PLANNING AND PREPARING

Tips for your Australia Day event

We've taken all the guesswork out of organising a cracking Australian Day event.

Are you ready for Australia Day?

Preparation is your best friend when you plan a big Australia Day get-together with family and friends. Here’s how you can get it right, writes Roy Fleming.

Start with giving that BBQ a clean-up deserving of the protein you are about to work with. This is a what a clean barbie looks like.

Put on a backyard barbie

Whether you are staying at home or in a BIG4 Holiday Park, you need to tick a few boxes to make your Australia Day barbie work. You’ve invited all your friends over, so having a decent barbie game is important.

Our tips:

  • Get gas for the barbeque. No point doing all the hard work preparing for the big day and forgetting to fill the bottle beforehand. Do it now and tick that one off. No worries if you are staying in a BIG4 park – our barbeques are always clean and full of gas.
Buy quality produce if you want happy diners.
  • Clean the plate and grill. Nothing speaks more about your personality than the month-old chicken tandoori bits still clinging to the grill plate and greasy sides and handles from the last time you used it. You’ll be judged harshly so get cracking. Extra tip: get some non-chemical detergent and metal gauze to clean your plate. It works like magic.
  • Buy quality produce. Thick steaks, thick sausages, thick fish fillets – yes it costs a bit more but you’re cooking for your loved ones and want to look like a legend when the food is served char-grilled, full of flavour and succulent on the inside.
  • Let the grill plate get nice and hot before cooking. It seals the exterior of the produce and traps that yummy goodness inside. 
  • Give it a good clean on the same day after its use to avoid red-faces at Easter. 
Develop a waste management plan - here's a great example at BIG4 Sunshine Southwest Rocks Holiday Park.

Be kind to the environment

When they party, some Australians seem to go colour-blind – which is how recyclable material can often end up in the general waste bin and vice-versa. Make it easy on your guests by having a waste disposal plan before you start.

This is what we should all be trying to avoid.

Our tips:

  • Provide extra clearly-labelled bins for recycling and general waste. Your guests will love your thoughtfulness.
  • Visit your local council’s website beforehand, many of them have recycling centres where you can dispose of excess glass bottles and cardboard free of charge.
  • Try to eliminate single-use plastics if you can, including forks, knives and plastic plates - by using eco-friendly versions. Yes, they cost a bit more but it’s also a smart choice.
  • Never, ever put your rubbish bags next to an already-full garbage bin in a public place or holiday park. It’s a nice thought that someone will pick it up, but if it isn’t it’s this type of excess rubbish that is disturbed by rats and seagulls and which eventually ends up in our waterways. Dispose of it thoughtfully or take it home with you if possible. 
Get your groove on this Australia Day weekend with some quality music.

Turn on the tunes

It would be almost sacrilege to listen to anything other than Triple J’s Hottest 100 on Australia Day, right? Er, wrong. Triple J’s most famous countdown might be synonymous with January 26, but it has been held on many different dates, including March 5 when it first hit the airwaves in 1989.

The broadcaster has decoupled from the controversial January 26 date and will instead play a Hottest 100 Weekend – which entails the Hottest 100 on Saturday and the Hottest 200 on Sunday (for songs that missed out).

Other broadcasters have stepped in with countdowns of their own on Friday, January 26. Check local guides for more information.

Let your choice of outfit start with a wide-brimmed hat.

Make sure you have a uniform

Not everyone wants to wear pluggers, stubbies and singlets for Australia Day – so we’ll focus instead on the essentials you need before stepping out and igniting that (clean and re-gassed) barbeque prior to the big day. 

Sunblock: It’s late January but that doesn’t mean you can’t find yourself being slow-roasted throughout the day. More than 750,000 Australians are treated every year for one or more non-melanoma skin cancers. Non-melanoma skin cancer is more common in men, with almost double the incidence compared to women.  Cover all exposed skin with sunscreen of at least 30+ SPF and re-apply every two hours and after swimming or exercise.

You need plenty of sunscreen if you plan to celebrate Australia Day outside.

How much sunscreen should you apply? According to the website Choice.com.au, sunscreen needs to be ‘applied liberally’ which in simple terms means:

  • 1 teaspoon for the head and neck
  • 2 for the torso
  • 1 for each arm
  • 1 for each leg

Wear a hat: A decent hat is almost as important as sunscreen. Get one, preferably wide-brimmed, so it protects your nose and ears.

Get your merchandise early to avoid disappointment.

Decorate everything to celebrate Australia

You start seeing cars with the obligatory double-flags flying usually a couple of days before and after Australia Day.

I usually go one step too far in the lead-up to Australia Day and buy merchandise I don’t really need, like glittery fedoras and plastic aprons – but I also bought a pair of Australia Day thongs last year from Aldi and they survived most of 2017, until my dog Frankie ate one in December. Cost? $2.

Forget these important items at your peril.

You can buy everything you need from supermarket chains, newsagencies and other outlets in the lead-up to Australia Day – but beware if you leave it too late. The kids will cry if they don’t have face paint (Australian flag colours) on the day, and you will pay about three times more for everything on the 26th.  Be a legend and shop early.

Cricket is the game Australians play during this long weekend.

Get your cricket game sorted

Since you are a person who has filled the barbeque bottle with fresh gas, cleaned the grill, bought thick and fresh protein to cook, considered your waste disposal strategy, applied excellent-quality sunscreen, have a wide-brimmed hat and bought all your merchandise in advance, you will know that none of this matters if you haven’t prepared a decent cricket pitch for Australia Day.

That means you’ve tightly mown a thin strip of your lawn at least 10m-long and a metre wide for a clash of the titans that will take place after lunch. You have proper stumps (or a garbage bin), a decent bat, room for fielders and at least one tennis ball, preferably taped on one side with electrical tape to generate perverse swing.

Join a game in one of our parks - and build a few friendships along the way.

Please remove tape for younger players – or newbies to the sport – and enact the one-hand-one-bounce rule to dislodge overly-confident batters, and give second chances to those who lose their wicket first ball.

You can also buy decent cricket sets at supermarkets prior to the big day.

If you are in a park, simply join in at cricket matches being held throughout the open areas. There’ll be plenty of them underway, and extra fielders are always handy (as well as new friendships).

It's a family day so be responsible with your alcohol consumption.

How much can/should I drink?

Australia Day is a family day/weekend, and if you are staying in holiday parks you have to remember there’ll be an awful lot of children and other parents subjected to your behaviour, good or bad. Probably best then to offer them your best side with a responsible attitude to alcohol.

Just be aware drinking in the middle of day in direct sunlight is not something most of us do every day. Take it easy, be self-aware and drink plenty of water. Eat some food, play some cricket and be sure your guests are safe and happy.

That’s how you build annual get-togethers everyone looks forward to, and lasting memories and connections with family and friends.

Go you good things!!!

Do you have your own Australia Day tips? Share your thoughts in our comments section below.

Isn't it time you celebrated Australia Day in a BIG4 Holiday Park. Book a much-needed break with BIG4 now.

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