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Winter Igloo Garden at Mihi Tavern
Photograph: Supplied

Things to do in Melbourne in November

November's best events in one place – it's your social emergency saviour for fun things to do in Melbourne in November

Adena Maier
Written by
Adena Maier
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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 attractionsart exhibitions and activities for kids to get amongst as well. 

Planning for next month? Here are all of the best things to do in December.

Best things to do in Melbourne in November

  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Melbourne

Is Hamilton, the smash-hit American history musical that won a whopping 11 Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize when it debuted on Broadway in 2015 and won the hearts of critics and audiences the world over, as good as everyone says? In a word, yes. If you want to stop reading here and just book your tickets, we’ll understand. 

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  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Melbourne

Dickens' A Christmas Carol is coming to the Melbourne stage, and the production will feature none other than much-loved Australian actor David Wenham in the role of Scrooge. Set for a pre-Christmas season from November 12 to December 24, the smash hit staging of the timeless holiday story will be playing at the Comedy Theatre.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Melbourne

Following its winter hibernation, Melbourne's OG floating bar and restaurant is returning for its seventh season on the Yarra. Last year, Arbory Afloat was decked out in the style of the picturesque Turquoise Coast in Turkey — and this year, it's returning as a sun-drenched take on the Balearic Islands. 

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  • Nightlife
  • Melbourne

Refined Thai-inspired cocktail bar Longsong is bringing Thailand’s famed Full Moon celebrations to the Melbourne CBD, giving you the chance to immerse yourself in the experience without having to book a single flight or renew your passport. The free monthly party will see Longsong’s ceiling dotted with flickering lanterns reminiscent of the streets of Thailand, joined by fluoro paint, cocktails and snacks alongside DJ taijaee and entertainer and host Gloss the Queen seeing the party out all night long. 

  • Art
  • Ballarat

Forget everything you think you know about pirates – the new exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat is set to unveil a more surprising history of piracy. Celebrating the rich lives and the diverse crews aboard traditional pirate ships, the exhibit, Under the Black Flag, hopes to excite audiences with tales and imagery of pirate adventures.

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  • Museums
  • Melbourne

In a quiet gallery of the State Library of Victoria sits a fascinating new exhibition that investigates the historical importance of crafted and handmade items – from mapping the stars in a way no one has ever seen before, to the undergarment makers who sent their wares to the stars, and First Nations artists who craft their contemporary artworks with a close connection to traditional methods.

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  • Art
  • Parkville

A bold, thought-provoking exhibition has landed at the University of Melbourne, featuring three newly commissioned works by contemporary artists Andy Butler, Lisa Hilli and James Nguyen. Co-curated by the Ian Potter Museum of Art’s senior curator Samantha Comte and head curator Jacqueline Doughty, Collective Unease signals a tension between contemporary Australian society and the remnants of a colonial vision still embodied within the architecture of the Old Quad building, where the exhibition is being displayed. 

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  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Kew

Keen on eating and drinking outside this winter, but less keen on the bone-chilling cold? Thanks to four venues across Melbourne, you can book in for your own private winter wonderland in the form of cosy winter igloo gardens. Enter your igloo, settle into the cosy chairs draped with blankets and furry pillows and prepare to warm yourself up from the inside with delicious food and beverage packages. 

The igloos are open from now until the end of winter, and we've rounded up their individual offerings below. Date and time availabilities vary across venues.

The Wharf Hotel

Cosy up beneath a sky of twinkling fairy lights on the banks of the Yarra in this cosy private igloo that can fit up to eight people. For $59 per person, you can graze on a sharing platter and enjoy your choice of two beverages including mulled wine or cider, Hot Toddies, Espresso Martinis and house wines, beers and ciders. For an extra $20 per person, you can also enjoy a chocolate fondue station and a boozy hot chocolate. Make your booking here.

The Station Hotel

Snuggle with your partner or up to five of your nearest and dearest friends at this private winter wonderland. For $75 per person, you can enjoy a drink on arrival and a three-course meal with options like Wagyu tartare topped with truffle and black garlic mayo, chargrilled rump of lamb, sticky date pudding with vanilla ice cream and more. Make your booking here.

The Auburn Hotel

For $69 per person, enjoy a three-course meal under a sky of twinkling fairy lights. Your booking entitles you to 2.5 hours in the igloo while you enjoy a winter cocktail and a share-style set menu. Think winter favourites like pumpkin arancini, roasted heirloom carrots, pan-roasted Murray cod and sticky toffee pudding. Make your booking here.

Studley Park Boathouse

When you think high tea, you likely think of a posh affair in an old-world hotel. But thanks to the Studley Park Boathouse, now you and up to five guests can enjoy your treats in the great outdoors with enchanting views of the Yarra — while staying warm in your igloo, of course. For $52 per person, you'll enjoy a high tea comprised of sweet and savoury bites, plus unlimited tea or coffee. You can upgrade to the bottomless Spritz and Mimosa package for an additional $25 per person. Make your booking here.

Looking for more things to do? Check out our round-up of the best things happening in Melbourne this week.

  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Southbank

We've spoken about ghosts at the Arts Centre Melbourne before, and the lights left on to keep them company. But now the greatest phantom of them all is set to haunt the performance hall. Opera Australia, in association with the Really Useful Group, are striking up the discordant organ to announce, with a caped flourish, the arrival of arguably Andrew Lloyd Webber's most famous musical.

The Phantom of the Opera is coming to Arts Centre Melbourne in 2022, with West Side Story star Josh Piterman in the title role (and ghoulish half face mask). The Aussie star was  recently bringing The Music of the Night to the West End, playing the Phantom in London right up until that production was forced to shut down. The main cast is rounded out by Amy Manford as Christine and Blake Bowden as Raoul.

Unbelievably, it's the first time the box office smash will grace the Arts Centre Melbourne in its 35-year history. And you can bet it's going to dazzle, right down to the fateful plunge of the centrepiece chandelier. This spectacular staging, conjured by Cameron Mackintosh, will be brought to life in Melbourne by director Laurence Connor and will show off the fabulous original costume designs of Maria Björnson. 

"I am thrilled to be able to bring this exciting new production of The Phantom of the Opera to Arts Centre Melbourne with its spectacular new staging by director Laurence Connor and fabulous designs by Paul Brown and Maria Bjornson," says Mackintosh. 

This is set to be one of the largest musical productions ever in Australia, performed by a cast and orchestra of 65, with special effects including a spectacular new realisation of the show’s chandelier.

After being postponed due to 2021 lockdowns, The Phantom of the Opera will premiere at Arts Centre Melbourne on October 30 2022 and is expected to run until sometime in February 2023. Tickets for the production will go on sale soon, with those who held tickets for the original 2021 season to be given priority access. 

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Altona

Did you know that Williamstown was actually Victoria’s original capital? A settlement that old is just bursting with eerie stories and scary spirits, especially when you’re on a lamplight tour. This tour of Victoria’s most history-steeped seaport will take you through abandoned morgues and forgotten burial grounds, as well as streets once frequented by convicts and drunken sailors. These days though, these alleys are home to far more apparitions. Book via Lantern Ghost Tours.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Carlton

It's been an incredible year for Lego fans, with a new Lego Certified Store popping up in Melbourne Central and Ryan 'the Brickman' McNaught's The Bricktionary hitting shelves. All good things come in threes, so from September 3, Melbourne Museum will host an exhibition inspired by McNaught's new book filled with creative builds and insider tips. 

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  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • Burnley

We may not get to experience a real white Christmas here in Melbourne, but fret not: we just got word that Santa and his crew are headed to Melbourne, and they're bringing a snowy wonderland with them. Designed by the creators of the award-winning Sesame Street Circus Spectacular and Jurassic Creatures, this immersive walk-through Christmas experience is taking over Burnley Oval from November 25 to December 24. 

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  • Art
  • Street art
  • Melbourne

If you were to ask almost any local what Melbourne is best known for, there’s a chance you’ll get a reference to its laneways. While a good number of Melbourne laneways are already filled with art, eateries, and hidden bars, there are a fair few that are lesser known and haven’t reached their full laneway potential, until now.

  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Docklands

Santa’s taken some out of his busy end-of-year schedule and is bringing his elves to Docklands for a few weeks of festive fun at Lapland. From mid-November until the end of December, catch the cast responsible for Christmas Day as they give you a behind-the-scenes look into everything they do. Get your hands on an elf passport so you and the little ones can lend a hand in the toy factory, bake some gingerbreads in the Christmas kitchen and even have a go at ice curling. 

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  • Art
  • Sculpture and installations
  • Bulleen

As a first for Australia, the Heide Museum of Modern Art are set to showcase over forty artworks by acclaimed British artist Dame Barbara Hepworth DBE within its main gallery. The exhibition, Barbara Hepworth: In Equilibrium, is a rare opportunity for Australian audiences to see the sheer genius of one of the world’s greatest sculptors – up close and personal. On display at the Heide from November 5, 2022, to March 13, 2023, works from both noteworthy international and national collections are set to be included, each telling part of the remarkable story of the creative talent that was Barbara Hepworth.

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • East Melbourne

If you’re a fan of Antiques Roadshow or love admiring your grandparent’s silver heirlooms, then this one’s for you. The Johnston Collection (TJC), an award-winning boutique museum located in East Melbourne, will soon be home to Splendid: The Roger Brookes Bequest – a brilliant collection of silverware gifted by Roger Brookes (1929-2020).

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  • Things to do
  • Melbourne

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. There's also a Whisky Bars and Gin Joints tour where guests explore three whisky or gin bars and discover the spirits' spirited history in Melbourne.

Founder Ben Oliver has worked as a guide for years, including five years running Melbourne walking tours and a stint running bar crawls in Greece. What we're saying is: you're in good hands, as he knows the importance of both the drinking and the history. There are drinks specials at the bars en route, but while food is included, drinks are not. 

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  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Melbourne

Aussie bowling alley and all-around funhouse Strike has released its newest collab – a project to turn humble bowling balls and shoes into a thing of art. From Tuesday, February 21, players can get their hands on specially designed attire by Australian artist Steen Jones. Because, as the saying goes: 'Look good, play better'.

Known for reinventing classic forms of entertainment, Strike Bowling wanted to elevate the usual alley experience and inject some style into the classic red, black and white colour palette. "It’s turned out to be such a cool (and bad-ass) collection," says artist Steen Jones. "Truth be told, I don't think I've ever had so much interest, hype or excitement for a collaboration, which is another reason why this project has been so great to be a part of"

Steen's artistic style is recognisable from previous projects with Vans, Lego, Sailor Jerry, Rolling Stone and Converse, just to name a few. For $25, players can opt to upgrade to the High Rollers pack, which includes a custom design bowling ball, bowling shoes and High Rollers socks to keep. You also score a free stein of Furphy, express check-in and a High Rollers sticker pack.

The High Rollers upgrade is available from February 21, ongoing – for players aged 18+ only. For more information or to book a lane, click here

High Rollers is available all week at Stike QV, Melbourne Central and Eastland.

  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Melbourne

Although sometimes overshadowed by that other Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice sung-through Biblical musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has been beloved by musical theatre fans the world over since its first West End production in 1973.

It tells the story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis, who gets sold into slavery in Egypt by his jealous brothers and works his way up to become the Pharaoh's right-hand man. The show's famous songs, including 'Any Dream Will Do' and 'Go Go Go Joseph', are earworms that will stay with audiences long after final bows.

It's been more than 30 years since Joseph was last performed in Australia, so we reckon it's well past time to revisit the classic show.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat takes over Melbourne's gorgeous Regent Theatre in November.

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  • Museums
  • Melbourne

Whether you are on babysitting duty for the school holidays or are a keen ocean explorer, the new Dive into the Deep exhibit at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, offers a unique and informative day out for adults and children alike. For the first time at the Melbourne Aquarium, the Dive into the Deep exhibit sees a 14 metre long, immersive digital projection, taking guests on a explorative examination through the depths of the ocean, and through the stages of time.

Designed to explain the story of the ocean zones and bring to life the marine creatures that call it home, engaging wall graphics and digital imagery take visitors through the ocean’s sunlight zone (0-200 meters), twilight zone (200-1000 meters), and midnight zone (1000-4000 meters). Unless you are a marine biologist, we guarantee adults will have some learning to do too. Answer this question to see if you still have a thing or two to learn about the oceans: how much of the ocean lies within the midnight zone, where the water pressure is extreme and temperature is near freezing? a) 30 per cent; b) 70 per cent; or c) 90 per cent.

The Dive into the Deep exhibit also houses a collection of mystical aquatic creatures like the tasselled anglerfish, lungfish, clownfish and many more. Dive into the Deep is part of the permanent exhibits, which are included in the admission price, so be sure to check out some of the aquariums stand out features while you’re at it, such as the Penguin Playground and the Bay of Rays.

And for anyone playing at home: the answer was c) 90 per cent. Things seem to get weird in the midnight zone and to be honest we are glad the closest we can get to exploring it is through the digital projection. If you didn’t know the answer, go check out Dive into the Deep to learn all a whole lot more about the ocean.

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  • Music
  • Pop

To celebrate the upcoming record release of her latest album Mercurial, singer songwriter Vera Blue has announced an upcoming Australian tour. Following the album's upcoming release on October 28, Melbourne audiences can catch the electro-pop vocalist playing live in Melbourne at the Forum Saturday, November 12 – and from the Gold Coast to Sydney, the entire tour will be supported by Australian musician and songwriter Becca Hatch.

  • Things to do
  • Melbourne

Tired of working from the confines of an office? Well, we've got some good news for you: for the first time ever, luxury hotel W Melbourne is offering daytime access to its pool level to non-guests. That's right – from 8am to 8pm on weekdays, you can spend your workday poolside at one of Melbourne's most luxurious hotels, with a fruit platter and mocktail to boot. Lay back in a lounge chair, order from the in-room dining menu and hop in the pool when you need to recharge.

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  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Melbourne

One thing is certain: it hasn't been anyone's day, week, month or year. But things are looking up with the hotly anticipated Friends! The Musical Parody finally set to hit Melbourne in 2022. 

This production is of course based off Friendsone of the world's most popular sitcoms. The comedic stage musical has proved just as popular, playing for almost a year in New York before touring the US. After being delayed a number of times due to the events of 2020-2021, the show is finally coming to Melbourne from November 23, bringing all your favourite twenty-somethings to the stage as they negotiate life, love and work in 1990s New York.

The musical was penned by Bob and Tobly McSmith, who have a long track record of lovingly spoofing '90s TV shows, recreating TV's most memorable moments and creating soundtracks that bring something new to the stories we already know and love. The Australian production is directed by Dash Kruck with choreography by Cameron Mitchell, set and costume design by Frances Hannaway, lighting by Jason Glenwright and musical direction by Steven Kreamer. And it goes without saying, but this is an unauthorised parody. 

Tickets for the Friends! The Musical Parody Melbourne season are on sale now.

  • Museums
  • Natural history
  • Carlton

Opening from July 22, Tyama: A Deeper Sense of Knowing welcomes visitors to discover six unique digital environments that reimagine our connection to the physical world and redefine the typical museum experience.

Dive into an immersive experience like no other, exploring vibrant, 360-degree multimedia projections, interactive light and soundscapes, and objects from the Museum’s collection.

Including First Nation’s stories inspired by a knowledge of the environment, the exhibit is grounded in traditional educational practices and appreciation for the land. Named Tyama (Chah-muh), which is the Keerray Woorroong language verb ‘to know’, the exhibit reflects a space for not just understanding with our minds, but understanding with our whole being.

The project, developed in collaboration with Keerray Woorroong citizens Yoolongteeyt Dr Vicki Couzens and Yaraan Bundle, coveys the strong bond between land, language and culture through a nocturnal journey through Victoria’s vibrant natural spaces.

Awaken your connection to traditional cultural lands and explore Tyama, where technology and natural history converge. 

More things to do in Melbourne this month

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