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Child with cellophane under the Leonard French ceiling at the NGV
Photograph: Flickr/Jey Han Lau/Abigail Batchelder

How to recreate Melbourne experiences at home

When you can't go outdoors to experience Melbourne, bring the experience indoors for free

By Nicola Dowse
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Melbourne’s had a hard run of it during 2020, going up and down on this coronacoaster that has seen us confined to our homes to assist in protecting the community. While there are many upsides to being at home more (you can walk around pantless and wake up five minutes before work) there’s no denying that many of us are missing being out and about in Melbourne. 

Hence we’ve gotten creative/stir-crazy and devised a series of extremely low budget ways that you can recreate some of the “most Melbourne” experiences at home. Do these solutions hold a candle to their real-life counterparts? Absolutely not. Are they a good way to kill some time? Absolutely yes. 


1.The NGV

First of all, gather all the paintings or decorative tea towels you have lying about, and hang them in your bathroom. Then turn on your shower and point the showerhead directly towards the glass screen (or a wall) to recreate the NGV water wall. Finally, grab some cellophane and tape it in various shapes and colours over any windows for those Leonard French vibes. 


2. Hopetoun Tea Rooms

Make a cake. Heck, make several. Arrange cakes artfully on your kitchen bench. Next, set up a velvet rope outside your kitchen, and stand in it for about an hour while staring at the cake. After an hour, you may go into the kitchen to eat some cake.


3. The Tan

Put on a black puffer jacket. Preferably North Face. Then go to your nearest walking track (even if it’s in Brighton) and walk pointedly around it while gasbagging and gasping at nearby runners. Optional: a takeaway almond latte.


4. The 1,000 Steps

Best recreated by anyone weathering this pandemic in an apartment block. Start at the bottom of the longest flight of stairs in your building. Start climbing. Keep track of the number of stairs climbed; stop once you’ve climbed 770 steps.


5. A match at the MCG

Pretty self-explanatory. Turn on the TV when a match is on, pour a beer into a plastic cup and water it down until it's mid-strength and horrible. Eat a meat pie while it’s too hot and make sure the tomato sauce spills and makes a real mess on your footy scarf. Yell “ball!” intermittently. Bonus: to achieve the experience of a train or tram ride home from the ‘G, cram yourself into the smallest wardrobe you can stand in, spill beer on your shoes and play the Richmond theme song through shitty speakers to imitate someone singing six beers deep.


6. A peak hour tram ride

Again, cram yourself into the smallest wardrobe you can stand in – if too roomy, fill it with pillows and dirty laundry for that je nais sais quoi aroma. Stare at your phone for 40 minutes while occasionally chanting “please remember to...hold on”.


7. A night at the Arts Centre

Get glammed up, then make yourself fake tickets exactly one hour before you want to watch a movie. Get lost moving up and down your house, then run into your shed when you realise the show is actually at the other theatre and you've stuffed up locations again. Watch the movie in the dark until roughly halfway through, then get up, turn the lights back on for 20 minutes to pee and get a pack of Maltesers. Resume movie.


8. A gig at the Forum

Collect all your tinnies for about a year. Paint your ceiling blue and stick glow-in-the-dark stars onto it. Put on your favourite album and rock out to it with the lights off. Throw tinnies on the floor while dancing. Once the album is finished, turn the lights back on and realise your floor is covered in cans and it's so sticky you've no doubt lost your rental bond. 


9. Dining at a no-bookings restaurant

Wait outside your house for 45 minutes. Then go inside and eat dinner. For added effect, remind yourself before eating that "you do things a little differently here" and "everything's meant to be shared" because, duh, it's your own house. 


10. Watch a flick at Cinema Nova

The Nova team already beat us to it. But we might also suggest the experience can be recreated by making fancy homemade choc-tops then watching a new indie film? Make sure you spend 20-40 minutes before or after the movie browsing your bookshelf pretending you're in Readings. 


11. The Great Ocean Road

Print off images of Lorne. Stick them on the inside of your car windows. Sit stationary in your vehicle for roughly 20 to 30 minutes. Get out, order fish and chips. 


12. Dining on Hardware Lane

Line up all your cookbooks, open, on stands in front of your front door. Walk past them while politely shaking your head and mumbling "no thank you" while on route to pick up the Maccas you just got delivered.


13. Peninsula Hot Springs

Make the floor in your bathroom ever so slightly wet but also exceedingly cold. Change into your swimmers on the wet floor. Put a bathrobe over the top and thongs on your feet. Pour a really, really hot bath and sit in it for a few minutes. Stand up, partially dry yourself and then turn around and sit back down. For the true public bathing experience, Zoom your mates while they do the same.


14. A night at the Toff in Town

Change all your light bulbs over to red light bulbs. Stay up till 1am, then climb five flights of stairs and dance until sweaty. Poke your head out a window and then quickly rush back inside because someone standing two centimetres from your face blew smoke right into your mouth.


15. Penguin spotting at St Kilda

Build a sandpit. Sit in it at sunset while watching Pingu.

For when lockdown lifts...

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