Wondering what to do in Melbourne in October? We can help.
Then 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 October
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!"
Arts Centre Melbourne isn't only great for the odd show or even for a meal and a tipple at the Barre. In fact, every Sunday the grounds of the arts precinct's hub come alive with market stalls selling everything from handmade leather wallet to locally made art by the city's designers and small business owners. Situated a short walk from Flinders Street Station, everything on offer at the market has been locally made, and the market also features a great range of food stalls if you want to shake up your Sunday brunch. Head over to the Arslan gozleme stall for some Turkish pastry layered with delicious spicy lamb or cheese and spinach, or make a stop at the poffertjes stall for some Dutch pancakes.
You don't have to have political aspirations to enjoy the tour at Parliament House. For one, it's free, and who doesn't like a freebie? Aside from walking in the same hallowed halls as our current and former state pollies, the tour takes in the incredibly ornate architecture and reveals some of the building's less illustrious moments. Like when a cricket ball broke Queen Victoria's arm (sort of). You're welcome to take photos and videos on the tour, which you'll want to do for a selfie on one of the parliamentary benches (see if you can find where your local member sits). There are also two 20-minute express tours every day for the time poor. No need to book – just turn up on time for your chosen tour on any week day when parliament is not sitting. Parliament house tours run eight times a day on non-sitting days at 9.30am, 10.30am, 11.30am, 1pm (express tour), 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm and 4pm (express tour). Consult the parliamentary calendar to find out what days parliament isn't sitting.
How many ghosts? There is the potential for hundreds, but that's if you count the ghosts of a disturbed, unmarked cemetery. There are more than 20 on the tour who are specifically named. Scariest ghost? A sadistic convict overseer is said to haunt Williamstown Timeball Tower. In life, he was said to take pleasure in the pain of those poor souls under his care, and in death, he's still said to have a mean streak a mile wide. Standing in the pitch darkness inside the Timeball Tower is enough to unleash your imagination. What’s the worst that could happen? Guests sometimes report feeling puffs of air or something pulling at their hair or clothes. People have been known to feel dizzy and nauseous – and when entering the disused morgue, some have thrown up. The scary story: Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the denizens of Williamstown do, or so we're led to believe by our Lantern Ghost Tour guide for the evening. Once a buzzing port city, Williamstown collected its share of unsavoury types – sailors and those who catered to them, including unscrupulous publicans and ladies of the night. With ships came money, and with money came brigands and thieves – and disease that sometimes killed hundreds of people at a time. The entertaining tour is stuffed full of Williamstown colonial history, so even if you don't meet any spectres you're likely to learn a thing or two. At several points along the way visitors are asked to have a go contacting those in the Great Beyond by mea
This monthly artist market is set in the lush, art deco surrounds of the Spotted Mallard in the heart of Brunswick's Sydney Road. Here you’ll find dozens of artist stalls selling a range of local goods and a flea market on the bottom floor where you can hunt of gems. Whether it’s jewellery, paintings or ceramics you’re after, head down from 10am to support local crafters, listen to some live music and dig into barbecue eats. While you’re there, grab a coffee from Co-Grounds’ volunteer-powered coffee caravan where 100 percent of the profits go to charity projects in the Asia Pacific region. The theme is very much about giving with these guys: the market is an initiative of charity Co-Ground, with 100 per cent of profits from the market going towards their education and livelihood programs in the Asia Pacific. These markets are a holistic great for your your home and your fashion collection, with wholesome benefits for local artists and empowerment reaching communities as far as Vanuatu and the Phillippines.
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.
Can’t make the trek to London to see the city’s most impressive museum? Don’t stress. Some of the Natural History Museum’s oldest, rarest and strangest items are in Melbourne from May 2020. Treasures of the Natural World features 200+ items from the Natural History Museum’s enormous (and world-famous) collection. Every item holds some kind of significance within our understanding of the natural world. There are objects from the personal collection of Charles Darwin, a 200 million-year-old Ichthyosaurus fossil, and a rare Martian meteorite that fell to Earth in 1911 (a cool 11 million years after it was blasted into space). Plenty more treasures will be announced in the lead-up the exhibition opening, so stay tuned – you won’t want to miss seeing these IRL. Treasures of the Natural World opens at Melbourne Museum on May 22. Tickets are on sale right now.
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
Julia Morris is leaving the jungle and heading back to the stage on a new national tour in 2020. I'm Not Even Joking is the I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! host's new show, and will see her back to her spiritual home: the stand-up stage. She'll be regaling audiences with tales from her life, her career, and typically acerbic takes on the world around her. She's touring Australia's capital cities and regional centres in September and October, and will be at the Comedy Theatre in Melbourne on October 9 and 10. Tickets are on sale Wednesday, November 27 at 10am.
How many ghosts? Half a dozen are mentioned by name or description. Scariest ghost? The ghosts here are mostly harmless, with a child ghost most often experienced. The child ghost is most often playful, squeezing hands and toying with clothing or cameras. What’s the worst that could happen? These ghosts are mostly in a pretty calm frame of mind, so visitors are not likely to be very upset. Occasionally someone will get freaked out by an apparition, but it's all pretty benign. Sometimes women report feeling unwelcome in one room of the house, which was the bedroom of lifelong bachelor Thomas Chirnside. Point Cook Homestead was the original home of the Chirnside family, who later built Werribee Mansion. Thomas and Andrew Chirnside made their fortune in Australia, and Thomas then sent Andrew back to England to bring back his betrothed, Mary. Andrew did bring Mary back – but he had married her himself. Thomas never married and lived out most of the rest of his days at Point Cook, while Andrew and Mary moved to the much more opulent Werribee Mansion. Thomas's spirit is said to remain at Point Cook, even though he died at Werribee, which might explain why women feel unwelcome in his bedroom. That's one of the many stories visitors learn on this tour, which takes in the stables, main house and some of the grounds of historic Point Cook Homestead. It's a fun way to learn a bit of history, though on the night we visited, there was no paranormal activity to be seen.
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