Australia Day: What is it and where to celebrate in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Restaurants and bars in Dubai and Abu Dhabi will have special menus, as well as live entertainment to celebrate Australia Day

Australia Day marks the anniversary of the British First Fleet's arrival at Port Jackson, New South Wales, in 1788. EPA/JOE CASTRO 
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Restaurants across the UAE are preparing to fire up their barbecues as this Saturday, January 26, marks Australia Day.

The national celebration of Australia marks the anniversary of the arrival of the first fleet of British ships in 1788. The day has since evolved to become a celebration of Australia’s people and culture, and coincides with official community awards and citizenship ceremonies.

Here in the UAE, Australian expats will be able to celebrate their heritage at a number of restaurants and hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Here is what is happening:

Girders Garden, Dubai

Girders Garden sports bar in the JA Ocean View Hotel on The Walk, JBR, has a full line up of treats to help mark Australia Day in true Aussie style.

On Friday, January 25 and Saturday, January 26, there will be a garden BBQ complete with steaks, burgers, snags, chicken, and drinks stations on the outdoor terrace.

The family-friendly event will have plenty of children’s games, a fancy-dress competition plus a pavlova-making contest, all set to theme of classic Australian anthems.

Prices start from Dh159 for adults and Dh100 for children.

PJ O’Reilly’s at Le Royal Meridien, Abu Dhabi

The Mega Annual Australia Day Brunch returns to PJ O’Reilly’s, Abu Dhabi on Friday, January 25. The event is organised in association with Aussies Abroad. For three hours from 1pm, diners can tuck into a themed, all-you-can-eat, family poolside barbecue served from food counters and BBQs with Aussie lamb and pies. Also included will be live entertainment from DJ Sonya Mac, Sweet Chilli Jam and DJ Lola Nova.

Get ready to celebrate Australia Day in the UAE. Brendon Thorne / Getty
Get ready to celebrate Australia Day in the UAE. Brendon Thorne / Getty

Barasti, Dubai

In classic Australian style, Barasti will host a beach barbecue on Australia Day to mark celebrations. It promises many special deals on the day, alongside an ‘Aussie Bities’ eating challenge.

The barbecue will run throughout the day, alongside a live DJ.

QWERTY at Media One, Dubai

QWERTY at Media One is hosting a ‘Big Australian Barbie’ on Saturday, January 26, serving up a traditional grill including sliders with pineapple, beetroot and aioli, alongside lamington cakes and pavlova.

There will also be a number of games happening throughout the day including hops pong and giant jenga. Drinks will be served at a discounted price. Unlimited barbecue dishes will cost Dh125.

Yalumba at Le Méridien, Dubai

Popular brunch spot Yalumba will be turning Australian for the day on Friday, January 25, dedicating much of its brunch offering to celebrate all things Down Under. Starting from Dh389, the restaurant at the Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre will be offering barbecue treats, grape from Australian regions, and a DJ playing Aussie tunes throughout the day.


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