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Free things to do (online) in Melbourne right now

Hanging out at home? Here’s how to stay connected to Melbourne from the couch, free of charge.

Puppy Carer information sessions

In need of some extra company? Vision Australia is looking for loving carers for their adorable seeing eye dogs in training. And you can now join their free, monthly information sessions online! Your new best mate could be just around the (digital) corner.

A cute, fluffy puppy running down the street

If you need a little extra company right now, maybe it’s time to become a puppy carer.

Put a free KAWS in your house

If you didn’t make it to the KAWS exhibition at NGV International, never fear. Enjoy this limited edition virtual KAWS installation in your living room. Download the Acute Art app and take a KAWS companion with you, wherever you are. Isolation just got a little less lonely.

Live stream the Zoo’s cutest residents

Penguins, giraffes, baby snow leopards. No matter where you are right now, you can get constant cuteness from Melbourne Zoo’s Animal House. Work-from-home hack: switch on the TV, play the stream in the background and you’ve got yourself a whole new cast of colleagues.

The neck and head of a giraffe visible over a fence

Um sorry can we take that again, I wasn’t ready. What do you mean it’s a video? It’s LIVE? I need a better agent.

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra free concerts

Bach at home for a while? The MSO invites music lovers to keep the music going with a special online premiere concert series every Thursday evening. No crowds, plenty of chords. Keep an eye on the MSO’s website and YouTube channel for more concert updates.

Follow the Royal Botanic Gardens from home

The Royal Botanic Gardens are currently closed to the public, but their gorgeous greenery can still be enjoyed online. Explore the virtual garden when you need a bit of peace in these often turbulent times. The team will be sharing wellness tips, pics of their endless living collection, updates from staff working on site and more. We can feel the serenity already.

Ariel image of the Royal Botanic Gardens

Guilfoyle’s Volcano in the Royal Botanic Gardens

Get geeky with Games Laboratory

If you’re not quite ready to lower yourself to Tik Tok for entertainment, dip your toe in the waters of Youth Culture and try out Twitch. Games Laboratory usually hosts IRL gaming events (think Magic the Gathering and D&D), but for now the team is entertaining fans online. Stream away your lunch hour with Games Lab on Twitch: play chess, paint mini figurines and more. Who knows, you might come out on the other side of isolation with a niche new hobby.

Melbourne Museum at home

If the kids are going around the bend, go behind the scenes at one of Melbourne’s most important cultural institutions. Explore a growing list of virtual tours, from Phar Lap to forest secrets. Get nostalgic about the city with the Marvellous Melbourne exhibition. Or challenge your mates to find the weirdest thing in the museum’s item collection. Our pick is this fancy crepe toilet paper from the 1940s. See other treats from the Museum at Home collection.

Three rolls of retro toilet paper on a white background

Times are tough, but we still wouldn’t use this ancient TP. Pic thanks to the Museums Victoria Collections.

Have a lol in your lounge room with the MICF

Hearts broke across Melbourne when the Melbourne International Comedy Festival cancelled for 2020. But the MICF hasn’t stopped laughing. And now neither will you, because every day for the duration of what would have been the festival, they’ll be sharing throwbacks to festivals gone by. When you hit that 3pm slump, check them out on YouTube and treat yourself to a chuckle. As the famous comedienne and podcaster Mary Seymour always says, ‘get onliiiiine…’.

ACMI’s free Virtual Melbourne Cinémathèque

Take a break from bingeing old Breaking Bad (or the Gilmore Girls, no judgment here) with Virtual Melbourne Cinémathèque. This weekly free film club will screen movies chosen by the learned minds behind ACMI and the Melbourne Cinémathèque Committee. Check ACMI’s social accounts every Tuesday for the announcement of that week’s title, and download Metastream to watch along with mates. There’s never been a better time to become a film snob.

Visit the NGV – for free!

From Hokusai’s great wave to herbarium couture by Christian Dior, most of the NGV International collection has been digitized for your online viewing pleasure. Search easily to see works by your favourite artists and creators, or just click around and discover something new. Like William Wegman’s curious canine pics – you’re welcome.

A dog in a blonde wig. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased, 1992 © William Wegman This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of the Bowness Family Foundation

Louis, by William Wegman. Accessed through the National Gallery of Victoria online collection.

Please note that due to current circumstances, businesses may close or alter their offerings at short notice. Check with individual stores for more information.