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Fermenting jars in the sun
Photograph: Creative Commons

Things to do in Melbourne in April

The best things to do in Melbourne in April includes virtual art classes, spotting seals, cutting shapes from home and heaps more

By Nicola Dowse, Rebecca Russo and Cassidy Knowlton
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Many performances, museums and venues have been closed and cancelled due to coronavirus so we've come up with a list of fun things to do while you're self quarantining or social distancing.

Check out more ideas below on our list of the best things to do in Melbourne in April. 

RECOMMENDED: Full list of the best things to do at home in Melbourne.

The best things to do in Melbourne in April

Interior at Neighbourhood Wine
Photograph: Nathalie Saldumbide

1. Eat at one of these great Melbourne restaurants

Restaurants

The doors of Melbourne's hospitality venues were shuttered for dine-in services when Melbourne entered its second lockdown. Now, dining establishments and bars around Melbourne have been given the green light to start operations again – though within strict physical distancing parameters. 

We've collated a rolling list of Melbourne's venues that will be offering dine-in services. 

Food At Bar Saracen Melbourne
Photograph: Graham Denholm

2. Eat out at one of these great Melbourne restaurants

Restaurants

From October 28, you can eat out at a restaurant again. Need some ideas? Here's our bucket list of Melbourne restaurants. Keep in mind: As the industry transitions slowly towards regular operations, we encourage you to continue supporting your favourite venues in a safe and thoughtful way. This also means accepting any changes to the dining experience with generosity and understanding.

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Coburg Drive-in
Photograph: Supplied

3. Head to these drive-in cinemas near Melbourne

Film Outdoor cinema

For those craving a nostalgic cinema experience, these drive-in cinemas in and around Melbourne are brimming with the feeling of old-timey movie outings. Park yourself in front of the screen, tune into the FM broadcast and enjoy your movie in a safe, physically distanced location.

Werribee Open Range Zoo | Zoos Victoria
Photograph: Visit Victoria

4. Head to Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary

News City Life

Outdoor entertainment venues have been given the green light to reopen across Melbourne as the city moves to the Third Step of the roadmap. Following that news, Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary have announced they'll be reopening their gates on Thursday, October 29. The venues will have a number of measures in place to make sure physical distancing is observed and everyone is practising good hygiene. Keep in mind Melbourne's 25km travel limit is in effect until November 8, so if you don't live within 25km of the zoos, you'll have to wait just a little longer to visit. 

 

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Four people dressed in various Halloween costumes such as a scary nun, a creepy alice in wonderland, a skeleton and a mad scientist
Photograph: Hallozween

5. Celebrate Halloween like a pro

Things to do

Boo! Halloween is coming up fast, and it's looking a little different this year. Trick or treating is off the cards (do you really think it's a good idea to beg strangers for candy this year?) but there are still plenty of ways to celebrate the spookiest season (in the scariest year) safely. The good news? There's plenty of ways to scare the bejeezus out of yourself without leaving home. Here's how to celebrate Halloween in Melbourne this year. 

South Wharf Webb Bridge
Photograph: Christian Pearson/Parks Victoria

6. Go for one of these great walks in Melbourne

Things to do Walks and tours

If you’re looking for a walking track near Melbourne that you can complete in a couple of hours, we’ve got you covered. The following trails show off sides of Melbourne’s inner city and close-by suburbs that you may not have explored yet, so lace up your comfy shoes and head out on these great Melbourne walks.

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Four women wearing skipper's hats on a boat
Photograph: Supplied

7. Head out on the Yarra with GoBoat

News City Life

Following an ease of restrictions, recreational boating is now allowed within 25km of your home, so that means it’s time to head to GoBoat and take a punt out on the Yarra. GoBoat is reopening for groups of up to eight people per boat, from a maximum of two households. These five-metre-long boats come equipped with a built-in wooden picnic table so you can BYO food and drink. Plus, you don’t even need a boating licence to operate them.

The 100 best horror films, horror movies, exorcist
Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

8. Stream these horror movies for Halloween

Film

October is upon us and you know what that means: ghouls, ghost and horror movies galore. Here at Time Out we're not afraid of things that go bump in the night, but we are afraid of not being able to find a good film to watch when the mood strikes. The horror! Streaming (or should that be screaming?) services across Australia have got you sorted this Halloween, with a stack of spooky movies available to scare the bejeezus out of you. From classic horror flicks to contemporary mind trips, these are the best scary movies to stream this Halloween.

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In the Shadows it waits film still, four faces on a Zoom call
Photograph: In the Shadows it Waits

9. Watch the spooky 'In the Shadow it Waits'

Theatre Your Place, Melbourne

You've been in isolation for more than a year. You're on your millionth Zoom meeting, and you are definitely over it. Suddenly you see an ominous shadow behind your coworker, and they drop off the call. Where have they gone? Was it just normal bad connections or something more sinister? What was that shadow? Surely nothing could have got into their apartment? Or could it? That's the setup for In the Shadow It Waits, a live film production that has been showing around the world and is going to be available for Australians to watch on All Saints' Day (that's November 1, the day after Halloween).

'Ray hard seltzers.
Photograph: Kate Shanasy

10. Stock up on these new hard seltzer brands

Shopping

 

Seltzer is the American term for sparkling water, and the US happens to be the home of hard seltzer. Does White Claw ring a bell? Own your desire to enjoy a cocktail in front of your beer-drinking friends and try it for yourself. Here’s a list of some that are out now in Australia.

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Seafood platter.
Photograph: Stokehouse/Supplied

11. Get a Spring Racing Carnival meal to enjoy at home

Restaurants

It’s the race that stops the nation and this is the food that fuels it. While it looks like we won't be celebrating the Melbourne Cup or other racing events as we usually do, it's great to see many Melbourne venues are dishing out festival packs for us to enjoy at home. We’ve compiled a list of some of Melbourne’s best Spring Racing Carnival food options for you to enjoy on Derby Day, Melbourne Cup, Oaks Day or Stakes Day.

An illustration of a man and a child sitting on top of a rusty car in a garbage tip
Photograph: Supplied / EFFA

12. Watch films from the Environmental Film Festival

Film Film festivals Your Place, Melbourne

The Environmental Film Festival returns to Melbourne (virtually) this year to showcase a number of films that centre around tackling environmental issues, and specifically the intersection between science, art, technology and philosophy. 

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St Kilda Beach, Melbourne
Photograph: Josie Withers

13. Head out on one of these bike trails

Things to do Games and hobbies

With a few exceptions, Melbourne is a largely flat city, making it perfect for cycling. You don't have to be a Lycra-wearing, Tour de France die hard to enjoy a bike ride around Melbourne either, with the city boasting lots of trails frequented by both serious and recreational bike riders. Better still, these cycling trails cover everything from beachfront boardwalks to twisting river paths, all but ensuring you have a great day out. Saddle up and clip in!

 

Arbory Afloat Four Pillars Miami Pink Gin cocktails
Photograph: Arbory Afloat/Supplied

14. Try Arbory Afloat's new gin cocktail

News Bars & Pubs

We all want to get back to drinking outdoors in bars again, that’s just a given. But for now, while we do our part and continue to stay safe, we can still support those bars from home with a selection of takeaway cocktails and booze deliveries. Much loved water-adjacent bar Arbory has now entered the game alongside one of Victoria’s most popular gin producers, Four Pillars. The team behind Arbory Afloat and Four Pillars have canned a very special Miami Pink Gin cocktail, which you can purchase for your next park picnic or at-home happy hour.

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People surfing at Urban Surf
Photograph: Urban Surf/Ed Sloane

15. Visit inland surf park Urbnsurf

Things to do Games and hobbies Tullamarine

Curious to try Melbourne's inland surf park? Urbnsurf is reopening on Wednesday, October 21 to guests who live within 25km of the park. In line with current restrictions, a maximum of 30 surfers will be allowed on each side of the wave pool (60 in total) per hour. One hour surf sessions can run as normal, but guests are asked to maintain 1.5 metres from each other. You'll still be able to hire surfboards and wetsuits, as they will be sanitised after each use.

Whisky Loot box
Photograph: Whisky Loot

16. Sign up this whisky subscription service

News Bars & Pubs

If you love whisky (or are just getting into it) and want to be able to try a wide variety of whiskies from around the world, you're in luck. A whisky subscription service sends three whiskies a month straight to your door, along with tasting notes and history for each one. Whisky Loot delivers three 60ml bottles of whisky every month, and they are grouped together with themes like 'Intro to Scotland' or 'New world whiskies'. You can try it for one month (or send it as a gift to someone else) for $79, or subscribe on an ongoing basis for $59 per month.

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Gintonica gin advent calendar
Photograph: Gintonica

17. Pick up one of these boozy advent calendars

Shopping

We are big fans of advent calendars. Why limit yourself to gifts on Christmas Day when you can have gifts every day for 24 days? And although small chocolates or toys are pretty good gifts to receive every day, we think we can do one better. These advent calendars are filled with wine, beer, gin or whisky. That seems like an even more festive way to count down to Christmas. And after the year we've just had, let's face it, it might be time for a drink, or 24.

Roller Skates, white with blue laces and link wheels
Photograph: Laura Stanley/Pexels

18. Learn to roller skate

News Sport & Fitness

Many of us have taken up (and yes, sometimes put back down again) iso hobbies, and one of the more popular sports people have decided to take up during this time is roller skating. But once you've put wheeled shoes on your feet, what then?  There are video tutorials, but if you want an actual human to give you instruction via Zoom, South Sea Roller Derby is running a six-week learn-to-skate course

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Two people listening to Darkfield Radio play Visitors
Photograph: Darkfield Radio

19. Spook yourself with immersive experience Visitors

Things to do Your Place, Melbourne

The worst part of a horror movie is the anticipation, of what you can't see, of what's lurking around the corner or hiding in the closet. Innovative radio play creators Darkfield Radio have taken it one step further, with no visuals at all and only a precise soundscape and your own terrifying imagination to bring the scares. Darkfield is the company behind immersive soundscape experiences Séance and Flight, which took place in physical shipping containers around the city. In the former, participants were immersed in the world of a séance that summons more than anyone bargained for. Now Darkfield is back with a new show, Visitors, to turn your comfortable home into a haunted house. 

 

Shopper at South Melbourne Market
Photograph: South Melbourne Market/Supplied

20. Get groceries delivered from South Melbourne Market

News Style & Shoppng

Multiple butchers, bakers, grocers, fishmongers, artisans and snack stands make South Melbourne Market one of the best fresh markets in the city. The markets have been running for more than 150 years and, like the Queen Vic, are as much a tourist destination as they are a source of fresh food. Currently, the markets are open for your essential shopping needs. But South Melbourne Market has also decided to take it all online (how very 2020!) with the launch of SMM DirectThe market now offers home delivery from many of the traders that are located within the market, making it a one-stop-shop for both groceries and gifts.

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Deep fried panzerotti
Photograph: Il Panzerotto Taste of Puglia

21. Order some deep-fried bolognese panzerotti

News Restaurants

It’s time we had a chat about panzerotti, the delicious deep-fried Italian snacks you never knew you needed until now. Panzerotti originated from Puglia, along the south-east coast of Italy. They’re otherwise known as fried calzone or a savoury turnover, and have been commercialised in North America where they’re now referred to as pizza pockets. Biting into one of these deep-fried parcels, you’re traditionally greeted by a steaming hot combination of tomato and melted cheese. The star of Il Panzerotto Taste of Puglia’s show though is the world’s first bolognese panzerotto inspired by owner Ettore Donnaloia’s mother. 

 

Meatball sub.
Photograph: Rocco's Bologna Discoteca.

22. Get one of the best sandwiches in Melbourne delivered

Restaurants Cafés

Sarnies, sambos, sangers… whatever you call them, there is something dependable about anything wearing a bread overcoat. Whether it’s a lovingly made lunchbox Vegemite special, a bronzed ham-and-cheese toastie or an elegant chicken and mayonnaise liaison, the humble sandwich has sustained generations. Here are the best to be had in Melbourne.

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A drawing that replicates a keith haring artwork featuring two people and a love heart
Photograph: Supplied / FCAC / Jessica Ibacache

23. Take part in FCAC's Creative Workshops

Things to do Classes and workshops Multiple venues

Footscray Community Arts Centre is undeniably the home of the arts in Melbourne's west. In the Beforetimes, the organisation not only hosted exhibitions, performances and gigs, but they also provided a space for locals to engage and learn more about the arts through workshops. That committment hasn't wavered, and FCAC is back with a series of online creative workshops led by some of Melbourne's best artistic talents.

Various items available through the sacred heart op shop online store
Photograph: Supplied / Sacred Heart Mission

24. Browse Sacred Heart Mission's ultra luxe online op shop

News Style & Shoppng

Melbourne has an abundance of op shops, all of which have been closed for some time now in line with current restrictions. However, you can still support local charities and score some nifty bargains thanks to a new initiative by Sacred Heart Mission. Sacred Heart Mission has launched a swish online op shop that stocks everything from high-end fashion to the everyday finds you might find in your local thrift store. The Sacred Heart Mission Online Op Shop combines the organisation's eBay and Instagram stores and stocks some of the most luxurious items that have been donated.

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Andrew McClelland dancing from Mr McClelland Finishing School
Photograph: Supplied/Jim Lee

25. Tune into a free daily dance session every lunchtime

News Nightlife

Sometimes the best medicine for several months spent working from home/living through lockdown is to have a spontaneous dance break in the middle of the day. Now, a Melbourne DJ is helping you do just that. Lunchtunes is hosted by comedian, DJ and the most enthusiastic dancer you’ll ever meet, Andrew McClelland. It all goes down on Twitch, from 1 to 2pm AEST, Tuesday to Friday.

Emily in Paris NETFLIX
Photograph: Netflix

26. Watch this month's best streamable content

Film

If we’ve learned anything from two lockdowns, it’s that we all need something to look forward to. Thankfully, it’s nice to escape into a book, a movie or a television show every once in a while to give our minds a break from real life. So, here are a few things coming to Australian streaming providers in August.

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Mr West bagnums cocktails
Photograph: Supplied

27. Get a 1.5-litre ‘bagnum’ of Espresso Martini or Negroni

News Bars & Pubs

Oh boy, do we miss someone else making cocktails for us. It’s just not as much fun making them for yourself at home (and you usually don’t have the same mixers/garnishes/nonchalant/flair as the pros in Melbourne’s best bars). Thankfully, Melbourne’s bars are delivering cocktails to your door right now. But for Mr West, one of Footscray’s coolest bars and bottle shops, straight cocktails aren’t enough – they’re selling 1.5-litre “bagnums” of Espresso Martinis, Negronis, and even a wine blend.

A close up of someone holding a ready-to-cook pizza
Photograph: Supplied / Shop225

28. Get gluten-free-accredited pizzas delivered to you

News Restaurants

This one goes out to all the gluten intolerant Melburnians that have had to weather lockdown sans pizza. Gluten-free pizzeria Shop225 (Australia's first pizza shop to receive accreditation from Coeliac Australia) has launched a completely gluten-free cook at home pizza menu – and it's delivering to all of Melbourne.

 

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Picnic featuring charcuterie, salads, fruits, baguette, pasta and wine.
Photograph: Cookes Food

29. Order one of these pre-packed picnic hampers

Shopping Delis

We’ve taken the hassle out of buying picnic goods from the same stores you’ve been frequenting within your 5km radius and compiled a list of ready-to-go packs that some of Melbourne’s venues have put together for you. 

30. Go for a swim in the best outdoor pools in Melbourne

Sport and fitness Pools

From September 28, as part of Victoria's step two roadmap, Melbourne's outdoor pools are allowed to reopen. You can only travel to these pools if they are within your 5km bubble. Numerous safety and health measures are in place at these venues so please check with them before heading out as there may be capacity limits in place.

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Franka Potente, Eric Bana and Kodi Smit-McPhee in Romulus, My Father
Photograph: Supplied

31. Rediscover great films with Victoria on Film

Film Your Place, Melbourne

Victoria is stunning to look at, be that in real life or on film. A new series called Victoria on Film is reuniting the stars of some of the best Victorians films to give fans a fresh insight into what went on behind the scenes. Actor Shane Jacobson and ABC Radio National journalist and presenter Beverly Wang take turns hosting Victoria on Film every second Saturday starting September 26. Over the course of those weeks, Jacobson and Wang will be chatting with the stars from films like Romulus, My Father, Ride Like a Girl, The Dressmaker, Crackerjack, Mary and Max and Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears.

Euphoria HBO Binge
Photograph: HBO/Binge

32. Check out these great new shows on Binge

Film

At this point, you might have scrolled all the way to the bottom of the page on both Netflix and Stan. It’s not your fault – we do have a lot of free time on our hands right now. Binge is Australia’s newest streaming service, coming from the same hands as Foxtel and Foxtel Go. Binge has the added benefit of hosting a huge selection of HBO television shows, which makes it ideal for those keen to catch up on “prestige” television shows like The WireThe Sopranos and Six Feet Under. But what else has Binge got to offer? Here are some of our favourite TV shows currently streaming on Binge.

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Classic Cinemas merchandise mask and T-shirt
Photograph: Classic Cinemas

33. Get some merch from your fave Melbourne cinemas

News Film

Cinemas are among the many industries doing it very tough right now, but some of our favourites have just released some very cool merch, which you can buy to support them during this time (and look stylish AF while doing it). 

Bia Hoi at Home
Photograph: Supplied

34. Order some home-style Vietnamese delivery

News Restaurants

We all crave a bit of comfort food in times of strife. And for esteemed Annam and Bia Hoi chef, Jerry Mai, that means her mother’s home-style Vietnamese cooking. Fortunately for us, she’s sharing the love with the newly launched Bia Hoi at Home meal delivery. Although Mai is best known for her modern take on Vietnamese cuisine, the dishes in these kits are more traditional fare: canh chua cá (a tangy, tamarind-laced soup), thit kho trung cut (braised pork with quail eggs), beef bo kho (a hearty beef and root vegetable stew), and steaming bowls of good old-fashioned pho.

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Baby otters at Melbourne Zoo
Photograph: Melbourne Zoo

35. Watch Melbourne Zoo's adorable otter livestream

News Weird & Wonderful

Melbourne Zoo has launched a livestream of its family of Asian small-clawed otters, and well, you're just going to have to watch it for the rest of time. Otter parents Paula (aged ten) and Odie (aged three) had a litter of four pups in February, and although it will be a little while before you can visit the zoo, you can check in on the tiny critters with the 24-hour livestream. The webcam captures their sleeping quarters, so you can watch them snoozing in a giant otter cuddle pile, which is just as adorable as you think it is.

Virtual Yarra Valley wine tour
Photograph: Yarra Ranges Tourism

36. Go on a virtual tour of the Yarra Valley (yes, with wine)

News Bars & Pubs

A trip to our favourite wine region, the Yarra Valley, is off the cards for a while as Melbourne endures Lockdown 2: Lock Harder. The Yarra Valley is itself under lockdown orders, but that doesn't mean your trip is completely off.  Six Yarra Valley wineries have banded together to create a virtual trip down the Melba, allowing you to try six lesser-known varietals, explore the region and sample some of the wineries' rib-sticking meals, all without leaving your own home.

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Phillip Island Nature Park
Photograph: Visit Victoria

37. Watch Phillip Island's penguin parade at home

News Weird & Wonderful

It’s a rite of passage for most visitors to Melbourne – make the two-hour drive down to Phillip Island and see Australia’s largest colony of friendly, frolicking fairy penguins. For obvious reasons, we can’t visit those adorable penguins right now – but lucky for us, Phillip Island Nature Parks is making sure we can see those scurrying little creatures from home.

Pizza slices at Slice Shop
Photograph: Melanie Desa

38. Order takeaway from these Melbourne restaurants

Restaurants

The government has announced closures of restaurants and bars in metropolitan Melbourne, but takeaway and delivery services are still available. This is a list of restaurants and bars still able to offer you food from their menus, rescue packs and even produce boxes that can get you through these tough times.

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Boda Hair Boutique at home colouring kit
Photograph: Supplied

39. Try one of these online classes or workshops

Things to do Classes and workshops

Always dreamed of learning another language? Have a lot of hoarded wine and want to start boozily slapping pigments on a canvas in a Zoom class full of other tiddly painters? Well, you've certainly come to the right place. Now is as good a time as any to upskill (or sit on your butt and watch an online tutorial without moving a muscle, no one's judging) and luckily for us, many Melbourne institutions have opened their virtual doors to help us out.

'Wilsons Promontory 1' Amanda Krantz
Photograph: Amanda Krantz

40. Check out the Other Art Fair

Art Photography Your Place, Melbourne

The Other Art Fair, presented by one of the world's leading online galleries, Saatchi Art, allows the average person to purchase their own masterpiece direct from the artist. Usually the event takes place in person, but like most exhibitions and art fairs in 2020, the event has moved online.

 

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Good Day People gift pack
Photograph: Supplied

41. Send a gift package to someone (or yourself!)

Shopping

Sometimes you just want to do something nice for someone else. In a time when things are so up and down, getting a little surprise in the mail can mean the world to someone else. Whether there’s a birthday on the horizon or maybe you’ve noticed a friend has been feeling a little down, one of the below packages might be just the pick-me-up they need. And hey, there’s no one saying you can’t send one to yourself, too!

Gary Bigeni face masks
Photograph: Supplied

42. Purchase a face mask from these local creatives

News Style & Shoppng

For people living under stage three restrictions right now, it’s now mandatory that you wear a face mask when you leave your home for one of the four permissible reasons. You do not have to be wearing a hospital-grade face mask to leave home; residents can wear reusable cloth masks, a homemade face mask or a face covering (such as a scarf or bandana). So where can you get a mask in Melbourne? Many Melbourne retail stores and creatives have started selling their own.

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'Ngurlu manu pirdijirri Jukurrpa' (Seeds and seed cake Dreaming), Unknown artist1986
Photograph: National Gallery of Victoria

43. Explore 60,000 years of Indigenous culture virtually

News Art

Australia’s Indigenous nations are the oldest living cultures in the world, with at least 60,000 years worth of history, knowledge and art underpinning them. But while the symbols and stories of Indigenous communities are ancient, it has only been in the last 50 years that they have been shared as art. The NGV’s Marking Time exhibition examines the iconography of Indigenous nations from across Australia, and how these markings have endured and evolved through time. The best part? You can view it extensively online right now.

The Melbourne Box
Photograph: Supplied

44. Order a Melbourne Box that's filled with local products

News Style & Shoppng

Usually, we’re all for people getting out and having a rollicking good time in Melbourne. However, that’s proving to be difficult this year, so you’ll have to enjoy the best of the city at home. It’s a task made slightly easier by the fact that you can now get a box of all-Melbourne goodies delivered to your doorstep. Each Melbourne Box contains five products from local makers. You’ll get something to eat, to drink, something for your home, your body and some art. The specific items are randomly selected, although you do get to choose between tea or coffee because some divides are too deep to cross.

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Time In: The best things to do at home

Things to do

We've collected the best ways for you to experience Melbourne while staying at home here into this hub, so you can stay sane, comfortable, fed, watered and entertained at home – while helping small business owners, hospitality workers and creative people who desperately need your business.

Read more about the current situation

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