Once more unto the chocolate breach, dear friends… Yes, it’s nearly Easter, which means all sensible people will be making preparations for an extravagantly indulgent four-day holiday. Here’s our top things to do, see and (of course) eat in Melbourne.

Passion performance

Be moved by the musical brilliance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St John Passion. It was first performed in Leipzig on Good Friday in 1724, but this Easter it can be heard at the Melbourne Recital Centre, performed by the Melbourne Bach Choir.

Tickets from $30 for students, $45 for concession and $60 for adults.

Melbourne Recital Centre, 31 Sturt Street, Southbank

Pitch a tent

Bringing an extravagant touch of 1920s class to the Arts Centre forecourt over Easter, the Famous Spiegeltent is worth a visit in its own right – but value-add the experience with a host Melbourne Comedy Festival acts including Head First Acrobatics, Paul Foot, Comedy Club for Kids (for children aged between six and 12) and the award-winning life and rhymes of Abandoman.

Tickets for these events start from $20.

The Famous Spiegeltent at The Arts Centre Melbourne,100 St Kilda Road

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Fed Square festivities

Funny, family-friendly and free, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s (Very) Big Laugh Out features a host of street performers and comedians performing live at Federation Square throughout the festival (31 March-23 April).

(Very) Big Laugh Out, Federation Square (main stage), corner Swanston and Flinders Streets

Chocolate fix

Head to the South Yarra shop of Burch & Purchese, where Darren Purchese’s Easter display is the chocoholic’s answer to the Myer Christmas windows. This year’s creations include the cuter-than-cute Boy in a Chicken Suit and the Alien Egg, featuring green hand-sprayed “slime” (hint: it’s not really slime).

Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio, 647 Chapel Street, South Yarra 

The Best Things to Do in Melbourne this Easter Long Weekend

Good Friday Appeal Kids Day Out

A family entertainment extravaganza, this centrally located Good Friday event features a roller-skating rink, teddy bear medical check-ups, a Little Athletics racing track and kid karaoke; for the parents there are massages and a classic cars collection. Entry is free; participation in events and activities is by donation, with all proceeds going to the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal.

The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf

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Easter Sunday at Rippon Lea

The grand National Trust-listed Rippon Lea Estate in Elsternwick will be throwing open its doors on Easter Sunday for a family fun day. Expect boat rides and outdoor games, the opportunity to explore inside the mansion, and a huge cutout Easter egg hunt stretching to every corner of the magnificent garden. Children collect a set of these “eggs” to swap for chocolate ones.

Tickets $9 for children, $12 concession and $15 for adults.

192 Hotham Street, Elsternwick

Surf’s up

Take a trip out of town to Bells Beach, near Torquay on the Great Ocean Road, where the Rip Curl Pro (the world’s oldest professional surf competition) will see the sport’s top male and female surfers competing to ring the winners’ bell.

Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach

The Best Things to Do in Melbourne this Easter Long Weekend

Have a bunfight

The supermarket chains have been pushing their mass-produced hot cross buns since Boxing Day but the buns worth having are the ones worth waiting for. Cult South Yarra bakery Tivoli produces sweet, gently spiced fruit buns (made from organic flour) with a lovely sticky glaze. Generally heralded as Melbourne’s best, don’t stop at one – get the full baker’s dozen.

Tivoli, 3 Tivoli Road, South Yarra

Melbourne Easter Show

Easter eggs, cute animals, carnival rides, showbags and more… the annual Easter Show in Cranbourne, from Friday 14 April to Monday 17 April, is a trip to the traditional side of family entertainment. The Easter Bunny will be making an appearance, with several Easter egg hunt sessions every day. Entry is free.

Lawson Poole Reserve, corner Thompsons Road and South Gippsland Highway, Cranbourne

To market, to market

As well as its usual roll call of excellent street food and fresh produce, South Melbourne Market features roaming jazz players, an Easter egg hunt and even the Easter Bunny (although we can’t vouch for his authenticity) on Saturday April 15.
South Melbourne Market, corner of Coventry and Cecil Streets

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