Wondering what to do in Melbourne in November? We can help. Check out our guide to all the fun things to do in Melbourne, including free attractions, art exhibitions, theatre shows, activities for kids and so much more. Plus, if it's a rainy day, consult our guide to Melbourne's best indoor activities instead.
Best things to do in Melbourne in November
Oh buoy! The team behind massive outdoor eatery and beer garden Arbory Bar and Eatery have brought back their famed floating bar and restaurant Arbory Afloat for the 2019/20 season. The giant floating pontoon has once again moored itself alongside Arbory’s permanent fixture beside platform 13 of Flinders Street Station. This year the bar will be taking inspiration from Miami in the '70s, with a pastel blue and pink colour palette and palm trees aplenty. The upper deck has been extended so there will be plenty of room to kick back, grab a drink and celebrate in your own private cabana. Probably the most exciting part is the introduction of Arbory Afloat's own pool, which will be located on the upper deck level. Don't forget your bathers! As well as boasting 360-degree views of the Yarra River and the CBD skyline, Arbory Afloat has an extensive cocktail list (think fruit-driven cocktails served over ice for those hotter-than-hot days) and a Mediterranean-inspired wine list. Hungry? You can dig into American-inspired wood-fired pizzas like the New Jersey pepperoni, the cheesy Chicago and the Boss, with provolone, pork sausage and barbecue sauce. There are also Miami-inspired sandwiches and a seafood bar with oysters, ceviche, kingfish tiradito and build-it-yourself fish tacos. For the second year running the live entertainment aboard Arbory Afloat has been curated by Sky Lab and will feature some of the country's buzziest DJs, who will be soundtracking your balmy eveni
Even if you don't know his name, you're almost certainly familiar with Brian Donnelly's (aka KAWS) larger-than-life sculptures and paintings. Kaws take icons from cartoons and pop culture and reimagines them in vulnerable and unexpected situations. His signature? Their hands are marked with sharp crosses. For several decades, KAWS has been one of the world's most prolific contemporary artists and his work is equally in demand with major modern art galleries as it is with brands and pop artists. He's collaborated with MTV (and redesigned their Moonman in his signature style), Nike and Uniqlo, designed album covers for Kanye West and Towa Tei, and crashed New York's Museum of Modern Art's website when they sold a limited edition KAWS action figure. This new exhibition at the NGV (which is running at the same time as the gallery's Basquiat and Haring blockbuster) features paintings, sculptures, graphic design and product design, covering the full spectrum of his creative output. Central to the exhibition is a monumental sculpture, which is his largest work in bronze so far. And which characters should you expect to see? Well, definitely his take on Mickey Mouse, probably The Simpsons (or 'Kimpsons' in the world of KAWS) and maybe even Spongebob. Bringing your youngsters to the exhibition? Check out KAWS: Playtime, a brilliant interactive experience designed just for children.
The first rule of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is that you don’t talk about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Safeguarding spoilers is an expected responsibility for anyone who attends the Potter-verse’s first on-stage outing. There’s even a hashtag: #KeepTheSecrets. But in truth (as far as theatre critique is concerned, at least), JK Rowling needn’t have worried. This marathon, five-hour spectacle has a plot so dense and sprawling, so wonderfully, unashamedly elaborate, it would take many thousands of words more than any theatre review to even scratch the surface. While we may have been sworn to secrecy about Cursed Child’s plot, we can reveal that the hype – and rarely has a piece of theatre ever generated such fever-pitched buzz – is entirely deserved. And not just because of the quality of the production. The masterminds behind the show – led by Rowling, playwright Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany – have not merely set out to put on a play, but rather craft a rich and detailed immersive experience. To this end, Melbourne’s Princess Theatre has undergone a top to bottom $6.5 million makeover, transforming its interiors to match a Hogwartsian, Potterfied aesthetic. If this sounds like an unnecessary extravagance, it’s probably an indication this play isn’t for you. The success of Cursed Child, which has smashed box office records on Broadway and the
Here's a guaranteed way to not cure your fear of flying: step inside a plane cabin recreated inside a 40-foot shipping container, don a pair of high quality binaural headphones, and plunge headfirst into complete darkness. Flight is the latest immersive sound experience from Melbourne company Realscape Productions, the team behind the brilliantly scary Séance, which has had two successful runs in Melbourne. That experience was legitimately terrifying, conjuring up nefarious spirits inside a shipping container using nothing but cutting edge 3D sound design and some lowkey seat vibrations. We don't know exactly what to expect from Flight, and that's part of the fun. What we do know is that the shipping container has been fitted out with seats and overhead baggage bins from a real commercial plane, adding to the authenticity of the experience. All we can really hope for is a safe landing, but judging by our Séance experience, we're not exactly optimistic.
There's nothing quite like a film under the stars in the evening cool of the Botanic Gardens. Settle back with friends and family for a movie this summer at Moonlight Cinema. The al fresco theatre has announced its dates for the 2019-2020 summer season, with films running from Thursday, November 28 until Sunday, March 29. As always, the Moonlight Cinema food truck and bar can supply you with comestibles, but you're welcome to BYO food and drinks too. Those looking to splurge can opt for the gold grass experience where you'll sloth out on bean bag beds with a premium view of the big screen. You won't even have to get up for snacks thanks to waiters who'll happily take your order. Punters can expect a mix of acclaimed Oscar hopefuls, kids' favourites and retro screenings to satisfy the nostalgic urges. The full program to be announced soon.
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. 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 stop for anyone coming from work, or tourists looking to experience the famous markets after dark. The markets have a reputation for multiculturalism so no matter what cuisine you fancy, you're likely to find something that sets your mouth watering. The specific food vendors for summer are still to be announced – watch this space. The Queen Victoria Summer Night Market is on every Wednesd
An epic saga of organized crime in post-war America told through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran, a hustler and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th Century. Spanning decades, the film chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history, the disappearance of legendary union boss Jimmy Hoffa, and offers a monumental journey through the hidden corridors of organized crime: its inner workings, rivalries and connections to mainstream politics.
Drawing inspiration from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory showing at Her Majesty's Theatre, the Westin is bringing a dedicated dessert and cocktail bar to its lobby, named the Wonka Bar, until January 2020. Darren Purchese from Burch and Purchese has teamed up with the kitchen crew at the Westin to create some truly remarkable and over-the-top desserts. Expect the likes of the Black Forest (in dessert form) with an actual chocolate river surrounded by cherries, chocolate sponge, a crunchy biscuit base, chocolate twigs and chocolate mushrooms. Unlike Charlie, you'll be able to purchase your golden ticket in the form of a gold chocolate bar, dark chocolate mousse, smoked vanilla ice cream with a salted caramel cream. For those with an 18+ palate, four candy-inspired cocktails will be available to buy from the Wonka Bar, like the vodka-based Blueberry Gumball, with blue curacao, raspberry balsamic and an ice sphere, garnished with popping candy and Persian fairy floss; or the chocolate lover's Pure Imagination, made with chocolate liqueur and sauce, garnished with actual chocolate. Those with kids can buy into the Children's High Tea at $49, which includes chocolate river cupcakes, golden ticket chocolate bars, an array of savoury finger sandwiches and drinks. For the full-service experience, the Westin is also offering golden ticket packages, which include overnight accommodation, two A-reserve tickets to the musical, a copy of the book and two desserts from the Wonka Bar
Is there anything better than fresh summer fruit? Maybe being able to pick your own straight from the orchards. This summer you’re invited to pick your own cherries at CherryHill Orchards in the Yarra Valley. This picturesque property produces some of the country’s finest cherries, and the CherryHill team are opening their doors to the public this year for picking season. CherryHill Orchards will be open every day throughout cherry season (excluding Christmas Day), which runs from November 30 to January 12. The orchard will be open from 9am until 5pm, with the CherryHill team on hand to show you where and how to pick the best cherries. It’s not all about picking, though. Head down to see live musicians and purchase food from a rotating roster of food trucks. All guests will receive a complimentary Cherish Spritzer on arrival, and you can purchase the cherry ice cream, rosé cider and more Cherish Spritzers (trust us, one is never enough). Entry costs $15 per adult to pick your own fruit, and you'll be charged a small fee per kilo for cherries to take home. All cherries eaten on site are included in the entry price. There are discounts for families, and kids can enter for free on weekdays (otherwise it’s $6 on weekends). Check out the website for more information and to grab your entrance tickets in advance.
When Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins premiered in 1990, George Bush Sr was in power and the Gulf War was underway. Audiences during war time weren’t really ready for a musical about the dark heart of the American dream, and it closed early. In 2004 it was remounted on Broadway and won four Tonys. Its time had come. Come from Away feels like the reverse: a musical that suits its time, is perhaps even flattered a little by it. It’s of course impossible to predict, but it seems unlikely that this show will play quite so well in 15 years. Something about its message, its attitude and its structure relies heavily on the audience’s willingness, even hunger, to receive it. We are living in dark times, and a show like this certainly hits the sweet spot. Does that necessarily make it a great show? Certainly, it tells a warm and reassuring tale about a community who rallies for people it doesn’t know, and in that regard it is a necessary and timely one. On the morning of September 11, 2001 a total of 38 planes carrying 6,579 passengers were diverted to the remote airspace in Newfoundland, near the town of Gander. They didn’t know why, nor even where they were, but they soon learnt just how kind and welcoming the locals could be. Gander (and neighbouring towns) took them all in, almost doubling the local population in a single day; they fed them, clothed them and housed them. They broke the news of the terrorist attacks in New York, and they gave them phones to contact loved ones. And the
Between 1990 and 1999, the number of babies named "Keanu" skyrocketed in the US. It’s no coincidence that these were the crucial ascendant years – beginning with Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure in ’89 and reaching the zenith of A-list Hollywood with the first Matrix movie in ‘99 – of the man, the mystery, the marvel that is, was and ever shall be Keanu Reeves. Whether you fell in love with his stoic, brooding portrayal of Jack Traven in Speed, his stoic, brooding portrayal of Neo in the Matrix trilogy, or perhaps his stoic, brooding portrayal of the anti-hero assassin John Wick, there’s no denying the stoic, brooding appeal of Reeves in whatever role he inhabits. Any Melburnians who are crazy for Keanu can now immerse themselves in an epic celebration of this modern-day matinee idol courtesy of the Lido Cinema in Hawthorn. Every Friday between October 18 and December 13, some of Reeves’ most beloved blockbusters will be getting an airing, including Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, My Own Private Idaho, Point Break, Speed, The Matrix, The Lake House and John Wick. If despotic robot overlords wanted to enslave our bodies by hijacking our minds, well, a Keanu Reeves film fest would be one surefire way to do it. So plug in, sit back, and surrender to the two-month Keanu Reeves-a-thon.
It’s only relatively recently that artists have started embracing virtual reality as a medium, but New York-based visual artist Jess Johnson and New Zealand animator Simon Ward use the technology better than just about anybody in this exhibition of five works that take you into different realms. Some are curiously beautiful and relaxing, while others are a total sensory overload. And as with all virtual reality, the viewer is in complete control. There’s also a physical element to the exhibition, with the entire floor covered by a tesselated pattern relating to the worlds they conjure up in virtual reality. Terminus premiered at the National Gallery of Australia in 2018 and is now embarking on a national tour. Heide Museum of Modern Art is the first stop.
The 5K Foam Fest is set to return Down Under for a foamy summer fun run. Last year’s debut brought in over 30,000 athletes and adventure seekers so you can bet your bottom dollar this year’s will top that with an even bigger schedule. The five-kilometer fun run is made up of 22 exhilarating obstacles including the world’s largest inflatable water slide, bouncy castles, mud pits, cargo climb and 70,000 cubic metres of natural foam. Up to 5,000 participants will descend on each location daily, kicking off on Saturday, November 30 at St Anne’s Vineyard in Myrniong. The event will tour nationally visiting Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide before rounding out in Canberra. For us lucky Melburnians, Victoria will host the event twice when it stops in at Wandin Park Estate in the Yarra Valley from February 15 to 16. This is the perfect summer event to enjoy with your friends or family, with a free kids zone, tasty food and drink vendors, a thirst-quenching beer garden and an on-site DJ spinning tunes to transform the fun run into one big electronic dance party. Get in early to save a buck with early bird ticket specials. Visit the website for more information and to register.
If you’ve visited the cellar door or restaurant at Terindah Estate, you’ll be well acquainted with its exquisite views of Port Phillip Bay. Now you can experience those soul-soothing waterfront views in a whole new light – literally – with the vineyard opening up one of its back paddocks for glamping. Barely five minutes' walk from the carpark are 15 canvas bell tents bookable every night of the week from the first of November until early May. The tents embrace the aesthetic of glamping – inside it’s all comfy soft furnishings, jute rugs and macramé ornaments. Most people will find themselves able to stand inside the tent, which, for tall people, is a bigger luxury than expensive sheets. Photograph: Ferne Millen What really makes glamping at Terindah special is the location. The tents are pitched in a straw-coloured moor, giving you the feeling like you’re roughing it in an Australian adaptation of Wuthering Heights. Once you are set up, follow the dirt track towards the ocean and then turn left when you reach the cliff edge – eventually you’ll find yourself on a tranquil private beach with calm, shallow waters perfect for a dip. We recommend packing your own dinner (be aware no camp stoves or open flames are allowed) or having dinner at Terindah’s restaurant the Shed (which is open for dinner on Saturdays). The Bellarine also boasts a stack of dining options like Merne or the Queenscliff Brewhouse. For an easy breakfast, pre-order a $50 brekkie hamper from Terindah,
Ho ho hooray, the team behind Melbourne’s sweetest experience Sugar Republic are back with a Christmas-themed extravaganza. Christmasland is an all-ages yuletide playground that’s taking over MacRobertson’s Chocolate Factory in Fitzroy this silly season. Just like with Sugar Republic, Christmasland is made up of several themed rooms that you can explore freely. There are ten immersive spaces to explore including Naughty and Niceville, Tinseltown and Candy Cane Lane. And of course, they’re all highly ‘grammable. Guests can explore a gingerbread house, slide into a giant marshmallow pool, hop aboard a sleigh and enjoy a live snowfall session every 30 minutes, among additional experiences. There will be lolly tastings throughout the space and Sugar Republic’s ever-popular, ever-photogenic ball pit is making a Christmas-themed comeback (featuring candy cane inflatables). Christmasland also has plenty of spaces perfect for a family Christmas photo. Ballarat-based illustrator Travis Price has created a number of hand-painted murals to be used as photo backdrops, including a pink Christmas-themed forest and a giant advent calendar. Even Santa himself is going to be there – you’ll find him hanging around the peppermint ball pit and gingerbread house. You can also relax with a milkshake at the Mrs Claus Milkbar at Christmasland’s entrance – even non-visitors are welcome to stop by for a glass. Christmasland is open Sunday, November 10 until Monday, December 23. Tickets are avail
Nicole Kidman starred in the West End premiere of this play by Anna Ziegler about scientist Rosalind Franklin, who played an integral role in the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA but is often overlooked. Nadine Garner will play the role in this Australian premiere production, directed by Pamela Rabe, with a cast rounded out by Gig Clarke, Nicholas Denton, Paul Goddard, Yalin Ozucelik and Dan Spielman. “This play finally celebrates [Franklin] and brings her to the attention of the world,” Melbourne Theatre Company artistic director Brett Sheehy says. “I think it’s a fantastic, heartbreaking, but really important story.”
We love hanging out at a rooftop watering hole, and we love it even more when said hangout includes brunch and bespoke cocktails. Fitzroy’s Provincial Hotel is welcoming the return of the warm weather with open arms by launching a new bottomless brunch on its sun-soaked rooftop. And this time around it’ll include a boozy ice-cream cart. Every Saturday and Sunday starting October 19, the Provincial is offering bookings for its glammed-up rooftop brunch. Assemble your mates then settle in for two hours of cocktails and a menu filled with brunch favourites. Choose from a traditional brunch item like the Provincial’s bacon-and-egg burger, chicken and waffles or Northside smashed avo. You can also opt to go more lunch than brunch and order a cheeseburger or a brunch pizza (there’s even a veggo option available). Washing all that down will be three cocktails made with 78 Degrees Sunset Gin. Sip on a Tonic Spritz and Highball, as well as a gin and juice (bottomless Mimosas, house wine and beers are also available). Be sure to save room for dessert, as the Provincial is wheeling out an ice-cream cart with four flavours – vanilla choc chip, Belgian chocolate (both vegan), lemon meringue pie or a boozy strawberry gin rosé. The Provincial’s new bottomless rooftop brunch is available every Saturday and Sunday from October 19. It’ll set you back $60 per person for two hours of revelries and can be booked online.
Screening a bunch of fresh new releases, golden oldies and critically acclaimed alternative films, American Express Openair Cinemas offers movie fanatics much more than the average cinematic experience. From October 9 until November 3, Yarra Park will be taken over by a packed program of live entertainment, dining, music and dog dates. Yes, that’s right, dogs. Proud puppy parents can snuggle up to their own wonder dogs while they settle in for a season of new release flicks, including Downton Abbey (Oct 25 and 27), Ad Astra (Nov 3), It: Chapter 2 (Oct 31), Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Oct 9), Rocketman (Oct 10), Yesterday (Oct 18), Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (Nov 11), Abominable (Nov 2), The Australian Dream (Oct 22) and plenty more. You’re sure to work up an appetite with all the excitement, so grab a slice of something covered in cheese from the Italian masters at Ladro. They're curating a menu for the evening, complemented by beers by Urban Alley Brewery, aperatifs by Pimms and wine from Giesen Wines. Speaking of wine, every Wednesday has officially been coined Wine Wednesdays at American Express Openair Cinemas. Guests can sample Giesen Wines' full range and even purchase bottles at Happy Hour prices. If you have an American Express Card membership, this will be is your golden ticket to the exclusive lounge area at the event. You’ll receive the VIP treatment, complete with a comfortable bean bag chair, blanket, movie snacks and the best view in the hous
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. Yes, the insanely successful, sold-out event is back for 2019. The idea for High Cheese began when Westin executive chef Michael Greenlaw teamed up with Anthony Demia from Maker and Monger to bring a series of cheeses together in both sweet and savoury dishes. Now extended until December 31, High Cheese brings some favourites from last year's menu plus a few new additions to the table. Traditional scones and cream are swapped out for L'amuse Signature Gouda scones served with whipped spiced butter. There's also black truffle, porcini and walnut layered Brie Fermier la Tremblaye; Swiss Gruyere Vieux Gougères with burnt green leek; and Marcel Petite Comté Réservation custard tarts for the savoury section. For the sweeter side, there's poached French pear with stracciatella, fresh honeycomb and smoked roasted macadamia crumble; ruby chocolate parfait with Brillat Savarin Frais and raspberry jam; caramelised salted white chocolate tiramisu; plus ricotta cassata cannoli. The coup de gras (pun intended) is the whole baked Normandy camembert served with lavosh that you can dip right into the cheese, like your very own cheese fondue. Holy cheesus. The Westin's High Cheese is priced at $70 per person and is available every day from 5pm. Guests can also add on a wine pairing which
Petrina Hicks is one of the most instantly recognisable photographers working in Australia today, known for her large-scale, hyperreal works that co-opt the visual language of advertising and traditional portraiture to explore ideas around consumerism and the female experience. Yet, until now there has never been a major survey exhibition of her work. Bleached Gothic brings together more than 40 works from Hicks’s 15-year career, tracing her evolution from commercial photographer to awarded artist. Included in the exhibition are several works featuring albino artist and performer Lauren, whose ethereal appearance is one of the most recognisable features of Hicks’s work, alongside five video works that play with the concept of slow time to create a sense of menace and unease in the viewer.
One of the best ways to learn about Melbourne is on foot, with an experienced guide pointing out nooks and crannies you might otherwise miss and telling entertaining stories about Melbourne's colourful past. But walking and learning are thirsty work, no? Enter Drinking History Tours, which will take you on a tour down laneways, up alleys and through hidden parts of Melbourne or Fitzroy to teach you about the city's hidden gems and secret histories. And most importantly, the tours include stops at three fantastic Melbourne bars along the way. The Melbourne tour takes in Federation Square, the Forum, the MCG, AC/DC Lane, the Old Treasury Building, Chinatown and more. The tour stops at three bars en route, and there are snacks at the second bar and a full dinner at the third. You'll learn fascinating stories about Melbourne's seedy past, including tales of murder, brothels and a centuries-old unsolved mystery. The Fitzroy tour starts at St Patrick's Cathedral and includes the Royal Exhibition Building, the Spanish Club, Brunswick Street, Johnston Street and laneways in between. You'll learn about Fitzroy's seedier side, including the epic battle between Squizzy Taylor and his archrival, as well as fun facts about the suburb's art and music scene. It also stops at three bars along the way: an old Melbourne stalwart, a reinvented hipster hangout and one of Melbourne's best cocktail bars. Founder Ben Oliver has worked as a guide for years, including five years running Melb
It’s pretty common to get caught in the rain while walking around Melbourne. What’s less common is to get caught in the rain while walking around indoors in Melbourne – and even weirder when you realise that the rain is inexplicably falling everywhere except on you. Melbourne is the first city in the southern hemisphere to host ‘Rain Room’, an immersive artwork by London-based collective Random International. ‘Rain Room’ is one of Random International’s most famous works and has previously shown at the Barbican in London, MoMA in New York and at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai. Guests are invited into a darkened room filled with continuous rain. No need to bring an umbrella though because this rain won’t dampen your clothes or spirits. Thanks to motion sensors in the ceiling ‘Rain Room’ detects where visitors are and ensures a dry six-metre radius around guests. The artwork has been brought to Melbourne thanks to a collaboration between the currently closed ACMI and uber-luxe hotel Jackalope. Until January 31, you can experience the installation for yourself at the Jackalope Pavillion, a pop-up space on the corner of Acland and Jackson streets in St Kilda. Tickets are available now.
While the adults are digging into the Wonka Bar at Melbourne’s Westin Hotel, kids can have their own fun. To celebrate Charlie and the Chocolate Factory landing at Her Majesty's Theatre, the Westin Hotel is recreating its kid-friendly high tea with a little Wonka magic. The Wonkariffic Kids High Tea includes three tiers of sweets crafted by the Westin’s Oompa Loompas… er, I mean pastry chefs. There’s everything from chocolate river cupcakes, honeycomb and chocolate mousse, cucumber finger sandwiches, violet and almond gobstopper cookies and even a golden ticket milk chocolate bar. Thirsty? Kids can take choose from Violet Beauregard’s bubblegum milkshake, hot chocolate, juices or soft drink to wash down all the sweets. When partaking in the Wonkariffic High Tea, all kids will receive a limited edition Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book by Roald Dahl to take home. The high tea is aimed at children four to 12-years-old and costs $49 per child.
Polixeni Papapetrou was one of Australia’s leading contemporary photographers before her tragic death last year at the age of just 57. Best known for her images of children, particularly of her daughter Olympia and son Solomon dressed as characters from historical, artistic or imaginary settings, her work was frequently concerned with imagination, storytelling, childhood and issues of identity. Curated in conjunction with Papapetrou’s family, Olympia marks the first major museum retrospective of her work, bringing together never before seen works alongside those from celebrated series, including Phantomwise (2003), MY HEART - still full of her (2018), Eden (2016) and 2014’s Melancholia, which reflects on Papapetrou’s grief upon hearing her second, and ultimately terminal, cancer diagnosis.
Melbourne institution Bimbo (universally called Bimbo's) is celebrating LGBTQI pride each and every Sunday from 3pm. Queer Deluxe is an all-inclusive day to relax, eat, drink, boogie and celebrate queer culture. There are performers, drag queens, DJs and drink specials, including $20 Bloody Mary, Spritz and Margarita cocktail jugs. Bimbo reopened after a devastating fire in May 2019 and has re-cemented its place in Melbourne's north for good times and great eats. And yes, of course, the pizza is still just $4.
This musical from Kander and Ebb (the songwriting team behind Cabaret and Chicago) has never before had a professional mainstage production in Australia. Melbourne Theatre Company's artistic director Brett Sheehy says he’s reversing that “unconscionable neglect” with this new production starring Australia’s own Broadway and West End star (she played the leading role in Chicago on Broadway), Caroline O’Connor. It’s based on Manuel Puig’s 1976 novel set inside a South American prison where two men are sharing a cell. One is a Marxist revolutionary, and the other is a gay window dresser who escapes into a fantasy world of movies starring the fabulous diva Aurora. That’s where O’Connor comes in. The cast also includes Adam Jon Fiorentino, Natalie Gamsu, and Bert LaBonté (The Book of Mormon). Helpmann Award-winner and musical theatre dynamo Dean Bryant directs.
Imagine chocolate desserts of all kinds and colours, from Granny Smith apple, white chocolate and frangipane layer cake to 55% bitter chocolate terrine with raspberry croquant. Picture Belgian milk chocolate and Vittoria coffee éclairs with caramel pearls, miniature dark chocolate and hazelnut tarts with gianduja mousse, white chocolate and passionfruit pops, chocolate cannoli filled with coconut, Malibu gel, white chocolate and berry cream, Bailey’s Irish cream pannacotta with coffee crumbs and chocolate spaghetti, and vanilla and white chocolate mousse. Throw in a chocolate fountain with fruit, marshmallows and cake. Now imagine you can eat as many of these treats as you want. You've just imagined the Langham's Chocolate Bar High Tea. The traditional high tea tiered stand comes loaded with savoury goodies such as cucumber sandwiches (crusts cut off, of course) and mini pies. There's even a truffle macaroni and cheese (with bacon crumbs), and of course, there are warm scones with jam and cream. But the real star of the show is the chocolate buffet, a chocolate lover's paradise where every dessert is made of some kind of chocolate, and you can return as many times as you like. Don't be shy – you know you want to return over and over. The high tea is $84 and includes a glass of sparkling wine. And unlimited chocolate treats – did we mention that part?
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).
His name might not be as well known as some of his contemporaries, but Roger Kemp was one of Australia’s greatest abstractionists. Best known for his large-scale tapestries that hang in the great hall of the National Gallery of Victoria, during his lifetime Kemp eschewed figurative and landscape art in favour of a more metaphysical approach that sought to “make visible the invisible”. Now the National Gallery of Victoria will host the first major retrospective exhibition of Kemp’s work since his death in 1987. Developed in conjunction with the artist’s estate, the exhibition includes several works that have never been shown publicly before, and traces Kemp’s evolution as an artist, from his early Cezanne-inspired sketches to the geometric, stained glass-like paintings by which he made his name.
Did you know that it’s been 50 years since the beloved children’s television show Sesame Street premiered? To celebrate this huge achievement, Melbourne Central will be putting on a free exhibition in the space next to the Shot Tower. The exhibition has been curated by creative director and curator Eddie Zammit, who asked 50 local and international artists to put their spin on some of the most popular Sesame Street characters. You’ll be able to see the likes of Big Bird, Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, Bert and Ernie and heaps more. The exhibition is free to attend.
Now I don’t know about you, but I would personally like to be well-informed when aliens invade earth and claim their place as our overlords. In this regard, the Planetarium at Scienceworks might be able to help. This season, the Planetarium will be offering guests the chance to explore the cosmos with a series of after-hours and adults-only film screenings on the huge planetarium dome. Every Friday night those over 18 can explore everything from black holes to fluorescent coral. You won’t go spacing out with these shows, either, as they’re loaded with amazing visuals and stellar content. Each night features two screenings, one at 7.30pm and the other at 9pm, with films varying from month to month. Some of the films being screened include Europe to the Stars, Chaos and Order, Ticket to the Universe and Capcom GO! Don't miss December's screening of Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon where you'll be able to listen to the entirety of Pink Floyd's seminal 1973 album while colourful, psychedelic visuals are projected over the full dome. Plus the bar will be open if you fancy a drink with your trip into space. Planetarium Nights are on every Friday until December 27.
Visiting South Australia’s Flinders Ranges last year, Mexico-born, Berlin-based artist Mariana Castillo Deball was fascinated by what she saw. Known as the Ediacara Hills, the area is famous for a group of fossils so significant that they spawned their own geological age, the Ediacaran Period, some 635 to 542 million years ago. Drawing on her knowledge of anthropology, archeology and paleontology, Castillo Deball used ink rubbings to capture impressions of the fossils she found there, which in turn became the foundation for her new exhibition, Replaying Life’s Tape. Incorporating immersive textile dioramas, linocut-silicone prints, drawings, photographs and fossil casts, the exhibition casts a light on a part of history so distant it is impossible to imagine. It’s the first time the artist has exhibited in Australia.
Here’s a question: What can’t you find at the Camberwell Markets? This would have to undoubtedly be Melbourne’s biggest marketplace for pre-loved wares, with 370 stalls in total. From the most delicate string of vintage pearls to hardwood furniture, you and your home can get a reasonably cheap makeover from one Sunday morning's worth of rummaging. The layout of the markets does not divide stallholders by what they are selling, which encourages you to explore every nook and cranny of the outdoor marketplace. You may not think you need silver-sequinned glam rock boots, but just wait until you're trying them on, piping hot jam doughnut in the other hand.
This annual exhibition, now in its 29th year, offers a ‘snapshot’ of Australia’s artscape by dint of its open door policy: the only rule for entry is that the artist must be Australian, and that the work must be 8 by 10 inches. Add a $5,000 main prize, and a suite of smaller awards (including People’s Choice), and you have a perfect storm for a consistently dynamic range of styles and calibres.
Iranian-born, New York-based artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat has been exploring the relationship between women, identity and Islam for more than 20 years. In Dreamers, her trilogy of black and white video installations, Neshat examines the world of the subconscious from the perspective of three women. In the first installation, 'Illusions and Mirrors' (2013), actress Natalie Portman encounters her doppelgänger while exploring the shadowy rooms of a ruined mansion, while the second, 'Roja' (2016), traces an Iranian woman’s attempts to connect with American culture. The third, 'Sarah' (2016), sees the protagonist in a dreamlike forest filled with processions of religious and military figures. “Shirin Neshat is renowned for her films depicting women grappling with identity and society,” says NGV director Tony Ellwood. “The Dreamers is an important trilogy, bringing together three works that are both topical and timeless in their exploration of the female experience.”
Carlton Farmers' Market opened in 2014, much to the delight of locals searching for a way to get closer to the source of their food. Farmers' Markets offer shoppers the unique opportunity to put faces to names of their favourite local producers, and to take home a basket of tasty, ethically grown groceries. Head over to the Carlton Primary School and you'll find stall holders offering everything from freshly baked bread from Flinders Sourdough to eggs from The Old Farm Happy Valley in Flowerdale. While you're there, why not grab a bag of juicy cherries from CherryHill, or a glass of fresh juice from The Orange Lady? Of course, no Melbourne market would be complete without barista coffee. We're gearing up for a latte from Bean Rollin'. Yes, it’s a classic 1970s campervan, retrofitted to accommodate baristas brewing top-notch coffees through espresso, press and filter methods. Stewart and his team are a welcome sight at markets and festivals around Melbourne. They use locally roasted beans as well as locally produced chocolate, milk and tea. The Carlton Farmers' Market runs monthly on the first and third Saturday of each month. Visit our full round-up of farmers' markets in Melbourne to discover all the markets occuring in suburbs across the city.
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
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.
Anna Schwartz Gallery celebrates its 35th anniversary this year with a landmark exhibition that brings together work from more than 50 Australian and international artists. Ranging from the late '80s to today. Never the Same River draws on the history of four Australian galleries past and present – the now defunct United Artists and City Galleries in Melbourne, and Anna Schwartz Galleries in Sydney (now closed) and Melbourne – to trace the ways in which artists engage with or against the social and political contexts of the time. Among the 59 artists featured are plenty of big names, including Joel Elenberg, Janet Laurence, Mike Parr, Anne Zahalka, Clement Meadmore, Antony Gormley, Shaun Gladwell and Yinka Shonibare. There will also be a public program of events running alongside the exhibition.
This Covent Garden production, by noted Scottish director David McVicar, is finally coming to Melbourne with Teddy Tahu Rhodes as the devil and Maria Mudryak as Marguerite. The opera is gorgeously tuneful and tells the story of Faust, a man who makes an unlikely deal with the devil. This production is stuffed with stunning, Parisian setpieces. See what else is in Opera Australia's 2019 season.
Venetian glass is known across the world for its vibrant colour, elaborate designs and exquisite craftsmanship, honed over centuries by traditional glassblowers on the Venetian island of Murano. In Liquid Light, the National Gallery of Victoria brings together their extensive collection of glass pieces to explore the development of the Venetian glass tradition, from the Golden Age of the 16th century to the postmodern creations of the Memphis Group. Highlights include a Games of Thrones-worthy 17th century goblet, complete with intertwining dragons coiling around the stem, and a contemporary patchwork vase by renowned Murano glass artist Fulvio Bianconi.
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
Set in the pastoral oasis that is the Collingwood Children's Farm and open the second Saturday of each month, this gourmand's paradise offers a fleeting taste of country life in the heart of Abbotsford. The Collingwood Children's Farmers' Market was dates back to 2002 and was actually the first farmers' market to hit the inner suburbs of Melbourne. Snap up award-winning Victorian seedlings, farm fresh fruit and vegetables and visit the curious (live) goats. Don't forget to pat a chook and a peacock on your way out. The market runs on the second Saturday of every month, with the list of producers released on the Thursday each week. Entry is only $2, which means you can also pat all the cute baby animals on the cheap.
The famous weekly Fed Square book market shut up shop in 2017, much to the despair of Melbourne's bibliophile community. But the closure was only a temporary one, with the free market now open at Queen Victoria Market every Sunday till December 15. Whether you eat, sleep and breathe books or are just curious, the market has over 5,000 new and second-hand titles to browse from. From sci-fi to non-fiction, the Melbourne Book Market has every genre presented by a revolving cast of veteran Melbourne booksellers. Tweed jackets are encouraged, but not compulsory. There will be around 20 pop-up stalls giving bibliophiles plenty of options to spend all their life savings on, including stalls by the founding members of the book market. After deciding on your next bedtime read take some time to stroll around the market and check off your grocery list with the fresh produce or go into one of the cafés and satiate your hunger. For more information on the next market visit the Queen Victoria Market website or the Melbourne Book Market Facebook page.
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!"
If all you sell is raspberries (or olives, or rhubarb, or honey), then you've got to have a pretty strong passion for them. Every third Saturday of the month, enthusiasm for high quality local produce runs like electricity at this Port Melbourne arts space, and your tastebuds will feel it too.Grab a fresh, crusty baguette to go with your market haul salad for later, stock up on seasonal produce and a treat or two for afternoon tea (handmade chocolate biscuits, anyone?).The Gasworks Farmers' Market is plastic free so make sure to bring your reusable bags, baskets and coffee cups.
After more than a decade, this Hawthorn market is less a hub of commerce and more a friendly get-together. Locals have been catching up with guys like Trevor from Red Hill Cheese for years, and before long, you'll spot him chatting over turnips across the reserve. Boroondara is also about spreading the love: their Grub Hub initiative encourages local cafés to order produce direct from the farmers. This market is accredited by the Victorian Farmers Market Association (VFMA) and is open the third and fifth Saturday of each month.
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 $20 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.
Each Saturday and Sunday the Rose Street Market gathers some of Melbourne's most exciting artists and designers to display their wares and talk all things handmade. Weave your way through the crowds and duck into the warehouse to check out the handmade fashion, food and curios for sale. The artists are usually on hand to compare crochet needles and discuss their work, so drop in for a squiz, a chat and a haircut from the resident hairdresser.
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.
The Old Melbourne Gaol closed in 1929, but by then there had already been more than 130 hangings in its 80-odd years of operation. The site housed some of Australia's most notorious criminals as well as prisoners who were unlucky enough to be caught up in the period's punitive justice system. And that means there are plenty of former residents at the gaol who never "moved on". The Old Melbourne Gaol's 'Ghosts? What Ghosts!' tour takes a group of intrepid guests through the gaol after hours. As you walk through the gaol in the semi-darkness you'll be told about some of the most spooky sightings that have been witnessed, as well as see photos taken of suspected ghosts. Both staff and visitors at the gaol have had unusual things happen to them within the prison walls, and anyone who values their life should stay away from cell 17 – the gaol's most haunted room. Guests also get roughly ten minutes to explore the gaol with the lights on at the end of the tour. Arrive at 8.15pm for an 8.30pm start.
A trip to the Yarra Valley is always an excellent day out – for everyone except the poor schmuck who draws the short straw and can't partake because they're driving. So why not take a tour to the Yarra Valley, allowing everyone to enjoy the fruits of someone else's labours? Chillout Tours runs small tours of up to 11 people (or up to 25 for privately booked tours), and the bus picks up eager wine tasters in the centre of Melbourne, outside St Paul's Cathedral. The first stop is the world-famous Domaine Chandon winery, owned by Moët and Chandon and purveyors of some of Australia's favourite sparkling wine. The views are stunning at Domaine Chandon, with panoramic vistas over the vines and softly rolling hills, and best enjoyed with a glass of sparkling in hand. Luckily that's just what's on offer at this first stop. A staff member explains four different sparklings (the brut, Cygnet rosé, sparkling pinot shiraz and sweet cuvée riche), and you get a full glass of whichever one of the four you choose. You have a bit of time at Chandon, so if you want to do a full tasting ($12 for about six tastes) or order a second glass, go for it. The second stop is at small winery Soumah, which is an abbreviation for South of the Maroondah Highway. It sells Yarra Valley stalwarts chardonnay and pinot noir, but it also specialises in northern Italian varietals like nebbiolo, brachetto, pinot grigio and savagnin, which the winery has renamed 'Savarro'. After the tasting and a chat with Soum
New York artist KAWS (aka Brian Donnelly) has brought his larger-than-life sculptures and paintings to the NGV this summer for KAWS: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness. Alongside this mega exhibition will be something for the littlest art fans. KAWS: Playtime is a free and immersive exhibition for kids that includes a number of hands-on activities that draw inspiration from KAWS’ work, especially his BFF character which is inspired by popular cartoon characters. The exhibition is on display until April 13 at NGV International and it’s free to attend.
Upcoming drag king and queens get the chance to practise their shows and refine their acts every Thursday night at Melbourne's favourite LGBTQIA+ venue (as voted by Time Out readers), Sircuit. Bio queens, drag queens, trash queens and drag kings all perform, and the event is hosted by famed drag queen Missy La ’Minx. It's a chance for up-and-coming performers to get experience, and for audiences of course it's a night of fantastic drag. The bar offers $5 pints from 7pm until 10pm, and entry is free.
Tokyo Tina is entering Melbourne's overstuffed brunch scene, but it is doing things a little differently. They've launched 'bingo academy' – a rather illustrious title for what is essentially a boozy, Japanese-style brunch with some bingo thrown in. Every Saturday the venue runs bingo brunches complete with Bloody Marys, bottomless Aperol spritzes, bubbly and beer. Feast on Tokyo Tina's sumptuous brunch menu which includes salmon tartare, karaage chicken, steamed snapper and pork belly bao. The bingo itself will be hosted by a bunch of local comedians (including the giggle-inducing Granny Bingo trio, who will give you a new appreciation of the age-old game). Plus you can win prizes like restaurant vouchers, temporary control of the jukebox and bragging rights. Tokyo Tina's bingo academy is on every Saturday from 1-3pm. It's $69 per person for bottomless booze and food or $49 for food only.
Director Elizabeth Banks takes the helm as the next generation of fearless Charlie's Angels take flight. In Banks' bold vision, Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska are working for the mysterious Charles Townsend, whose security and investigative agency has expanded internationally. With the world's smartest, bravest, and most highly trained women all over the globe, there are now teams of Angels guided by multiple Bosleys taking on the toughest jobs everywhere. The screenplay is by Elizabeth Banks from a story by Evan Spiliotopoulos and David Auburn.
More things to do in Melbourne this month
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This November is a great time for theatre-loving Melburnians, with shows in just about every corner of the city; and just about every entertainment box ticked. Melbourne Theatre Company is donning its dance shoes for Kiss of the Spider Woman, while Malthouse is taking on Christmas with the help of cabaret chanteuse Meow Meow. There's plenty of indie theatre happening in our smallest and most daring venues and some international comedy superstars headed our way.
If you're looking for a break from the inner-city grid, there's no better cure than a day trip from Melbourne. The state of Victoria is full of friendly neighbourhood towns, whether you're in the mood for a winery tour, a road trip or a national park to explore.
Borrow your nanna's tartan shopping trolley and venture out to one of Melbourne's best markets for farm-fresh produce, designer homewares, vintage fashions and tasty street food.
If you love food and live in Melbourne, your 'must-try' list of new restaurants, cafés and bars probably takes up your phone's entire storage capacity by now. Luckily, we've put together a curated list of the newest, hottest and coolest restaurants our critics are raving about.
From food to laneways, drinking to ghosts, these tours are the best way to get to know a different side of Melbourne.