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Arbory Afloat
Photograph: Supplied

Things to do on Melbourne Cup Day

Whether you’re watching the race or avoiding it completely, here are the best things to do in Melbourne this Cup Day

By Cassidy Knowlton

Melbourne Cup certainly looks different this year, with no marquees, no Birdcage, no Fashions on the Field. But the race will still be run, and, most importantly Victoria still has a public holiday on Tuesday, November 3. Whether you want to frock up and watch the race that stops the nation at home or you're firmly nup to the Cup, here are some things to do with your precious day off.

Just want to chill out? Here are our favourite parks to enjoy the gorgeous weather (masks on, please). 

Things to do on Melbourne Cup Day

Seafood platter.
Photograph: Stokehouse/Supplied

1. Get a fancy AF meal delivered


We can't go to the Cup in person, but a lot of Melbourne restaurants are making the best part – the food – available for delivery or takeaway. Get a seafood feast, fancy snacks like caviar and charcuterie or an all-desserts selection. Enjoy while watching the Cup or just chilling in the park.

2. Catch a movie outside

Film Outdoor cinema

Outdoor cinemas are allowed to reopen, with restrictions, just in time for warmer weather. Are you keen for a classic garden cinema experience? Or what about an inner-city rooftop? You could even catch a film by the beach. These are our top choices of alfresco cinema in Melbourne.

Coburg Drive-in
Photograph: Supplied

3. The best drive-in cinemas in Melbourne

Film Outdoor cinema

For those craving a nostalgic cinema experience, these drive-in cinemas in and around Melbourne are brimming with the feeling of old-timey movie outings. Park yourself in front of the screen, tune into the FM broadcast and enjoy your movie in a safe, physically distanced location. 

Werribee Open Range Zoo | Zoos Victoria
Photograph: Visit Victoria

4. Go to the zoo

News City Life

Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary have reopened with a number of measures in place to make sure physical distancing is observed and everyone is practising good hygiene.

A person wading in seawater during sunrise
Photograph: Visit Victoria

5. Go to the beach

Attractions Beaches

The forecast for November 3 is 28 degrees and cloudless, which sounds like beach weather to us. If you're within 25km of them, here are Melbourne's best bay beaches to spend some time outside, whether you're keen on swimming, wading, beachcombing or just relaxing on the sand. 

Gelato Papa
Photograph: Supplied

6. Get some ice cream

Restaurants Ice cream and gelato

Hot weather and public holidays are the perfect best friends of ice cream and gelato. No matter how you roll, here are the super-duper scoopers serving Melbourne’s best ice cream, gelato and soft serve. Don't want to venture out to get your ice cream? We've also added info on how to get it delivered to your door. 

Interior at Neighbourhood Wine
Photograph: Nathalie Saldumbide

7. Eat one of Melbourne's fab restaurants


Dining establishments and bars around Melbourne have been given the green light to start operations again – and they need your business now more than ever. You've probably missed going out, so get amongst it as much as you can.

Poodle Bar and Bistro interior. Bar chairs, bar, drinks, glasses.
Photograph: Poodle Bar and Bistro/Supplied.

8. Get on the beers

Bars Cocktail bars

The premier says that we are allowed to get on the beers, so let's get on beers! We've compiled a rolling list of bars that are reopening throughout Melbourne, including information on how to book or whether they accept walk-ins. 

People on Bomba's rooftop bar.
Photograph: Roberto Seba

9. Or on a rooftop

Bars Cocktail bars

There's something about drinking on a rooftop that is at least 20 per cent more fun than drinking at street level. So jump on those stairs, hit that lift button and check out these high-and-mighty gems. Some of these are in the city, and some in the surrounding suburbs are perfect for city views. 

Photograph: Supplied

10. Go boating on the river

Things to do Southbank

You’ve had lunch by the river, now try lunch on the river. GoBoat is an electric boat hire service currently running in Melbourne that makes it super easy to have picnics at sea (well, a river). GoBoat’s five-metre-long boats seat up to eight people and don’t need a boating licence to operate. The best part? They come equipped with a built-in wooden picnic table in the middle of the boat.

People surfing at Urban Surf
Photograph: Urban Surf/Ed Sloane

11. Go surfing in the city

Things to do Games and hobbies Tullamarine

Curious to try Melbourne's inland surf park? Urbnsurf is reopening on Wednesday, October 21 to guests who live within 25km of the park. In line with current restrictions, a maximum of 30 surfers will be allowed on each side of the wave pool (60 in total) per hour. One hour surf sessions can run as normal, but guests are asked to maintain 1.5 metres from each other. You'll still be able to hire surfboards and wetsuits, as they will be sanitised after each use.

Kicking on? Here are Melbourne's best bars

Cocktail at Romeo Lane
Photograph: Nathalie Saldumbide

The 50 best bars in Melbourne right now

Bars Cocktail bars

Melbourne's bar scene continues to be the envy of the nation, and our late-night credentials only get stronger with every new opening. Here is Melbourne viewed through the bottom of a glass: from its world-beating cocktail lounges to its down-and-divey saloons. 

Looking to get out of town?

Great Otway National Park
Photograph: Robert Blackburn

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. These one-day escapes are just what the doctor ordered, so get out there and explore Melbourne's beautiful backyard.  


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