Muggle dreams came true last month when Harry Potter and the Cursed Child kicked off its run of Australian dates. Melbourne is the only city in the country the big-budget stage show is visiting – sorry, Sydney – and it’s an occasion the rest of the Victorian capital is rising to. Right now there’s a range of magical Harry-Potter-inspired moments to seek out around town, from a magic-themed hotel to boozy potion brewing. Here’s your guide to the best of them.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, of course
The main event on any Hogwarts-themed itinerary should be a stop at the Princess Theatre to catch the epic production, which picks up where the epilogue of the final novel left off. Some 200,000 tickets to the show were snapped up in the presale alone but you can still get a seat in the audience by entering the online ballot, which opens every Friday for the following week’s shows.
Princess Theatre, 163 Spring Street, Melbourne
The Store of Requirement
Whether you’re in need of a new wand or just want to slam down a foamy glass of butterbeer, The Store of Requirement has you covered. This Collingwood shop is stocked to the gills with Harry Potter merchandise, all carefully divided into distinct Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin areas. It’s the next best thing to being in Diagon Alley.
6 Smith Street, Collingwood
A magical hotel room
Those who really want to really eat, breathe and sleep all things Harry Potter should check into The Windsor. Until the end of 2019, the Spring Street hotel is offering fans the chance to book a stay in their special Wizard’s Suite, which has been decorated with a rather large nod to the Hogwarts’ aesthetic. Guests will even get some special Potter-themed gifts to take home.
Available to book until December 21
111 Spring Street, Melbourne; (03) 9633 6000
An orchestral movie screening
How do you make Harry Potter movies even better? Pair them with swelling live music from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. While Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix plays on screen, the Symphony Orchestra will perform the film’s score live during these special events in August. Talk about magical.
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall, St Kilda; (03) 9929 9600
The magical workshops and costume store
There are costume stores and then there’s Little Shop of Horrors Costumery. This Mornington shop stocks everything from Hogwarts house robes through to perfectly-styled Dobby and Death Eater costumes so that you can look the part, whether it be on the side of good or evil. They also host Harry Potter workshops every weekend – just pick from Advanced Potion Making, Herbology or Wand Making then go get your Hermione on.
6/1 Watt Road, Mornington; (03) 5977 1288
Your very own magic potion
Potter fans over the age of 18 can mix potions of a different kind at The Wizard’s Cauldron Bar, a pop-up bar coming to Melbourne in April. Guests will get to stir their own cocktails in smoking cauldrons during a 90-minute guided experience – all while dressed in a robe and armed with a magic wand, of course.
The magical escape room
Witches and wizards can put their problem-solving skills to the test at Trapt’s special magic-themed escape room. Getting out of the room – which is fittingly named Alchemy – will require you to practice spells, test your magic skills and solve a series of riddles to hunt down the Philosopher's Stone. And no, shouting “Accio, key!” won’t get you out of there.
The Basement, 377 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne; (03) 9077 7942
A pop-up conjured as if by magic
Bourke Street bar The Imperial Hotel has transformed its rooftop into Vertic Alley, a magical bar experience perfect for post-show drinks. Head up the stairs to take a seat in one of the six wizardry-themed booths, including The Owlery, Spring St Spell Books and Bourke St Wands. There, you’ll be able to order from the menu of themed meals and “potions” (read: cocktails).
2-8 Bourke Street, Melbourne; (03) 9810 0062
The Harry Potter comedy show
Purists, look away now. At this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the performers at Completely Improvised Potter will be reimagining Harry’s story on the fly and with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Every show will be different but they each promise to be a laugh, just pick a show between 27 March and 21 April and make a night of it. Dress ups are encouraged.
Trades Hall, 54 Victoria Street, Melbourne
A theatrical dinner
If you're seeing Parts One and Two of the play on the same day, there's an interval for dinner between approximately 5pm and 7pm. Alluvial restaurant at Intercontinental Melbourne at the Rialto, a five-minute drive away, is offering a two-course dinner worthy of inclusion on the magical dining tables of Hogwarts from 5.30pm each evening. The main, or "first charm", features beef striploin, carrots and truffle potatoes presented with a smoky flourish, while dessert, or "second charm", is a lemon treacle tart and sorbet housed in a "dark arts prophecy orb" (aka a chocolate shell).
495 Collins Street, Melbourne
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