Boxing Day – sometimes known as Saint Stephen’s Day or Day of Goodwill – falls on 26 December every year. While the holiday isn’t observed in many parts of the world, the nations that do celebrate it – including Australia – often see it as a “second day of Christmas”. In Australia, Boxing Day is a national public holiday (though it is typically known as Proclamation Day in South Australia).
If you’re from a country that doesn’t have the holiday, you might be unfamiliar with how it works and which facilities are open on Boxing Day. As a general rule, you can expect major essential shops – such as grocery stores and pharmacies – to be open on Boxing Day; you’ll just need to check the exact trading hours for the locations near you.
However, in this guide, we dive into the specifics of what’s open on Boxing Day in each capital city across Australia so you can decide how to spend your day.
What’s open on Boxing Day in Sydney?
Boxing Day in Sydney is just as vibrant as any other day in Australia’s biggest city. Check out Cuckoo Callay Surry Hills for brunch, Continental Deli Bar and Bistro in Newtown for wine and cheese and Restaurant Hubert in the CBD, to name a few.
If you’re in the mood to do some shopping, Westfield Sydney, Pitt Street Mall and the Queen Victoria Building are all fantastic options in the middle of the city. Here you’ll have no trouble making the most of Boxing Day sales.
There are even some Boxing Day events taking place in Sydney, such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, one of the world’s greatest ocean races. Watch the thrilling competition from any of the nearby vantage points, including The Heads, Nielsen Park, Mosman and Middle Head.
What’s open on Boxing Day in Melbourne?
Many venues across Melbourne will be open on Boxing Day, including a range of cafés, restaurants and bars, such as Abacus Bar & Kitchen, Stomping Ground Brewing Co. and Three Blue Ducks. Remember that, while many of these places are open, they may charge a surcharge on all bills.
Much like Sydney, Melbourne will also be hosting a Boxing Day yacht race, the Cock of the Bay Yacht Race. The race, which will feature over 100 yachts, will begin at 10:30am near Station Pier in Port Melbourne.
What’s open on Boxing Day in Brisbane?
If the weather permits, head to Brisbane’s famous man-made beach, South Bank. The beach and many nearby restaurants will be open on Boxing Day, making it the perfect place to spend the day.
For a more unique experience, get up close and personal with one of Australia’s most iconic creatures at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Open from 9am to 5pm, this sanctuary houses not only koalas but birds, snakes and kangaroos, too!
What’s open on Boxing Day in Perth?
Perth is known for its breathtaking beaches, most of which will be open on Boxing Day 2023. So, why would you want to spend your holiday anywhere else? Soak up the sun at Cottesloe Beach, Scarborough Beach or Fremantle Beach, as a few examples.
You can also head to Coast Port Beach in North Fremantle for the Cali X Cargo Beach Festival. Featuring live music, food trucks, bars and more, you’ll have no trouble finding entertainment that suits you. Tickets can be purchased here.
Westfield Carousel, Westfield Booragoon and Westfield Whitford City will be open on Boxing Day from 8am to 6pm.
What’s open on Boxing Day in Adelaide?
Adelaide’s beaches – including Glenelg Beach, Henley Beach and Semaphore Beach – will be open to the public on Boxing Day. The Moseley Beach Club, an iconic Adelaide fixture, will also be open on Boxing Day. Bookings are available, so be sure to secure your spot in advance.
You’ll also be able to dine out at a number of cafés, restaurants and bars in Adelaide on Boxing Day.
What’s open on Boxing Day in Canberra?
The National Zoo & Aquarium is open on Boxing Day from 9:30am to 5pm. That means you’ll have the opportunity to see fascinating wildlife, including tigers, rhinos, giraffes and more. The zoo also offers an array of close encounters, allowing you to get a better look at the animals.
Alternatively, shop ‘til you drop at Westfield Belconnen or Westfield Woden, both of which are open from 8am to 6pm on Boxing Day. Alternatively, get discounted prices at the Canberra Outlet Centre, which is open from 10am to 6pm.
What’s open on Boxing Day in Darwin?
Boxing Day is the perfect time to visit the Darwin Waterfront Precinct. Here you can lounge in the lush green grass, go for a dip at Darwin’s only man-made beach or check out some of the public art on display. While some of the precinct’s shops may be closed, you can still have a fun-filled day here.
Most shops at the Gateway Shopping Centre Darwin will be open on Boxing Day from 9am to 5:30pm, except Woolworths (open until 8pm) and Event Cinemas, which will be showing movies late into the evening.
What’s open on Boxing Day in Hobart?
There’s no better place to spend Boxing Day in Hobart than at the beach. Many of the Tasmanian capital’s beaches are open on Boxing Day 2023, including Nutgrove Beach, Kingston Beach and Seven Mile Beach.
Many of Hobart’s other natural wonders will be open on Boxing Day, such as Mount Wellington, a summit that offers stunning views of Hobart. Boardwalks and lookout platforms are the main vantage points, but there is also a pinnacle observation shelter, which is open from 7am to 10pm from September to April.