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Shreklesque
Photograph: Shreklesque/Some FX

Things to do in Melbourne this week

All the best things to do in Melbourne this week

Adena Maier
Written by
Adena Maier
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If you're not a fan of winter, then we've got some good news for you: last week was the winter solstice or the longest night of the year. Basically, that means from here on out, our days will get longer and we'll get more sunshine. While winter is still a ways off from ending, at least you'll have more hours to play before it gets pitch dark. 

School's out for winter, so if your kids are poking and prodding you to keep them entertained, we've rounded up heaps of educational, fun and family-friendly activities. They can learn about First Nations cultures, histories and knowledge systems at the Melbourne Museum, hop aboard Puffing Billy for a historical ride through lush ranges or burn off extra energy at an indoor trampoline park.

Don't have any kids to worry about? Be treated to a night of frivolity and hysteric performances at this sexy burlesque reimaging of Shrek, help beloved cocktail bar the Everleigh celebrate its ten-year anniversary or go down the rabbit hole with a Mad Hatter-themed bottomless G&T party

Looking for more ways to fill up your calendar? Plan a trip around our gorgeous state with our handy travel guides.

  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • Melbourne

Ever wondered what it's like to be hypnotised, or if it's possible for someone to read your mind? Or maybe you're fascinated by sleights of hand and trying to figure out how they were accomplished. Whatever form of magic you're interested in, the Melbourne Magic Festival is sure to cast its spell on you when it arrives in Melbourne on June 27. 

  • Comedy
  • Melbourne

Calling all talking donkeys and fairytale creatures. Get ready to peel back the layers at a reimagining of Shrek that is sure to flood your swamp make you a believer, hallelujah! (Just don’t think too hard about the logistics of a donkey-dragon romance yielding offspring.) After sold-out runs across Australia since debuting in 2020, the All-Star smash hit Shreklesque is touring again, and you’ll be green with envy if you don’t swipe yourself a ticket for the ogerly anticipated shows at Mebourne's Athenaeum Theatre from June 29 to July 2.

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  • Art
  • Public art
  • Melbourne

Fed Square's winter program, Anything But Square: Under Surveillance, is set to take over Melbourne's favourite meeting place this July. At its centre, Fed Square will host a 10-metre inflatable art installation called The Eyes – a commentary on our endless social media obsessions. The huge bust is created by Art Basel alum Cool Shit, and is covered in colourful eyes looking in every direction as punters pass by. 

  • Things to do
  • Food and drink
  • Fitzroy

In the decade since its launch, the Everleigh has cemented itself as one of Australia's premier cocktail bars. It's graced the pages of travel magazines the world over and has become renowned for serving up old-school charm with world-class cocktails and service. In celebration of its tenth birthday, the Fitzroy stalwart is inviting you to swing by for a series of opulent and boozy parties. 

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  • Kids
  • Fairs and festivals
  • Prahran

Circus, theatre, music, dance and magic – the beloved Roola Boola Children’s Arts Festival is back to spark your child’s imagination this winter school holidays. The action kicks off on June 28, with more than 30 workshops and performances taking place at Chapel On Chapel. Highlights from the interactive program include a production of Beauty and the Beast by the Victorian State Ballet, the circus and comedy extravaganza Chores by Hoopla Clique, a sensory-based storytime session for the littlies and, for the older kids, a choose-your-own-adventure story workshop with 100 Story Building.

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  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • Ballarat

To walk down Sovereign Hill’s Main Street is a unique experience at any time. But between June 25 and July 17, Winter Wonderlights offers a whole new dimension – with colourful projections lighting up the streetscape accompanied by a rousing musical score telling a story of celebration and togetherness. Think Christmas in July in a 19th-century country town with all the trimmings – complete with snowfalls, decorations, tasty treats, performances and hands-on activities.

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  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • St Kilda

A drop in temperature certainly hasn’t cooled our appetite for live performance and events, so it’ll be music to your ears to hear there’s a brand new festival heating up this month in St Kilda. Over ten big days between June 24-July 3, you can catch jazz, soul, funk, orchestral, R’n’B, indie and rock music from a suite of Victoria’s most popular musicians at the first Southside Live Winter Music Festival – and you can do it all for free. 

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  • Things to do
  • Food and drink
  • South Yarra

Calling all Mamma Mia! fans: for just one month this winter, Speakeasy Bar on Chapel Street is running a theatrical dining experience based on the beloved film and ABBA jukebox musical. Trek down to South Yarra between June 24 and July 30 for the closest thing you'll get to a breezy Greek paradise in the colder Melbourne months. 

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  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Narre Warren

The closest thing to a real-life version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is headed to Melbourne in the form of Casey Cornucopia, a surreal, fruit-filled installation. Designed by multi-sensory artists Bompas and Parr, the installation will take over Bunjil Place from June 24 to July 17 and aims to show visitors local produce in a way they've never experienced before. 

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  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • Melbourne

Looking for nearby winter getaways? Or need plans to keep your kids occupied over the school holidays? The Eynesbury Homestead has got you covered with a month-long winter festival that's kicking off on June 24. Entry to the festival is free, and once you're on the property, you'll have an abundance of activities to choose from. Hit the ice-skating rink while listening to pumping tunes by a local DJ, test your general knowledge at the trivia night and enjoy a mean feed from a variety of food trucks and stalls. 

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  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Melbourne

For anyone still under the illusion that space is boring, a new immersive exhibition is ready to prove that there’s nothing dull about space exploration. Presented by Fever, this dazzling light show will transport you on a planet-hopping odyssey through our solar system, including visiting Mars, Venus, Pluto and Jupiter, with your feet still firmly on the ground.

  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Melbourne

In its incredible 37 years run, Aussie soap Neighbours has well and truly made its way into the hearts of Australians (and a few million Brits). Sadly, the Aussie soap is finally coming to an end and the final episode will go live on August 1. If you'll be among those in mourning, then get one last taste of Ramsay Street by booking in for one of the final sessions of the Official Neighbours Tour. 

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  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals

The return of the winter school holidays brings the usual conundrum of things to do with kids when it’s cold outside. A water slide park is not usually the first thing that springs to mind, but then, last year's Winter Glow festival at Geelong’s Adventure Park was hugely popular, and it returns this year for the weekend of June 17-19, then for the entire run of the school break, June 23 to July 10 from 3.30-8.30pm.  

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  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals

If you're keen to head on a cool-climate caper but aren't sure where to begin, you're in luck: after the huge success of its inaugural festival last year, the East Gippsland Winter Festival is making a triumphant return. Rug up and hit the road for a 24-day festival packed with lavish winter feasts, fantastical art installations, live music, lantern parades and more.

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  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Southbank

In recent years, the artistic director of the Sydney Theatre Company, Kip Williams, has deftly explored an intersection between the cinematic and theatrical, creating productions on the bleeding edge of stagecraft that bridge the liminal space between these two modes of storytelling. However, with his audaciously complex treatment of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grayhe has surpassed his own benchmark once more. Spectacularly so.

  • Things to do
  • Food and drink
  • Southbank

Every now and again, it's good to treat yo' self. And if you've been waiting for the opportune moment, it has arrived in the form of the Lobster & Co pop-up at the ACM Forecourt. Hunt down the vintage-style stainless steel caravan and get a taste of the finer things in life, by way of a luxurious lobster roll paired with fries and a glass of Champagne.

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  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Melbourne

Séance is an immersive sound experience created by Brits Glen Neath and David Rosenberg, in collaboration with Melbourne team Realscape Productions. It relies on psychology and our inclination towards superstition to alter guests’ perception of reality, all while never leaving the shipping container. 

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  • Things to do
  • Markets
  • Melbourne

This year, more than 35 of Melbourne's best street food traders, including returning favourites and Market first-timers, will be serving up delicious winter menus. Expect decadent burnt Basque and Biscoff cheesecakes from M&G Caiafa, all manner of tacos from the Happy Mexican, roasted local chestnuts from the Apple Corner, falafel platters from the Black Sheep, wood-fired pizza from 400 Gradi and pasta tossed in cheese wheels from That's Amore Cheese. 

  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Footscray

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. 

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  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Brunswick

If you thought building things out of cardboard was a relic of your childhood, think again; Australian independent craft brewery Bridge Road Brewers has created the grown-up hideaway fort of your dreams. Aptly named A Bar Made of Cardboard, it's a pop-up bar where everything aside from the beer taps, fridges and dishwasher is made with recycled cardboard. 

  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Melbourne

Whether you're a jet-lagged traveller, a parent who craves much-needed rest, a tired nine-to-fiver or you're simply worn down from the events of the last few challenging years, you deserve a bit of rest and relaxation. Catch up on those much-needed z's at the DoubleTree by Hilton Melbourne, where you can book in for a Sleep Retreat package between now and July 17. 

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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 an explorative examination through the depths of the ocean, and through the stages of time.

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  • Art
  • Photography
  • St Kilda

The Jewish Museum of Australia is presenting works from one of the world's most risqué fashion photographers in Helmut Newton: In Focus, a definitive exploration of the work of German-born, and one-time Melbourne-based photographer Helmut Newton. Once dubbed the 'king of kink', Helmut Newton was once one of the 20th century's most provocative and prolific fashion photographers.

  • Museums
  • History
  • Carlton

Showcasing a collection of items from the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, it's the first time many of these artifacts have travelled from Greece to be hosted internationally. With 44 ancient works that date from the early bronze age to the Roman period, the exhibition highlights the trade of culture between Greece and its neighbours.

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  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Melbourne

The Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street opened its doors to guests in March 2021, having taken over the old Italian Romanesque bones of Melbourne's heritage-listed Equity Chambers. The boutique hotel is a gorgeous blend of old and new, with lofty ceilings, old barrister's offices laden with gold detailing and dark natural wood panelling that's reminiscent of the State Library. Stepping inside is like going back in time, and in celebration of the hotel's one-year anniversary, you're invited to experience the lavish Celebrations Stay Package.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Bendigo

Bendigo Art Gallery has collaborated with the Graceland archives to get unprecedented access, presenting around 300 artefacts belonging to Elvis himself and is flying in direct from his Graceland home in Memphis, Tennessee. These artefacts include a number of his iconic jumpsuits, plus his military uniforms, 1976 Red Bicentennial Custom Harley Davidson, first-ever job application, childhood crayon box and even some of his daughter Lisa Marie's baby clothes. For the first time in Australia, visitors to the exhibition can also view Elvis' red convertible 1960 MG that featured in his 1961 movie Blue Hawaii

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  • Things to do

Calling all wannabe detectives and fans of The Amazing Race – this one is definitely for you. To celebrate the launch of Experios’ newest online escape room, Mayday, an exciting outdoor manhunt is coming to the Melbourne CBD. The Hunt: Mayday Edition is a free event that will take place on May 1. The aim of the game is to track down one of three themed characters that appear in the virtual escape room. They will be hidden around the city and surrounding inner suburbs, and you’ll need to rely on all your super-sleuth skills to find them.

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Carlton

 

Check out Horridus, the most complete triceratops skeleton in the world. This big guy comprises of 266 bones and tips the scales at more than 1,000kg. Museums Victoria's senior curator of vertebrate palaeontology, Dr Erich Fitzgerald, says: "Horridus the Triceratops is a simply spectacular fossil, with the science behind Triceratops revealed like never before. Until you’ve seen Melbourne Museum’s Triceratops, you haven’t seen Triceratops at all."

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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. 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.

 

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Carlton

In 1992, more than 50 Victorian schools were slated to close due to budget constraints. Among them was Northland Secondary College, a school with a large Aboriginal student body and an innovative Koori program. Staff, students and the community rallied around Northland and fought against the decision to shut the school, eventually leading to a hearing that decreed that the school could reopen for the 1994 school year. Melbourne Museum is highlighting this grassroots movement in an exhibition entitled Fight For Survival

  • Health and beauty
  • Spas

After a long week, sometimes all you want is a bit of peace and quiet. Escape your busy day-to-day life and enter a dream-like state of weightlessness at one of these floatation tanks around Melbourne. You'll enter an alien-like pod filled with warm water and Epsom salt where you can float and let the worries of the day melt away.

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  • Travel

Dust off those hiking boots, pack that scroggin, fill your Camelbak and get ready to explore some of the most gorgeous hikes within an easy drive of Melbourne. Regional Victoria is brimming with picturesque walks great for getting your heart pumping, including temperate rainforest wonders and seaside spectacles. 

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  • Travel
  • getaways

The best thing about the great outdoors is that it’s for everyone to enjoy – whether you’re an experienced caravanner, a glamper or a fresh-faced camper. The most important thing to remember though is this is a shared space you’re setting your tent down in, not your own backyard. 

Try Melbourne's best bits

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