Wondering what to do in Melbourne in April? We can help. Check out our guide to all the fun things to do in Melbourne, from free events to exhibitions, theatre shows, live music and lots and lots of comedy. Plus there's plenty of free attractions, art exhibitions, theatre shows, activities for kids to get amongst as well.
The best things to do in Melbourne in April
Melbourne is growing and developing at a rapid pace, but how much do you really know about it? Now you can learn about some of the state’s most influential people, events and icons. Velvet, Iron, Ashes is an exhibition located in the State Library's newly refurbished Victoria Gallery. The exhibition will showcase more than 200 items from the Library's own collection plus additions from other major institutions and private collections. It gives visitors an opportunity to learn some illustrious stories about Ned Kelly, the Ashes Urn, Yalloum Power Station and even Nappie Wash. Visitors can learn how fairy floss is linked to fancy dress, how the Freddo Frog is tied to one of the greatest air races in history, and what the Ashes Urn and Ned Kelly’s armour have in common. A retro-style Map-o-matic device allows visitors to print out a map, opening up a world of storytelling to a new generation of Victorians. The exhibition is open to all ages and runs from October 24, 2019, until July 12, 2020. It is free to attend. The Ashes Urn is exclusively loaned from Marylebone Cricket Club in London and will be displayed from November 2019 until February 2020, so don’t miss out on seeing it in the flesh.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be like Alice and eat something to become huge, or drink something to become tiny? What would the world look like to a giant? What does it look like to a cat? You can find out at Melbourne Museum's Mini Mega Model Museum, which plays with scale in more than 300 objects displayed in tiny and oversized galleries. There are model specimens to examine in the Zoomological Laboratory, hyper-realistic wax food in the life-sized cafeteria to play with and a fully furnished mini-mansion to pore over. The mini-mansion took more than 40 years to create, and museum visitors could spend hours appreciating every tiny detail. Kids can learn about model making and try their hand during the Mini Mega Makers Workshop. And for some very large-scale critters, have a stroll through the museum's Dinosaur Walk.
Most of us know him from his lovable antics as a team captain on Spicks and Specks, but did you know Alan Brough is also an acclaimed children’s author? Better yet, he is starring in the live musical adaption of his ridiculous debut book Charlie and the War Against the Grannies. The story follows constantly anxious 12-year-old Charlie Duncan, who only ever wanted a simple paper round, but instead ends up uncovering a league of evil grannies and he must go to war with them to save the fate of the world. The live adaption is a rampaging musical comedy featuring shadow puppetry, live music and three really stinky farts. Brough teamed up with musician/composer Kit Warhurst (Rocket Science) and director/co-writer Sarah Kriegler (Lemony S Puppet Theatre) to create this large scale production. Charlie and the War Against the Grannies is the first large-scale work to be commissioned by Arts Centre Melbourne as part of the Families and Children program. The show will run from March 28 to April 5, 2020, at the Arts Centre Melbourne Playhouse and is recommended for children from five years and up. You can check showtimes and book on the website.
Located in a laneway off Errol Street, Voltaire is an intimate theatre space perfectly suited to hosting a stand-up comedy night. This weekly comedy night in North Melbourne showcases the city's newest stand-up stars. The first level venue opens to a cosy seated space with a corner bar, usually manned by the lovely owner himself. Want a second, even cosier experience? Try the bathrooms. You access them by climbing a narrow staircase to a fourth level; make your childhood treehouse dreams come true. You don’t need to buy a ticket to this show, however, you can reserve a seat online, which we strongly recommend you do, as the gig is a popular Sunday attraction and there is little standing space at this one.
How many ghosts? Half a dozen are mentioned by name or description. Scariest ghost? The ghosts here are mostly harmless, with a child ghost most often experienced. The child ghost is most often playful, squeezing hands and toying with clothing or cameras. What’s the worst that could happen? These ghosts are mostly in a pretty calm frame of mind, so visitors are not likely to be very upset. Occasionally someone will get freaked out by an apparition, but it's all pretty benign. Sometimes women report feeling unwelcome in one room of the house, which was the bedroom of lifelong bachelor Thomas Chirnside. Point Cook Homestead was the original home of the Chirnside family, who later built Werribee Mansion. Thomas and Andrew Chirnside made their fortune in Australia, and Thomas then sent Andrew back to England to bring back his betrothed, Mary. Andrew did bring Mary back – but he had married her himself. Thomas never married and lived out most of the rest of his days at Point Cook, while Andrew and Mary moved to the much more opulent Werribee Mansion. Thomas's spirit is said to remain at Point Cook, even though he died at Werribee, which might explain why women feel unwelcome in his bedroom. That's one of the many stories visitors learn on this tour, which takes in the stables, main house and some of the grounds of historic Point Cook Homestead. It's a fun way to learn a bit of history, though on the night we visited, there was no paranormal activity to be seen.
This is the only comedy night worth visiting in the city on a Saturday night. It’s the weekend sister show of Thursday Comedy Club and the quality is on par if not even better. Seen them on the Gala? Well this is where you can see them headlining IRL. Supporting the headliner are some of Australia’s best comedians. The title might have given it away but this room is held in the basement at the European Bier Café. The New York-style underground venue will have you in the mood for laughter in just moments. Bring your friends and make it the perfect start to your Saturday night out.
This is the most exciting new comedy room on the scene. Melbourne has been crying out for a decent Friday night gig for years and this one has answered our prayers (or agnostic demands). With different line-ups every week, showcasing the best stand-ups from Melbourne, interstate and abroad, this is the perfect way to kick off your weekend. The pub has great food and a pool table to keep you occupied from knock off until show time. This gig is a short walk from Chinatown too. It’s worth keeping an eye on the room’s Facebook page as they often offer sneaky promo codes for those who want to book ahead. If you’re happy to pay the full bargain price (these acts are more than worth it) you can grab tickets at the door.
The volunteer-run Veg Out Community Garden's farmers' market, open the first Saturday of each month, overflows with local organic produce, jams and preserves, handmade bread and sundry delights to fill up your basket. This blue-eyed bloke's name is Rod Blake, but his customers know him as Blakey. On any given Veg Out Saturday market, you'll find him swapping stories with a young couple while weighing bendy zucchinis, or talking footy with the 10-year-old son of a long-term customer. "Nearly everything here – kale, capsicum, gem squash – were all picked yesterday," explains Blakey. Along with his wife Meg, Blakey's been growing organic produce at their Grampians farm for over two decades, ever since he parted ways with pesticides ("nasties!"). At 10am, the Bellellen Grampians Organics stall is buzzing over the sound of a busker playing acoustic guitar. Stocks are depleting, but the two never falter in their back-and-forth energy and banter, despite getting up at 1am. "I'm staying in Melbourne tonight because I've got a little party to go to!"
From January 3, Fed Square’s Skyline Terrace is hosting the Summertime Social – an outdoor pop-up featuring a large communal lawn, bookable caravans and plenty of summer-appropriate food and drink. On the rooftop lawn you can have fun with giant games (yes, there will be Jenga) or relax with live music on Sunday afternoons. For a more chilled out group outing, there will be decked out huts and luxe converted caravans to sprawl out in. The caravan booking even comes with food (like ploughman’s platters, pies and potato salad) included. Now to the important information – the drinks. Summertime Social has three cocktails on tap (Aperol Spritz, Passionfruit Caprioska and Miami Iced Tea) all of which are $6 between 4-6pm weekdays. On really hot days you can get around a frozen Margarita, Mango Daiquiri or simply order an Esky containing your choice or four cans of beer or wine. Kids are welcome too, with a dedicated children's menu, family picnic baskets and peanut butter and jelly ice cream sandwiches (those over 18 can also partake in boozy ice cream flavours). Additionally, on weekends, Summertime Social offers bottomless brunches. The square’s rooftop has been getting a work out lately. During winter 2019 it hosted the Winter Village pop-up featuring igloos, mulled wine and even snow. Summertime Social is being run by the same team behind the Winter Village (that is, behemoth hospo group Australian Venue Co) so you can expect a similar level of fun, sans snow. Summertime
One of Melbourne’s largest and most delicious markets is now running tasting tours. Preston Market has launched Saturday morning food tours that curates some of the tastiest products on offer at this northside food hall. The 2.5-hour tour walks guests through the market, introducing them to traders who will talk them through what they have on offer and how best to use their products in their own kitchens. As well as getting to try organic produce, fresh seafood, deli items and Preston Market’s winning paella, guests on the tour will also get to try more unusual foodie finds like crocodile meat (which we’re informed can be cooked easily on a sandwich press if you want to jazz up your sad office lunch). The Flavourhood tours run roughly twice a month, are $30 per person and include a progressive breakfast, coffee, Preston Market eco bag and a $5 market voucher. Tours are limited to ten people per tour and you can book online to secure your place.