Worldwide icon-chevron-right South Pacific icon-chevron-right Australia icon-chevron-right Melbourne icon-chevron-right Things to do in Melbourne this weekend

Things to do in Melbourne this weekend

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

Food Truck Festival
Photograph: Guy Evans/Supplied
Advertising

Easter is over, but those lucky ducks who got their leave requests in early might have another four-day weekend this weekend. The rest of us have plenty to look forward to over the weekend, including a food truck festival, a tattoo festival and a family-friendly Mad Hatter-themed rave. Plus, it's your last chance to say goodbye to Melbourne's favourite floating bar until next summer.

Need more inspo? Check out our curated guide to all the fun things to do in Melbourne this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 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.

Things to do in Melbourne this weekend

1
Food Truck Festival
Photograph: Paul Johnstone/Supplied
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Food Truck Festival

icon-location-pin Birrarung Marr, Melbourne
icon-calendar

The best part about food trucks can also be their most irritating feature – they move around. That can mean your favourite meal on wheels might be in Footscray one week but in St Kilda the next.  But lucky for us, a huge food truck festival is bringing trucks from all over Melbourne together in one central location. Held at Birrarung Marr, the Food Truck Festival allows you to sample some old favourites and try new tastes from across the city.  There are more than 40 food trucks to choose from – get ready for cheese, fried chicken, tacos, vegan food and heaps more. And yes, you can buy booze – beer and wine will also be on offer. There is a district devoted to all things sweet, so you can also get your just desserts. The line-up this year includes tacos from Poncho Mexican; greek eats from Mary and a Little Lamb; pillowy bao from Nem n Nem; spicy Sri Lankan curry from Taka Taka Kottu and the all time food truck and festival favourite the Gozleme Station. There will also be meaty eats from the Rib Crib, Philly Cheese Please, Real O.G Burgers and Loaded Gourmet Hotdogs. Craving sweets? The Food Truck Festival will be slinging desserts from Icy Donuts Melbourne, Honey Dee Loukoumades, Country Fair Poffertjes, Mobile Ice Creams and the adorable fairy floss creations of Som Som Candy.  You can also expect roving performers and live entertainment, including plenty of family-friendly acts to keep the kids entertained.  Festivities kick off on Wednesday, April 24th from 5-10pm,

2
Two giant neon corroboree frogs at Melbourne Zoo
Photograph: Supplied / Zoos Victoria
Things to do

Neon Playground

icon-location-pin Melbourne Zoo, Parkville
icon-calendar

Fantastical lights, projections, installations and performances are illuminating Melbourne Zoo this autumn. For two weeks in April the historic zoo is hosting Neon Playground, a new after dark event where guests can enjoy enchanting projections, meet giant glowing puppets, witness bedazzling laser art and explore a neon maze. Brush up on your low-light photography because this is an event that will and truly attract the Insta-crowd. Dazzling projections are lighting up the art deco facade at the main gate, while inside laser and neon artworks can be enjoyed along the zoo’s main drive (where you can also learn how Zoos Victoria are fighting extinction). The intricate illustrations of children’s author Graeme Base will be brought to life during Neon Playground. Characters from his 2001 picture book The Waterhole are being transformed into glowing puppets for the event for you to take a snap with. For the daring, Neon Playground also features a neon maze with 600 metres of LED neon lighting suspended from the ground. You may get lost, but we bet you’ll still come out glowing. Conservation is key to Melbourne Zoo so it’s no surprise that Neon Playground is being held for a good cause. The event hopes to raise awareness and funds for the critically endangered southern corroboree frog, with all proceeds from the event going towards its conservation. There are only around 100 of the distinctive yellow and black amphibians left in the wild so every bit of help makes a difference.

Advertising
3
Tesselaar KaBloom Festival
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Tesselaar KaBloom Festival

icon-location-pin The Tulip Farm, Melbourne
icon-calendar

We know and love the Tesselaar farm’s annual tulip festival but now there’s something new to enjoy at this regional floral farm. The Tesselaar KaBloom festival combines circus arts and flowers for a new autumn festival in the Dandenongs. Artists from Melbourne’s CircaNICA will be performing stunning circus acts every day at the Tesselaar farm. Throughout the festival, you might be able to see contortionists in the marigolds, acrobats in the snapdragons and even jugglers wandering through the petunias. This family-friendly festival also features a crate maze, fairy folklore storytelling, Easter egg hunts over the Easter long weekend and even an obstacle course. Kids under 16 get free entry into the festival, while adult tickets start at $22. The farm is open every day from 10am to 5pm until Sunday, April 28.

4
Rites of Passage Festival
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Rites of Passage Tattoo Festival

icon-location-pin Royal Exhibition Building & Carlton Gardens, Carlton
icon-calendar

These days everyone from your local PE teacher to your grandma is getting inked. And you can join the tattoo tribe on April 26-28 when the Rites of Passage Tattoo Festival rolls into Melbourne. More than 350 local and international tattoo artists will attend Rites of Passage over the weekend, with guests able to discover new trends, the next big artist and even get an impromptu tatt (or two). There's a bunch of giveaways and prizes to be won across the weekend, plus a bunch of retail vendors selling tattoo-related gear as well.  While you're waiting to get inked, catch some of the festival entertainment which will include live acoustic sets, circus performers, DJs and tattoo competitions. And for a post-tatt pick-me-up, you can grab something tasty from the selection of food trucks that will be keeping punters fed all day.

Advertising
5
Gut Feelings Exhibition
Things to do, Exhibitions

Gut Feelings: Your Mind, Your Microbes

icon-location-pin Melbourne Museum, Carlton
icon-calendar

When is the last time you really considered your gut health? Or thanked the tiny microbes that live your intestinal track and digest your food, boost your immunity and keep you healthy? Scientists are learning more every day about the fascinating community of microbes that live inside each and every one of us. There are more microbes inside the human body than there are stars in the Milky Way, and they weigh up to 2kg.  Melbourne Museum's Gut Feelings exhibition will change your mind about the tiny creatures (yes, they're alive!) that you share your body with. The interactive exhibition is a multi-sensory experience, with things to touch, hear and see.

6
Mad Hatter's Tea Party Family Rave
Photograph: Supplied
Kids, Music events

Mad Hatter's Tea Party Family Rave

icon-location-pin Chasers Nightclub, South Yarra
icon-calendar

Get ready to join in on a mad family rave on Sunday, April 28. Big Fish Little Fish is bringing their unforgettable family rave back to Melbourne with a Mad Hatter-style tea party theme. Luckily, this Mad Hatter’s tea party will bear no resemblance to the (awful) one Alice had to sit through. For one, dance music heavyweight Kid Kenobi will be headlining the rave. Both parents and kids are bound to have fun as the rave will feature a multi-sensory dance floor and some grown-up music (think classic rave, techno and hip-hop tunes). It would make for an amazing family afternoon out filled with bubbles, glitter cannons, live performers, face-painting stalls and a Playdoh table. A themed cake stall can also be found at the venue. There will be a play and chill area for babies and toddlers, and the music will be played at a volume that is safe for all ears. 

Advertising
7
Baby dinosaur at Melbourne Zoo
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do

Dinosaurs at the zoo

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
icon-calendar

These dinosaurs are large-scale models of these ancient beasts, and they will be roaming around at Healesville, Werribee and Melbourne zoos for 100 days. If you're lucky, you might see a keeper waking a sleeping dinosaur, or come face to face with a moving prehistoric creature. At Melbourne Zoo you can experience Dino Park, where dinosaurs made by Erth Visual & Physical Inc come to life. At Werribee Open Range Zoo, you calk walk through the new Zoorassic river trail. There are nine life-sized dinosaurs to see. The wide open plains will also be opening after dark for an adults-only dino experience. Over three nights Werribee is opening its gates for Dino Files, an evening event for over 18s who want to walk, eat and drink with dinosaurs.

8
The Royal Botanic Gardens
Photograph: Carmen Zammit
Things to do, Walks and tours

Forest Therapy

icon-location-pin Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne
icon-calendar

Living in the city sure is convenient, but sometimes we all need to trade the concrete jungle for an actual jungle. During autumn the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens are giving you the chance to experience the restorative powers of nature by offering forest therapy (or forest bathing) classes for city stress-heads. Just what is forest therapy? The idea began in Japan, where it’s called ‘shinrin-yoku’ and is said to improve your wellbeing by immersing yourself in nature. It’s since been recognised as an effective (and cheap) way to improve public health. The Royal Botanic Garden’s forest therapy walk includes a guided tour through the gardens designed to lower your blood pressure, pulse and stress levels through a series of activities. There are four sessions you can book into, two in April and two in May.

Advertising
9
High Seas
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Food and drink

High Seas

icon-location-pin The Westin Melbourne, Melbourne
icon-calendar

The Westin is putting a nautical twist on the concept of high tea with an all-seafood high tea. Savoury treats include oysters three ways, lobster rolls and fish tacos. High tea favourites have been given a seafood makeover, such as savoury seaweed scones with whipped miso butter and furikake instead of the traditional cream and jam.  Skip the sparkling wine and do as sailors do, with a Navy Strength Four Pillars Gin and Tonic as your libation. And insetad of fussy French sweets, there is a Four Pillars frozen gin marmelade custard for dessert. The tide will roll out on April 30, so make sure you hit the deck before then. 

10
Dream Big Princess Disney exhibition
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Exhibitions

Dream Big, Princess

icon-location-pin Federation Square, Melbourne
icon-calendar

This April, Federation Square is playing host to Dream Big, Princess, a photo exhibition showcasing the stories of inspirational women and girls kicking goals across the world. The exhibition is a collaboration between the Walt Disney Company and Girl Up, the United Nations Foundation’s global initiative to promote leadership development for young women. The photographs and videos presented in Dream Big, Princess are on display for the first time outside the United States. Women and girls feature both behind and in front of the camera with contributions from across the US, China, Germany, Russia and India. There are also works from Aussie photographers and shots of girls from Byron Bay, Western Australia and the Gold Coast. All the imagery showcased falls under four themes that have been inspired by Disney princesses like Snow White, Rapunzel from Tangled, Moana and Merida from Brave. Dream Big, Princess is on at Federation Square's Atrium and Fracture Gallery until Saturday, April 27.

Advertising
11
Alexander Calder Radical Inventor NGV supplied image
© Calder Foundation, New York / Copyright Agency Australia
Art

Alexander Calder: Radical Inventor

icon-location-pin NGV International, Southbank
icon-calendar

It’s not an exaggeration to say Alexander Calder changed the face of modern art. Known as “the man who made sculpture move”, his gravity-defying mobiles are instantly recognisable. Now, in conjunction with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the National Gallery of Victoria presents the first retrospective of Calder’s work at an Australian public institution. Bringing together more than 100 of the artist’s works, from childhood pieces to three-dimensional wire portraits and the mobiles and “stabiles” (grounded sculptures) with which he made his name, at the heart of the exhibition will be an immersive canopy display of Calder’s hanging mobiles, including 'Jacaranda' (1949), and the landmark 'Black Mobile with Hole' (1954).

12
West Side Story Opera Australia 2018
Photograph: Nilz Boehme and Johan Persson
Theatre, Musicals

West Side Story

icon-location-pin Arts Centre Melbourne, Southbank
icon-calendar

Next year is shaping up to be Opera Australia's big year of West Side Story. Not only is the company presenting a massive outdoor production in Sydney as part of its annual Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, it's just announced a production for theatres in both Melbourne and Sydney. That's a big year for singing and dancing youth gangs. Melbourne has seen this production before: it's directed by Tony nominee Joey McKneely and played an Australian tour back in 2010. It's a fairly faithful take on the show, using all of Jerome Robbins' original Broadway choreography. The production stars Todd Jacobsson as Tony, fresh off a season of The Book of Mormon, and relative newcomer Sophie Salvesani as Maria. For those who've somehow never seen West Side Story, it's a 1950s musical take on Romeo and Juliet with music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Arthur Laurents. Instead of warring families, it features warring – if not too fearsome – New York City gangs. The score features songs like 'Tonight', 'Maria', 'America', 'Something's Coming' and 'Somewhere'.

Advertising
13
Hilary Cole, Helen Dallimore and Maggie McKenna in Sydney Theatre Company and Global Creatures Production of Muriel’s Wedding the Musical
Photograph: Lisa Tomasetti
Theatre, Musicals

Muriel's Wedding The Musical

icon-location-pin Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne
icon-calendar

Muriel moved from Porpoise Spit to the big lights of Sydney for her world premiere in November 2017 and now she's finally headed to Melbourne's Her Majesty's Theatre from March 2019, before heading back to Sydney in June. The musical was adapted for the stage by PJ Hogan, who wrote and directed the original 1994 film starring Toni Collette. It features an original, Helpmann Award-winning score by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall, which Time Out Sydney described as "irresistible" (seriously, we challenge you to leave without humming one of the tunes). But ABBA fans needn't worry about the prospect of an original score – the Swedish supergroup's songs and spirit are threaded through the whole show. Casting is still underway for the upcoming tour. Maggie McKenna, who played Muriel in the original Sydney production, has recently scored a role in the US tour of Dear Evan Hansen. She won't be reprising her role, but other actors are expected to return. The original production of Muriel's Wedding The Musical was produced by Sydney Theatre Company and Global Creatures, who were behind the Strictly Ballroom and King Kong musicals. We fell head over hells in love with the show when it premiered and we're willing to bet Melbourne will too. To put it simply, it's the best Australian musical to premiere in years. It's distinctively homegrown but with plenty of flair and great laughs. And it's directed by Simon Phillips, who did Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and just about every ot

14
Spanish Film Festival
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Film festivals

Spanish Film Festival

icon-location-pin Around Melbourne, Melbourne
icon-calendar

The 22nd annual Spanish Film Festival arrives this year with one big change — the Cine Latino film festival (which used to run in November) has been added to the run of films, providing an enriched experience for those who want to get their Spanish-speaking film fix in one place.

Advertising
15
Espresso Martini at Misfits
Photograph: Katje Ford
Things to do, Food and drink

Espresso Yourself

icon-location-pin The Ascot Lot, Ascot Vale
icon-calendar

We’re not surprised Espresso Martinis are popular in Melbourne. After all, the cocktail combines two of the city’s favourite pastimes (coffee and bars) and is a sure-fire way to start your night on the right foot. While you can find the drink in most bars in the city, the Ascot Lot is really leaning into the craze. On Saturday, April 27  the food truck park is launching five types of Espresso Martini and is hosting a mini festival to celebrate. While you’ll still be able to score the classic version (it’s just vodka, Kahlua and coffee) you’ll probably want to give some of the zanier flavours a spin too. There’s the Cherry Bite (think a Cherry Ripe but alcoholic), the Mint Like You (for those worried about bad breath), the Bounty Hunter (coffee meets coconut) and the Jaffa Smasher (a sweet and citrusy take on the Espresso Martini). All of the Espresso Martinis on offer are available for $10 each, or the hardcore fans can purchase an “Espresso Yourself pass”, which lets you try all five flavours for $40. 

16
Photo: Claudette Barius/Universal
Film, Horror

Us

Us is too confidently made, too expert in its scene-to-scene command, to call it an example of sophomore slump. Still, after the film reveals itself to be the home-invasion thriller it is (and then the lesser Invasion of the Body Snatchers it becomes), you feel a slight letdown. 

Time Out says
Advertising
17
Photo: Marvel Studios
Film

Captain Marvel

Superheroes save the world on a regular basis, but their movies aren’t nearly as courageous: for every ingenious Black Panther that departs from the billion-dollar formula, you get ten timid time-wasters. Captain Marvel, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first female-led installment, means a lot symbolically – especially to young girls who resonate with Gal Gadot’s confident portrayal of Wonder Woman. But you can’t help but wish the watershed moment arrived with a more richly imagined central character. Even within the MCU itself, you can locate fiercer, more complex women (Elizabeth Olsen’s tortured Scarlet Witch comes to mind), and while Room and Short Term 12 star Brie Larson is certainly capable of expressing wire-taut uncertainty, she’s a bit stranded in the rubber suit, playing a role that gives her scant opportunity to be human. It seems beneath her. That disconnect is too bad since Captain Marvel, co-scripted by Mississippi Grind directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (plus an army of story writers), tries hard to floor you with its freshness. Sometimes that effort is too obvious, as it is with the film’s utterly unnecessary first 20 minutes: a spew of Trekkian world-building that introduces planet Hala, the Kree, the Supreme Intelligence, the evil Skrull (maybe take notes) and, only slightly less mystifying, Jude Law as a martial-arts master. Eventually our hero (Larson), an alien supersoldier, plunges through the roof of a Blockbuster Video into a very James Cameron–lik

Time Out says
18
Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon at the University of Bristol 2017
Photograph: Carolyn Eaton
Museums, Science

Museum of the Moon

icon-location-pin Scienceworks, Spotswood
icon-calendar

Think you can’t see the Moon indoors? Think again. Scienceworks has announced an exciting new exhibition for December, which lets visitors take in a replica of the Moon close up. Museum of the Moon is essentially a seven-metre diameter spherical sculpture that features large-scale NASA imagery of the lunar surface. It’s shown at a scale of 1:500,000, which means each centimetre of the sculpture represents five kilometres of the Moon’s actual surface. Created by UK artist Luke Jerram, Museum of the Moon has travelled over the world in recent years. What’s cool about the installation is that it blends detailed lunar imagery, internally illuminated “moonlight” and a specially designed soundtrack created by BAFTA award-winning composer Dan Jones. Entrance into the exhibition is included with museum entry (free for children and concession and $15 for adults). 

Advertising
19
Liquid Light NGV 2019
Image courtesy NGV
Art

Liquid Light: 500 Years of Venetian Glass

icon-location-pin NGV International, Southbank
icon-calendar

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.

20
Slaughterhouse Five Theatre Works 2019
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre, Drama

Slaughterhouse Five

icon-location-pin Theatre Works, St Kilda
icon-calendar

Kurt Vonnegut’s widely celebrated 1969 satirical novel about a soldier in World War II who was abducted by aliens is coming to the stage in this new adaptation by Melbourne theatre-maker Fleur Kilpatrick. It’ll be performed by young actors – reflecting the age of those who we actually sent to the frontline.

Advertising
21
Tricolour photograph of the Milky Way galaxy
Photograph: Aperture Vintage / Unsplash
Things to do

Planetarium Nights

icon-location-pin Scienceworks, Spotswood
icon-calendar

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 autumn, 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 (except Good Friday) 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 Moon: Worlds of Mystery, Distant Worlds – Alien Life, DARK, Einstein's Gravity Playlist and Journey to the Centre of the Milky Way. Plus the bar will be open if you fancy a drink with your trip into space. Planetarium Nights are on every Friday until May 31.

22
The Miser Bell Shakespeare 2019 supplied production shot
Photograph: Prudence Upton
Theatre, Drama

The Miser

icon-location-pin Arts Centre Melbourne, Southbank
icon-calendar

Theatrical storytelling, with all its heightened, fictitious elements, relies on a suspension of disbelief. It’s all the more necessary in a farce, with its exaggerated situations unravelling in deliciously ludicrous measure. Bell Shakespeare’s take on French playwright Molière’s The Miser hits such delightful and superficially pleasing notes with its uniquely thrumming rhyming gait, as it opens up on a 17th century social and familial circle. At the centre of this circle is stingy skinflint Harpagon (John Bell), but he isn’t just any ordinary money-hoarder: he’s a butt-sniffing, nose-picking Scrooge-type so depressingly frugal that he puts the miser in miserable.

Time Out says
Advertising
23
Rosslynd Piggott NGV exhibition 2019 supplied
© The artist
Art

Rosslynd Piggott: I Sense You But I Cannot See You

icon-location-pin The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne
icon-calendar

Rosslynd Piggott is one of Australia's most diverse contemporary artists, working seamlessly across painting, drawing, photography, textiles and installation to create her unique multisensory works. Presented 21 years after her last survey exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, I Sense You But I Cannot See You brings together more than 100 of Piggott’s works, many of which have not been seen in Australia before. Highlights include Collection of air 2.12.1992-28.2.1993, which saw Piggott travel Europe for three months capturing vials of air from 65 locations, and a group of engraved glass sculptures created in collaboration with artists on the Venetian island of Murano.

24
Vacant block at 132 Little Bourke Street
Photograph: Nicola Dowse
Things to do, Markets

Chinatown Pop-up Market

icon-location-pin Chinatown, Melbourne
icon-calendar

If there’s one Melbourne suburb that doesn’t like being neatly assigned to a box, it’s Fitzroy. And that's why the team behind the Fitzroy Market are polevaulting over to the CBD and launching a pop-up market in the heart of Chinatown. For seven weeks starting April 25, the Fitzroy Market will be popping up in the vacant block of land on Little Bourke Street (between Russell and Exhibition streets). As with the regular northside market, the Chinatown pop-up will have a mix of food, artisan crafts, vintage wares, second-hand goodies and top-notch local products. Unlike the OG market, however, the new pop-up will be on four days a week from Thursday to Sunday. 

Advertising
25
Katie West: Clearing Tarrawarra Museum 2019
Photograph: Lucia Rossi. Courtesy of the artist.
Art

Katie West: Clearing

icon-location-pin TarraWarra Museum of Art, Tarrawarra
icon-calendar

Artist and Yindjibarndi woman Katie West uses naturally dyed textiles and installation works to draw attention to the ways in which we relate to country and preserve it for future generations. In her new exhibition at TarraWarra Museum of Art, she combines floor to ceiling textile works, cushions and seating, all naturally dyed using plants collected from the local region, with key texts by Indigenous writers such as Kerry Arabena, Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin and Bruce Pascoe to encourage visitors to reconnect with their natural environment. It’s part of ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE 2019, a biennial festival of exhibitions and events that harnesses the power of creativity and the arts to inform, engage and inspire action on climate change.

26
Barnum Comedy Theatre 2019 feat Todd McKenney photo credit: Jeff Busby
Photograph: Jeff Busby
Theatre, Musicals

Barnum

icon-location-pin The Comedy Theatre, Melbourne
icon-calendar

Long before Hugh Jackman donned a top hat and tails, the story of circus innovator and entertainment impresario PT Barnum was brought to life on stage in a musical. Barnum premiered on Broadway in 1980 (starring Jim Dale and Glenn Close) and had a string of successful productions around the world in the decades following. Now it's headed back to Melbourne in a new production that's promising to bring the spirit of the big top to the Comedy Theatre, melding circus with showstopping musical numbers, penned by Sweet Charity composer Cy Coleman. (Sorry, the show does not feature 'This is Me'.) In the title role is Todd McKenney, who's no stranger to sharing roles with Jackman – he originated the role of Peter Allen in homegrown musical The Boy from Oz before Jackman took the show to Broadway.

Advertising
27
Art

Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits

icon-location-pin Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo
icon-calendar

Even if you’re more pro-Republic than a Peter FitzSimons bandana, there’s no denying the impact and ongoing appeal of Britain’s royal families. Over the ages England’s kings, queen, princes and princesses have been responsible for everything from divorce (Henry VIII’s desire for a son is to blame) to white wedding dresses (before Victoria white wedding dresses were unusual), while their desire to stick union flags into far-flung corners of the world had permanent and frequently destructive political effects. Bendigo Art Gallery is home to five British dynasties and more than 500 years worth of history for Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits.

28
Melbourne Book Market
Photograph: Supplied
Shopping, Markets

Melbourne Book Market

icon-location-pin Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
icon-calendar

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 August 25. 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.

Advertising
29
Darren Sylvester
Art, Photography

Darren Sylvester: Carve a Future, Devour Everything, Become Something

icon-location-pin The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne
icon-calendar

It’s easy to write off Darren Sylvester’s lucid, hyper-real photographs as simply commenting on consumerism. But Sylvester wants to be clear – the branded objects and banal scenes that regularly appear in his works aren’t intended to combat the commercialist agenda. “People sometimes don’t see any further than that – just think it’s about consumerism,” says Sylvester. “Well no, it’s not at all. I have no interest in any kind of consumerist topic or talk.” What Sylvester is interested in is far more relatable and can be seen in his new exhibition at the NGV's Federation Square gallery. Darren Sylvester: Carve a Future, Devour Everything, Become Something is a reflective showcase featuring 70 works, including 43 of the surreal, perfectly posed tableaus the artist is known for, as well as installations, sculptures and even an interactive dancefloor inspired by a Yves Saint Laurent makeup compact. Growing up near Byron Bay, Sylvester describes his childhood as lacking identity and (like many) he used TV to fill the cultural void. It was the aspirational quality of TV shows that he was drawn to – the impossibly happy families and eternal sunshine. Ever since the saccharine depictions of everyday scenes, branding and pop culture have formed the basis of his work, with the imagery serving to be instantly recognisable and relatable to the average Jane or Joe. “You want that genericness because I want the biggest possible range of people to read into them,” says Sylvester. In a co

30
People in ball pit at Sugar Republic
Photograph: Supplied/Allison Jones
Things to do, Pop-up locations

Sugar Republic

icon-location-pin Myer Melbourne, Melbourne
icon-calendar

Last winter, a pop-up museum dedicated to all things sweet landed on Smith Street. Open for only eight weeks, Sugar Republic eventually sold more than 25,000 tickets – but for those who missed out, never fear. Sugar Republic is back!  This Instagrammable event has arrived at Myer in Bourke Street Mall. Several different sensory rooms will be taking over Myer's sixth floor, and we can guarantee they will satisfy every kind of candy lover.  The Sugar Republic team are expecting to build on their previous pop-up with a host of new rooms and interactive installations to play with. There will be a giant bubblegum pink ball pit, a cookie house to relax in, a licorice playroom and plenty of candy to enjoy as you wander through (including some old-school favourites including Wizz Fizz, Hubba Bubba and Arnott's biccies).

Advertising
31
Wakey Wakey Red Stitch 2019 supplied
Image: Supplied
Theatre, Drama

Wakey Wakey

icon-location-pin Red Stitch Actors Theatre, St Kilda
icon-calendar

Will Eno’s first play, Thom Pain (based on nothing) was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize and the US playwright has since been compared to Samuel Beckett and Edward Albee for his preoccupation with the absurdities of being human. His latest play, Wakey Wakey, is no exception and follows a man on the edge of death as he reflects on life and his relationship with the world. Described by the New York Times as “glowingly dark” and “profoundly moving”, Red Stitch’s production stars Justin Hosking, who starred in Eno’s The Realistic Joneses in 2017, alongside Nicole Nabout (Sisters) making her debut with the company.

32
Sidney Nolan Ned Kelly Geelong Gallery 2019
Sidney Nolan, 'Ned Kelly', 1946, from the Ned Kelly series 1946–47
Art

Sidney Nolan: Ned Kelly

icon-location-pin Geelong Gallery, Geelong
icon-calendar

There aren't many images from Australian art history that are quite as famous as Sidney Nolan's series of paintings depicting Ned Kelly and stories of his famously ferocious Kelly Gang. Nolan completed the paintings over 12 months in 1946 and 1947 at Heide, Sunday and John Reed's Bulleen house and storied haven for Australian artists. While at work, he created one of the most recognisable images of any Australian artist: Kelly's helmet, rendered as a simple black box with a slit cut out for vision. The National Gallery of Australia holds 26 of the 27 paintings in the series and is sending them on the road, with Geelong the only stop in Kelly's home state. The paintings have been exhibited in New York at the Metropolitan Museum of the Art, but are rarely seen in Australia outside of Canberra.

Advertising
33
Ghostbusters 1984
Columbia Pictures
Film, Special screenings

Ghostbusters in Concert

icon-location-pin Hamer Hall, Southbank
icon-calendar

Gatekeepers and keymasters, save the date. The original 1984 Ghostbusters is returning to scare up the big screen at Hamer Hall with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra performing Elmer Bernstein's orchestral score live, conducted by Benjamin Northey (expect Ray Parker Jr's hit themesong to be given a live twist as well).  

34
Destroyer: Ajuste de Contas (2018)
©Ascot Elite
Film, Drama

Destroyer

Destroyer follows the moral and existential odyssey of LAPD detective Erin Bell who, as a young cop, was placed undercover with a gang in the California desert with tragic results. When the leader of that gang re-emerges many years later, she must work her way back through the remaining members and into her own history with them to finally reckon with the demons that destroyed her past.

Advertising
35
Cheeses for cheese making class at Henry and the Fox
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Cheese Making Masterclass at Henry and the Fox

icon-location-pin Henry and the Fox, Melbourne
icon-calendar

If you've ever wanted to make your own cheese, this is the masterclass for you. Henry and the Fox is offering a series of masterclasses to teach you how to make all kinds of cheese from around the world – and yes, tasting is encouraged.  Classes offered include everything from brie to tallegio to peccorino, halloumi and mozzarella, and each class is marked with a level of difficulty.  Each class is $89 per person, and they run for three hours. The classes include a glass of chardonnay or pinot noir on arrival, plus a shared cheese board. You'll also get to take home your cheesy creations at the end. 

36
'Triple Nude (Three Pats, Standing, Back View) 1966', Richard Larter
Photograph: Supplied
Museums

Love

icon-location-pin Immigration Museum, Melbourne
icon-calendar

It’s a universal feeling. It’s in the air. It lifts us up where we belong. It’s all we need. So what’s your love story? Melbourne’s Immigration Museum is putting the spotlight on love this summer with an exhibition that will combine visual art, historic and contemporary artefacts and a few personal reflections from the general public. The museum will present all kinds of Australian love stories which will cover demographics of time, gender, ethnicity, orientation, age and distance. Head into the Immigration Museum’s recently renovated Long Room, where you’ll hear first-person storytelling about love through a tailored digital guide, with an all-Australian soundtrack of love songs playing throughout. There will be purpose-built “love shacks” to hang out in, and you can commit your own love story to the exhibition’s central Heart Garden installation.

Advertising
37
A Educadora de Infância (2018)
©Outside the Box
Film, Drama

The Kindergarten Teacher

Where does the line fall between selfless assistance and obsession? That’s the question raised by this thorny drama. Maggie Gyllenhaal’s teacher, Lisa Spinelli, is a vaguely dissatisfied wife and mother who struggles in the poetry classes she takes with charismatic lecturer Simon (Gael García Bernal). But everything changes when she hears Jimmy (Parker Sevak), one of her pupils, reciting a poem he has written. She becomes convinced that he is a prodigy and believes she must nurture his talent, whatever it takes. 

Time Out says
38
Mr Burns, a post-electric play fortyfivedownstairs 2019 image supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre, Drama

Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play

icon-location-pin fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne
icon-calendar

In the first act of American playwright Anne Washburn's Mr Burns, a group of survivors huddle around a fireplace, attempting to retell the 'Cape Feare' episode from the fifth season of The Simpsons. It mightn't sound like the first thing you'd concern yourself with after an epic disaster that's wiped out the whole world's electricity, but so long as people gather together, there'll always be an urge to tell stories. That's the genius of this darkly funny play, drawing its inspiration from the world's most popular animated sitcom. It explores how storytelling evolves and how legends endure. And let's face it: if anything from recent decades is going to last, it'll probably be The Simpsons. In the second act of Washburn's play, we get to see an even more extraordinary post-apocalyptic world than in the first: one where travelling troupes of actors reenact episodes of the show, including retro advertisements. The third act of the play takes things even further, and while we wouldn't want to spoil the surprise for you, we will say that things get a little bit musical.

Advertising
39
Shazam!
Film

Shazam!

We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson's (Angel) case, by shouting out one word SHAZAM! this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart inside a ripped, godlike body Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he'll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana.

40
A New Order Buxton Contemporary 2019
Photograph: Christian Capurro
Art

A New Order

icon-location-pin Buxton Contemporary, Southbank
icon-calendar

It's now been a year since Buxton Contemporary, collector Michael Buxton's impressively designed contemporary art gallery, opened in Southbank. It's celebrating that anniversary with dual exhibitions: National Anthem curated by Kate Just and A New Order curated by Linda Short. A New Order brings together painting, drawing, sculpture, video and installation from 12 artists whose work is included in the Buxton Collection. All of them have some relation to a pretty broad central theme: order and chance, and the push and pull between the two. There's Rosalie Gascoigne’s 'Conundrum', constructed from yellow reflective road signs; Daniel von Sturmer's 'The Truth Effect', which features small video projections design to test the mind and the eye; and Daniel Crook's video 'An Embroidery of Voids', inspired by Melbourne laneways. Other artists include: Stephen Bram, Tony Clark, Emily Floyd, Diena Georgetti, Marco Fusinato, John Nixon, Rose Nolan, Mike Parr and Constanze Zikos.

Advertising
41
National Anthem Buxton Contemporary 2019
© the artist
Art

National Anthem

icon-location-pin Buxton Contemporary, Southbank
icon-calendar

Why does the desire for a single and unambiguous national identity persist in Australia? Why, when our country is home to people from all variety of cultural backgrounds, of all sexualities, genders, abilities and ages, do we still seek to flatten out that richness and diversity? The 24 artists who are showing work in this exhibition curated by Kate Just all deal with critical questions of national identity, challenging racist, homophobic and misogynistic ideas about Australia's identity. There are 11 artists from Michael Buxton's collection – Brook Andrew, Daniel Boyd, Juan Davila, Destiny Deacon, Tony Garifalakis, Tracey Moffatt, Callum Morton, Raquel Ormella, Mike Parr, Tony Schwensen and Paul Yore – alongside 13 leading artists who have all made their mark on this particular social and artistic debate: Abdul Abdullah, Kay Abude, Hoda Afshar, Tony Albert, Archie Barry, Richard Bell, Ali Gumillya Baker, Janenne Eaton, Eugenia Lim, Hoang Tran Nguyen, Steven Rhall, Christian Thompson and Siying Zhou.

42
LaMontagne sings while playing a guitar.
Photograph: Supplied
Music, Folk, country and blues

Ray LaMontagne

icon-location-pin Palais Theatre, St Kilda
icon-calendar

[Sponsored] Listening to Ray LaMontagne’s smooth, ethereal songs is the perfect way to decompress after a long day, and if you’re in dire need of some musical rejuvenation, you’re in luck. He’ll share his soothing folk and soul melodies with Australian audiences on a national tour after appearing at the 30th Byron Bay Bluesfest. He'll visit the Palais, as part of the Bluesfest birthday celebrations to give Melburnians who can’t make it to the annual festival a chance to hear his award-winning set list. It’s been ten years since LaMontagne performed for Australian audiences, so he’s bringing a little support from his home in the US and inviting John Stirratt to join him on stage. 

Advertising
43
Tracey Moffatt: Body Remembers Tarrawarra Museum of Art 2019 supplied
Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney.
Art

Tracey Moffatt: Body Remembers

icon-location-pin TarraWarra Museum of Art, Tarrawarra
icon-calendar

In 2017, Tracey Moffatt was Australia’s representative at prestigious the Venice Biennale, showing both a photo series and film that feature in this exhibition. True to Moffatt’s style, they’re both confronting works: ‘Body Remembers’ features ten ochre-hued photographs depicting Moffatt as a 1950s maid in a variety of settings, while ‘Vigil’ is a film montage that juxtaposes footage of an asylum seeker boat capsizing off Christmas Island with classic images from Hollywood film. This is the first time they’ve been seen in Victoria.

44
Tom Nicholson: Public Meeting ACCA 2019
Image courtesy the artist. Photograph: Christian Capurro.
Art

Tom Nicholson: Public Meeting

icon-location-pin Australian Centre for Contemporary Art - ACCA, Southbank
icon-calendar

Tom Nicholson’s drawings, sculptures and social practice installations hang in the National Gallery of Australia and have been exhibited at biennales around the world. Yet until now, there has never been a large-scale exhibition of his work. That’s about to change, as the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art presents Tom Nicholson: Public Meeting as part of the gallery’s annual Influential Australian Artist series. Featuring key pieces from his career so far as well as new commissions, Nicholson uses historical materials and the visual language of art and politics to explore the relationship between history and collective action and to question, reconfigure and re-imagine ideas around public monuments.

Advertising
45
Crown high tea by Paul Thiéblemont
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Food and drink

English High Tea at Conservatory

icon-location-pin Conservatory, Southbank
icon-calendar

If you've ever spent time in London, you know the Mandarin Oriental in Hyde Park is kind of a big deal. The Presidential Suite there is more than £5,000 a night. That's pounds, you guys.  So when the executive pastry chef of the Mandarin Oriental comes down to Melbourne for a residency, you know he's cooking up something good.  Paul Thiéblemont has created an English-style high tea menu for Conservatory, including a twist on a Yorkshire tart, Battenberg bake, Braeburn apple tart and plum Bakewell slice. The prettiest and most Instagrammable dessert on offer looks like a perfect peach, with an ombré red-gold exterior and a little leaf at the top. Slice it open and you'll discover the exterior is made of coloured white chocolate, and it's filled with a cream and jelly. 

46
Woman in peach dress showing off white dress
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Markets

Slow Fashion Market

icon-location-pin Coburg Town Hall, Coburg
icon-calendar

We imagine being a woke fashionista is hard. The clothes manufacturing industry is notorious for exploiting workers, a large number of which are paid tiny wages and work in terrible conditions. But it’s going to be a little easier to buy well made, ethically sourced clothes for one day when Melbourne’s first ethical and sustainable fashion market rolls into town. The Slow Fashion Market is taking over Coburg Town Hall on Saturday, April 27. The market features 40 independent designers who produce new items that are durable, made with sustainable and non-toxic materials, and who pay their workers a fair wage (or make the items themselves). Shoppers can pick up everything from women’s, men’s and children’s clothing to accessories while also knowing their fashion habit is supporting ethical and sustainable practices. The Slow Fashion Market is part of Fashion Revolution, an international movement that calls for greater transparency in how clothes are mass produced. Entry is $2.

Advertising
47
Wheeler Centre Mayhem 2019
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Literary events

Mayhem

icon-location-pin Wheeler Centre, Melbourne
icon-calendar

The Wheeler Centre has announced the line-up of its annual Mayhem event series which will feature some of the world’s best writers. The series will run from Tuesday, April 23 to Tuesday, May 14, and will showcase Pulitzer-winners, eminent historians, poets, rappers and more.

48
Festival de Luxe
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy

Festival de Luxe

icon-location-pin Chadstone Shopping Centre, Malvern East
icon-calendar

The month-long laugh-stravaganza will bring down the house with a top-notch line-up of comedians from around Australia. For the first time, the Comedy Festival Showcase (April 6-7, 13-14 and 20-21) will be setting up shop in the Parlour at Chadstone for Festival de Luxe. Every weekend from April 6 to 21 guests can laugh till they cry, with the showcase on at 5.30pm on Saturdays and 3pm on Sundays. The show is hosted by the hilarious Dave Callan (as well as other special guest hosts), and you can expect to get giddy with some of the country’s top rib-tickling comedians. 

Advertising
49
Hans and Nora Heysen: Two Generations of Australian Art NGV 2019
Art

Hans and Nora Heysen: Two Generations of Australian Art

icon-location-pin The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne
icon-calendar

Father and daughter artists Hans and Nora Heysen helped shaped the course of 20th century Australian art. Both accomplished artists in their own right, Hans is recognised as one of the pioneers of Australian landscape painting, while Nora was an established portraitist and still life painter who became the first female winner of the Archibald Prize and Australia’s first female war artist. Yet, until now, there has not been a major exhibition incorporating both their works. The NGV is changing that, bringing together 270 works from the artists, including Hans’ famous landscape Driving into the light 1914-21, letters, sketches and preparatory studies, and furniture and homewares from the Heysen family home in South Australia.

50
The Big Hoo Ha
Comedy, Improv

The Big HOO-HAA!

icon-location-pin The Butterfly Club, Melbourne
icon-calendar

The Melbourne's longest running and most successful improv comedy night, the Big Hoo Haa, is improvised comedy at its rawest: minimal pretension, audience participation and maximum laughter. Anything could happen! Well, not anything. Scripted comedy, for example. That definitely won't happen.

More things to do in Melbourne this weekend

Advertising
Princes Bridge. Melbourne
Photograph: Robert Blackburn
Things to do

The best free things to do in Melbourne

Guess what? Not everything in Melbourne costs a bunch of money. From art shows to coffee tastings, there are a bunch of things to do in this fine city that you can do for free – here are our favourites.

Advertising
Pouring drinks at Bar Liberty
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Bars, Cocktail bars

The 50 best bars in Melbourne right now

Here is Melbourne viewed through the bottom of a glass: from its world-beating cocktail lounges to its down-and-divey saloons. These bars represent the pinnacle of Melbourne drinking.

People browsing through clothing at a market stall
Photograph: Supplied
Shopping, Markets

The best markets in Melbourne

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.

Advertising
Advertising
Great Otway National Park
Photograph: Robert Blackburn
Travel, Short getaways

The best day trips from Melbourne

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.

Or try our favourite Melbourne activities

More to explore

Advertising