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Australia Day 2021 in Sydney Harbour

Circular Quay

OzDay 10k wheelchair race
09:00
Australia Day Live! (ticketed concert)
19:30
Circular Quay fireworks finale
21:15
Finish
21:30

Important event information

Australia Day around Sydney Harbour will be different this year in line with COVID-19 restrictions and NSW Public Health Orders. A number of the traditional daytime events will not be taking place and members of the public are encouraged to watch the evening concert and fireworks on ABC TV or iview.

The Circular Quay foreshore area will be closed to the general public from 5pm with access permitted only for those with a booking at a restaurant or venue, or a ticket to the Australia Day Live at the Sydney Opera House or viewing area at the MCA lawn (arrangements subject to change). Visit australiaday.com.au for details.

Roads around Circular Quay and The Rocks will be closed in the morning and evening to support Australia Day events and allow everyone to move around safely while practising physical distancing. See our interactive road closure map for details.

Public transport continues to run at a reduced capacity to maintain physical distancing across the network. Services will run regularly on Australia Day with some additional services to help everyone travel around safely on the network. Remember to use your Opal card or a contactless payment method and register your details via the Opal website or app. Some transport services will be affected by harbour exclusion zones and road closures, see details below. 

If you have to catch public transport on Australia Day, wear a mask, allow extra travel time and plan ahead by checking real-time capacity indicators as you may need to wait for the next service with available physical distancing capacity. Look for the ‘green dots’ on-board services to find the safest places to sit or stand.

Remember, it is now mandatory to wear a face mask while travelling on public transport in Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong areas

Opal

You can use an Opal card for all modes of public transport in Sydney and surrounding regions, including metro, trains, buses, ferries and light rail.

Remember to top up your Opal card before you travel to avoid waiting in line at top-up machines. You can top up your card online or at an Opal retailer.

More ways to pay

If you have a contactless-enabled American Express, Mastercard or Visa debit or credit card, or a linked device, you can use it to pay for your travel by tapping on and tapping off at Opal card readers. Available on all public transport services including metro, trains, buses ferries and light rail, contactless payments are another way to pay on the Opal network. Adult Opal fare pricing applies and you will receive Opal benefits, including daily and weekly fare caps.

Sydney Metro services are high-frequency, driverless trains running between Tallawong Station and Chatswood Station.

Metro services start from the early morning running every 10 minutes until late on Australia Day. Change at Epping for T9 Northern Line trains to Central, Town Hall and Wynyard stations.

Remember to maintain physical distancing when travelling on transport. Check real-time capacity indicators on available services when planning your trip. You may need to wait for the next service if physical distancing capacity is not available. Learn more about real-time capacity information.

For Metro service disruption information, check trackwork and travel alerts or plan your trip using the Trip Planner.

Trains will run to a weekend timetable on Australia Day with some additional services in the morning and evening.

Trains run to and from the city regularly on most lines and additional services will run on the City Circle, T2 Inner West Line, T4 Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line and Southern Highlands Line. As well, some services on the Blue Mountains Line, Central Coast & Newcastle Line and South Coast Line will be increased to 8-carriages. Plan your trip using the Trip Planner.

Remember to maintain physical distancing when travelling on transport. Check real-time capacity indicators on available services when planning your trip. You may need to wait for the next service if physical distancing capacity is not available. Learn more about real-time capacity information.

For train service disruption information, check travel alerts or plan your trip using the Trip Planner.

Trackwork

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

Additional services will run on key bus routes to the city from the Northern Beaches, Inner West and Eastern Suburbs throughout the day and night on Australia Day.

Some buses to and from the city will be diverting and using different stops while roads are closed for Australia Day events in the morning and evening.

Sydney CBD service changes:

  • From 6.30am to 11am routes 311, 324 and 325 will start and end at Town Hall and will not run to or from Millers Point and Walsh Bay due to road closures for the GIO Oz Day 10k wheelchair race. Services will end at Park St, Hyde Park, Stand J and pick up from York St, QVB, Stand A instead.
  • From 7.30pm to 10.30pm: Route 208 services will end at York St, Lang Park at Wynyard and pick up from York Street, Stand K, Wynyard instead of Bridge St while the Cahill Expressway is closed.

For bus service disruption information, check travel alerts or plan your trip using the Trip Planner.

Special Event Vintage Buses

10 of Sydney’s iconic Vintage Buses from the Sydney Bus museum will operate a shuttle service running from the Sydney Bus Museum at Leichhardt to North Sydney via the Sydney Harbour Bridge and return.

Buses will leave from the Leichhardt Sydney Bus Museum or White Bay Cruise Terminal from 9.30am to 4.30pm. Youll need to pre-book online ahead of time.

For more details visit Australia Day - Vintage Buses.

Australia Day is traditionally one of the busiest days of the year for ferries and may reach capacity early as services continue to run at a reduced capacity to maintain physical distancing. Ferries will also be affected by exclusion zones in the evening so customers are strongly encouraged to plan ahead and consider the alternative transport options.

Ferry service changes:

  • Ferries will not run to and from Circular Quay from 7.30pm to 9.45pm while an Exclusion Zone is in effect on the harbour.
  • F3 Parramatta River ferries and F1 Manly Ferries will continue to run to and from Barangaroo wharf during this time instead.
  • Ferries will run to a public holiday timetable with some additional late night services.
  • Manly Fast Ferries will not run to and from Circular Quay while the exclusion zone is in effect. The last service from Manly is at 6:40pm and the last service from Circular Quay is at 6:10pm. 

Use the Trip Planner to plan your ferry trip ahead of time.

Remember to maintain physical distancing when travelling on transport. Check real-time capacity indicators on available services when planning your trip. You may need to wait for the next service if physical distancing capacity is not available. Learn more about real-time capacity information.

For Ferry alerts and disruption information visit travel alerts. For routes and wharves see the ferry network map (pdf 161KB).

Australia Day events on the water

Some of events traditionally held on Sydney Harbour on 26 January are not going ahead in 2021. These include:

  • Ferrython
  • Harbour Parade
  • Tug and Yacht Ballet
  • Tall Ships Race
  • Defence aerial displays

Day time activities on Circular Quay foreshore will also not be taking place. 

The following events will proceed on Sydney Harbour in 2021 include: 

  • 185th Australia Day Regatta: Skippers will need to follow special waterway control measures so everyone can enjoy their time afloat.
  • Australia Day Live at Sydney Opera House: A show incorporating music and fireworks displays will take place in Sydney Cove and around the Sydney Opera House. An exclusion zone will be in place to manage navigation around the area, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge transit zone. Vessels must follow the direction of control vessels and must not stop in the transit zone.

Exclusion zones

See the RMS Maritime website for info on safe boating during major events

Exclusion zones will be in place on Australia Day 2021 between 7pm and 10pm with speed and wash restrictions in place around Sydney Cove and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

Safety on the water

With extra maritime traffic expected on the state’s waterways during Australia Day celebrations, NSW Police and maritime authorities will be out in force to ensure operators of recreational and commercial vessels are compliant with maritime laws.

Before heading out, check the vessel is in good working order, and ensure all the required safety equipment – including lifejackets – is on board.

Skippers are reminded of their responsibility to ensure there is safety equipment on board their vessels and are responsible for the manner in which their vessel is driven. 

Download the MarineRescue app from the App Store or Google Play and stay safe on the water.

For information on current COVID-19 restrictions that apply to boating visit the NSW Government website

L1 Dulwich Hill light rail services run between Central Station (Grand Concourse) and Dulwich Hill. L2 Randwick light rail services run between Circular Quay and Randwick via Central Station (Chalmers Street) and the L3 Kingsford line services run between Circular Quay and Kingsford via Central Station (Chalmers Street).

On Australia Day, services will run every 5 to 10 minutes between Circular Quay and Moore Park, and every 10 to 15 minutes between Moore Park and Randwick or Juniors Kingsford from 5am to 1am. L1 services will run every 10 to 15 minutes between Dulwich Hill and Central from 6am until 11pm.

Remember to maintain physical distancing when travelling on transport. Check real-time capacity indicators on available services when planning your trip. You may need to wait for the next service if physical distancing capacity is not available. Learn more about real-time capacity information.

For more details on stop locations and maps, see Light rail service information. For light rail service disruption information, check travel alerts or plan your trip using the Trip Planner.

Roads around Circular Quay and The Rocks will be closed in the morning and evening to support Australia Day events throughout the day and allow everyone to move around safely while practising physical distancing.

See our interactive road closure map for details.

Key road closure times:

  • 4am to midnight: roads in Circular Quay and The Rocks including sections of Alfred St, Circular Quay West, Essex St and George St will close. 
  • 7am to midnight: Hickson Rd from George St to Pottinger St in The Rocks will close.
  • 7am to 10am: Hickson Rd from Napoleon St to Towns Place and Towns Place from Dalgety Rd to Hickson Rd will close for the GIO Oz Day 10K wheelchair race.
  • 7am to 11am: Hickson Rd from Towns Place to Pottinger St will close for the GIO Oz Day 10K wheelchair race.
  • 7.30pm to 10.30pm: the Cahill Expressway lanes 7 and 8 southbound and lane 4 on the Harbour Bridge will close as well as both directions of the Cahill Expressway Circular Quay Overpass. Roads in Circular Quay north of Bridge St will also close including sections of Albert St, Alfred St, Essex St, George St, Loftus St, Phillip St and Young St.
  • The speed limit on the Harbour Bridge will be reduced to 40km/h from 8pm to 9.30pm.
  • The Cahill Expressway overpass walk (The Cahill Walk) will be closed to pedestrians from 5pm to 9:30pm, with no access from The Royal Botanic Garden, Macquarie Street, East Circular Quay, or The Rocks. The Sydney Harbour Bridge Walkway and Cycleway will remain open.

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. 

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.

The closest taxi rank to Circular Quay is on Macquarie Street north of the Sydney Opera House roundabout on the eastern side of the road.

Demand for taxis may be higher than usual on Australia Day, particularly in the evening so please be patient while in queues at taxi ranks and consider the public transport options.

Passengers are reminded that face masks are mandatory when travelling by taxi or ride share

Closed taxi ranks

Some taxi ranks in The Rocks will be closed at the following times due to road closures for Australia Day events:

  • 4am to midnight: George St outside Rydges Sydney Harbour Hotel (western side) - use the rank on Argyle St between Cumberland St and Harrington St instead
  • 4am to midnight: George St outside 104 George St (eastern side) - use the rank on Argyle St between Cumberland St and Harrington St instead
  • 4am to midnight: George St outside Four Seasons Hotel (western side) - use Harrington St for hotel drop off or picks ups. Alternatively use the rank on Argyle St between Cumberland St and Harrington St instead
  • 7am to midnight: Hickson Road near Pier One Sydney Harbour (western side) - use the rank on Argyle St between Cumberland St and Harrington St instead
  • 7am to midnight: Hickson Road outside Park Hyatt (southern side) - use the rank on Argyle St between Cumberland St and Harrington St instead
  • 7.30pm to 10.30pm: Phillip St outside Inter Continental Hotel (eastern side) - use the rank on Macquarie St near the Opera House instead.

For details of taxi networks servicing the Sydney area, visit Transport operators.

Parking

Check respective car park operator websites for parking availability and operating hours on Australia Day. Some car parks will not be accessible due to road closures for Australia Day events so make sure to plan ahead. For a full list of closure locations and times, and maps, visit livetraffic.com.

Special event clearways

Special event clearway street parking restrictions will be in place on major roads in the Sydney CBD, around Circular Quay and The Rocks between 3am and midnight.

See our interactive road closure map for details.

Sydney CBD:

  • From 3am to 10am: Hickson Rd from Towns Place to Napoleon St and Towns Place
  • From 3am to 11am: Hickson Rd from Towns Place to Pottinger St and Clarence St between Druitt St and Market St.
  • From 3am to midnight: Sections of George St, Hickson Rd, Circular Quay West, Essex St, Harrington St, Pitt St and Argyle St.
  • From 5pm to 10:30pm: Road in the Sydney CBD and The Rocks including sections of Albert St, Bent St, Bligh St, Bridge St, Carrington St, Castlereagh St, Clarence St, Conservatorium Rd, Dalley St, Grosvenor St, Hunter St, Loftus St, O’Connell St, Phillip St, Pitt St, Reiby Pl, Underwood St, York St and Young St.

Clearways are strict no-parking zones, and apply even to local residents and businesses with parking permits and RMS Mobility Scheme permit holders.

Look for the bright yellow signs and read them carefully on the day and the night before when parking as some clearways come into effect very early in the morning. Vehicles left in special event clearways will be towed and a fee applies. If your vehicle is towed, call 132 701 to find its new location.

For a full list of clearway locations and times, visit livetraffic.com.

Pick up and Drop off zones

    Accessible drop off and pick up points will be available at the following locations (not available for parking)

    • The Rocks: Harrington Street (out the front of Clock Tower Square)
    • Circular Quay:
      • Aria Restaurant, 1 Macquarie Street
      • Pitt Street just south of Reiby Place on the western side (opposite Export Finance House)

    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. Vehicles left unattended are subject to towing.

    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).