There’s a reason why Melbourne continues to claim its name to fame as the world’s most livable city year on year – to put it simply – it’s the capital of cool – and for many, Australia’s hippest city. There’s a little something for everyone at any time of year… good coffee, street art, live music, rooftop bars, festivals, markets, shopping, authentic international eats, food trucks – you name it – Melbourne’s got it! But with so much going on – it’s hard to keep track of what’s cool and what’s not. Not to worry! We’ve got you covered… here are 20 things to do in Melbourne in winter…
Running from the 3rd through to the 20th August in 2017, the annual film festival is favoured by locals and takes place in numerous locations throughout the city. Not to mention – it’s cheap! You will find anything and everything from all genres, nationalities and cultures.
Melbourne’s biggest market is a tourist attraction at the best of times. But during winter in 2016 – Wednesday nights was where it was at. Open from 5pm until late from 1st June to the 31st August – the night market was bustling with live music, sangria, flavoured teas, food trucks, international food stalls and all of the usual souvenirs, clothing and jewellery stalls that you will find any other day of the week. We’ll update for 2017 as soon as details are announced.
3. Check out the northern suburbs
Like most cities – the ‘real’ character can be found in the outer suburbs. Just a short tram ride from Melbourne CBD sits (ever so humbly) Fitzroy and Brunswick. Everything about these suburbs scream “hipster” with street art, boutique shopping, low key Melbourne bands, cheap jugs and bars, bars and more bars.
4. Pop Up Outdoor Ice Skating Rink
That’s right! Federation Square is hosting its very own pop up ice skating rink. Open throughout June and July, the rink is open from 10am – 10pm daily. Entry will cost you around $17 plus. Tip: book a slot for a night time session and skate around to some live tunes and enjoy a cheap feed from a food truck. Tickets here.
5. Escape Room
Not for the faint hearted! There are 6 different escape rooms in Melbourne to choose from such as “The Magic Emporium” in South Melbourne and “Amnesia” in Oakleigh. Each room has its own haunting theme where you have an allocated time to solve a series of puzzles. Eek!
The Gertrude Street Projection Festival will take place in Fitzroy, Melbourne from the 21st – 30th of July in 2017. Expect to see the street’s buildings play backdrop to a number of epic light, music and art projections, along with loads of parties, events and theatrical shows. Things are going to get weird! The official programme will be announced soon. The best bit? Most of the events are FREE!
7. The Light in Winter Festival
Each year Federation Square plays host an exhibition of Lights, Music and Art. Head on down to Fed Square during July to catch the installations. Top pick: the Sonic Light Bubble is an interactive, see through, inflatable ball filled with LED lights that move along with your movement! Entry is FREE.
8. Free City Tram
One of the easiest ways to explore the entire CBD of Melbourne is to hop on one of the old, red City Circle Trams. The route will guide throughout the entire city and provide an overview of Melbourne’s main landmarks, buildings and attractions.
9. St Kilda
Melbourne’s beach side suburb of St Kilda is a ‘city getaway’ for Melbournians – bustling with cafes, cake shops, restaurants, the infamous Luna Park and a great place to sip on a beer or wine as the sun sets! St Kilda is reachable by a 15 minute tram from the city’s CBD. Feeling adventurous? You will find Melbourne Bike Stations located by Luna Park and for just $2.90 a day – you can hire a bike and take a ride along the coast south to Brighton Beach – home of the ever popular bathing boxes. Read our guide to the best things to see and do in St Kilda here.
10. Eureka Skydeck’s Giant Ice Slide
Yes you read correctly! For the first time in history Eureka Skydeck brought a giant ice slide to Melbourne in 2016 and rumour has it that it’ll be bigger and better in 2017! Grab an inflatable donut and make your way down the 40 meter long slide. Fun! Cost is $10 for 3 slides. Eureka Skydeck is also a really cheap way to get a 360 degree perspective of Melbourne and the city’s history. To reach the observation deck, be prepared for the fastest elevator ride in the southern hemisphere. The free audio tour is a great way to learn about Melbourne’s history and architecture.
11. Free Fireworks at the Docklands
Every Friday night throughout Winter from 6:30pm – 8:30pm there is a free fireworks display that takes place in the Docklands – just on the edge of Melbourne’s city centre. Entry is free! The fireworks display will kick off at 7:30pm.
12. Grab a Coffee at a Cat Cafe
Yes… of course Melbourne is home to Australia’s first Cat Cafe! Located right by Queen Victoria Market, the cafe allows you to sip on a coffee or grab a feed in the company of Cats. The cats are rescued and live in the cafe – and they are super cute! There are limited spaces so it is best to book ahead online here.
13. Go to an AFL game
The Australian Football League is an absolute religion among the local Victorian population and the atmosphere is amazing! Tickets start from around $15 – $20 and can usually be purchased at either the MCG or Etihad Stadium… make sure you try a pie!
14. Explore the inner city laneways
DeGraves Street, Hosier Lane and Hardware Lane are popular spots for the locals to grab a coffee, afternoon drink or dinner on the street. These laneways have been made famous throughout the years for their walls of ever changing street art that make for a pretty epic selfie! See our guide to Melbourne’s best hidden graffiti laneways here.
15. Food Truck Festival
Welcome to Thornbury is a bit of a local’s secret in old Melbourne town. Each day the “truck stop” plays host to a rotating mix of food trucks. With a pop up bar on site and live music, it’s a great place to enjoy a cocktail jug, grab a cheap out and chill like the locals do. Open Mondays to Fridays from 5pm and weekends from 12pm. Entry is FREE! How to get there from Melbourne city? Catch the train to Croxton Station from the CBD.
16. Eat & Drink Cheap in Chinatown
Located in the very heart of Melbourne’s CBD – Chinatown is home to some of Melbourne’s best Asian delights. A locals tip – head to a BYO restaurant for a night out… the meals are ridiculously cheap! The Chinatown Night Market is also a must do for the old Melbourne bucket list! The market takes place on the 3rd Friday of every month from 4pm to 10:30pm.
Held every Friday night until the 22nd July until the 12th of August in 2017 – the Laneways are always worth a visit but the European Night Market is an absolute must – try pretzels, German sausages, pop up beer bars and, of course, some live music. Open 5pm until late. Entry is free.
The Australian Centre of the Moving Image is located in Federation Square and there is always loads of free or cheap art, film or digital exhibitions to explore. They’re open from 10am to 5pm daily. This winter you can check out the Aardman animations exhibition, yes Wallace and Gromit – this one will cost an entry fee, but there are loads of other free exhibitions happening at the same time! Check out what else is on at ACMI here.
19. Rose St Artisan Markets
This market is definitely a local’s secret and a great place to explore the local art, fashion and design scene in Melbourne. Located in Fitzroy, the market is on all throughout winter every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Entry is free. You will find everything from “funky beats, vintage clothes and tasty treats.”
20. Head out of town
Go where the locals go and check out Melbourne’s outer region. The Great Ocean Road is obviously a must do with amazing surf beaches and coast side pubs. Take our tip – hire a campervan and cruise on by the 12 apostles at sunset.
Phillip Island is a surfie haven south of Melbourne and home to the infamous Penguin Parade. North of Melbourne you will find the Yarra Valley Wine Region – take a day trip from Melbourne. On the very southern coast of Victoria sits Wilson’s Promontory – home to Wallabies, Wombats, Surf Beaches and mountain top hiking trails.
Need some more ideas of things to do in Melbourne in winter? Chat to the guys at our Mad Travel Desks at any Nomads Hostel and they will hook you up!