Mel­bourne Heats Up

Melbourne Official Visitor Guide - - Inside -

Serv­ing Up Ex­cite­ment

Ask Mel­bur­ni­ans what their favourite time of year is and many will tell you it’s when the ten­nis ar­rives. The Aus­tralian Open (15–28 Jan­uary) sees the world’s great­est play­ers con­test the year’s first

Grand Slam event.

As well as the ac­tion on the courts, there’s plenty hap­pen­ing off them, too. Watch big games with a huge crowd on the screens at Gar­den Square.

The AO Fes­ti­val of­fers live mu­sic dur­ing the AO Open Ses­sions and fan­tas­tic food when hunger calls. Then there’s the AO Ball­park, a spe­cial area for kids of all ages that in­cludes Au­to­graph Is­land, where fans can meet their favourite play­ers. You can also check out for­mer greats dur­ing the leg­ends event. Ar­rive early on day one for the Kids Ten­nis Day, where there’s the chance to play, see chil­dren’s en­ter­tain­ers and watch an ex­hi­bi­tion match.

Hit For Six

It’s the great­est sport­ing ri­valry this coun­try knows, so you won’t want to miss be­ing at the MCG for the Ashes Box­ing Day Test (26–30 De­cem­ber). Cricket’s tra­di­tional ad­ver­saries, Aus­tralia and Eng­land, will spend five days try­ing to out­wit and out­play each other. The two teams re­turn on 14 Jan­uary for a daynight game in the One Day In­ter­na­tional Se­ries.

Artis­tic and Ath­letic

You’ll find your­self won­der­ing ex­actly how they do it when you at­tend the FIG In­ter­na­tional Ap­pa­ra­tus World Cup Se­ries (22–25 Fe­bru­ary). Mel­bourne is host­ing the men’s and women’s artis­tic gym­nas­tics at Hisense Arena as part of this huge world­wide event that’s an im­por­tant lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Make the most of the end­less sun­shine, en­joy­ing all the events and en­ter­tain­ment the city has to of­fer.

Big Kicks and Hard Hits

It was the sur­prise hit of last sum­mer, with games in the in­au­gu­ral AFL Women's com­pe­ti­tion at­tract­ing ca­pac­ity crowds. The Ade­laide Crows came out on top, win­ning the first ever premier­ship ti­tle, but the Mel­bourne teams are sure to want to as­sert their po­si­tions — Mel­bourne, af­ter all, is the home of Aus­tralian foot­ball — in this new sea­son, which kicks off on 2 Fe­bru­ary.

Santa’s Com­ing to Town

A gi­ant tree, colour­ful dec­o­ra­tions and the ar­rival of Santa in the city means that Christ­mas is just around the cor­ner. Mel­bourne’s Christ­mas Fes­ti­val launches on 24 Novem­ber and goes right through to the big day, with en­ter­tain­ment, fes­tive cheer and the chance to meet the man in the red suit. Most of the fes­tiv­i­ties can be found in Fed­er­a­tion Square — visit Santa and have your photo taken with him (10am–12pm and 1pm–3pm daily, plus 4pm–7pm on Fri­day nights) — while the Christ­mas Pro­jec­tions pro­gram will light up a num­ber of city lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing Fed­er­a­tion Square, State Li­brary Vic­to­ria and Dock­lands.

Count­down to 2018

Find a spot from afar with a view of the city sky­line and you’re all set to see the spec­tac­u­lar mid­night fire­works dur­ing the New Year’s Eve cel­e­bra­tions (31 De­cem­ber). If com­ing into the city, en­joy free en­ter­tain­ment at one of four of­fi­cial live sites at Trea­sury Gar­dens, Dock­lands, Flagstaff Gar­dens and Kings Do­main.

Year of the Dog

Get ready for danc­ing dragons, in­cred­i­ble fire­works dis­plays, cul­tural spec­ta­cles and street pa­rades dur­ing Mel­bourne’s Chi­nese New Year cel­e­bra­tions. The fes­tiv­i­ties be­gin in the city on 15 Fe­bru­ary and con­tinue un­til 25 Fe­bru­ary. The ar­rival of the Year of the Dog will be cel­e­brated across Mel­bourne, in­clud­ing at Dock­lands and sub­urbs like Box Hill.

Art Af­ter Dark

Thou­sands of peo­ple fill the streets for the 12-hour party that is White Night Mel­bourne (17 Fe­bru­ary). Pub­lic spa­ces, city walls, lush parks and tiny laneways be­come the scene for one of the most ex­cit­ing cul­tural events of the year. Watch per­for­mances, ad­mire pro­jec­tions, take part in a mas­sive dance-off and much more from dusk till dawn. Also on the hori­zon is White Night Bal­larat (17 March), when the re­gional city be­comes arts cen­tral. More in­for­ma­tion to come in the au­tumn is­sue of Of­fi­cial Vis­i­tor Guide.

Pic­nics and Prom­e­nad­ing

The warm weather is the per­fect time to en­joy Mel­bourne’s lush out­doors. Stroll through Fitzroy Gar­dens, with its av­enues of ma­ture shady trees. Stock your pic­nic bas­ket at Queen Vic­to­ria Mar­ket, be­fore find­ing a spot for lunch at the World Her­itage-listed Carl­ton Gar­dens. On the banks of the Yarra River, Bir­rarung Marr is a beau­ti­ful spot for a leisurely wan­der among the pub­lic art­works.

Cinema Un­der the Stars

The drama be­gins even be­fore the lights go down at Rooftop Cinema, lo­cated seven storeys up and sur­rounded by sky­scrapers in the heart of the CBD. Head to Royal Botanic Gar­dens Vic­to­ria’s Mel­bourne Gar­dens for Moon­light Cinema, where you can re­cline on a blan­ket or bean bag and watch the lat­est re­leases and fam­ily favourites. See a movie and catch some live mu­sic at St Kilda Ope­nair Cinema. There are plenty of food out­lets and a li­censed bar to make the evening com­plete.

Splash in the Sun

Spend some time on the sand at St Kilda Beach be­fore wan­der­ing along the fore­shore to take in the sights of this vi­brant beach­side com­mu­nity. See one of Mel­bourne’s favourite slices of his­tory at Brighton Beach, where there are 82 colour­ful bathing boxes. Don’t for­get to bring your cam­era. A trip to Wil­liamstown Beach is a pop­u­lar fam­ily day out. It’s a safe spot for swim­ming, plus there’s a huge park with vast stretches of lawn, play­grounds and pic­nic fa­cil­i­ties.

Wa­ter­side Eat­ing

En­joy a view with your lunch. It’s a ca­sual af­fair — think burg­ers, fish and chips and more — at

The Boat­builders Yard, with its decks and din­ing spa­ces over­look­ing South Wharf. Want a venue to im­press? Con­tem­po­rary Ja­panese cui­sine with views of the Yarra River are on the menu at Sake. For great Mid­dle Eastern-style street food take a seat at Mama Rumaan, lo­cated at Cen­tral Pier in the Dock­lands. the­boat­builder­syard.com.au sak­er­estau­rant.com.au ma­maru­maan.com.au

Drinks on High

Palm Springs was the in­spi­ra­tion for Good Heav­ens, a vast rooftop bar serv­ing 1980s cock­tails, a range of craft beers and Amer­i­cana-style snacks. More in­ti­mate is the open-air space at Bomba Rooftop, where tapas and fine wine is the fo­cus. For views of the city, take a seat at Naked in the Sky, where the ter­race and ad­join­ing lounge float above Fitzroy. good­heav­ens.com.au bom­babar.com.au naked­for­sa­tan.com.au

Cy­cling’s Great Race

It’s one of the most stun­ning drives in Aus­tralia, but at the be­gin­ning of the year it is taken over by the world’s best cy­clists for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (25–28 Jan­uary).

First held in 2015 and in­spired by Europe’s pres­ti­gious one-day races, the event at­tracts the toprank­ing rac­ing teams and cy­clists. About 100,000 peo­ple line the roads to watch the Elite Men’s, Elite Women’s and To­wards Zero Race Mel­bourne, which opens the week­end with a cir­cuit-style event around the For­mula 1 track at Al­bert Park.

Any­one who fan­cies them­selves on two wheels can sign up for the Swisse Peo­ple’s Ride for the chance to pedal along­side Cadel Evans and three-time Tour de France win­ner Greg Le­Mond. cadel­e­vans­greato­cean­road­race.com.au

Sail Away

Tak­ing place on the same week­end as the Cadel Evans race is Gee­long’s Fes­ti­val of Sails

(26–28 Jan­uary). More than

300 boats and 3000 sailors com­pete in this, the south­ern hemi­sphere’s largest an­nual keel boat re­gatta. While the sail­ing ac­tion is spec­tac­u­lar, there’s also the Wa­ter­front Fes­ti­val to en­joy, with en­ter­tain­ment, food and wine, mar­ket stalls, a kids’ area and an on-wa­ter Come & Try Zone.

fes­ti­val­of­sails.com.au

Artis­tic In­spi­ra­tion

One of the coun­try’s favourite por­trait com­pe­ti­tions, the Archibald Prize (un­til 10 De­cem­ber), drops in to the Gee­long Gallery. See this year’s win­ner, Mitch Cairns’ de­pic­tion of Agatha Gothe-Snape, along­side all the fi­nal­ists, which in­clude por­traits of lo­cal lu­mi­nar­ies and or­di­nary Aus­tralians. For eight weeks at the be­gin­ning of the year, the NIGHT­JAR Fes­ti­val takes over Torquay (4, 11, 18 & 25 Jan­uary) and Gee­long (2, 9, 16 & 23 Fe­bru­ary). Lis­ten to mu­sic, ex­plore the artists’ mar­ket, in­dulge on ‘dessert lane’ or re­lax at one of the bars fea­tur­ing craft beer and bou­tique wine. gee­long­gallery.org.au night­jar­fes­ti­val.com.au

While You’re There

When on the coast en­joy­ing the fan­tas­tic re­gional events, take some time to dis­cover its other attractions. Whether you can ride a board or not, head to Bells Beach or Jan Juc to check out the surf­ing ac­tion. Damp fun of a dif­fer­ent kind can be found at Ad­ven­ture Park, Gee­long’s huge wa­ter park. Get away from the coast and into the for­est at Ot­way Fly Tree­tops Ad­ven­ture, where you can walk through the canopy or go zip lin­ing. All that ac­tiv­ity de­serves a re­ward, so drop into Great Ocean Road Cho­co­la­terie & Ice Cream­ery to sam­ple the wares, eat at the cafe and stock up for the drive home. ad­ven­turepark.com.au ot­wayfly.com gorci.com.au

Lau­ren Ar­nell Graeme Fur­long

New Year's Eve

Christ­mas Fes­ti­val

Share Your Mel­bourne Mo­mentTag #melb­mo­ment to share your favourite city ex­pe­ri­enceswith oth­ers.

Did you Know?Mel­bourne had many un­of­fi­cial names in its first years of Euro­pean set­tle­ment,in­clud­ing Bat­ma­nia, Bare­brass and Bear­port.Fitzroy Gar­dens, East Mel­bourne

Mama Rumaan

Rooftop Cinema

The Boat­builders Yard, South Wharf

Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

Fes­ti­val of Sails, Gee­long

At the Heads Mark Chew

Ot­way Ranges Robert Black­burn For more re­gional in­spi­ra­tion see the Re­gional Vic­to­ria sec­tion on page 111.

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