Worldwide icon-chevron-right South Pacific icon-chevron-right Australia icon-chevron-right Melbourne icon-chevron-right The best things to do in Melbourne this Queen’s Birthday long weekend
Coburg Drive In
Photograph: Supplied

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

Celebrate your extra day off with these fun things to do over the long weekend (June 6-8)

By Rebecca Russo
Advertising

The actual date of Queen Lizzie's birthday may have long gone (it's on April 21), but we'll take this belated celebration anyhow. There's plenty to do inside and outside in Melbourne this long weekend, so pack the car for a short getaway or hang out for a fun staycation at home where there's plenty to take part in.

Please stay safe out there and remember Melbourne's guide to physical distancing. If you are heading outside, here are the venues and attractions that have reopened since shutdowns.

Things to do over the long weekend

Jemma Rix as Elsa in Frozen the Musical
Photograph: Lisa Tomasetti

1. Let it all go at Frozen the Musical

Theatre Musicals Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne

Arriving just in time for Christmas in July, Disney’s smash-hit Broadway musical Frozen is swooshing in from Sydney to make Melbourne as frosty as Arendelle. Icing up Her Majesty’s Theatre this June with whizz-bang tricks and astounding puppets in the mix, this spectacular stage adaptation features all the beloved songs ready for exciting sing-alongs plus brand-new tunes from original songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. Melbourne performances of Frozen the Musical commence on Friday, June 25.

Beer and food from the German winter markets.
Photograph: Hofbräuhaus

2. Winter Market by Hofbraühaus

Things to do Food and drink Chapel Lane Huts, South Yarra

To usher in the start of the Christmas season, many towns in Germany host a winter market where you can drink freshly brewed beers and feast on hot sausages and slices of apple strudel. Hofbräuhaus, Melbourne’s very own German bier hall, is partnering with Burnley Brewing to present a German-style winter market pop-up event on Chapel Street.

Advertising
A Magic Mike Live dancer lifts his t-shirt to reveal rippling abs
Photograph: Supplied/Peter Brew-Bevan

3. Ride that pony at Magic Mike Live

Theatre Birrarung Marr, Melbourne

Magic Mike Live opens this week in Melbourne following a postponement due to Melbourne's latest lockdown. The show is the brainchild of dancer-turned-movie star Channing Tatum – who fronted up, stripped down, and sweated through both big-screen outings – who had been set to bring the buff boy acrobatic spectacular strip show to the Victorian capital in 2020. While Sydney has now seen the show first, we're still on track to get up close and personal with these hunky dancers. 

A woman smiles in a dark room while going to drink from a glass
Photograph: Supplied

4. Boogie at NGV Friday Nights

Things to do NGV International, Southbank

The NGV's Friday Nights series is back for another round, and this time they’re pairing a string of gigs alongside the highly anticipated exhibition French Impressionism from the Museum of Fine Arts, BostonPerforming in the NGV's Great Hall every Friday night from June to early October, this season's line-up will feature the likes of Alice Ivy, Husky, Eilish Gilligan, Ali Barter, Squid Nebula, Akosia, Soloman Sisay and heaps more.

Advertising
Artist Patricia Piccinini stands next to a hyper real sculpture of a man wearing jean and a long sleeved shirt in a dilapidated room with large arch windows. The man sculpture is carrying a long-limbed fleshy creature on its shoulders.
Photograph: Pete Tarasiuk

5. See an exhibition inside Flinders Street Ballroom

Art Installation Flinders Street Station, Melbourne

A Miracle Constantly Repeated has artist Patricia Piccinini transform the enigmatic Flinders Street Ballroom into an uncanny art ecosystem filled with large-scale dioramas, huge foliage, sentient saplings and nurturing marine mammals. Those familiar with the artist's work will know what to expect, but for those who aren't, you'll meet some unusual creatures that blur the lines between human and beast. 

Sidse Babett Knudsen playing a crime queen surrounded by her family in Wildland
Photograph: Supplied/Palace Cinemas

6. Binge some Nordic movies at the Scandinavian Film Festival

Film Film festivals Around Melbourne, Melbourne

If you binged waaaaaaay too much Scandi noir from your sofa last year, then it’s time to put some proper clothes on, head out and do it on the big screen instead as the Scandinavian Film Festival returns this July. Read more for the program and to read about the films being screened. 

Advertising
Exhibition of Maree Clarke Ancestral Memories
Photograph: Supplied

7. See Maree Clarke's retrospective at the NGV

Art The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne

Now showing at the NGV's Ian Potter Centre is Maree Clarke: Ancestral Memories, the first major retrospective of Melbourne-based Yorta Yorta/Wamba Wamba/Mutti Mutti/Boonwurrung artist and designer Maree Clarke. The exhibition, which is currently on until October 3, shows more than three decades worth of work from Clarke that spans photography, printmaking, sculpture, jewellery, video and more. Entry is free.

Installation view of Plans for The Planet: Olaf Breuning for Kids from 2 5 June – 3 October 2021 at NGV International, Melbourne.
Photograph: Tom Ross

8. Visit the NGV for Plans for the Planet: Olaf Breuning for Kids

Kids Exhibitions NGV International, Southbank

Located on the ground floor, Plans for the Planet is free to enter and runs until October 3. The installation is populated with Breuning’s illustrations and characters, including a forest and a floor of lava, and utilises engaging multimedia activities to inspire children to think about issues like the environment, pollution and wildlife.

 

Advertising
Fireside Yarra Valley 2021
Photograph: Wine Yarra Valley

9. Warm up with Fireside Yarra Valley

Things to do Food and drink Yarra Valley, Tarrawarra

From July 17 to August 1, you’ve been invited to fill your belly and warm yourself up with the finest winemakers across Yarra Valley. After going virtual for 2020, Fireside is back with a 16-day programme filled with winemaker dinners, fireside brunches, pizza parties, cooking classes and more.

 

People shopping at Arts Centre Melbourne Sunday Market
Photograph: Supplied

10. Shop for locally made art at the Arts Centre's weekend markets

Shopping Markets Arts Centre Melbourne, Southbank

Every weekend, the lawn of Arts Centre Melbourne comes alive with market stalls selling everything from handmade leather wallet to locally made art by the city's designers and small business owners. 

Situated a short walk from Flinders Street Station, everything on offer at the market has been locally made, and the market also features a great range of food stalls if you want to shake up your weekend brunch.

Advertising
Questacon "Born or Built - Our Robotic Future" - Friday, 31 May 2019
Photograph: Steve Keough

11. Explore robotics and AI at Scienceworks

Things to do Scienceworks, Spotswood

If you’ve ever watched the films Her or Ex Machina you’ll know how easily the lines between AI and humans can blur and how harrowing that can be. 

Scienceworks’ latest exhibition Born or Built? explores how sophisticated robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) have become, how easily they can mimic human beings, and delves into the evolution of technology.  

 

Queens of the Damned pirate
Photograph: Queens of the Damned

12. Experience a pirate-themed cabaret dinner

Things to do Mission to Seafarers, Docklands

Cabaret performers Queens of the Damned are putting on a pirate-themed dinner theatre production, fresh off a very popular run at Old Melbourne Gaol. This performance takes place across four different rooms in the 100-year-old Mission to Seafarers.

 

Advertising
Bottomless cocktails and a main at Pontoon
Photograph: Pontoon

13. Drink bottomless cocktails by the water at Pontoon

Things to do Food and drink Pontoon, St Kilda

For every Saturday in July from noon to 5pm, Pontoon invites you to bust your wintertime blues with bottomless drinks and a main each for $65 per person.

Located within the much-loved Stokehouse Precinct in St Kilda, this eatery offers gorgeous views overlooking the bay, and during its bottomless sessions you can kick back and listen to resident DJs while sipping on endless cocktails, beer, wine, and bubbles. 

 

A collection of quirky, friendly-looking porcelain figurines
Photograph: Simon Strong. Image courtesy of the artist and Scott Livesey Galleries.

14. Check out kooky ceramics by Vipoo Srivilasa

Art Sculpture and installations Linden New Art, St Kilda

Vipoo Srivilasa's porcelain sculptures might be made of the same material as your nana's best crockery, but that's about where the similarities end. The Thai-born, Melbourne-based ceramic artist has a knack for creating sculptural works that don't take themselves too seriously, and that's as apparent as ever in his new exhibition, Wellness Deity.

 

Advertising
She-Oak and Sunlight Australian Impressionism She-oak and sunlight, 1889, Tom Roberts
Photograph: NGV | Detail of She-oak and sunlight, 1889, Tom Roberts

15. View well-known Australian Impressionist paintings at the Ian Potter Centre

Art Paintings The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne

Some of the most well-known Australian Impressionist paintings are currently front and centre at the Ian Potter Centre. She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism brings together nearly 300 Australian Impressionist paintings from the likes of Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin, Jane Sutherland, Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder, Clara Southern and John Russell.

Man sitting on a park bench listening to Knot by Darkfield Radio
Photograph: Empty Bottles

16. Get spooked with Knot, an ingenious and terrifying audio play

Things to do Your Place, Melbourne

Darkfield Radio uses the power of cleverly created soundscapes and your own imagination to bring terrifying scenarios to life. This one, called Knot, is meant to be listened to in three separate locations: on a park bench, in your car and at home. The audio is so cleverly recorded you'll swear someone really is sitting next to you whispering in your ear, or walking up behind you, getting closer.

Advertising

17. Stock up on local produce at the Gasworks Farmers' Market

Shopping Gasworks Arts Park, Albert Park

Every third Saturday of the month, enthusiasm for high quality local produce runs like electricity at this Port Melbourne arts space, and your tastebuds will feel it too. Grab a fresh, crusty baguette to go with your market haul salad for later, stock up on seasonal produce and a treat or two for afternoon tea (handmade chocolate biscuits, anyone?).The Gasworks Farmers' Market is plastic free so make sure to bring your reusable bags, baskets and coffee cups. 

People in a laneway looking at a street art painting of a person sitting cross legged. The painting has a bull's head instead of a human head.
Photograph: NOME

18. Learn about street art by street artists on Melbourne Street Tours

Things to do Walks and tours Around Fitzroy, Fitzroy

If you've ever wondered about how so much street art appears in Melbourne, who's creating it, and how, then Melbourne Street Tours is your best port of call. These street art walking tours are run by actual practising street artists, so you're getting the low down straight from the artist's mouth so to speak. 

 

Advertising
An elderly man with short white hair and only one warm meditatively smears black paint on a white wall. He is covered in black paint too.
Photograph: Mark Porkorny

19. View Half Way House, the latest solo exhibition by Mike Parr

Art Installation Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne

Arguably Australia's most famous performative artist, Mike Parr is transforming Anna Schwartz Gallery as part of his new solo exhibition Half Way House. Over the course of three months, Parr – aka the guy who lived under a Hobart road for Dark Mofo – is presenting four blind peformative works and installations at the Flinders Lane gallery.

Westin Cheese High Tea
Photograph: Supplied

20. Tuck into this High Cheese

Things to do Food and drink Lobby Lounge - The Westin Melbourne, Melbourne

What’s better than gorging yourself on scones, finger sandwiches and Champagne at a regular high tea? Gorging yourself on piles and piles of cheese at the Westin’s un-brie-lievable High Cheese event.

 

Advertising
Two people on beanbags on Melbourne Star
Photograph: Supplied

21. Warm up with Melbourne Star’s Floating Winter Chalets

Things to do Food and drink Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, Docklands

Punters can take a 30-minute ride in a private, heated glass cabin and curl up on a comfy bean bag while they do it. Plus,  warm mulled wine and a cheese platter complete with croutes, muscatel grapes and quince paste is on offer.

Angels Garden Party, 2014,
Photograph: Supplied/Jewish Museum

22. Visit the beautiful Mirka More exhibit

Art Jewish Museum of Australia, St Kilda

There have been many exhibitions on Mirka Mora, but none quite like this. The Jewish Museum of Australia has announced Mirka: the most extensive survey of Mirka Mora ever. The museum has been turned into an “immersive Mirka-world” for the exhibition, which features never-before-exhibited works from the Mora family and Mirka’s studio archives. 

Advertising
Treasures of the Natural World Melbourne Museum
Photograph: Eugene Hyland/Supplied

23. See the new Treasures of the Natural World exhibit

Things to do Exhibitions Melbourne Museum, Carlton

Some of London's Natural History Museum’s oldest, rarest and strangest items are in Melbourne from June 2021. Treasures of the Natural World features 200+ items from the Natural History Museum’s enormous (and world-famous) collection. Every item holds some kind of significance within our understanding of the natural world. 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Photograph: Matt Murphy

24. Book tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Theatre Drama Princess Theatre, Melbourne

Performances of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child have resumed following Melbourne's latest lockdown. This whopper two-part play is the eighth chapter of JK Rowling's saga, following the children of now-grown Harry, Ron and Hermione. Click through to read our (spoiler-free!) review of the play.

Advertising
Claude Monet, 'Grainstack (Snow Effect)' 1891. Oil on canvas, 65.4 x 92.4 cm. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Photograph: © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

25. Visit the NGV's new French Impressionism exhibit

Art Paintings NGV International, Southbank

French Impressionism is host to arguably some of the most famous (and most loved) artists of all time. Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Van Gogh and Degas are just some of the artists who achieved such acclaim that they remain household names even a century after their deaths. From June 25, you can see some of the artist's most beautiful and well-known works at the NGV's new Winter Masterpieces exhibition, French Impressionism: From the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

 

Cathedral ranges
Photograph: Parks Victoria

26. Go for a hike

Travel

Ready to get out of the big city? Try tackle one of these day hikes near Melbourne. Regional Victoria is brimming with picturesque walks great for getting your heart pumping including local wonders and seaside spectacles. Remember: always be prepared when hiking and bring plenty of water, snacks and wear sturdy shoes.  

Advertising
A man sits on a jungle gym in an industrial, heavily grafittied space. He looks down at a woman who is peering up at him.
Photograph: Pia Johnson

27. Immerse yourself in Because the Night

Theatre Malthouse Theatre, Southbank

There’s been a lot of hype about Because the Night, Malthouse Theatre’s new production where the audience can freely explore an immersive set while the cast perform around them. Ushers provide each person with a dark robe and Donnie Darko-style black rabbit mask to cover their face – apart from serving to differentiate audience from cast, the costume immediately puts visitors in the right headspace; goodbye Melbourne, hello Elsinore. 

Two sepia sketches side by side. One features donkeys acting as doctors for a man in bed, the other features a woman crying over a table while dark owls and bats swarm her
Photograph: Images courtesy Museo Nacional del Prado and National Gallery of Victoria

28. See the NGV's new Goya exhibition

Art Drawings NGV International, Southbank

Spanish artist Franciso Goya is considered one of the country's most eminent artists, with his romanticism paintings (often portraits or religious scenes) earning him great acclaim. You can explore more than 160 drawings from Goya at the NGV as part of Goya: Drawings from the Prado Museum. This world-exclusive exhibition marks the largest ever collection of Goya drawings ever to be shown in Australia.

Advertising
The Smith Drag Brunch
Photograph: The Smith

29. Enjoy bottomless cocktails at Drag Brunch

Things to do Food and drink The Smith, Prahran

What could be better than huge hair, drag performances and club bangers? What about if you threw in unlimited booze? And had all that at breakfast time?

Coinciding with the airing of RuPaul's Drag Race Down Under, the Smith is running a bottomless drag brunch every Sunday from noon to 2pm, and then again from 3 to 5pm (which, yes, we admit is not breakfast time anymore, even on a Sunday).

 

Disney The Magic of Animation at ACMI
Photograph: Pheobe Powell

30. Explore ACMI's Disney exhibition

Art Drawings ACMI - Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne

ACMI is currently showing a huge 90-year showcase of Disney animation with a glimpse behind the scenes at Walt Disney Animation Studios, one of the world’s most prolific animation studios. Now open, the exhibition features over 500 original artworks that date from the 1920s to the present day, including sketches and concept art from Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie to new release Raya and the Last Dragon

Advertising
Becoming You: An Incomplete Guide exhibition at Immigration Museum Melbourne
Photograph: Tony Empire Collective

31. Get self-reflective at Becoming You: An Incomplete Guide

Museums History Immigration Museum, Melbourne

The glory and pain of our formative years never leave us. The awkwardness, the heartache, the moments of soaring joy and the losses that crushed us often feel as real as the day they happened. The Immigration Museum is now plumbing these universal experiences in an immersive exhibition that’ll have you feeling the entire spectrum of human emotion.

A bearded man stands in front of a dark black background. He is wearing a navy blue raincoat and holding a black umbrella in one hand and a red fish in the other.
Photograph: Supplied

32. Contemplate climate change at When the Rain Stops Falling

Theatre Theatre Works, St Kilda

When the Rain Stops Falling, a play written by Andrew Bovell (Lantana) and first performed in 2008, turns the magical lens on to the issue of the past decade: climate change. Now, the play is rearing its head in the fraught context of 2021 with a production from Iron Lung Theatre and Theatre Works, directed by Briony Dunn and starring Francis Greenslade.

Advertising
A collection of quirky, friendly-looking porcelain figurines
Photograph: Simon Strong. Image courtesy of the artist and Scott Livesey Galleries.

33. See Vipoo Srivilasa's new exhibition

Art Sculpture and installations Linden New Art, St Kilda

Vipoo Srivilasa's porcelain sculptures might be made of the same material as your nana's best crockery, but that's about where the similarities end. The Thai-born, Melbourne-based ceramic artist has a knack for creating sculptural works that don't take themselves too seriously, and that's as apparent as ever in his new exhibition, Wellness Deity.

 

People watching a movie in Fed Square
Photograph: Supplied/Fed Square

34. Head to Fed Square's Anything but Square festival

Things to do Fairs and festivals Federation Square, Melbourne

Grab a beret and practice your best Audrey Tautou impression because Federation Square is turning French this winter – celebrating the joie de vivre the country is famous for across six weeks of events, activities and exhibitions. Melbourne’s famous square will become a bastion of French history, art, music, cinema, food and fine wine from Bastille day on July 14 through to early September. 

Advertising
Big Weather exhibition at the Ian Potter Centre
Photograph: Tom Ross/NGV

35. See the NGV's Big Weather exhibit

Art The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne

The weather has long been the go-to topic, especially in Melbourne (talk about four seasons in one day, am I right?). The weather is more than just small talk, however – it is intrinsically linked to the climate and the environment. Big Weather explores Australia's weather – and specifically the knowledge, stories and perspectives on the weather as told by First Nations artists. 

The Winter Village, winter, exterior overview
Photograph: Supplied/Sense Communications

36. Explore the magical Winter Village

Things to do Food and drink Federation Square, Melbourne

You may remember this outdoor pop-up from way back in winter 2019. Thankfully, this winter is looking up with the Winter Village's (faux) snow-covered activation landing back in town from May 13 to August 29. And the village has been able to reopen for the June long weekend with both igloo dining and ice skating sessions available.

 

Advertising
Queens of the Damned pirate
Photograph: Queens of the Damned

37. Watch the new pirate show by Queens of the Damned

Things to do Mission to Seafarers, Docklands

Whether you're a fan of Captain Jack Sparrow or the guy who tells Tom Hanks, "I am the captain now," we're pretty sure you haven't seen pirates like these before. Cabaret performers Queens of the Damned are putting on a pirate-themed dinner theatre production, fresh off a very popular run at Old Melbourne Gaol. This performance takes place across four different rooms in the 100-year-old Mission to Seafarers.

An image of three magpies on an abstract background of blues and browns
Photograph: © Ammie Howell and BJ O’Toole

38. Watch a performance of 'Parrwang Lifts the Sky'

Music Classical and opera Your Place, Melbourne

Victorian Opera has had to cancel its in-person season of Parrwang Lifts the Sky due to lockdown restrictions. However, the production will still be able to be watched online from June 19. If you hold tickets for an in-person performance, you can opt to have them refunded, or convert them into digital access tickets. 

Advertising
Man sitting on a park bench listening to Knot by Darkfield Radio
Photograph: Empty Bottles

39. Twist your brain with Knot

Things to do Your Place, Melbourne

You're sitting on a park bench listening to your headphones when a woman comes up to you asking for help. She is wearing a coat that's too big for her, and she doesn't remember how she got there. Are these cigarettes in her pockets hers? What does the alarm on her watch mean? And wait... what's in the box? Knot is the latest audio production from Darkfield Radio, the team behind immersive soundscape experiences Séance and Flight.

She-Oak and Sunlight Australian Impressionism She-oak and sunlight, 1889, Tom Roberts
Photograph: NGV | Detail of She-oak and sunlight, 1889, Tom Roberts

40. She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism

Art Paintings The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne

Some of the most well-known Australian Impressionist paintings are currently front and centre at the Ian Potter Centre. She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism brings together nearly 300 Australian Impressionist paintings from the likes of Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin, Jane Sutherland, Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder, Clara Southern and John Russell.

Works featured in the exhibition include what are easily some of the most recognisable Australian paintings, including Tom Roberts' 'Shearing the Rams' and Jane Sutherland's 'Field naturalists'. The exhibition also highlights the works of female artists like Iso Rae, Ina Gregory and Jane Price. 

The exhibition will span the range of Impressionist styles seen in Australia, including the works of Melbourne's famous Heidelberg school. She-Oak and Sunlight also features 50 works that were presented in the 1889 exhibition, 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition (named for the size of the artworks, which were largely painted on the lids of cigar boxes). 

She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism is on at the Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia from April 2 until August 22. Tickets are $26 for general entry. 

Go for a hike

Hiking at The Grampians
Photograph: Robert Blackburn

The best day hikes from Melbourne

Travel

For a breath of fresh air, head out of the city this weekend with our guide to Melbourne’s best day hikes. From local wonders to seaside spectacles, regional Victoria is brimming with picturesque walks great for getting your heart pumping. 

Recommended

    You may also like

      Best selling Time Out Offers
        Advertising