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A couple sitting inside of a tent.
Photograph: Destination Phillip Island

The best things to do in Melbourne this Queen’s Birthday long weekend

Celebrate your extra day off with short getaways, big nights on the town or some much-needed rest and relaxation

Adena Maier
Written by
Adena Maier
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The Queen's Birthday public holiday falls on June 13, but did you know that Queen Elizabeth's birthday is actually on April 21? According to the BBC, this strange tradition of having two birthdays for the monarch dates back to 1908, during the reign of King George II. The King's actual birthday was in late autumn, but he was keen on a sunny outdoor celebration, so he selected a summer date for the celebration.

The tradition stuck, and now Australians get to enjoy a long weekend over the second weekend of June. Whether you're keen on a short getaway, a big night out on the town or to get some rest and relaxation in, we've rounded up heaps of ways that you can celebrate Queen Lizzie's belated birthday this year. 

Looking to explore some of our city's coolest experiences? Check out our guide to 101 things everyone should do in Melbourne at least once.

Things to do over the long weekend

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens

We've definitely become experts in the parks and gardens nearest to our homes, but now is the time to explore a bit further afield. Luckily there are lots of parks and gardens in Melbourne that are slightly off the beaten path. Here you'll find gardens devoted to Australian natives, fancy ferns and some not-so-ubiquitous plants like cacti, rhododendrons, tulips and lotuses – perfect for when you need some green in your life.

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  • Travel

The coast gets all the glory, with its shining vistas and its glittering seascapes. But central Victoria should be your next weekend away destination, particularly the arty hub of Castlemaine and foodie destination Kyneton. In recent years, Castlemaine and its surrounding towns have developed a reputation for being home to artists, musicians, writers and creatives. Castlemaine punches way above its weight when it comes to cultural festivals and activities – not to mention restaurants that are well worth the drive north. 

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  • Things to do

We are truly living in the golden age of the escape room. It's hard to remember a time when there weren't super-fun puzzle rooms throughout Melbourne, but the first one only opened in 2014. Now there are virtual escape rooms and online escape rooms, along with the bricks-and-mortar kind. Each escape room revolves around a different theme – and they cater to all manner of phobias. Time Out took the challenge of visiting escape rooms all over Melbourne. Whether we got out in time is a different matter.

  • Travel

One of the many great things about Victoria is that it's a comparitively small state, meaning that most destinations are within a day's drive from the capital of Melbourne. And boy, are there a lot of amazing destinations to visit. From surreal pink salt lakes to misty rainforests and ancient mountain ranges, Victoria is replete in natural wonders worth travelling for – and we've rounded up some of the best.

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  • Health and beauty
  • Spas

Are you overdue for a bit of self-care? Give your muscles the gift of a deep tissue massage or refresh your complexion with a soothing facial at these retreats around Melbourne. From luxury day spas and bathhouses to cosmetic clinics and wellness centres, there's a range of treatment options for you to choose from that will leave you feeling soft, warm and radiant. 

Go for a hike

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