The definitive guide to get the most out of your summer public holidays.

Public holidays are one of the main reasons Australia is such an amazing country in which to live because we have so many of them.

Work hard, play hard – that is how we roll.

And as the end of the year races towards us and the new year approaches, we have some wonderful public holidays to look forward to, and to make the most of. For those who live in South Australia and Western Australia, you get an extra public holiday. Why? Who knows?


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Here is your comprehensive guide to summer public holidays, when they are and what you can do on those glorious, balmy days.

What we all get.


Christmas Day Sunday 25 December, 2016

Boxing Day Monday 26 December, 2016

Christmas Day holiday (in lieu of Christmas Day because it falls on a Sunday) Tuesday 27 December, 2016

New Year’s Day Sunday 1 January, 2017

New Year’s Day holiday (in lieu of New Year’s Day because it falls on a Sunday) Monday 2 January, 2017

Christmas, the season of public holidays. Image: iStock

Special states, special dates.

Proclamation Day SOUTH AUSTRALIA ONLY Tuesday 27 December, 2017

Only South Australia gets a public holiday on Proclamation Day which celebrates "the establishment of government in South Australia as a British province" which first happened on 28 December, 1836.

Boxing Day Holiday WESTERN AUSTRALIA ONLY Tuesday 27 December, 2017

Only Western Australians get a Boxing Day Holiday, not sure why. Maybe they figured that because the Christmas Day Holiday was on a Monday they may as well have a Boxing Day one as well.

The more food consumed on summer public holidays, the better. Image: Something Borrowed, Warner Bros.

How to make the most of them.

In a perfect world your workplace shuts down for the two weeks over Christmas and New Years which in business world starts on Tuesday 26 December, 2016 and goes until Friday 6 January, 2017.

If not, do what most savvy Aussies do and take a couple of extra days either before or after, which could look like this.

Monday 26 December, 2016: Boxing Day

Tuesday 27 December, 2016: Christmas Day holiday in lieu of Christmas Day

Wednesday 28, Thursday 29, Friday 30: Take annual leave days


Monday 2 January, 2017: New Year's Day holiday in lieu of New Year's Day

Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4, Thursday 5, Friday 6: Take annual leave days

If that's a bit too cheeky for your particularly workplace, try taking an extra day off ahead of the Christmas weekend and then a day after the Christmas weekend, and if you can do the same for New Years.

Or, you can work straight through and make HEAPS of money with time-and-a-half, double-time and triple-time

At least one day, if not every day, should be spent at the beach. Image: iStock

What you can do.


Most major shopping centres will be closed on Christmas Day on Sunday, 25 December, 2016 however small businesses may choose to open, so depending on where you live you may be able to get bread, milk and some petrol.

Every other day will see most businesses open, in particular shopping centres, smaller stores, pubs, clubs, cinemas and other entertainment venues.

The best SALES happen on Boxing Day which is considered the biggest retail shopping day in Australia, closely followed by New Year's Day sales. There is nothing relaxing about these events, but we all love a good bargain, and you'll make good use of those discount swimmers, beach towels and designer sunnies for the rest of the summer holiday season.


It's not a holiday in Australia unless at least one day is spent near water. Choose the beach, the local pools, a friend's pool, a lake, a bit of fishing, a boat trip, anything that means you've touched water under the hot Australian sun over the summer holidays.


It can be expensive to travel over the holidays, particularly overseas with many families choosing to stay local over the summer and why wouldn't you? There's nothing Fiji and Hawaii can offer that will better than the Australian summer (except for kid's clubs). Am I right?


The only time you should be eating indoors during the summer holidays (aside from breakfast, if you must) is when you are eating out in a restaurant and even then you can go alfresco, otherwise you're just not Australian. Nothing says "Australian summer" better than taking sneaky bites of food while swiping flies off your meal or slapping at the occasional mutant mozzie during meal times.


To find out about special events in your area visit your local council website. Otherwise, check these out:


Woolworths Carols in the Domain

The annual Woolworths Carols in the Domain spectacular is on 17 December, 2016 in Sydney. An average of 50,000 Australians attend from around the country and is an event that should be experienced at least once in a life time.


Boxing Day Test

The Boxing Day Test is on December 26, 2016 and takes place at the MCG with 80,000 Australians regularly in attendance.


Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race takes place from 26 December to 31 December, 2016 and is a sight to be seen. The best vantage points are the starting line in Sydney Harbour so anywhere on the harbour foreshore and then the finish line off Castray Esplanade on the River Derwent in Hobart.


New Year's Eve Fireworks

Sydney does it best (they do!) but you can find New Year's Eve fireworks across Australia. Visit your local council website for details about New Year's Eve celebrations in your area.


The Hopman Cup

The Hopman Cup tennis tournament takes place at Perth Arena from 1 January, 2017 until 7 January, 2017 and is considered the official start of the tennis season.


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