You know that Christmas song: “There’s no place like home for the holidays”? Well, I’d like to revise it for this post to: “There’s no place like Melbourne for the summer”. I thought it was fun during Christmastime, but this place is buzzing during the summer, and we are loving it! Although the weather is still somewhat temperamental during the summer season here, it averages about 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit every day (with the occasional rainy 65 degree day and a handful of 95-100 degree days – ugh) and is a great time to be outdoors, walking around the gardens, grabbing some gelato on Lygon Street or a nice long walk along the Yarra River.
There are many festivals and markets that are happening around the Melbourne. One of the markets we’ve attended is The Night Market, which takes place at Queen Victoria Market every Wednesday night from 5pm. We had already eaten by the time we arrived, but next time, we are definitely going on an empty stomach — although that may prove counterproductive, as they have such a HUGE selection of delicious food (and different varieties to suit everyone’s tastes) and we may spend more time deciding than actually eating ;-)
We did, however, try Taki’s Balls, which is basically a bowl full of doughnut balls covered in a delicious sauce of your taste complete with toppings. We went right before Christmas, so they were selling their “Jingle Balls” — doughnuts covered in melted white chocolate with red velvet crumble on top. And yes, it was just as delicious as it sounds and looks! I’ll definitely be returning for those! But besides food, the Night Market also has many of their vendors there, as well as live bands. The market was VERY packed, but I’m sure it is every Wednesday. We definitely plan to go again and it runs through the end of March.
Movies: There are also many cinemas around town, where you can grab a movie al fresco! Moonlight Cinema takes place in the Royal Botanic Gardens, where you can enjoy a picnic while watching the latest movies and even some oldies. We are going to the Rooftop Cinema and it is truly the coolest thing — imagine lounging on some comfy lawn chairs while on the literal roof of a building, with the skyline of Melbourne in the background? Pretty amazing, right? We’re so excited, and will be sure to take our own photos of the experience when we go! In the meantime, check out this snapshot below that I found online:
Sports: The Australian Open is currently going on around town, and the entire city is buzzing about it. You can walk past store windows and they are covered with tennis ball displays. Although I’ve never been a fan of tennis, just the excitement of it is tempting me to check out a match or two! The AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Cup is also underway, having started earlier this month. The matches are being played throughout Australia, and the opening match took place here in Melbourne. It was fun to see everyone wearing their Australia jerseys supporting the Socceroos! There’ll also be cricket going on next month, as the ICC Cricket World Cup comes to Australia and New Zealand; England vs Australia face off at the MCG on February 14th. More of a F1 fan? No problem — the Australian Grand Prix will also be here and taking place at Albert Park from 12-15 March!
Royal Croquet Club [January 16 – February 1] — a pop up festival with different food/drinks from local restaurants, music and an actual croquet pitch for people to play on! Summersalt Festival [January 23 – February 21] — a month long outdoor arts festival in Southbank; there will be various different art exhibits and shows to watch and explore! International Street Food Festival [January 25 & 26] — a huge day-long festival on Australia Day (and Aus Day Eve) celebrating cuisines from all over the world, along with carnival rides and entertainment! Melbourne Barbecue Festival [February 1] — hosted at the Queen Victoria Market, we are so excited for this one! There will be many vendors from all over the area coming to showcase their BBQ dishes, from American-style to Mexican to Filipino. Laneway Festival [February 7] — an indie music festival with tons of different music artists from all over the world, such as Banks and Flight Facilities; being held at the Footscray Community Arts Centre White Night Melbourne [February 21] — from 7pm to 7am, experience Melbourne in a whole new way! Arts, music, light shows and much more will take over the city streets until early hours of the morning! Chinese New Year [February 26 – March 1] — come celebrate the Chinese New Year at Federation Square with many exciting events, such as the Electric Dragon show, arts and crafts and much more! Melbourne Food & Wine Festival [February 27 – March 15] — a culmination of yummy food and great wine (and fun events!) over the course of 2½ weeks. There’ll also be a pop up bar courtesy of the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (see below!) Moomba Festival [March 6 – 9] — a beloved Melbourne festival that takes place each year over Labour Day weekend in Victoria. There is a ton of food, drinks, activities and carnival rides taking place down by the Yarra River. Melbourne Japanese Summer Festival [March 8] — a one day event celebrating the Japanese culture, with food, shows and lots of fun and entertaining activities. Future Music Festival [March 8] — a Coachella of sorts taking place at the Flemington Racecourse with an impressive line-up of Avicii, Drake, Afrojack and more! Melbourne International Coffee Expo [March 13-15] — an amazing way to learn more about the coffee industry in Australia. There’ll be competitions, training courses and, of course, being able to try many delicious yummy types of coffee!
Last weekend, I went to witness Slidestreet: a 315m (~345yd) water slip ‘n’ slide that was installed on Lansdowne Street (between Fitzroy and Treasury Gardens)! They shut down the street so people could come out, rent some inner tubes and make their way down the crazy slide! It was so fun to watch people sliding down, crashing into one another and the atmosphere was unbeatable with a DJ from Nova, several food trucks, free popsicles and more! I took a few snap shots [featured above and below] of the day! I love this city – seriously :D — and they’ll be bringing two more slides in the next month or so, whoo hoo!
There are constantly more events, pop up shops/bars/activities around the city, so sometimes I happen upon them the day they’re going on! And there are many places people frequent around the area during the beautiful summer days: St. Kilda pier, Great Ocean Road, Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley, etc. One thing is for sure though: there is NEVER shortage of fun and once-in-a-lifetime things to do and experience here in Melbourne — one of the many reasons why I love this place more and more each day. I hope to add to this list as the summer goes on, and even though summer is halfway over (big sadface), we’re definitely looking forward to making many wonderful memories in these next several weeks! :)
edit || 30 Jan: I’ve added a few more festivals/shows I’ve come across + will be striking out any that have already ended!