Autumn blockbuster events in Melbourne

The weather may be cooling down, but Melbourne’s calendar is heating up. Grab the diary – you’ll want to lock in every one of these major events.

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

March is the tastiest time of year, when the harvest begins and the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival pops its cork. Nibble and sip through more than 60 Victorian producers’ goodies at River Graze. Tuck in at oodles of dining events, from the indulgent to the $40 Restaurant Express lunches at some of the city’s finest. Catch culinary stars cooking and talking about food, including locals like Adam Liaw and the guys from Montreal’s legendary Joe Beef. All this and more await from 8-24 March.

A night time scene with people at a large event with the city skyline in the background

River Graze at Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Taken by Thereas Harrison.

Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

Do you enjoy gardening, or putting a beautiful bunch of flowers together? Searching for inspiration to overhaul your outdoor space? Or do you just want to immerse yourself in nature in the heart of the city?

Look, listen and smell the roses at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, now in its 24th year. From the stunning landscape design show gardens to floral-themed high teas, there’s something for every green and even slightly brown thumb. It’s blooming for just five days, from 27-31 March.

The interior of a large exhibition building with an event going on

The Melbourne International Flower and Garden show will takeover the Royal Exhibition Building this March

Terracotta Warriors and Cai Guo-Qiang

Late autumn is always an exciting time for art lovers, as NGV International unveils its annual Winter Masterpieces exhibition. This year’s is as massive and amazing as ever. Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality brings eight of Emperor Qin’s life-size soldiers to Melbourne, and scores of other ancient Chinese treasures.

The exhibition has been designed in collaboration with contemporary Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang. He’s also created new works for a parallel exhibition, which includes a monumental installation of 10,000 suspended porcelain birds. These wonders old and new gather from 24 May to 13 October.

Rows of stone warrior statues

Terracotta Warriors

Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Don’t be an April Fool and miss one of the world’s biggest comedy festivals. Some of the funniest people on the planet are in town for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Laugh at local heroes like Kitty Flanagan and Joel Creasey, and stars from afar including Michelle Wolf and Arj Barker. Plus Ronny Chieng, who’s from everywhere, including Melbourne! There’s stacks of free stand-up, like The (Very) Big Laugh Out at Fed Square, Lunchtime LOLs at Town Hall and Triple j’s Good Az Friday. Plus cabaret, theatre, street performance and more. Get ready to giggle from 27 March to 21 April.

A group of people on a large stage with streamers and lights around them

Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Credit to Jim Lee photography.

Magical musicals

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child continues to cast its spell over Melbourne, and there are more big shows on the way. Two major musicals open during autumn, starting with Muriel’s Wedding – The Musical on 12 March. Adapted from the 1994 film starring Toni Collette, it brings the zero-to-hero story of Abba-loving Muriel Heslop to life.

From 6 April, Opera Australia’s big new production of West Side Story hits with classic songs like Maria and I Feel Pretty. Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s 20th century take on Romeo and Juliet will raise the roof.

Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix

The F1 season roars into action in Melbourne once again, with Australia’s own Daniel Ricciardo vying for top spot on the podium. The 2019 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix is much more than the big race though. From a parade of historic vehicles to a Supercar championship round, this four-day event is heaven on wheels for motorsport fans. For the rest of us there’s everything from the kids corner to a Hot Dub Time Machine DJ set. It’s revving up on 14-17 March – and don’t miss the season launch on 13 March at Federation Square.

A large stage at night with fireworks going off behind it

The Grand Prix

Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival

Far from being fashionably late, the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) arrived right on time to give our autumn/winter wardrobes a makeover. If the big-ticket events take you further away from affording that perfect new look, don’t worry. There’s free entry to festival central The Plaza throughout, including for the Plaza Block Party.

Check out pop-up runways by Jume and streetwear social enterprise HoMie and groove to the DJs. Freshen up your wardrobe and help save the planet at the Global Fashion Exchange. 1-10 March.

A runway set in a heritage building with moody purple lighting

Melbourne Fashion Festival was on 1-10 March