Oh, what a night! A White Night, to be exact. Before we moved to Melbourne, Will and I were watching videos and looking at photos of the city to make a list of places to see, eat and enjoy. We came across a video for White Night, and it blew our minds – the city shutting down from 7pm to 7am for various art exhibits, light shows, music concerts and more? The idea was equally foreign and extremely exciting to us. The video showed Melbourne teeming with people, incredible shows and equally amazing food, and we mentally noted it on our bucket list. When the beginning of the month rolled around, banners advertising the event started going up throughout the city, and when the program was released, the excitement started building. Fun fact: White Night itself is inspired by Paris’s Nuit Blanche, which is also a night-long arts festival!
We ensured we had a nap during the day, planned our meals accordingly so we could pick up some good food while we were out, and went to join the festivities around 10pm. It was about 88 degrees, and fairly humid (the high that day was 97), so we made sure to dress for the occasion too! Our first stop was “4 Elements” – a massive 3D projection mapping light show onto one of my favorite buildings, the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens. The show was done by the same company who did the Christmas lights on Town Hall, and it was equally magnificent this time around! The crowd was starting to grow, but we were able to get a wonderful view of the lights, which showed off the four elements of earth, fire, water and air, and had the music and sound effects to go along with it.
We decided to then walk over and get a pre-midnight snack to fuel our adventures for the rest of the night. There were several food trucks, ranging from burgers to pizza, tacos, Turkish food to BBQ, with some ice cream and coffee stands as well. I had been eyeing Dos Diablos for a while tracking to see when they’d be close by our area, so I was quite excited to hear they’d be at Carlton Gardens on Saturday night. I bought one chicken taco, which was delicious, and a great pick-me-up for the rest of the night! Will got samoosas from AfroFeast, an African-inspired food truck (it was really cool to see some South African dishes on their menu like bunny chow [not made of rabbits, haha!] and a boerewors roll!). We rounded off our pit stop with some doughnuts from Honeybites, a Turkish food truck with many delicious options like small doughnuts, Turkish ice cream, baklava and so much more. We indulged in their honeybites, and I’m craving them all over again while writing this! They were warm, drenched in some honey sauce and melted in your mouth – I really hope we can find them again soon, lol!
Before heading out on our next adventure, we decided to get some coffee, because at this point, it was past 11 (which is our usual bedtime!). We grabbed an iced latte from Cab55, which was absolutely delicious (and effective – I was up until 3am, haha!) and then we made our way to the State Library of Victoria. Part of White Night was celebrating the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland (the book), and there were many light shows across the city paying homage to it! Although we weren’t able to make our way into the library for the show (the line was spanning across a block or two), nor down to Russell Street and Flinders to see it on the Forum Theatre, seeing the beautiful lights on the outside of the library was a show in itself!
From recap articles I’ve been reading, the attendance was around 500,000, give or take — which when you think about within the CBD, it’s quite impressive and crazy! There were people everywhere you looked and walked, but for the most part, people were very courteous, friendly and having a great time. What I found even crazier was the fact that we ran into so many of our friends while out. We saw our neighbors outside the library, and not even a few blocks down, we ran into another group of people we knew — we chatted, checked out some of the buskers who were out and about performing, and just took in the atmosphere. Before we knew it, it was 1:30, and we decided rather than heading out across the Yarra, we’d call it a night as we had an early morning the next day – more about that in my next post :)!
Overall, it was a very fun night and we’ll certainly do it again next year! The atmosphere was unbeatable, hanging out with wonderful friends, and just enjoying all that Melbourne has to offer us, especially in terms of the arts (which I obviously love!). If you’d like to see more photos from other events and shows around the city from White Night, check out these two links here and here, which show some stunning shots. Thank you, Melbs, for adding yet another reason to our list of why we love you!
PS. here is the video from the official Visit Melbourne account showing some of the highlights of White Night :) enjoy!