One of the holiest days on the Christian calendar, Good Friday is a day of religious observance that has become synonymous with hot cross buns, holidays, and downtime with family and friends. Here are some of the top public events and things to do around Australia over the four-day long weekend.
Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal, Melbourne
For many people in Melbourne, Good Friday means two things: indulging in a seafood feast bought from the Queen Victoria Market on GF eve, and donating loose change to a friendly ‘tin-rattler’ at the traffic lights. The annual public holiday marks the culmination of the Royal Children’s Hospital’s Good Friday Appeal, when locals dig deep to “give that they may grow”. Each year, television celebrities join tens of thousands of people at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre for the all-day telethon broadcast and Kids Day Out, a massive public event that includes rides, games, arts activities and sports. The appeal has raised more than $291 million since its inception in 1931.
Sydney Royal Easter Show
Nothing says Easter in Sydney like a roller-coaster ride, followed by an encounter with a prize-winning bull, and a belly-full of hearty produce. The Sydney Royal Easter Show is a Good Friday institution and Australia’s largest annual event, attracting almost 900,000 people over the course of the event each year. The show, which has been running since 1823 and is held at Sydney Olympic Park, provides something for everyone, from agricultural competitions and animal encounters to carnival rides, entertainment and shopping. Even the British monarchy have made an appearance.
Easter Egg Hunt and Family Picnic, Hobart
While some attend church on Good Friday, thousands opt for a day of chocolate indulgence in Hobart, at the much-anticipated Easter Egg Hunt and Family Picnic. The annual event in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens raises about $20,000 for the Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation. More than 3000 people descend on the gardens, with the little ones vying for a share of 100,000 Easter eggs donated by Cadbury. There are also organised games, entertainment and family activities.
Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race and Bluewater Festival
The Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race is one of Australia’s most popular sporting events held over the Easter long weekend. The 308-nautical-mile race kicks off in Bramble Bay on Good Friday, with crowds of people lining the waterfront in Brisbane to watch the yachts set sail. The Bluewater Festival is held in Moora Park by the water to coincide with the start-line festivities and features market stalls, rides, free family-friendly entertainment and fireworks.
National Folk Festival, Canberra
Grab your banjo and ukulele and head to the nation’s capital for five days of folk music festivities. The National Folk Festival draws more than 1200 performers from across the country and attracts a crowd of about 50,000 people. The festival started in Victoria and became a travelling event, moving between states each year, until it found a permanent home at Exhibition Park in Canberra. Each year the festival features a different state or territory to honour its origins, but the 2016 50th anniversary event will be a national celebration recognising every corner of the country.