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
For those looking to turn their self-isolation into self-improvement, the NGV has launched online drawing classes to turn you into Australia’s next top draughtsman. The gallery has taken its existing Drop-by Drawing program and upgraded it for online. The four-part virtual series will see Victorian artists like Minna Gilligan, Lily Mae Martin and Kenny Pittock showing you how to draw using step-by-step instructions. They’ll also share some of their favourite works from the NGV’s respectable collection. The classes are free to join.
Chocolate is full of powerful antioxidants and helps the release of serotonin. Basically, it's good for you (or so we wish to believe) and there is no better time to enjoy the sweet treat than at Easter. We've put together a list of our favourite local chocolate shops offering pick up or delivery this Easter.
Things are looking up. Well, they are if you temporarily forget what’s going on at ground level and let yourself be distracted by what’s going on over head. The skies are set to be all a-glow this week with the biggest, brightest moon of the year. A super full moon is coming and to make things even lovelier, in the northern hemisphere, it’s known as a pink moon. The evening of Wednesday April 8 at 11pm is when stargazers in Australia will get a glimpse of the super moon.
Some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best and most loved musicals are coming to YouTube for the very first time. Selected musical productions from Lloyd Webber’s impressive catalogue will be streamed on The Show Must Go On YouTube channel for free. Oh yes, you will not have to pay a cent to see and relive some of the composer’s biggest musicals. The online streaming season starts on April 4 with the release of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Next up is the 2012 Tim Minchin-starring arena spectacular production of Jesus Christ Superstar on Saturday, April 11.
Saturday nights on Chapel Street are noticeably quieter than normal at the moment. It takes more than Covid to shut down the party, however, with DJs at nightclub OneSixOne taking the good times online. Every Friday and Saturday night, OneSixOne DJs will be livestreaming sets straight from the club to your house. From 7pm to 11pm, DJs like Zok le Rok, Jay Ramon, Ray Anthony, Jen Tutty and more will hit the decks and stream performances with A-grade sound and lighting to virtually recreate the OneSixOne experience at home.
The next time you go for your once-daily government-approved walk around your neighbourhood, keep an eye out for bears. Teddy bears have started popping up in front windows around Melbourne (and Australia) as a way to bring children a little bit of joy during Covid-19 shutdowns. The game is pretty simple. Anyone can put one or multiple teddies in a window that can be seen from your street, giving local children and their parents the opportunity to go on “bear hunts” around the neighbourhood.
If your self-isolation diet has been less than impressive then we are here to help. And so is Melbourne Thai restaurant BangPop. The South Wharf venue is running online Thai cooking classes to help feed and entertain you during the shutdowns. BangPop is no stranger to cooking classes, having previously run them IRL out of the restaurant. They’ve adapted these classes for online, using Zoom to remotely teach budding chefs how to cook classic Thai dishes like pad thai and green papaya salad.
Shortly after the first round of shutdowns were announced in mid-March, Pride of our Footscray brought us a livestreamed drag night – a way to celebrate pride inside. Now the bar and its drag queens are hosting good old fashioned drag bingo nights but updated for the age of isolation. Self Bingolation combines all the fun of drag bingo, with all the fun of staying at home and protecting the community from coronavirus. Aurora Arsenic will be your host as you play along at home and enjoy a night of comedy, singing, drag and bingo.
Even though Melbourne Sea Life Aquarium is shut, it doesn’t mean the hard work of its team of aquarists and divers can’t be shared with the people of Melbourne. The aquarium is now running behind the scenes content and Q&As on its Facebook page. On Wednesday April 8 at 10am, the aquarium's regal king penguins and gentoo penguins will be taking centre stage on the ice. Then, on Friday April 10 at 11am it's an Easter egg special with Sea Life team member Brianna chatting about how different species of aquatic animals lay eggs.
Words we previously thought we would never see together: tiger and king; Bondi and closed; exercise and kebab; Black Pearl and delivery. But hey, now we have it. For the first time in 18 years, Black Pearl will personally walk a cocktail to your door for contactless delivery if you're lucky enough to live within four kilometres of the venue. The theme of Black Pearl's isolation cocktail list is all about escape. Think Mojitos on a rainy day, a Piña Colada in a Melbourne winter and an ice-cold Martini for your steaming hot shower.
Phillip Island Nature Parks need your help. The team is currently trying to learn as much as possible about the Australian fur seals that congregate around Phillip Island. The more they learn about the seals, the better they can manage and protect local marine life (including the adorable penguin colonies). So how can you help? You can sign up to be a seal spotter at home! The Seal Spotter program can be done from home – so it’s perfect for us now we’re all isolating in our houses.
Looking to learn something new while you’re at home? Laneway Learning has introduced a bunch of new online classes you can do virtually. There are classes on mindful doodling, journaling, constellation embroidery, macramé, crocheting, burlesque workouts, fermenting, yoga classes and classes on “surviving chairs” and how to argue better. There’s also a class on getting your finances sorted during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
There’s a fair chunk of the population currently sitting at home, twiddling our thumbs and trying to ride out the Covid-19 pandemic as safely and responsibly as possible. If you’re sick of twiddling your thumbs may we suggest turning yourself into a ridiculous Renaissance painting? The AI Gahaku tool takes your face, then transforms it into a ye olde Renaissance portrait, occasionally with terrifying (yet hilarious) results.
San Telmo Group is making the best of a bad situation and has transformed Asado into a pick-up point (yes, there is parking) for its online grocery store, and you guessed it, all those cuts are available for purchase. On top of the high-quality meats you'd expect from San Telmo Group, you will also find some pre-packaged meals, its own chimichurri, jars of dulce de leche, an all-Victorian produce box that contains all the essentials (and even a roll of toilet paper) and imported wine.
The State Library of Victoria’s physical doors may be shut for the time being, but it doesn’t mean you can’t explore the best parts of this mega library online. Everyone now has access to the library’s massive digital collections, which includes thousands of photographs, personal manuscripts, magazines, journals, newspapers, comics, theatre programs and advertisements – even video archives. You can also access more than 19,000 ebooks, music and a huge range of journals and articles.
As we while away the time at home under physical distancing rules, unleashing on a creative project or pouring a glass of Pinot are vices many of us are turning to to pass the time. But, especially if you haven’t picked up a paint brush since a high school art class, a blank canvas sitting before you can be a bit of an overwhelming prospect. Thankfully, local ‘sip and paint’ studios are now offering at-home options so you can have an instructor on hand to guide your creative spark (it’s just up to you to keep your wine glass topped up).
Remember outside? No, me neither. But you can now jog your memory of what it was like to live al fresco in Melbourne while responsibly distancing yourself with this 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of the city. The Melbourne Map is an art print that took over four years and more than 8,000 hours of research, design and illustration to put together. That hand-drawn map has now been turned into a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle that lets you experience life once again on Melbourne’s streets, albeit vicariously.
Covid has really done a number on Melbourne’s arts industry, but the city’s creative folk are finding, well, creative ways to cope with shutdown restrictions. As part of Melbourne Design Week, artist Yan Huang, furniture designer Danielle Storm and Techne Architecture + Interior Design collaborated to create ‘Daydream’ – a pop-up sensory installation that merged nature with human design. Unfortunately, ‘Daydream’ only ran from March 20-22, but anyone who missed it can now explore the work online.
The government has announced closures of restaurants and bars, but takeaway and delivery services are still currently 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. Please be sure to check the social media accounts of your favourite venue to keep up with what they're doing.
ACMI’s regular Melbourne Cinémathèque screenings that were still running at the Capitol Theatre had to be shut down in line with government advice. But the closure wasn’t for long with ACMI launching Virtual Cinémathèque online. The online cinema sessions won’t follow the program for the 2020 Melbourne Cinémathèque season but will still feature double bills that focus on specific actors, directors or themes. The classic and contemporary films showcased are chosen by the Melbourne Cinémathèque as well as ACMI’s Film Department and will feature annotations and introductions wherever possible.
Time Out Melbourne crowned Nick Tesar Bartender of the Year for 2020. Now that Bar Liberty has closed its doors, he's going back to what he's good at: selling incredible food and booze, but now it's available for you to eat at home. Head chef Zac Furst has been working on take-home items you can heat and eat, like braised duck and fennel ragu with slow-roasted haricot beans; shimeji mushroom fettuccine; scalloped potatoes with a burnt lemon cream; and a steamed cider and hazelnut cake.
You might not be able to physically visit museums in Melbourne anymore, but as of today, you can visit them virtually. Today Museums Victoria launched Museum at Home; an initiative that allows you to engage and explore Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks and the Immigration Museum online. The online project will allow guests to go behind the scenes, take virtual tours (hosted by hilarious kidult comedy team the Listies), learn about STEM, experience livestreamed virtual events and watch Q and A sessions hosted by experts.
Due to COVID-19, staying in is really having a moment. To help contain the spread of the virus, most of Melbourne’s cultural institutions have now closed, including the National Gallery of Victoria. But thanks to the magic of the internet, we can inform you dear reader that you can still engage with the NGV virtually from the comfort of your home. The NGV announced today that virtual tours, ebooks, online galleries and children’s activities will soon be available online, in addition to the gallery’s already hefty online collection (it features 75,000 works, 90 per cent of which are available online).
Readings bookshops around Melbourne are staying open (for now) and the team is also offering free delivery to those who don’t feel comfortable going out during this time of social distancing. Readings staff will be making deliveries to inner-city suburbs. The area is based on proximity to Readings stores, which include Carlton, Doncaster, Hawthorn, St Kilda and Malvern. All you need to do is call your nearest Readings store and staff will take your order over the phone.
Practising social distancing right now? Luckily for you, Melbourne’s zoos have decided to live stream their animals so you won’t miss out on a second of all that cute creature fun. Zoos Victoria has set up live streams at some Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo enclosures, including the snow leopard cubs, penguins, lions and giraffes. Fair warning: if you’re supposed to be working, this is highly distracting.
Sure, you could leave the house and do a quick trip to the bottle-o to restock on some beers, but we're just going to take a wild guess and say the selection is exactly the same as last week and the week before that. Yawn. The crew at Carwyn Cellars are putting together a box of 24 craft beer tinnies to help that time in isolation pass by a little bit faster with a selection of hop-driven beers, sours, lagers, darks and other mysterious brews, all from independent Victorian brewers.
Lentil As Anything has been providing tasty, healthy, affordable meals across Melbourne and Sydney for around two decades. The 100 per cent vegan restaurant is famous for offering a pay-as-you-feel system. Put simply, diners pay what they can afford for their meal. Well now you can pay-as-you-feel for Lentil As Anything’s meals and have them delivered to your door. The restaurant’s Thornbury and Newtown venues now let you order online or on the phone, pay-as-you-feel for the meal, and have it delivered to your door.
When pasta and gnocchi-devoted bar Gnoccheria opened in Coburg last year, people were lining up to purchase its 20 different variations of the famous potato dumpling. Now, in the age of physical distancing, Gnoccheria is offering delivery of its wares to those around Melbourne. You’ll be able to choose from a variety of items – precooked gnocchi packs, fresh pasta, lasagnes, pizza bases, sauces, cheeses, salts, olives, olive oil, anchovies, butter, porcini mushrooms, housemade passata and caperberries.
It’s true that kids will watch anything so long as there’s colour and movement, but every parent knows the difference between a show they’d happily let their child watch all day (ah, Bluey! So much warm humour and good parenting!) and one that makes you want to stab your own eyes out with a teething rusk (don't get us started on Thomas the Tank Engine. Just don't). So with that in mind, the parents among the Time Out family did a straw poll and came up with this top ten of the best kids' shows to stream right now.
That's Amore is now delivering beautiful tubs of fresh buffalo ricotta curds, balls of bocconcini, tubs of buffalo mozzarella and flavoured caciotta right to you. You can get those, and other Italian ingredients like fresh pasta, ciabatta, olive oils, ready-to-bake pizzas, lasagnes and other pantry essentials, too. Want a whole porchetta? That's Amore has got you sorted. Ever want to make cannoli in the comfort of your own home? That's Amore has cannoli kits to make your dreams come true. Basically, you can live your best Italian life through this box, without leaving the confines of your home.
While we while away forever indoors, the joy of reading is one tried and tested way to keep your mind and spirit buzzing. A magic portal into other lives and far more exciting places, they can take us far, far away from everyday cares. Though we might not be able to make the most of glorious Melbourne right now, for the time being at least, we can still see her sights and hear her voices by diving headlong into a good book. To that end, we spoke to the teams at some of our favourite independent bookstores and asked them to share their favourite reads about the Victorian capital.
Melbourne animal shelter Second Chance Animal Rescue has had to send all its animals into foster care and stop taking animals, but its volunteers are still bringing a bit of cheer (and some long-distance cuddles) to the community. Every Tuesday and Thursday at 9.30am the shelter is posting videos to its Facebook page of volunteers reading picture books for kids who are now stuck at home. And yes, they will all be accompanied by fur babies, so if you tune in you can entertain the kids and get a glimpse of some of the shelter's former residents.
The story goes that Galah’s co-owner, Stephan Mauer, is best friends with the go-to pasta supplier for some of Melbourne’s biggest events including the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix and also the MCG. Sadly, those events were cancelled and the MCG pretty much shut down to help stop the spread of coronavirus in Melbourne. So what does Mauer do to help his friend and all his excess stock? He employs his casual bar staff at Galah to help deliver 1kg boxes of fresh hand-made pasta to the world.
Burn City Smokers had to ice 1.2 tonnes of meat due to the cancellation of Meatstock Sydney, Meatstock Melbourne, Whisky Wine Fire, Flavour Fest, Fromage a Trois and a whole bunch of weddings. So what are the team going to do? After the introduction of Barbecue to Your Door to help alleviate the stress of cooking for your family over Christmas, BCS are reintroducing it for those staying at home. You choose your meat, they cook it, they deliver it, you heat it (or freeze it) and eat it.
Have you ever bought a six-pack of beer and thought “this is great, but I wish there was less physical contact involved”? In order to continue trading, Moon Dog has pivoted to a contactless drive-through service (as it's still legal for restaurants and bars to operate takeaway services). The Preston and Abbotsford Moon Dog venues will run a contactless drive-through beer service. You’ll also be able to score pub grub at Moon Dog World’s drive-through, and pizzas at the OG Moon Dog in Abbotsford.
Like many other Melbourne restaurants, Windsor’s Lover has thought outside the box during this COVID-19 pandemic to keep the venue afloat. While it remains possible to do so, Lover is offering delivery and drive-through options for some of its menu items. There’s croquettes, oysters, pizza pockets and more, but what we’re most excited about is the gnocchi. Lover is offering six different types of gnocchi including a lamb ragu gnocchi, blue cheese gnocchi, pumpkin gnocchi and a “Nonna style” meatball gnocchi. You can order your gnocchi online or over the phone.
The contemporary Collingwood restaurant Ides has come up with a contemporary solution to a contemporary problem. Sadly, due to its intimate, multi-coursed dining structure that requires many hands to deliver a meal, Ides is temporarily closed. The crew sat around the table on one of their last night and put together a hand-written zine inspired by the underground hand-made punk zines of yesteryear. Inside the Ides zine, you'll find recipes you can replicate at home like stock, sourdough, Chinese bolognese, cocktail recipes and more by every staff member from Ides.