Where to go whale watching near Melbourne
Is there anything more majestic than watching a whale breach or seeing a huge tail disappear beneath the waves? Whales are fascinating creatures that are made all the more intriguing by the effort involved in observing them. Nothing really compares to seeing a whale in the wild, and in Australia we’re lucky to have around 60 per cent of the global whale population living in our waters. For Victorians, the prime whale watching season is roughly from May to October each year. While whales can be seen all along the state’s coast, you can improve your chances of getting a slice of the cetacean spectacular by visiting these locations.
The 21 things you only learn in Melbourne the hard way
Make no mistake, living in Melbourne is the bee’s knees. But everyone – even the people who have lived here all their lives – has had to face some shocking realisations about this fine city. Some might make you mad and some might make you sad, but rest assured every single one of us has been there too. We have all learned... 1. That you can’t buy a tram ticket on a tram, nor a bus ticket on a bus. 2. That the airport is further away than you remember. 3. That trains inexplicably skip the City Loop, leaving you unexpectedly stranded at Flinders Street Station right before you’re meant to start work or meet a friend. 4. That hook turns are never easy, and we've all had to face the wrath of other cars and then sworn to never drive in the CBD again (only to accidentally make a wrong turn immediately after and have to try to turn all over again – ugh). 5. That trams take waaaay longer than you think they will (especially on Sydney Road and Victoria Street). 6. That it’s always better to take the stairs at Curtin House or up to Madame Brussels because the lift will take forever and you just need a drink stat. 7. That you can’t just rock up at Chin Chin on a Friday night at 7pm and expect there to be a table free. 8. That you should never, ever, trust your phone’s weather app and always bring an umbrella/jumper/sunhat/bucket of sunscreen just in case you end up at Arbory. 9. That getting a taxi from the airport is a huge ripoff. 10. That you should actually book
Lavender fields in and around Melbourne
We all spend far too much time searching for the perfect Instagram shot, but these gorgeous lavender gardens are so good you’d be hard-pressed to take a bad photo. Best of all, they all come with their own cafés so you can enjoy lunch once you’ve finished frolicking amongst the flowers. Continue to explore the best of Melbourne's backyard with these 10 other-worldly locations or these mysterious destinations you need to see to believe.
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Japanese Film Festival
The Japanese Film Festival returns in 2018 with a packed program of 30 features and one doco, all curated by the Japan Foundation, Sydney, a non-profit cultural organisation that works to promote Japanese culture abroad. This year, the festival will feature romantic detective mystery Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura, which many people are calling a live-action version of the Studio Ghibli classic Spirited Away. Another highlight of the program is the action-packed One Cut of the Dead, which is being touted as a cleverly disguised low-budget but high-concept take on the zombie comedy genre. Keep an eye out for Oh Lucy!, which stars Australian-born and Deadpool 2 cast member Shioli Kutsuna alongside Megan Mullally (Will and Grace) and Josh Hartnett (Pearl Harbour). It tells the intriguing story of a lonely Japanese woman who awakens her alter ego in an English class taught by Hartnett. There’s also Yakiniku Dragon, which brings the award-winning 2008 play about a Korean immigrant family's experience in Japan The film features a star-studded line-up including Jeon-eun Lee (Okja), Yoko Maki (The Grudge) and Yo Oizumi (Bread of Happiness). The festival will also be presenting a free classic film program which will feature influential works by cinematic masters from the Japanese Golden Age and New Wave cinema. JFF will play at ACMI and Hoyts Melbourne Central from Thursday, November 22 to Sunday, December 2.
Twelfth Night returns with an all-star cast
Melbourne Theatre Company’s version of Shakespeare’s gender-bending comedy Twelfth Night is shaping up to be one of the shows of the year. For starters, Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical) is directing. The songs and music are by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall, the musical brains behind the much-awaited Muriel’s Wedding The Musical, and sets and costumes by Gabriela Tylesova. Add in the divine Esther Hannaford (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical) and a cast that includes Russell Dykstra, Christie Whelan Browne, Frank Woodley and Men at Work singer Colin Hay and you’ve got yourself a guaranteed good night. Twelfth Night will play at MTC's Southbank Theatre from November 12 until January 5. Tickets start at $69. Read more about MTC's production of Twelfth Night.
Score free tickets to watch the filming of Australian Ninja Warrior
It’s not hard to see why Australian Ninja Warrior has become so popular. The combination of fearless athletes and a seemingly impossible obstacle course has given the show a strong fan following. Those who are devoted to Nine's action-packed show will have noticed the huge crowd of fans who get to watch the Aussie ninjas test their mettle live – but did you know you can join them? Australian Ninja Warrior are currently offering fans the opportunity to be in the audience for the third series, with Ninja Superfan and Night Owl Ninja tickets up for grabs – for free. Seen every episode and secretly dream of competing on the show? The Ninja Superfan ticket is for you. The ticket gives you access to the entire screening on the night of your choosing, so you don’t miss a second of the thrills and spills (filming from Thursday, November 15 to Saturday, December 1). Only serious fans need apply – this is a seven-hour (adrenaline-filled) commitment where you’ll bein the crowd from 7.30pm to 2.30am. For Australian Ninja Warrior fans who lead busy lives, there’s also the Night Owl Ninja ticket. Select your date and catch all the action from 9pm to 2.30am, letting you take care of all your responsibilities beforehand (or maybe sneak in a session before a late-night shift at work). The Night Owl Ninja ticket also includes entry to the Ninja Audience Zone where you can grab a bite from a food truck prior to entering the arena. The location of the screening is still secret, but we can
Spring festivals and events in Queensland
When Queensland shakes off its not especially wintry chills, towns and cities around the state spring into step with food, culture and music up for grabs. Over the coming months Brisbane will uncover some of the greatest up-and-coming musical talent; the Gold Coast will be hauling supersized body parts and animals onto the sand; and Toowoomba will be unfurling brilliant carpets of flowers. September sees Brisbane turn on its biggest festival of the year with a back-to-back schedule of music and theatre performances, plus plenty of food and drink to sample. The event is well known for its Sunsuper Riverfire grand finale, which illuminates the city with pyrotechnic sparkles. Further up the coast, Bundy brings the house down with its Crush fest and proves culture and fun go hand-in-hand, and in Tropical North Queensland, Yarrabah unites the community with live music, food and a celebration of Indigenous culture. Suffice to say, all events are a gathering of energy and a showcase of the happy vibes of Queensland, where life is beautiful one day and perfect the next.