The Best Things to Do This ANZAC Day in Sydney

Here's where to rise for the dawn service, indulge in a spot of two-up and pay your respects.
Concrete Playground
Published on April 22, 2024

No matter which day of the week it falls on, ANZAC Day is a day of significance. It's also a day of thinking about the past, tossing coins into the air and throwing back cold ones — remembering Australia and New Zealand's military war efforts both then and now, and savouring the things worth fighting for.

Whether you're inhaling ANZAC biscuits or opening the bowling in a game of backyard cricket, it's important to be mindful of the historic significance and commemorative nature of the day while celebrating mateship with those closest to you.

This year, the city is back in full swing for ANZAC Day, with dawn services running as usual and two-up aplenty across Sydney. Here's our round-up of the best things to do in Sydney this Thursday, April 25.


Dee Why Dawn Service

Wake Up for the ANZAC Day Dawn Service

There's nothing like paying your respects as the bugle brings up the sun. Australians have been rising early since 1916 to commemorate both fallen and still serving military personnel during the Dawn Service. As is tradition, the service will run at the Cenotaph in Martin Place from 4.20am. There are public viewing points throughout Martin Place which have limited capacity and are first come, first served, so it's best to get down early if this is your plan.

Many local RSLs run their own dawn services. Head to the website of your local for details — or if you're not sure where to look, RSL NSW has a great guide to all the ANZAC Day commemorations and reunions happening across the state this year.

If you can't make it to a service IRL, you can tune into the Dawn Service live stream which will be available on ABC TV, ABC Radio and YouTube.


Head to an ANZAC Day March

Medals are shone and proudly donned as veterans, their descendants and serving personnel march through Sydney's CBD for the annual ANZAC Day Parade. Commencing at 9am sharp, the parade will begin at the intersection of Martin Place and Elizabeth Street, before travelling down Elizabeth Street and finishing at the Liverpool Street end of Hyde Park.

Each year in Redfern, the Coloured Diggers March gathers to walk through Redfern for a flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony commemorating First Nations service people who were often not recognised for their contributions. This year, the march will feature Belinda Mason's digital portraiture and 10th anniversary photographic exhibition Serving Country at the Redfern Community Centre at 10am, followed by a Welcome to Country at 1pm before the march begins towards Redfern Park. Plus, there will be food trucks and live performances from John Paul Young, non-profit organisation Haka for Life, Indigenous dance group Buuja Buuja Butterfly dancers Rayma & Rikarli Johnson, and more.


Play a Round of Two-Up

ANZAC Day usually marks one of only three days a year that the coin-toss game two-up is legal, so squeezing into one of the many Sydney pubs hosting this beloved ANZAC Day tradition is, well, a tradition. Prime your bank notes, place your bets and watch those sacred coins fall. We recommend hitting up one of Sydney's best pubs or RSLs for a spirited crowd and discounted brews.

There are a few bars that are taking their two-up very seriously. The Bank Hotel's annual ANZAC Day get-together will be hosted by drag star Tora Hymen. Plus, there will be a karma keg of Carlton Draught to raise money for the families of Australian defence force personnel and fishing rods available so that people can join in on the beer garden two-up from the balcony above.

Jacksons on George is opening from 7am with an all-day ANZAC menu of barbecue by Head Chef Steven Sinclair, starring Westholme wagyu skewers and LP's sausage sangas — with $2 from each sanga going to Legacy — followed by the CBD's largest rooftop two-up ring from 11am, $5 beers for veterans, and DJs on the decks late into the night.

The Chippo will be hosting a tenth-year celebration of its annual instalment of Two-Up and Techno, and beloved spots like Hawke's Brewing Co, The Vic on the Park and The Lady Hampshire will be pairing their two-up with live music (we'll get to that).

Here are a few more of our favourite pubs for a game of two-up:

Eastern suburbs: Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel, Coogee Bay HotelThe Golden Sheaf Hotel.

The Rocks: The Glenmore, The Australian Heritage Hotel.

Surry Hills: The Dolphin Hotel, Harry'sForrester's, The BeresfordThe Clock Hotel.

Paddington: The Paddington, The Unicorn.

Inner west: The Erko, The Sackville Hotel, The Courthouse, Vic on the Park, Petersham Public House.

Northern suburbs: The Newport, Manly Wharf Bar, Harbord Hotel.

Western Sydney: Albion Hotel, Hillside Hotel, Carousel Inn.

Others: Woollahra Hotel, The Lansdowne, BrewDog, The Alex, Kings Cross Hotel, The Old Fitzroy Hotel


Catch Some Live Music

The Vic on the Park is throwing all the ANZAC Day traditions together for one big party come Thursday, April 25. There will be two-up hosted by the likes of local favourite Aunty Jonny. The annual NRL match will be on the pub's huge courtyard screen. And you can catch live music from 7pm, with Inner-West band Caitlin Harnett & The Pony Boys leading the lineup. Entry is free — just get down early to nab a spot.

The Australian Heritage Hotel's commemorative ANZAC Day event will kick off with a round of two-up, which will then be followed up by special performances throughout the day from the revered Scots Marching Band and Hot Potato Band, alongside rooftop DJs. Pair the live tunes with top bites and sips — and free entry — and you've scored an epic spot to celebrate.

Rounding out the live music offerings is the expansive Abercrombie Hotel which will be hosting a free gig with a house music-centred lineup. The Chippendale pub will be featuring DJ sets from local legends, including HAUSWIFE (Naarm) and UNDR CTRL DJs.


Eat a Nostalgic Snack at One of Sydney's Pubs

The rissole sanga is an Aussie culinary classic, but the Dolphin Hotel takes it to a new level on April 25. Its creation, dubbed the RSL Sandwich, comes packed with a beef rissole, cheese, onion and sauce between sliced white bread.  You'll be munching it while participating in – or watching over – one of the biggest two-up rings in Surry Hills. All donations on the day will be going to Legacy.

Joining in on the fun this year is Harry's in Surry Hills. The bustling bar has created a fresh take on an Australian classic, creating a deep-fried version of a Golden Gaytime with golden syrup and roast peanuts. Alongside the nostalgic dessert, Harry's will also be hosting two-up, serving up $12 bully beef sangas and collecting donations to Legacy.


Top image: The Australian Heritage Hotel

Published on April 22, 2024 by Concrete Playground
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