Melbourne is such a cool place to visit – and we’re not just talking about the invigorating winter days. We’re raving about the art, the famous musicals, multicultural markets, beautiful gardens, all the football codes and fun festivals that let you fill every day and evening for at least a week.
And we haven’t even started on the cosy corners, hidden bars, perfect coffee, mulled wines, the celebrated Mork hot chocolate with toasted marshmallows, the fine restaurants with their seasonal menus. This all means that Melbourne is an exciting place to visit no matter what the weather.
Where to start? The best way to orientate yourself is with a Hidden Secrets walking tour such as Golden Mile Heritage Walks of Melbourne or Melbourne Lanes and Arcades Tour. The former includes some of Melbourne’s grandest buildings and intriguing tales from the gold rush boom days; the latter takes you deep into the twists and turns of the lanes and arcades that are filled with busy cafes, bars and designer stores.
If that whets your appetite to delve into Melbourne’s religious fervour for coffee, book the Café Culture Tour. You’ll discover that some of the very best coffee comes from tiny hidden cafes and specialty roasters. Lunch is included at a secret location.
Art abounds in winter, and the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is the epicentre. Celebrate new and ambitious local art and design at Melbourne Now running at the Ian Potter Centre until August 2023 or check out The Takahiro Iwasaki exhibition at NGV International. Recognized as one of Japan’s leading contemporary artists his Reflection Model (Itsukushima) exhibition is on until October 2023 and entry is FREE, Our tip: make it a blockbuster Friday, see both exhibitions and stay on for the popular evening entertainment, bars and dining.
The extraordinary, immersive Monet & Friends exhibition at The Lume (Australia’s first digital art gallery) runs until June, so why not make a weekend of it and stay in one of the many hotels within an easy walk of the galleries.
When you’re ready for cocktails and dinner, your tours will have put a number of Melbourne’s best bars and dining experiences on your personal map. Or you can book a Progressive Degustation Walk to three restaurants, each serving three savoury food tastings with a flight of wine or other beverages.
At the Royal Botanic Gardens, until August 7 is the illuminated spectacular ‘Lightscape’. See the gardens after dark as never before to celebrate the beauty of nature on a trail featuring installations made up of over half a million dazzling lights. Also at the gardens a must-do in the art-tech space is ‘Seeing the Invisible’ augmented reality artworks. Thirteen immersive virtual works by established and emerging artists are viewed through a special app on your smartphone or tablet simultaneously at venues around the world. Be prepared to be amazed – and Australia’s only venues for this international exhibition are the botanic gardens in Melbourne and Cranbourne.
Next, a totally indulgent shopping experience at the Boho Luxe Market and Boho Bride at the Royal Exhibition Buildings. Think of a Byron Bay-inspired bohemian wonderland, and shop for homewares, jewellery, clothing, kids’ items, prints, candles, stationery and more. Till August 28.
Melbourne’s markets are famous, and the Winter Night Market takes over Queen Victoria Market on Wednesday evenings until August 31. Come and enjoy Melbourne’s best street food, brewers, distillers, artisans and entertainment. And the Malaysia Hawker Festival tempts with the spices and scents of that tiny nation on September 10 and 11.
Now, you can’t visit Melbourne without seeing a musical or play. Moulin Rouge! The Musical was so popular it is back for round two after its first sold out season, running at the Regent Theatre from 20 August to 1 October 2023. Or why not watch “the greatest love story ever told” Romeo and Juliet at the Art Centre for a limited season in July..
Still got gaps in your holiday diary? The Melbourne International Film Festival runs from August 3 -20, the Indian Film Festival from August 11 – 20, and
Australian Rules Football is played at Melbourne’s big stadiums every week, with soccer and rugby at top levels too.
Come and #MeetMelbourne soon.
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(For more information on these and other events, visit https://www.visitmelbourne.com/regions/melbourne/whats-on)