Public and school holidays
Tourist towns across our coast get especially busy in the school holiday season and on long weekends. It always pays to book in advance over these peak periods and you can pay a premium on prices for flights and accommodation. Many businesses close on public holidays, especially over the religious periods. However lots of hospitality and tourism industry operators do remain open and trade, so be sure to enquire if you want to make a reservation somewhere (for example dinner on Christmas Day).
Check below for public holdays in Australia and NSW so you can plan well ahead and won't get caught out by a local holiday you didn't know about. We've included school holiday dates for New South Wales public schools. Dates can differ slightly for Independent and Catholic schools. School holiday dates can also differ across the other states of Australia.
If you're wondering what Anzac Day is, it's a pretty special rememberance day across both Australia and New Zealand. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and the day is all about paying tribute to the Aussie and Kiwis soldiers who fought in World War I. Forces landed at Gallipoli in Turkey back in 1915 and a fierce battle ensued with thousands of Australasian lives lost. Today the memorial day includes marches and moving dawn services across the nation, where young and old gather to pay respect. The ANZAC spirit is part of the national identity and embodies courage, mateship, and sacrifice.
Queen's Birthday is a public holiday honouring the English Queen, Elizabeth II (as the Soveriegn of the Commonwealth). There's not too much civic officiality about the occassion, but it is when the Order of Australia and Honours lists are released (whereby exceptional citizens are acknowleged and rewarded with knighthoods and the like). Queen's Birthday is celebrated on various different dates throughout the British Empire, depending on what suits best locally! In Australia (except WA) it's observed on the second Monday of June, to coincide with the start of the winter season. Queen Liz's actual birthday is the 21 April.