Summer in Melbourne means a happy, (hopefully) sun-kissed jumble of barbecues, outdoor events, cultural activities and a whole lot more. Here are ten of the best. Just add ice-cream…
It's a classic
In the Kings Domain Gardens you'll find one of Melbourne's most iconic outdoor concert venues: the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Take advantage of the warm weather and go along to one of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra's free concert series this summer. The three events – The Russians, Romeo and Juliet and La Valse – will take place on February 8, 11 and 15 at 7:30pm, with gates opening at 4:30pm so punters can get in early to stake out the best spots.
High in the sky
Climb on board the Melbourne Star, Docklands’ super-sized Ferris wheel that takes passengers 120 metres up in the air. Ride at dusk and watch gorgeous views across Port Phillip Bay and as far as Mount Macedon recede as the blaze of city lights takes over.
Sand, seagulls and St Kilda. The trio wouldn’t be complete without fish and chips eaten on the beach. Luckily, then, that Paper Fish, the new fish and chip kiosk at the redeveloped Stokehouse, is happy to oblige.
Sleep no more
Nocturnal animals can enjoy an all-night cultural party on Saturday, February 18, and the dial is turned to dazzle with the return of the landmark White Night extravaganza. The city centre’s landmark buildings are bathed in ethereal light displays and you cake your pick from a program stuffed with film, fashion, drama and music.
Crowing in the New Year
Melbourne’s Chinese community sure knows how to throw a good party, and the Year of the Rooster is the perfect excuse. Lunar New Year celebrations on January 27 (New Year’s Eve) and January 28 will include events in Chinatown, Docklands, Queen Victoria Market and Federation Square involving food, fireworks and street parades with (naturally) dragons.
Every Wednesday until March 8 (excluding December 28) the Queen Victoria Market comes alive with its annual Summer Night Market extravaganza. More than just a shopping stop, it features three live stages, roving street performers, bars and artisan food producers.
NGV Summer Series
Melbourne’s best-kept secret, the garden at the rear of the National Gallery of Victoria is a grassy green wonderland complete with beanbags and a children’s playground. To make it even better, free concerts each Sunday in February feature Gabriella Cohen, Ali Barter, Emma Russack and Camp Cope.
SEE ALSO: One Perfect Day in Melbourne
Al fresco cinema
Catch a film in the great outdoors, whether it’s picnic rugs and beanbags at Moonlight Cinema in the Royal Botanic Gardens or deckchairs on the top of Swanston Street at Rooftop Cinema in the heart of the urban jungle.
Mess about on boats
Get out on the water. Hire an old-fashioned rowboat from the Fairfield Boathouse, launch onto the Yarra and meander upriver past the colony of fruit bats hanging from the trees. Picnic optional but highly recommended.
Camping in the bush? That’s so 2016. This year try roughing it on the roof of Melbourne Central shopping centre in the heart of the CBD, where St Jerome’s – The Hotel has pitched 20 canvas tents with luxury linens, each one with an Esky stocked with local craft beers.
The urban zoo
Hang with the wildlife at Melbourne Zoo for the annual Twilights concert series. This summer the line-up on the main lawn includes Peter Garrett, Jo Jo Zep & the Falcons, Killing Heidi, the Living End and legendary British ska band The Specials. All proceeds go to saving the Eastern Barred Bandicoot. Roar approval.
SEE ALSO: The 11 Best Rooftop Bars in Melbourne