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Things to do on the Australia Day long weekend

Whether you know it as Invasion Day, Survival Day or Australia Day, here are things to do to fill your long weekend
Australian Open AO Live Stage
Photograph: Supplied
By Time Out editors |
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In Australia, January 26 has very different meanings for different people. For First Nation Australians, the day marks the beginning of colonisation and is sometimes called Invasion Day or Survival Day. For recent migrants, January 26 is the day of many citizenship ceremonies across the country. For others, it's a family day around a barbecue. However you choose to spend it, we've picked out the main events taking place on the day, including ongoing performances, Hottest 100 events and exhibitions taking place on the public holiday and throughout the long weekend.

Take a look at our best picnic spots in Melbourne or park yourself at one of the city's best barbecue spots

Things to do on January 26

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Moonlight Cinema Opening Night Melbourne
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Outdoor cinema

Widows at Moonlight Cinema

icon-location-pin Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne
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This is not your dad's heist movie. Viola Davis leads an all-star cast in Steve McQueen's thrilling, emotionally wrenching film about a group of women whose husbands are widowed in a heist gone wrong. And you can watch it under the stars in the evening cool of the Botanic Gardens this Australia Day. The Moonlight Cinema food truck and bar can supply you with comestibles, but you're welcome to BYO food and drinks too.  

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Installation view of Escher x nendo | Between Two Worlds
Art, Drawings

Between Two Worlds | Escher X nendo

icon-location-pin NGV International, Southbank
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The National Gallery of Victoria has brought a world-first exhibition of works by MC Escher to Melbourne this summer. Between Two Worlds | Escher X nendo features more than 160 prints and drawings from the renowned Dutch artist as well as an immersive Escher-inspired environment created by Japanese design studio Nendo. By manipulating geometry, space and perception like Escher, Nendo has created a never-before-seen exhibit that will bring the artist’s work to life.

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Screen at Rooftop Cinema
Film, Outdoor cinema

Clueless at Rooftop Cinema

icon-location-pin Rooftop Bar, Melbourne
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As if! A decade before 'boo you whore', Clueless was the teen movie for sassy women. Catch it on a rooftop in the heart of the city at Rooftop Cinema. Fuel up from Rooftop Bar’s burger stand, where you can also get your choc-top and popcorn fix ahead of the screening. The venue is fully licenced, so you can sip on a wide selection of beers, wines, ciders and cocktails.

Things to do on January 27 and 28

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Screen at Rooftop Cinema
Film, Outdoor cinema

Cruel Intentions at Rooftop Cinema

icon-location-pin Rooftop Bar, Melbourne
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Grab a deckchair and make yourself comfortable – Melbourne's Rooftop Cinema at Rooftop Bar in the city hosts an impressive roster of cult classics and new releases each summer. Catch '90s mean teen drama Cruel Intentions on Saturday, January 27.

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Installation view of Escher x nendo | Between Two Worlds
Art, Drawings

Between Two Worlds | Escher X nendo

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

The National Gallery of Victoria has brought a world-first exhibition of works by MC Escher to Melbourne this summer. Between Two Worlds | Escher X nendo features more than 160 prints and drawings from the renowned Dutch artist as well as an immersive Escher-inspired environment created by Japanese design studio Nendo. By manipulating geometry, space and perception like Escher, Nendo has created a never-before-seen exhibit that will bring the artist’s work to life.

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3
All You Can Meat
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Food and drink

All You Can Meat

icon-location-pin Riverland Bar, Melbourne
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We love all you can eat. Like really love it. And when it's all you can eat charcuterie, steaks, ribs and sausages at one of our favourite riverside spots, all the better. Riverland held a meaty all-you-can-eat event during Good Beer Week last year, and the event was so successful the bar is bringing it back three separate times in 2019.  Things will kick off with charcuterie, followed by flank steaks, beef ribs and Lancashire & Cumberland sausages. The pièce de résistance is a whole suckling pig cooked on a charcoal spit. There will be some salads as well, to break things up a little. All that meat will make you thirsty, and luckily microbrewery 4 Pines Brewing Company will be selling drinks all afternoon.

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Luke Jerram's Museum of the Moon at Cork
Photograph: Supplied
Museums, Science

Museum of the Moon

icon-location-pin Scienceworks, Spotswood
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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. Virtual reality experience and game Opaque Space: Earthlight – Lunar Hub will illuminate the way you experience the moon, as well. This 40-minute experience will feature 20 minutes in-game and uses headsets and backpack PCs to allow players to move freely around the play space. Entrance to Opaque Space will have an additional charge. 

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Moonlight Cinema Opening Night Melbourne
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Outdoor cinema

Aquaman at Moonlight Cinema

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

There's nothing quite like a film under the stars in the evening cool of the Botanic Gardens. Settle back with friends and family for a movie and as always, the Moonlight Cinema food truck and bar can supply you with comestibles, but you're welcome to BYO food and drinks too. On Saturday you can catch the flick of the summer, Aquaman

Or get out of town

More things to do in January

The Last Hurrah at The Pool Deck
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do

Things to do in Melbourne in January

Wondering what to do in Melbourne in January? We can help. Check out our guide to all the fun things to do in Melbourne, from free events to exhibitions, theatre shows, live music and more.

More to explore

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