For routes and wharves see the ferry network map (pdf 277KB).

A number of Light rail stops are located at or near key precincts in Darling Harbour including Pyrmont Bay, Convention, The Star and Exhibition Centre.

Convention is located on the Pyrmont side of Darling Harbour outside the Harbourside shopping centre. From there, all Darling Harbour event precincts are within walking distance.

Due to trackwork, buses will be replacing Light rail services between The Star and Central every 5 to 10 minutes. Services between Dulwich Hill and Convention continue to operate as normal and will run every 10 to 15 minutes.


From Monday 15 to Monday 29 January, trackwork will partially affect Light rail with buses replacing services operating between Central and The Star and Convention and Central. Light rail services will operate as normal between Dulwich Hill and Convention. For more details visit Light rail trackwork closures January 2018.

For maps and service frequencies see light rail service information.

Major roads will be closed for Australia Day celebrations in the city to help manage the large crowds and ensure the safe movement of pedestrians. Some closures will also be in place in Milsons Point.

Key road closures:

  • Between 07:00 and 11:00: Hickson Rd from Napoleon St to Pottinger St
  • Between 04:00 and midnight: George St from Essex St to Lower Fort St and Hickson from George St to Pottinger St
  • Between 07:00 and 22:00: sections of Olympic Dr and Burton St in Milsons Point.
  • From 14:00 until 01:00: roads around Circular Quay north of Bridge St including sections of Pitt, Loftus, Young, Phillip and Macquarie streets.
  • From 15:30 until midnight: roads between Hunter St and Bridge St will close including sections of Bridge, Hunter, Grosvenor St and Grosvenor St off-ramp, Margaret, Pitt, George, Gresham, Spring and Bent streets.
  • From 20:30 until 22:00: Lane 4 on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Cahill Expressway lanes 7 and 8 and the Circular Quay Overpass will be closed. Cahill Expressway Circular Quay Overpass walkway will be closed from 16:00 to 21:30. 

Reduced speed limit: for driver safety, a 40km/h reduced speed limit will be in place on both directions of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from 20:30 until 22:00. This reduced speed limit will also be in effect on the Cahill Expressway Circular Quay Overpass prior to its closure from 20:10 until 20:30. 

There will be no closures around Darling Harbour for the 2018 event as the main fireworks display will move to Circular Quay this year.

Vehicles parked inside road closures, in private and commercial carparks or driveways, are not permitted to drive onto closed roads until they reopen. Familiarise yourself with the road closure locations and times, as roads may not reopen for several hours. 

For the latest traffic conditions and the full event closure details including clearway locations and maps at Live Traffic NSW. For traffic conditions download a real-time traffic app from the App Store or Google Play.

Demand for taxis will be high, so please be patient while in queues at taxi ranks. Taxi pick-up and drop-off may be restricted in some areas due to road closures.

Relocated Taxi ranks will be available at:

  • Darling Harbour: Zollner Circuit
  • The Rocks: Argyle Street near Harrington Street (northern side of the road)
  • Sydney CBD: Bent Street between Loftus Street and Farrer Place (northern side of the road)

For details of taxi networks servicing the Sydney area, visit NSW Taxi Council.


With carparks in the city expected to fill early and extensive restrictions on street parking in place, its best to leave the car at home and take advantage of the additional public transport services running to get you to and from Australia Day celebrations.

Special event clearways

Special event clearway street parking restrictions will be in place on most major roads in the Sydney CBD, around Circular Quay and The Rocks between 03:00 and midnight.

In Milsons Point, clearways will be in effect on Olympic Drive from 06:00 to 22:00.

Check signs carefully when parking on the day as well as the night before as vehicles parked in special event clearways will be towed and a towing fee applies.

For the latest traffic information, visit, download a real-time traffic app from the App Store or Google Play, or call 132 701.

Look for the bright yellow signs and read them carefully on the day and the night before when parking your vehicle on Australia Day as some clearways come into effect very early in the morning. Clearways are 'no parking' zones, even for residents and businesses with parking permits and Mobility Scheme permits. Vehicles left in special event clearways will be towed and a fee applies. If your car is towed you can call 132 701 to find its new location.

There are dedicated accessible viewing areas and accessible event precincts for Australia Day events in the city. Visit Australia Day - Disability and Mobility Support for more information and contact details. 

Accessible Pick up and Drops off zones

Accessible drop off and pick up points will be available at the following locations:

  • Darling Harbour: Zollner Circuit or Harbour Street, between Liverpool Street and Bathurst Street on the western side
  • Circular Quay: Young Street south of Bridge Street on the western side

A valid Australian Disability Parking Permit or NSW Mobility Parking Scheme Permit must be displayed in the windscreen to gain access to accessible parking and accessible set-down and pick-up points.

Accessible Transport services

Accessible trips are shown in the Trip Planner with the wheelchair icon. You can select "accessible services only" in the Options to ensure you only see accessible services. Only trip plans with accessible train platforms, ferry wharves and buses will be presented. See accessible travel or download a transport app (select the "Accessibility" filter).