Which Australian State or Territory Has the Most Public Holidays?

by CiCi
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Australia is a country that celebrates a variety of public holidays, each with its unique significance and traditions. These holidays can vary significantly from state to state, with some regions enjoying more public holidays than others. For residents and visitors alike, understanding which Australian state or territory has the most public holidays can enhance their appreciation of the nation’s diverse cultural landscape and offer opportunities for extended leisure and festivities. This article delves into the public holiday calendars of Australia’s states and territories to determine which one boasts the highest number of public holidays, while also exploring the cultural and historical significance of these holidays.

Understanding Public Holidays in Australia

Public holidays in Australia are days designated by the government during which work and school are typically suspended to allow for celebration, commemoration, or rest. These holidays can be national, observed throughout the entire country, or state-specific, unique to individual states and territories.


National Public Holidays

Australia has several national public holidays that are observed across all states and territories. These include:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1) – Celebrating the beginning of the new calendar year.
  • Australia Day (January 26) – Marking the arrival of the First Fleet at Port Jackson in New South Wales in 1788.
  • Good Friday and Easter Monday – Part of the Christian Holy Week, commemorating the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • Anzac Day (April 25) – Honoring the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served and died in wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.
  • Christmas Day (December 25) – Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
  • Boxing Day (December 26) – Traditionally a day for giving gifts to the less fortunate and a significant day for sports and shopping.

State and Territory-Specific Holidays

In addition to national holidays, each state and territory in Australia has its own set of public holidays. These can include holidays celebrating local events, historical milestones, and cultural traditions. Examples include:

  • Labour Day – The date varies across states, celebrating the achievements of the labor movement.
  • Queen’s Birthday – Also varies by state, commemorating the official birthday of the reigning monarch.
  • Show Days – Specific to certain regions, these holidays coincide with agricultural and cultural shows, such as the Royal Queensland Show (Ekka) in Queensland.

Comparison of Public Holidays by State and Territory

To determine which state or territory has the most public holidays, it is essential to compare the total number of holidays observed in each region.

New South Wales (NSW)

New South Wales has a mix of national and state-specific holidays. Some of the state-specific holidays include:

  • Bank Holiday (First Monday in August)
  • Labour Day (First Monday in October)
  • Queen’s Birthday (Second Monday in June)


Victoria also has a range of public holidays, including:

  • Melbourne Cup Day (First Tuesday in November)
  • Labour Day (Second Monday in March)
  • Queen’s Birthday (Second Monday in June)


Queensland enjoys several unique public holidays:

  • Ekka Wednesday (Second Wednesday in August in Brisbane)
  • Labour Day (First Monday in May)
  • Queen’s Birthday (First Monday in October)

Western Australia (WA)

Western Australia’s public holidays include:

  • Western Australia Day (First Monday in June)
  • Queen’s Birthday (Last Monday in September or early October, varies by region)
  • Labour Day (First Monday in March)

South Australia (SA)

South Australia has its own set of public holidays:

  • Adelaide Cup Day (Second Monday in March)
  • Labour Day (First Monday in October)
  • Proclamation Day (December 26, observed on the first business day after Christmas if it falls on a weekend)


Tasmania’s public holidays include:

  • Eight Hours Day (Second Monday in March)
  • Recreation Day (First Monday in November, in northern Tasmania)
  • Queen’s Birthday (Second Monday in June)

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

The ACT, despite its small size, has several public holidays:

  • Canberra Day (Second Monday in March)
  • Reconciliation Day (Last Monday in May)
  • Queen’s Birthday (Second Monday in June)

Northern Territory (NT)

The Northern Territory’s public holidays include:

  • May Day (First Monday in May)
  • Picnic Day (First Monday in August)
  • Queen’s Birthday (Second Monday in June)

The State or Territory with the Most Public Holidays

After analyzing the public holidays observed in each state and territory, it becomes apparent that the Northern Territory (NT) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) stand out for having a notably high number of public holidays compared to other regions. However, there is a slight edge when it comes to the Northern Territory, making it the state with the most public holidays in Australia.

Northern Territory’s Public Holidays

The Northern Territory celebrates several unique public holidays in addition to the national ones, which include:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Australia Day (January 26)
  • Good Friday and Easter Monday (Dates vary)
  • Anzac Day (April 25)
  • May Day (First Monday in May)
  • Queen’s Birthday (Second Monday in June)
  • Picnic Day (First Monday in August)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)
  • Boxing Day (December 26)

Unique NT Holidays

  • May Day: Celebrated on the first Monday in May, this holiday commemorates the labor movement’s achievements and the introduction of the eight-hour workday.
  • Picnic Day: Observed on the first Monday in August, Picnic Day is a traditional holiday unique to the Northern Territory, providing a long weekend for relaxation and community events.

Cultural Significance and Community Impact

Public holidays in the Northern Territory, as in other parts of Australia, hold cultural and social significance. They offer residents time to engage in leisure activities, celebrate local traditions, and participate in community events.

Community Celebrations

  • May Day: Often marked by parades, festivals, and community gatherings that celebrate the contributions of workers and the importance of fair labor practices.
  • Picnic Day: Traditionally celebrated with picnics, barbecues, and outdoor activities, this holiday encourages residents to spend time with family and friends, fostering community spirit and relaxation.

Cultural Heritage

The Northern Territory is rich in Indigenous culture, and public holidays provide an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the region’s cultural heritage. Events and festivals often incorporate elements of Indigenous culture, including traditional music, dance, and storytelling, offering a platform for cultural exchange and appreciation.

Tourism and Economic Impact

Public holidays also have a significant impact on tourism and the local economy. Extended weekends and holidays encourage domestic travel, boosting tourism in the Northern Territory and supporting local businesses.

Tourist Attractions

The Northern Territory is home to some of Australia’s most iconic natural landmarks and cultural sites, including:

  • Uluru: A UNESCO World Heritage site and a sacred place for the Anangu people, attracting thousands of visitors each year.
  • Kakadu National Park: Known for its stunning landscapes, rich biodiversity, and Aboriginal rock art.
  • Darwin: The capital city, offering a blend of modern attractions and historical sites, including the Darwin Waterfront and Mindil Beach Sunset Market.

Economic Benefits

Public holidays drive economic activity by increasing demand for hospitality services, including hotels, restaurants, and recreational facilities. Festivals, events, and celebrations associated with public holidays also generate revenue for local businesses and contribute to the overall economic vitality of the region.

See also: How Many Days Of Public Holidays Are There In Australia


In conclusion, the Northern Territory holds the distinction of having the most public holidays among Australia’s states and territories. These holidays not only provide residents with much-needed leisure time but also play a crucial role in celebrating cultural heritage, fostering community spirit, and boosting the local economy. Whether it’s May Day parades, Picnic Day gatherings, or exploring the region’s natural wonders, the Northern Territory’s rich calendar of public holidays offers something for everyone. Understanding and appreciating these holidays enhances our awareness of the unique cultural tapestry that defines Australia and underscores the importance of leisure, celebration, and community in our lives.


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