Melbourne has always had one of the most happening scenes in Australia. And despite being hit hard by the pandemic, in typical Aussie spirit we took it in our stride and bounced back stronger.
With a great place to stay, and the government’s entertainment program to pay for your fun, Melbourne will be the ultimate place to visit this winter. With world-class plays, amazing museums, art galleries, incredible food, and a plethora of other cool things to do, how do you choose? Simply read on to find out what’s on in Melbourne.
Victorian Entertainment Program
The Victorian Government came up with a fantastic way to get people out and about again: paying for your entertainment!
The program reimburses you whenever you see a play, visit an art gallery, or eat out. And right now there is almost $25 million dollars still up for grabs. There are, of course, a few terms and conditions, such as a minimum transaction of $40, plus you can only claim up to $125 (it can be a single charge or combined).
The good news is that any type of entertainment since March 29, 2022 qualifies, so if you still have the receipt, claim it while you still can. The program ends June 30, 2022.
What’s on in Melbourne?
Museums and Art Galleries
WAIT! When some people hear the word “museum”, they quickly tune out or move on, but Melbourne has some very cool things happening at museums and art galleries this winter.
Van Gogh Alive
The Van Gogh Alive at the Lume Digital Art Gallery is an experience in art like no other. You will be completely engulfed in Van Gogh’s world. Huge interconnected digital screens displaying Van Gogh’s works surround you as you wander from room to room. Life-size representations of his bedroom and famous painting ‘Sunflowers’ allow you to sit on his bed or take a selfie surrounded by sunflowers.
We all loved playing with a Kaleidoscope when we were young, and now you can be mesmerised by one on an epic scale. From June 1st to July 10th at the Arts Centre Melbourne, you can get inside the huge Kaleidoscope. It is like stepping into a tranquil dream of shifting colours.
The Picasso Century
The National Gallery of Victoria will be showcasing The Picasso Century. You will see many rare paintings from Picasso as well as some from his friends, and hear about the artist from the likes of Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse, Gertrude Stein and more.
Light: Works from Tate’s Collection
At the Tate, a truly fascinating program called Light: Works from Tate’s Collection takes place. It looks at how light has been and is used in art over the past two centuries. Painting, sculptures, photography installations and moving images all show how artists use and play with light. Some exclusive works from Monet, Kandinsky, Turner and many others will be on display.
More museums and galleries to visit…
But wait! Here’s a few more unusual and interesting places: the Victorian Police Museum, Scienceworks, the Heide Museum of Modern Art, and the ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image). And if you are still not convinced a museum is a fun place, how about the Melbourne Museum after dark. DJs, cocktails, immersive digital experiences, food trucks and more make a “night at the museum” an absolute blast.
This year Melbourne has been lucky enough to get some award-winning productions to grace its stages, making winter the perfect time to hit the theatre for a musical or play.
Most people have probably seen either the animated movie or some version of Cinderella. Well now they can watch it live at the Regent Theatre, but only until June 21st. The Tony Award-winning musical is a lavish production that takes the classic story and puts a contemporary spin on it. There are matinees on the weekend if the evening shows are too late for the kids.
The multi-award-winning American play Hamilton has finally made it to Australia, and what better place to see it than Her Majesty’s Theatre? This historical period piece with jazz, hip-hop, R&B, and, of course, Broadway music has turned Broadway on its head. It has become so popular and powerful it has impacted everyday society.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
The world of Harry Potter is back and onstage in the spellbinding production show of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The dazzling event takes place in the Princess Theatre and will transport you to the world of wizardry and magical creatures. The show is exclusive to Melbourne in Australia and runs until October 16th.
Winter Festivals and Fairs
Do you like comedy, music, movies and food? How about furniture? The diversity of things happening in Melbourne this winter is simply staggering.
Melbourne Magic Festival
One of the biggest (and possibly most fun) festivals is the Melbourne Magic Festival.
The Melbourne Magic Festival has something for everyone, from grand award-winning stage shows to kids’ magic classes and magic theatre sports. From June 27th to July 9th, the city will have a chance to laugh, gasp, and Ooo and Aaah in wonder as some of the best magicians in the world take the stage. And if you feel you have what it takes, there is even an open mic night for aspiring magicians to strut their stuff.
There is a brand new experience happening this winter at the Royal Botanic Gardens that will not only light up the winter sky but make your soul glow with delight. It is called Lightscape, and it is an epic after-dark experience where the trees and bushes are intertwined with lights. Bursts of bright colours climb the trees while the bushes twinkle and shimmer like fireworks.
Lightscape only runs from June 24th to August 7th, so make sure you get your tickets in advance – you don’t want to miss this magical event!
More festivals and fairs…
Some of the other festivals and fairs not to miss include the Replay and Defrost comedy festivals, Eynesbury Winter Festival, Winter’s Blues Music Festival, and the Docklands Firelight Festival.
Did someone say Staycation?
Looking for the perfect place to stay in Melbourne? When deciding on a hotel, there are normally three main influences in your decision – food, entertainment, and shopping. These are, of course, three things we have in spades in Melbourne.
The majority of the big three may be located in the CBD (Central Business District), but that doesn’t mean it is the best place to book a hotel. Some of the best hotels are actually located outside of the CBD, in beautiful places such as Moonee Ponds.
Moonee Ponds is one of the most happening areas in Melbourne. Just 5km from the CDB, minutes from the famous Flemington Racecourse (home of the Melbourne Cup), and just 20 minutes from Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, it’s so close to everything, yet also a step removed from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Guests appreciate the space of apartment living at The Sebel Melbourne Moonee Ponds with greater freedom than other luxury hotels, such as a kitchen to cook your own meals and a lounge to relax. Plus laundry facilities, individual balconies, and lots of storage space make this hotel the best ‘home away from home’ for longer stays.
Winter Fun in Melbourne
This is just a small sample of how much fun you can have during winter in Melbourne. There are so many more events and happenings that might pique your interest. Ice skating, hot spring spas, and music concerts are just the beginning.
Whatever you decide to do, book your events before June 30th to take advantage of the entertainment rebate. And if you are still not sure what’s on in Melbourne, just check with the friendly staff at The Sebel Melbourne Moonee Ponds who are always willing to assist.