Wondering what to do in Melbourne in January? We can help. Check out our guide to all the fun things to do in Melbourne, including mega NGV art exhibitions, summer music festivals, rooftop cinemas and more. Plus there's plenty of free attractions, art exhibitions, theatre shows, activities for kids to get amongst as well.
Things to do in Melbourne in January
Spend your Wednesday nights surrounded by food at the Queen Victoria Market's fantastic Summer Night Market. Expect rows and rows of street food stalls and festival bars as well as art, fashion, homewares and general knick-knack merchandise traders – there are 130 stalls to explore in total. Food stalls will be cooking up delicious snacks all night long, with plenty of wine, beer and cocktails also on the menu. New traders for this season include Portuguese tarts from Casa Nata, chilled chocolate drinks and desserts from Mork Chocolate, African barbecue from Tasty Suya, traditional Filipino cuisine from Kuya's Simply Pinoy and Israeli falafel pita pockets from Falafel Arayes. The highlight of the 2019/2020 summer season will be the Palm Springs Bar, a pop-up watering hole filled with giant pink flamingos, desert plants and fruity perfect-for-summer cocktails. The summery fun continues with a full-sized beach volleyball court popping up within the market. You can play a match with your friends (or complete strangers), watch professional players in action or take part in a volleyball tournament or workshop. To kick off the summer season on Wednesday, November 20 the Queen Victoria Night Market is teaming up with Melbourne Music Week. A stack of musicians are taking over the city stage on Queen Street – on the line-up is Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange, Sunnyside, Memphis LK, Loure, Pjienné and Toni Yotzi. Right in the heart of the city, the markets make a great dinner
Have you ever wanted to be a part of your own Japanese game show? Well, wonder no more, because Tokosan holds pub trivia, Japanese-style, on the first Wednesday of every month, called Ninja Nite Battle. There are no ninjas, so you'll just have to use your imagination. Instead of flexing your brains, Ninja Nite Battles pits teams against each other in eating competitions, sumo wrestling, human curling (we don't know what this is, but we imagine it is ridiculous and awesome), takoyaki mouth catching (yes, that is catching a hot octopus fritter with your mouth) and many more – all performed while under the safe and calming influence of alcohol. Aside from being extremely fun and potentially embarrassing, you get to win prizes along the way, as well as go up for larger prizes like a $100 dinner for two, bar tabs and merchandise. It is free to participate, but you do have to register each month.
His gift is his song, and this one's for you. Elton John is coming to Australia as part of his three-year (!) Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, and he is performing at several wineries as part of A Day on the Green as well as a huge stadium show at Hanging (Crocodile) Rock. The tour is just as epic as you'd expect from Elton John, with more than 300 shows across five continents. You can expect all the hits you know and love from the seasoned performer, including 'Tiny Dancer', 'Sad Songs', 'I'm Still Standing' and maybe even 'Candle in the Wind'. As Saturday night's all right for performing, John's biggest shows in Victoria will be on Saturday, January 25 and Sunday, January 26 at Hanging Rock. Also on the Saturday theme, he's playing AAMI Park on February 22. He's also playing Mt Duneed Estate on December 7 and Rochword Wines on January 31 and February 1. Don't let the sun go down on 2020 without seeing one of pop music's living legends.
What do zoo animals get up to when all the daytime visitors have headed back to their cars? Quite a lot, it turns out, with many African animals most active at dusk. That makes Werribee Open Range Zoo's Sunset Safari the perfect time to see giraffes, rhinoceroses, elands, zebras, scimitar-horned oryxes, hippopotamuses and other incredible African animals. Visitors are divided up into two groups, Kipenzi and Lataba (named after two of the zoo's seven rhinos). There are three activities on the night, but the order changes by group. Everyone gets a welcome drink on arrival, after which the groups go their separate ways. One part of the night is an African drumming and dancing performance, which includes a workshop on how to do some of the simpler moves. A second part is an African feast, where visitors can enjoy tagine, couscous, salads and other delights, all topped off with a chocolate fountain, into which you can dip marshmallows, strawberries and meringue pieces. The best part, and the reason for the event, is the safari itself. Visitors pile onto the safari buses and travel out to the 45-hectare open savannah section of the zoo. Sunset is the best time to see the magnificent creatures who live here, and safari guests will get to see all kinds of cool African wildlife at their most active. The luckiest group goes out at the same time as the truck that delivers their food, which is sure to bring the animals running from all corners of the savannah. Proceeds from the ni
You might remember Razzmatazz as the party people responsible for some raging nights out at the Exford and the since-closed Ding Dong Lounge. But you can't stop indie music and Razzmatazz is back in action after a hiatus. Razzmatazz Indie Disco runs on the first Friday of every month at its new home, Globe Alley. Resident DJs Caity and Ted are back too, spinning the indie classics from every era. Expect bangers spanning Bowie, Blur, Oasis, the Arctic Monkeys, the Cure and Chvrches. Better still, the newly reincarnated Razzmatazz night is free to enter. That's more dosh to spend on Globe Alley's drink specials (or their jalepeño poppers).
In 2017, Melbourne suffered a mighty blow. Dracula’s, arguably Melbourne’s premiere theatre restaurant and cabaret venue, closed its glittery doors after 37 wild years of G-strings, pasties and ghost train rides. Luckily, Melbourne’s other two theatre restaurants were available to fill that void: Witches and Britches and Williamstown’s Titanic Theatre Restaurant. But in 2019 something new came along to add to the list. Say hello to the Gaol Experience, a dinner and show experience. As you might have guessed, it takes place in the Old Melbourne Gaol and dredges up the site’s 174-year history for a show that combines burlesque, sideshow and comedy. Guests are served a two-course dinner in the original cell block of the City Watch House, which is the place where felons were brought to face justice when the jail was in operation. Fancy taking things up a notch? VIP guests can serve more time, kicking back cocktails in old jail cells as the evening goes on. The show itself includes the talents of a team of inmates (also known as cabaret performers Queen of the Damned) and includes lots of classic songs – think anything from Tina Arena and Queen to Wolfmother and Beyoncé. And because it’s burlesque, you should expect some risqué scenes – these inmates were charged with indecent exposure, after all. The show takes over four areas of the old jail and includes anything from laser beams to wanted photos and even a flash mob. Tickets start at $75, and you can organise special hen
We’re seeing a lot of orchestral movie events of late, but this one might just be the most… epic. In late January, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is performing the score to Stanley Kubrick’s ground-breaking 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey for one night only. The original score will be recreated under the guidance of MSO conductor Benjamin Northey. The full orchestra will be accompanied by the MSO Chorus, who will perform pieces from the original classical soundtrack, like ‘On the Beautiful Blue Danube’ by Johann Strauss, ‘Atmosphères’ by György Ligeti and ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ by Richard Strauss. Granted, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a little dated, but it remains as intelligent and provocative as ever, kick-starting years of conceptual dreaming. Plus, as Time Out London put it, Douglas Rain’s clammy voice work as Hal 9000, the murderous machine, “remains one of Kubrick’s snazziest pieces of direction”. The MSO's 2001: A Space Odyssey in Concert will be performed at the Plenary at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, January 25 at 7pm.
Fact: it is physically impossible to hear ‘Weapon of Choice’ without starting to dance like Christopher Walken. Melburnians will have the opportunity to do that (as well as enjoy other A-grade bangers) when Fatboy Slim comes to the city this summer. The British DJ, credited for helping make the big beat genre popular in the mainstream, is coming to Melbourne for a hot summer show this January at Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Fatboy Slim (real name Quentin Cook) rose to fame in the 1990s with hits like ‘Praise You’, ‘Right Here, Right Now’, ‘Rockafeller Skank’ and ‘Weapon of Choice’. His Australian tour is part of his massive string of global dates, which just happen to also coincide with 20 years since releasing ‘Right Here, Right Now’. All of Fatboy Slim’s Aussie shows will be supported by Belgian group 2manydjs (who you might also know as Soulwax). Presale tickets start Thursday, October 3 with general sales kicking off Thursday, October 10.
What would you do if you found out your dad wrote a porno? Would you ignore its very existence? Would you bring it up with him? Or would you, say, create a podcast with two of your friends and read out chapters to the wider world? Let’s just say, Jamie Morton made the right decision. The My Dad Wrote A Porno podcast is like a filthy book club, where listeners get a section of the devilishly funny Belinda Blinked erotic novel dissected by the author’s incredulous son and his friends James Cooper and Alice Levine. Jamie’s 60-something father (who – no joke – penned the book under the moniker Rocky Flintstone) was sincere in his approach to later-in-life self-publication, but the resulting novel is a trainwreck of clumsy and weird descriptions of sexual situations, with a vague plotline about the goings-on in the super sexy world of pots and pans sales. Basically, it’s a disaster – but a disaster filled with spit-take worthy prose. Launching in 2015 with readings from Rocky Flintstone's literature, the series has been a runaway success, boasting 160 million downloads worldwide, massive live shows and even an HBO special. Jamie, Alice and James were last in Australia in 2017 with a sold-out tour, and are returning with a brand new show in early 2020. We're the first stop on their world tour, and we're pretty honoured to be the first to find out what's been happening in Belinda Blumenthal's world. They've announced just one Melbourne show so far, on January 15, but given th
You may know Louis Theroux best in his scraggly, lanky form from his Weird Weekends series which kicked off in the late ’90s, or you might be more familiar with his recent investigations into subjects like scientology, sexual assault and current worrying trends in the US. But either way, you’ve probably been won-over by the Britsh documentary maker’s disarming journalistic style. Theroux has long been employing the technique of reaching marginalised, radical, unusual or aggressive interview subjects by being unabashedly honest and just gosh darn friendly (albeit with clear intentions to uncover an intriguing story). He investigates the taboo, often putting himself in awkward and dangerous situations. Remember his bit-part in a porno in 1998 or when he underwent liposuction in Under the Knife (2007)? If his last sell-out Australian tour is anything to go by, we can make an informed assumption that he’ll be as charismatic in person as he is on screen. Theroux will bring more than 25 years of journalistic practice to this massive 2020 Australian and New Zealand tour, stopping off at the Plenary in Melbourne for two shows on Sunday, January 19. RocKwiz host Julia Zemiro will be chatting with Theroux about his epic career, so it could really go in any direction: we could be in for a discussion about neo-Nazis, aggressive religious fundamentalists, porn stars, people with autism or transgender kids. You can also expect Theroux to dish about his most famous encounters, behind-the
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