Across the city, Melbourne Christmas lights get bigger and better every year. There are plenty of locations throughout the city that will make you stop and gawk with wide-eyed wonder at the giant Christmas trees and glittering lights.
But it’s not just the city streets that gets bedazzled this time of year. We’ve scoped out the suburbs where the residents have clearly been planning their decorations months in advance and who could give Clark Griswold a run for his money. Here are just a few of the biggest and brightest Christmas lights to gawk at this December.
Santa Claus is coming to town
This December Federation Square is getting a very festive makeover. Head over from Friday, November 30 to check out all the Christmas decorations. There will be a 16-metre Christmas tree, nightly projection art, a giant light-up bauble you can walk through (or take selfies with) and concerts every Friday. You can also get a photo with Santa, regardless of your naughty or nice levels.
Melbourne is a gift, and this Christmas the Town Hall is taking that pretty seriously. The gorgeous old building (it’s almost 150 years old!) is wrapping itself up like a big, stone present. The Swanston Street-facing side of the building has a giant bow wrapped around it, as well as big wreaths and nutcrackers. At night the building (along with the State Library and Princes Bridge) are illuminated by festive projections.
The eastern end of Collins Street is known for its luxury retailers and my do those big money brands know how to kit themselves out for Christmas. Stroll along the street to check out the stores Christmas displays (the Cartier decorations are particularly glitzy) even if you can’t afford to buy from them. Then stop by Collins Place to see the giant Christmas tree.
Crown could never be accused of half-arseing its Christmas decorations. Crown's atrium will this year host what it's calling the "world's largest animatronic Christmas display" featuring 35 giant hanging baubles lit up with 30,000 LED lights. Between 10am and midnight every day until January 5, the atrium will also host live Christmas carol shows and Santa will be in attendance daily for festive snaps.
Santa Claus is coming to the 'burbs
What started out as a friendly competition between neighbours since 2002 has snowballed into another year of Christmas light madness. While you’re there, check out the trains, reindeer and snow machine – it's the closest you'll get to a white Christmas in Melbourne. 150 Reichelt Ave, Montmorency. December 1-28, 7.30pm-11pm. Read more.
Out west the Walsh family has been lightiing up Sunshine for more than 20 years. In 2019 punters can enjoy approximately 45,000 lights plus a nativity scene, inflatables (weather permitting), a walk-in display, a village window display and music. If you miss them before Christmas you can also see this display until Jan 2. 12 Cooper St, Sunshine. Dec 1-Jan 2. 7.30pm-midnight. Read more.
Alex and Peter Caruana have been decking out their family home in thousands of Christmas lights for the past years. The simple joy of seeing visitors enjoy their display is what keeps them going. Make sure to grab a selfie with the giant santa! 60 Hunter Rd, Camberwell. Dec 1-25. 8-11pm (8pm- midnight Dec 24-25).
For over half a century, the Boulevard in Ivanhoe has taken Christmas lights to the next level, showering houses, trees and streets in lights and decorations. Get in early as the traffic can pile up pretty quickly, with thousands rubbernecking at the lights every year. The Boulevard, Ivanhoe. Dec 14-24. 8.30-11pm.
If the folks at 29 Shaftsbury Street seem familiar it's because they used host their annual festive lightshow in Brunswick. They hoicked over all their lights and decorations when they shifted to Coburg though, so kids and adults can still enjoy a Christmas display featuring 25,000 lights, animated bears, a reindeer-led sleigh, Santa house and train. 29 Shaftsbury St, Coburg. From Dec 12. 9pm-midnight. Read more.
Santa Claus is coming to a water park?
If you're still hankering for lights after exhausting Melbourne's city and suburbs, then head to Adventure Park. It's elves have strung up 1.2 million lights across the water and theme park, with everything from illuminated dinosaurs, light tunnels, giant glowing toys and a massive light-up globe. There is a park entry fee if you want to see the lights, but children under 90cm are allowed in for free. Adventure Park, 1249 Bellarine Hwy, Wallington 3222. Dec 1-24. 6-10pm. $0-$17.50.
Last minute gifts
The Christmas shopper tend to come in one of two camps: you've either been shopping since June, or you've left it until the final week of the Christmas rush before you buy your presents. Thankfully for those of you low on ideas for Christmas presents, we've got a bunch of great gift ideas for the design-savvy and foodie person in your life.