The Iglu Guide | Blog

What’s on: Summer in Melbourne

Looking for a cool spot to hang out your stocking this summer? Whatever your interests, Melbourne has it covered this summer.

Whilst you might not be in for perfect sunshine every day, what Melbourne definitely delivers a little better than her sister cities is a jam-packed offering to keep your mind and body intrigued, amused, interested and active across the whole of the holidays.



Residents of Melbourne, get excited! This summer has some proper treats in store. Musos will love the festival scene that is about to hit, beginning with the legendary A Day on the Green (8 Dec–23 Mar). The rock festival that never disappoints, this year it features hard-hitters Florence & The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers and John Farnham to name but a few. Taking over wineries and estates across the summer period, be sure to get your tickets early to avoid disappointment. Celebrate the arrival of 2019 with Let Them Eat Cake (1 Jan) for dance music galore and an influx of international DJs. St Jerome’s Laneway Festival (9 Feb) is back with the riverside cool crowd, and for those who love to party on the beach, don’t miss St Kilda Festival (10 Feb) featuring up and coming local acts as well as some old favourites. Tina Arena fans will find this Aussie icon starring in Evita (until 16 Feb) at The Art Centre on Southbank.


The arts crowd has a busy summer ahead. Top-drawer award definitely goes to the world premiere of the Nelson Mandela exhibition at the Melbourne Museum: Mandela My Life. Showcasing artifacts, footage and multi-media exhibits, the amazing legacy and impact of this single man is laid out for all to see. But that’s not all. Immerse yourself in the homage to Melbourne’s much loved – and sadly recently lost – Mirka Mora at the retrospective in the Heide Museum of Modern Art; enjoy the simple and instantly recognisable sketches of British Sculptor Julian Opie at his solo exhibition at the NGV International, Southbank (until 17 Feb), or have some pint-sized fun at the Linden Postcard show (until 10 Feb) and wonder at the painstakingly re-created mini Moon sculpture on show at Scienceworks, from UK artist Luke Jerram.


It’s simply not summer without the outdoor movies. Grab some mates and a picnic and head to the Barefoot Cinema (until 16 Feb) or Moonlight Cinema (ends 31 Mar) to watch some of the best in film out under the starry skies. Keep the alfresco feeling going with Friday Nights at the NGV, offering music, bars, dining and late-night art (until 6 Apr). It’s impossible to avoid the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (8-24 Mar), a gastronomic delight of all things foodie that takes over the city streets, and simply don’t miss the Melbourne Comedy Festival (27 Mar–21 Apr) for laughs galore and some of the best names in comedy. To experience the true magic of summer, we ordinary muggles can enjoy the West End and Broadway bestseller, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (16 Jan–1 Dec 2019), casting spells down at the Princess Theatre. But for pure unadulterated childish enjoyment, catch the summer favourite, The Wind in the Willows at the Royal Botanic Gardens (until 17 Jan).


Melbourne has official certification for sports’ obsession, so it will come as no surprise that summer is where a host of sporting events call home. The MCG’s Boxing Day Test (26-30 Dec) is a Christmas staple where India and Australia traditionally battle it out in the ultimate of cricketing fixtures. Enjoy Melbourne’s Australian Open (14-27 Jan), the first of the 2019 major tennis tournaments serving up first class performances as well as festival treats at the grounds. Motorsport enthusiasts will inhale the Formula One Grand Prix (14-17 Mar) that consumes the city for 4 days – complete with music, food and festival vibes – and boating fans can watch the waterfront come alive at the annual Festival of Sails (26-28 Jan) as the largest keelboat regatta in the Southern Hemisphere takes place. Take in the ultimate of Melbourne experiences, live like a local and catch an AFL game at the MCG – or challenge yourself with the 5k Grapest Run combining the best of exercise and wine-tasting in an unusual but rewarding combination. Continue on this theme with a day trip to the Yarra Valley to sample some cellar door action, or take a Drinking History Tour to pick up some fascinating facts about Melbourne’s seedy past. Turn it down a notch and enjoy the weather with a chilled out meander through the Royal Botanic Gardens, a true oasis where a mere 8,500 plant species call home.


The self-appointed culinary capital, Melbourne prides itself on all things digestible from hole in the wall coffee to roof top beer. Summer it may be, but if the weather above ground isn’t quite behaving, try out Beneath Driver Lane for some subterranean cocktails and speakeasy vibes, or Emerald Peacock for a more fancy experience, complete with a weather-proof outdoor area and rooftop bar. And when that sun does show its face, boy are we ready for it. The Arbory Afloat is your 69m floating cool river hangout this summer with 360-degree city views as well as entertainment on tap. Try the delicious wood-fired pizza as the Yarra laps gently at your toes. Gin-lovers will love Union Electric, your local rooftop gin bar destination featuring Aussie favourites, craft beer and an impressive wine list. For the ultimate in coffee pick-me-ups head to Proud Mary where coffee extraction is akin to art, or dip in the Melbourne brunch ritual at Higher Ground, a former power station serving up tasty fare with a twist of the unexpected. Dessert must be found at Pipapipo, Melbourne’s best Gelato house dishing up irresistible flavours such as ricotta and fig, or Nutella Swirl using a mix of Italian imports and local produce.

With so much to do and see this holiday, pack your brolley and the sunscreen and head out in to the city. Summer has arrived in Melbourne.

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