Puffing Billy’s Train of Lights
Photograph: Supplied

Things to do in Melbourne in July

July's best events in one place – it's your social emergency saviour for fun things to do during this wintery month

Leah Glynn
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Wondering what to do in Melbourne in July? We can help. Check out our curated guide to all the fun things to do in Melbourne, including exhibitions, theatre productions, winter festivals, light shows and tasty food and drink events.

Wet weather on the horizon? Here are the best things to do in Melbourne when it's raining. Feeling the chill? Here are 23 ways to stay warm in Melbourne this winter.

Melbourne events in July

  • Things to do
  • Belgrave

Choo choo! The Train of Lights is back on the tracks for 2024 and ready to captivate passengers with a magical winter journey through the Dandenong Ranges. Australia’s favourite steam train Puffing Billy will be your conductor for this two-and-a-half-hour round trip that illuminates the natural beauty of the region with thousands of dazzling lights. Departing from Lakeside Station, you’ll be immersed in a spectacle of neon colours as acclaimed lighting specialists Resolution X (White Night, Melbourne Fashion Festival) brighten up the countryside with sparkles, rainbows and hypnotic patterns. The historic train will also be adorned with stunning visual effects, which will light up the trees, tracks and passing towns along the way.  Puffing Billy will chug along the historic narrow-gauge track to Gembrook Station where guests will disembark for a 55-minute stopover. Here, you can warm up by the crackling open firepits with hot chocolate and live acoustic music, and enjoy a sausage sizzle by the Rotary Club of Emerald and District. Make your night even more magical by pre-ordering a Puffing Billy picnic box and blanket including a chef’s selection of cheese, dips, meats, crackers and marinated vegetables.  This enchanting winter journey is only on for three weeks from June 28 to July 12 and seats are limited. Tickets go on sale on May 23, and you can stay updated via the website. Love a good light show? Here's everything glowing and illuminated this month.

  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals

You might think water parks and winter don't mix (especially down here in Victoria). But Geelong's Adventure Park isn't letting a little cold weather stop them from providing Victorians with a good time – in fact, it's given them a little inspiration.  Adventure Park's Winter Glow festival is bringing lights, fire, ice and snow to the amusement park this winter. The festival (which runs from June 22 to July 21) features more than 1000 glowing installations, fire twirling, ice sculptures and 3.3 million lights that will twinkle all around the park along a 2km trail. While real snow might be a rare sight in Geelong, there will be a big snow play zone where kids can make snowmen and snow angels (warm gloves, gumboots and jackets are recommended!).  Eight theme park rides are included in entry to Adventure Park's Winter Glow event, including the Tea Cups, Air Balloon, Crazy Coaster, Wave Swinger, Carousel, Red Baron, Little Buggy and Ferris Wheel (what a way to see the park all lit up). Face painting and marshmallow toasting will be on offer for the kids, while adults can enjoy a spiked hot chocolate, mulled wine or spiced cider. And lots of delicious novelty food items available to dine on, too. Kids will also love Adventure Park's loaded hot chocolates. Picture: decadent loaded hot chocolate drinks with silky liquid milk chocolate topped with fairy floss, chocolate bars, Tim Tams, sprinkles, cream, marshmallows, musk sticks and other sweet goodies. Yum. Winter Glow festival is

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  • Things to do
  • Markets
  • Melbourne

Mark your calendars and grab your warmest winter woolies, Melburnians: Queen Victoria Market's beloved Winter Night Market is back. From June 5 to August 28 you can spend cosy Wednesday evenings enjoying live entertainment, huddling around open fires and feasting on goodies from a selection of global street food stalls, carts, trucks and festival bars. This year, more than 35 traders are lighting up the open-air market sheds across a roaring 13-week season. Expect to see beloved traders from previous years, as well as a number of new and exciting additions. Highlights include piping hot soup served in a bread roll by the Soup Factory, European-style mussels and grilled scallops with hot chippies by Orleans Moules Frites, camembert croquettes by Frencheese, charred corn on the cob and Portuguese tarts by Casa Nata. When you get thirsty, warm yourself up with sips of butter beer, mulled wine and ginger beer. Antagonist Spirits will once again be serving up its spiced Milo, while resident brewers Brick Lane will be pouring its amber nectars. As always, you can expect roving performers, tarot reading, the famous silent disco and a rotating line-up of homegrown talent. After sipping and snacking, be sure to explore dozens of specialty stalls selling one-of-a-kind treaures including jewellery, art, vintage fashion, skincare, books and homewares.  Looking for more things to do? Check out our round-up of the best things happening in Melbourne this week. Plus, these are Melbourne's be

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  • Musicals
  • Melbourne
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

From the story’s origins hundreds of years ago, to its transformation into the classic 1991 Disney film, Beauty and the Beast really is a tale as old as time. In its musical form, the production hasn’t been seen in Melbourne since the ’90s, when Hugh Jackman famously performed as Gaston in his first professional role. Fast forward three decades and we’re once again seeing a Melbourne stage transformed into the provincial town and Baroque castle we know so well. Only this time round, the lavish set design is augmented with cleverly integrated digital screens. It’s just one of several updates that ensure this reimagined production of the beloved fairytale keeps up with the times. From the moment the curtain rises, it’s clear this is a large-scale musical with all the belles, whistles and big bucks. Visual splendour is the MO here – think kaleidoscopic costumes, gasp-inducing illusions and spectacular lighting – and it’s easy to see why this show broke box office records at Brisbane’s QPAC.  However, all that Disney investment would be useless without the gifted cast. Shubshri Kandiah exudes whimsy-with-a-backbone as bookworm Belle, charming us with her sweet songs and sassy moments – though the folks in her provincial town just don’t get it.  Brendan Xavier’s beast is alternately ferocious and boyish. His startled squeals and hair-twirling moments help make Belle’s dramatic change in feelings a touch more believable. Both leads shine in their solo numbers, with Xavier’s ‘If I C

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  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • Narre Warren

Rug up and hit the road for The City of Casey’s Winter Arts Festival which returns for its 22nd iteration. In collaboration with Bunjil Place in Narre Warren, this epic two-month-long celebration will be packed with over 60 events taking over the area from June 14 to July 28.  Highlights of the program include the Hybycozo Deep Thought installation, featuring magical geometric sculptures that will take centre stage at the festival and are free to see from 10am to 10pm between June 28 and July 28. Be among the first to marvel at the spellbinding installation at the Hybycozo Launch Party on Friday, June 28. The celebration is open to all, with a packed line-up of entertainment including an original composition from musician Dave Prideaux, performances from dancers fitted out in post-apocalyptic attire, delicious eats and live music from local artists.   You can also expect a dazzling night of cabaret from local queen of drag, Brenda Bressed, who returns with her sold-out show Queers of Concert on June 22; performances from the street dance community who will come together on June 29 for the South East Area Throwdown; Australia’s best jugglers pushing the boundaries of their craft with Escalate, an hour long show on July 2; and Impro Workshops - In The Spotlight on July 4 where you’ll test out your acting skills through creative play and lots of laughs.  For the youngsters, there are two dance workshops on offer. Drop them off at the Kids Dancehall Workshop for a fun class explo

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  • Things to do
  • Food and drink
  • 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, of course. Yes, the insanely successful event is back at the Westin's Allegro Restaurant for 2024 and we turophiles couldn't be more thrilled. The idea for High Cheese first crystallised a few years ago when the Westin's executive chef at the time, Michael Greenlaw, teamed up with Anthony Demia from Maker and Monger to bring a series of cheeses together in both sweet and savoury dishes. Years later, the much-loved tradition continues. In 2024, the indulgent menu has been curated in collaboration with renowned cheese masters, brother-sister duo The Studd Siblings. Ellie and Sam Studd, both members of the International Guilde des Fromagers and Certified Cheese Professionals, have joined forces with the Westin's current executive chef, Apoorva Kunte, to curate an enticing three-tiered selection of dairy-licious treats. We're listening... Each creation showcases the finest quality cheese from around the world. On the first tier, treat yourself to cloth-aged cheddar and candied apple scones, complemented by whipped organic butter and quince nectar. The second tier enters savoury territory, featuring six tantalising cheese-centric bites served with all the fruit and lavosh accoutrements: a tart of vine-ripened tomato tartare; Sarakatsani tribe-inspired ewe’s milk Galotyri with Congo p

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  • Things to do
  • Classes and workshops
  • Windsor

If your kids have dreamed of running away with the circus, then this is your chance. Melbourne’s eccentric and wonderful National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) has unveiled its circus holiday program dates for 2024. Keep the kids blessedly busy with NICA’s school holidays program, running from July 1 to 12. No matter what their fitness level, they’ll be able to learn fun tricks like juggling, tumbling, plate-spinning, pyramids, unicycling and more. The flexible timetable allows you to come for a couple of hours, a day or the whole week, and a small student/teacher ratio ensures everyone is safe and looked after at all times. It’s the perfect holiday pastime for curious, active kids. The holiday program runs during each of the four school term holidays, so if you're busy this time around, your kids have two more opportunities to run away and join the circus (momentarily, that is). Get your diaries out and pencil in September 23 to October 4 for the next installments of the circus holiday program. For the big kids at heart, here's also the Come & Try Circus Days, which run four times a year before each school term begins. If your New Year’s resolution is to be more daring or learn a new trick, then this is the perfect opportunity to leap into a circus class. You’ll not only have buckets of fun, but can make new friends in a supportive environment, challenge yourself physically, and learn specialised skills under the guidance of trained professionals. Sessions are $25 each. Y

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  • Things to do
  • Classes and workshops
  • Collingwood

When you hear the words ‘naked fashion show’ what springs to mind? Whatever you're thinking, it’s probably not this.  In what is most probably a first for Melbourne, our city is becoming host to an incredibly wholesome, safe and absolutely not creepy at all female-only nude fashion show. Yes, you’ve read that right. At this fashion show, there will be no clothes. (PSA: Only participating women will be involved, there will be no photograph and outside guests are not allowed.) This revolutionary event has come from a super successful run in Sydney, and it's from the same mind behind Strip Her: The Pop Up, a women’s-only strip show that’s all about making the audience the stars of the show (think a totally safe and sensual space, lingerie, and feminine divine good times). Created by former stripper and birth doula Caitlin Erica, Witness Her is her newest offering, and it’s arguably the wildest.  So, how does it work and what happens?  Before you make any judgements, know that this event isn’t about getting suddenly and jarringly nude with no warning. We’re told that this day will involve an intimate group of everyday women coming together in one safe space, and walking together through a specially tailored three-hour body confidence workshop. You’ll start off with gentle activities geared towards getting everyone relaxed with the situation and one another, which will then lead to a gradual shedding of layers of clothing – as well as emotional baggage. After you’ve shaken off you

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  • Drama
  • Melbourne
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

When Red Stitch Actors' Theatre put on Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in late 2023, the gripping play enjoyed a critically acclaimed run. Now, in a historic partnership between Red Stitch, GWB Entertainment and Andrew Henry Presents, the production is returning for a mainstage commercial season at the Comedy Theatre in June and July.   For the first time in Red Stitch's 23 year history, the Melbourne-born theatre company has secured a commercial partnership which will see the production transferred from its 80-seat converted church hall home, to a mainstage theatre. This landmark partnership is reminiscent of arrangements common in major theatre capitals like London and New York, where independent theatre productions often transfer to the mainstage. Time Out reviewed Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? during its initial run last year. Read on for our 2023 review of the production. The Red Stitch Actors' Theatre in St Kilda East – piled with books and boasting a fully stocked bar – sets the stage for a night of emotional warfare in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The space is cosy, which will later prove constricting for bottle throwing and violent throttling, but works to confine Martha (Kat Stewart) and George (David Whiteley) in their suburban marital hell.  Albee’s script endures for its unflinching dissection of a marriage marred by rage anddisillusionment, sharpened with barbed insults and clever repartee. Debuting in 1962, theplay echoes the era’s anxieties

  • Art
  • Street art
  • Docklands

Fans of sneaky street art, rejoice! The acclaimed works of Banksy, the mysterious master of graffiti, are coming to Australia, and you won't even need to scour the city's laneways to see them for yourself. The Art of Banksy: Without Limits is a blockbuster exhibition that will feature murals, sculptures, photos, mapping shows (aka images or animations projected onto irregularly shaped surfaces), installations (including an “infinity room” filled with mirrors) and a simulation of ‘Dismaland Bemusement Park’ (for those who’ve never heard of it, it’s a gritty, dark theme park that was created by Banksy in 2015). It will also include a mix of replicas and originals of some of the artist's most famous works, like 'Rude Copper', 'Flower Thrower' and the instantly recognisable 'Girl with Balloon'. But wait, that's not all: Banky's recent Ukraine murals will be referenced, and there’s even a space that pays homage to the MV Louise Michel, the high-speed boat that Banksy financially keeps afloat in the Mediterranean Sea to rescue refugees. The exhibition began in Brisbane, before heading to Adelaide and Sydney. Soon, the exhibiton will finally reach Melbourne in June 2024, with ticket sales commencing on Thursday, April 18 (you can join the waitlist here for tickets). The exhibition will take place at The Disctrict Docklands, but we're still waiting in suspense of the exact dates to be announced. Will Banksy be in attendance? Is this the moment Banksy's real identity will be revealed

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