Of course, with the changes in temperature the activities that appeal to us change, but that’s all part of what keeps this city alive all year round. Well-defined seasons can be a blessing; there’s always something new and exciting to do.
Melbourne is a cultural city whatever the season, and winter brings a lot of promise on that front. Here you’ll be able to find plenty of activities, events and gatherings to keep you entertained… and in the unlikely event that the idea of these Melbourne’s winter activities leaves you cold, we have some suggestions as to how you can make your own fun!
- Wander around a winter night market
Madame Brussels European market offers plenty of festive promise. There’s something incredibly inviting about the novel scents and flavours in a European winter market.
Famous all around the world for their magical atmospheres, these markets are the kind of places where you can spend an evening experiencing things you never have before, while making new friends.
Madame Brussels Lane becomes a memorable European might market every Friday from July 22nd until August 12th. There’s always quality live entertainment and world music, and the stalls are inspired by classic European Christmas markets from countries such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Poland.
The stalls offer a diverse selection of goods, from arts and crafts to clothes, decorations and ornaments. The foods and drinks on offer are out of this world. Munch on some traditional Polish dumplings, some aromatic fondue, or perhaps some sweet praline nuts, crepes and Crème Brûlée!
There’s also the Queen Vic winter market, which is definitely worth checking out!
- Mosey down to the Mont Plonk Ski Lodge at Public
The Mont Plonk pop up Ski Lodge is yet another winter event influenced by the Europeans. Every June and July, Melbourne Public (restored heritage cargo sheds) on the edge of the Yarra becomes an après-ski lodge.
If you’re looking for some novel entertainment, it is not to be missed! You can get in for free but if you want a table, it’s advised that you book a Group Ski Pass (which comes with culinary freebies!).
Here you’ll find the epitome of a cozy experience: roaring fire pits, sheepskin rugs and furry blankets will call you in, and once comfortable, you can choose from a fabulous menu reminiscent of those prevalent in the alps.
If you are a fan of cheese fondue and bratwurst sausages, this is the place for you. Sip on some cocktails, mulled wine with a hint amaretto, or some hot chocolate (laced with alcohol, of course).
- ‘Get your skate on’ at the Common Man
How do the words ‘Slide, Skate and Chill’ sound? Open all day every day from the start of June until the end of August, The Common Man restaurant and bar (on Dukes Walks) invites you to do just that.
The Common Man is the place to be for those who fancy gliding across the ice on a couple of blades, or launching themselves down a toboggan slide with reckless abandon.
If those aren’t your kind of activities, you can try your hand at curling on a Tuesday night, and if you’ve got a sweetheart, Thursdays here is ‘date night’ and there are couples packages available to the budding Torvils and Deans. Friday nights are all about RnB, and if you’re lucky, you might get a half price ticket on a Monday.
- Lighten up your life at the Light in Winter Festival
Throughout June, the Light in Winter Festival is here in Melbourne. Taking place in Federation Square, it is an annual celebration of light and it makes for an eye-catching exhibition. There are many installations at the festival, all designed in appreciation of this integral aspect of our reality.
You’ll find traditional campfires, known as Leempeyt Weeyn, designed to bring us together, and there will be premieres of interesting films, works of art, and impressive innovations and technology.
Winter solstice celebration, 24th June
Once again it will be the site of the Light in Winter Solstice Celebration. In other words, there’s a big party! A free one at that – in fact, all night time events at this festival are free. There will be delicious foods on offer, and plenty of live music and fun. It may be wise to bring a bit of cash for the arts on crafts on sale too.
The date for this particular celebration is 24th June, so put that date in your diary. Aimed at people of all ages, friends and families, this gathering aims to bring people together to cast some light on the longest night of the winter.
Federation Square is where it’s at
Federation Square isn’t giving up the ghost once the lights go out, though. Throughout the winter (after the festival ends), Federation Square will still be the place to go for tasty winter foods, including hot chocolate pudding, salty pretzels and many other festive wintery delights.
From 1st to 23rd July at 10am until 10pm, you can find an outdoor ice rink here. For the children there will be a little carousel for them to ride.
- Host your own winter themed party at home
What winter would be complete without some festive cheer in the home? Gather your friends and family together for a winter themed party to remember. A July Christmas party is a really fun idea, and you can make it authentic with a few tools and a bit of creativity.
First up, decide on your theme. Why not take a leaf out of the Mont Plonk crews’ book and go for an Après-ski and/or Christmassy theme?
Once that’s decided, invite your friends to come along dressed as 80s fluoro skiiers, snowboarders, Santa and his elves, or classic snowmen. Those wanting to mix things up a bit might come as the miserable old Grinch or a Nordic warrior.
This is destined to be great if you can get your hands on a Christmas tree or two (or drag your plastic one down from the attic); you could also hire a snow machine, spray the windows with fake snow, and toss winter throws over the sofas and chairs. Scatter plenty of red, scented candles around, and if you can get your hands on some pinecones, they look great in bowls by a fireplace. Bringing the outdoors inside is a great way to boost a wintery vibe!
If you have any skis, sledges or snowboards, casually prop them up around the house and get guests to bring theirs along; likewise, either wear (or leave strewn around the home) skiing apparel and accessories. Don’t forget to compile a playlist full of traditional Christmas tunes, including some upbeat ones to get people up and dancing.
Paper snowflake decorations are a winning activity for all age groups, but kids in particular will adore this one. Pinecone painting is another that’s good for most ages.
A slightly messier (but equally rewarding) activity would be to make snowmen out of baking soda and shaving cream.
You can never go wrong with a costume competition or a game of charades! If there are no kids present, enhance the merry vibe with a couple of drinking games.
The food and drink
Food and drink-wise, make sure you’ve got a killer eggnog recipe for hand. We love this one by the UKs celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver. Coffee and hot chocolate are must-haves, as are mulled wine, Kahlua and perhaps some warm apple cider. Add cinnamon sticks to the cider to fill the kitchen with a beautifully authentic après-ski aroma!
Put on a buffet with soups and stews, hors d’oeuvres, sandwiches, dips, veggie platters, chips, brownies and cookies. If you can be bothered, you could cook up a complete Christmas dinner! That’s certainly a way to score some brownie points if nothing else – you’ll be the first one getting Christmas dinner invites when the real date comes around!
- Indulge in some winter revelry
If you’re looking for a few more ideas for padding out your winter days in Melbourne city, consider a trip down to Sydney Road, a fun loving road in Brunswick that’s full of live music events.
Melbourne’s bar scene really comes alive in winter, and there are countless cozy little bars just waiting to welcome you in from the cold. A great example of this would be Eau De Vie on Malthouse Lane, which has a huge range of whiskies famous for warming up the even the coldest-blooded Melburnians.
In case it wasn’t already obvious, Melbourne never lets you down on the activities front, and winter is no different. Whether you prefer to be inside in the warm, or outside breathing in the crisp city air, we hope you now have some inspiration for a magical Melbourne winter!